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[Updated!] Blog Gremlins Can’t Keep Me Down! TWO Chances to Win a Half Moon Harbor Tote!

So, the gremlins, they continue to plague the blog.  It’s Week 3.  It’s getting old.  Really….really….old.  But, they’re working on it.  (I’m beginning to think “they” ARE the gremlins, but that’s another story…)

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So, in my teensy tiny window of “It’s working!  HURRY!” I wanted to let you know that to celebrate the April 29th release of HALF MOON HARBOR (have you preordered yet?  There’s some handy dandy links right on my home page, right here.  I know.  I’m so helpful like that.) Where was I?  Right!  Free stuff!

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I’m having a fabulous giveaway in my USA Today Dancing with the Stars recap this week.  Winner gets a faboo HALF MOON HARBOR canvas tote bag…and yes, there will be an advance copy of the book tucked inside.  I know!  I told you it was fabulous.  (Are you a tote junkie like I am?  I could probably pack up everything I own in the totes I have.  Oh, wait…I just did that this past December… See, I knew there was a reason I needed so many!)

How do you get in on this Giveaway deal?  Click HERE to head over to the recap for all the entry details (which are at the end of the recap, so get your scrolling finger limbered up!)

AND!   There’s a second chance to win a HALF MOON HARBOR Tote & Book.  USA Today’s Happy Ever After column is doing a fun little Q&A with me, where we reveal some behind the scenes secrets about my upcoming PELICAN POINT mass market cover makeover AND a second cover reveal for SANDPIPER ISLAND…..AND Big News about what’s happening next in Blueberry Cove.  Big, big big! 

So stop by Thursday, April 17, and read all about it, and get your second entry in.  Click HERE! 

Then come on over to my Facebook Fan Page where all the up to the moment fun and frivolity are happening.  Where I hardly ever get kicked off.  Hardly.

New Contest!! New Dish!! New Book!!

Still having posting challenges…but still having a wonderful giveaway this week! All the details are at the end of this week’s Dancing With the Stardish over at USA Today!

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Winner gets his or her hands on an advance copy of my April 29th release. HALF MOON HARBOR (Book #2 in the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series.)

So click HERE and go enter already!  (Scroll to the end for entry details!)

Technical Difficulties…

I’m having issues with being able to post to the blog (you can see it, but I can’t post to it…FUN!)

So while I have a functional window of this thing working, just want to let you know that the winner of last week’s Blog Giveaway has been announced in my weekly USA Today Dancing With The Stars dish fest!

There is a new Giveaway going on as well – and it’s a good one, so don’t miss out!

Head on over HERE and check it all out.  (Entry details at the end of the recap.)

Hopefully we’ll get this straightened out by next week’s post!

Dancing With the Stars…and Giving Away Stuff! Hello, Tuesday!

Yes, I tripped the light fantastic in the glitter dome again last night.  Join me in the ballroom, won’t you?

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We’re back in the Dancing With the Stars ballroom…and someone is going home tonight!  Who do you think it will be?  My money is on Billy Dee.  I love the guy, but I think it’s just the merciful thing to do.  His body doesn’t seem up to the challenge, and no Jedi mind tricks are going to save him, I don’t think.

Also?  We’re informed that the Partner Switch Vote starts tonight.  I’m very ambivalent about this new twist.  Which is odd given I kind of loved it when they did it on So You Think You Can Dance, only that was half way into the season.  In this instance, for cripes sake, they just got partnered up!  And given the kinds of stunts and things they have to do, is it really wise to leave it up to America on choosing who should dance with whom?  We’ll enjoy the wacky personality match-ups, maybe, if you know, we’d had time to even meet these folks yet.  But you can’t go putting the short, skinny guy with the tall, full figured gal and except him to toss her around like a snowflake ballerina, you know?  So, it will be interesting to hear if there are any limitations on what swaps can be made.  I just don’t think we need this ploy on this show.  One of the things that we enjoy most is falling in love with our fave teams as we see them grow and bond during the course of this arduous journey.

Speaking of arduous journeys….  Sigh.  Sadly, we open with the requisite Agony of Rehearsal video clip package…and couldn’t we at least get a few weeks in before we have to be shown how awful and hard this is on the celebs?  Can’t the honeymoon of “I’m just so thrilled to be here” go on for at least one more week?  No?  Mkay.

But we quickly switch to happy times as the show opens with our troupe dancers and pros cutting a rug, smooching up on Len, then our pro-am pairs entering the ballroom dancing.  I like this opening so very much better than having them make that stilted teetering walk down the big staircase, permagrin of fear plastered on their carefully made up faces.  This is fun, spunky, and gets us all in the mood.  The rehearsal agony quickly forgotten as the endorphins spark and adrenaline starts pumping.  Check out Diana Nyad in that slinky red sequin number!   Ruh roh!  It’s a  little concerning when we spot Billy Dee making his entrance…by sitting in a chair on the sidelines.  Something tells me we might not have to vote him off, I think his replaced hips might have done that for him.  Aw.  I still think it’s the healthier inevitability for him, so better sooner than later.

We end with all the pros, the troupe, and our celebs all on the dance floor as part of the opening dance sequence and this is one adoption from the So You Think You Can Dance playbook that I’m heartily in favor of!  No surprise it’s a SYTYCD choreographer, Mandy Moore, who created that opening number.  See?  We don’t need no stinkin’ guest singer!  We can dance!

And they do.  Quite well, too!

Hello, Tom Bergeron! And welcome back surprisingly not-annoying and fun Erin Andrews!   Everyone is still wildly cheering the opening number, confetti is falling, everyone is ridiculously perky and filled with sequinny goodness….until Tom drops the night’s first Twist Bomb.  And it’s clear that neither pros nor celebs saw this one coming!

Tom reveals that they’ve got their own version of March Madness going, and so not one, but two couples will be eliminated tonight!  Wha??

Well,  despite the fact that he’s standing now with is partner, I’m still saying that Billy Dee is on IR and out for the season so maybe they needed a real elimination to go with?  Don’t know.  But we’re going to find out!  Also?  The double elimination can take place at any time during the show.  Double what the….?

Everyone is thrown, someone heckles from the crowd, and the so-much-more-on-the-ball-than-Brooke-was Erin cracks, “Well, someone up there isn’t happy about it!”  I’m thinking a lot of someones aren’t happy about it.  One of them might be me.  Like I said last week, it’s one thing to tweak the program to try and counteract the falling ratings of the past few seasons, but there’s such a thing as over-tweaking to the point where all the things we loved most about the show get thrown out with the underperforming parts bathwater.  Know what I’m sayin?

Time and agonizing patience, will tell…

Oh, and gossipy aside?  (I mean, you didn’t think I was here to just talk about dancing, did you?  Silly wabbit.)  I couldn’t figure out who the dancer with the sassy, short blonde hair was in the opening number, but as the camera does the slow pan down the now panicked faces of pros and celebs, I realize….it’s Peta!  Wow!  I like it!  Really freshens her right up.  Wonder if it’s real or wiggy?   More mysteries wrapped inside possible overkill enigmas…

Tom reviews the leader board and immediately starts talking who’s safe…. Yow.  Fasten your seatbelts, folks!  Drew and Cheryl?  You’re safe!  Also?  Yeah, get on the dance floor and shake it, dance monkeys, because you’re on righthisverysecond!

Yeah, this is a breakneck pace and I’m kind of jazzed, but at the same time afraid the pace is going to send us careening off the “show we love” rails at any second.

As you recall, this week the teams will be performing the dances that our celebs mentioned was their want-to-learn-the-most dance, as told to the producers before they first met with their partners.  Now, given the clearly stunned looks on the faces of almost all of the contestants last week when this supposed dance-of-my-dreams number was announced, I’m thinking this is more of a “what the producers might have thought they wanted the celebs to say they wanted to do, if, you know, they’d really asked them.  Ever.”   But no time for quibbling.  We dance!

1. Drew & Cheryl: Jive – Drew reveals that he was actually most at home when they actually performed live, as he’s used to being in the middle of folks screaming and being the center of attention on his gig as host of The Price is Right.  It’s the rehearsal part that freaks him out.  Oh, and apparently I wasn’t the only skeptic about these so called “wanna do dances” as we actually see Drew on camera in some random backstage hallway, looking as if he was accosted by a producer with a cameraman in tow, asking what dance he really, really wants to learn.   (Seriously, was this filmed this past week?  I still call bogus.  No way were those celebs faking their shock in hearing what dance they mentioned. Unless some babbled on so endlessly, they simply forgot what they said.  I’ll be interested to see if we get these supposed behind the scenes camera clips for all of them.)  Both Drew and Cheryl wish they’d gotten this dance later in the season.  Also, gossip aside!  Does the always lovely Cheryl look teenier this season?  She’s always had a fit, curvy figure but seems to have almost leaned those curves straight off her frame somehow.  Just me?

Dance: Okay, we’re dancing!  We’ve got a Buddy Holly theme going and for all the rehearsal fears, Drew is right, when the lights go on and the crowd goes wild, he’s 110% in it to win it.  It’s not the tidiest, tightest of dances for him, but he commits fully and while Cheryl is clever with her choreo to showcase this season’s clear crowd pleaser celeb, there is still plenty of jive content and he tackles it manfully.  I think by the end he’s truly winded and just praying for it to be over, but it’s over almost immediately after that becomes apparent, so all in all, a successful opener!  And, Tom reminds them, it’s good to be the Already Safe team!  We’re getting a lot of Wayne Brady in the audience.  Hi Wayne!  Judges: All three shower him with love, and some specific critique help. Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21  Carrie Ann makes it clear he would have gotten 8’s if he hadn’t had a few missteps, which actually bodes well for the pair given how tricky the jive is and they had to do it on Week 2.

I like Erin’s sideline reporting style.  She’s very confident and very much in command up there in the Celebraquarium, which is a good thing, and having also been a contestant on the show herself, she’s very much in tune with what the performers are going through.  I was ambivalent about her as the co-host, but she’s growing on me surprisingly quickly.  We throw it back down to Tom, who explains that we folks at home will get to pair up the pros and celebs via Twitter, but no details yet.

Next up on the Are They Safe Or Aren’t They chopping block?  Danica, Billy Dee, and Meryl.   Our next safe couple?  Billy Dee & Emma!  Wha?  There goes my theories!  Emma is over the moon, Billy Dee is trying to forget how much pain he is in, and up in the celebraquarium, the always competitive Diana Nyad is giving the frown of “Really?  He’s safe?”  We feel ya, Diana.  We feel ya.  Also safe? A far less surprising, Meryl & Maks!  This leaves the completely adorable Danica and Val…who are also safe!  We get a shot of the celebraquarium, filled with pasted on smiles and polite golf claps, because they’re doing the math….four couples safe.  Eight couples remain.  Two of them go home.  That’s a 25% celebraquarium attrition rate at the moment.  Yikes.

2. Val & Danica: Samba – Despite how utterly adorable they were last week, Val is convinced he didn’t propel her into the spotlight as well and thoroughly as he should have.  And while I don’t agree, I like that he’s pushing himself to do his best by her.  Danica is all “We got 8’s!  That’s great for the first night.”  And Val is all “Candace got a 9.”  Candace being her co-child-star nemesis.  Except, you know, not really.  Danica is all “I’m happy for her!”  She motions to her face.  “See the happy?”  Val is convinced she’s just acting, and it’s all still too cute, but we need some dance!  And boy…Val delivers.  He choreo’s a full tilt, no holds barred samba, and Danica, eager to bust out of her goody-two-shoes, repressed girl shell, tackles it like the budding pro she is. Still, it’s a lot and she puts all the pressure on herself to live up to Val’s expectations. She has a mini break down that’s pretty much the cutest break down ever—honestly? I do the sloppy cry over Hallmark commercials, so this was almost too perfect-tear-track-down-the-cheek to be real, except it’s Danica.  So of course it’s real.  Val finds her, apologizes for being so hard, and promises to lighten up.  I already am liking them as a team, because they both sincerely seem to want only the best from themselves and for their partner, and they behave quite sincerely and professionally.  I pegged her as a frontrunner for all those reasons last week, and that opinion is only underscored this week.  And now?  They dance!

Dance: Danica wastes no time putting her newly found femme fatale moves on display. It’s a good dance, intricate and they are in sync.  The only issue I had is I couldn’t really hear the music clearly until over half way through their performance, which was really distracting as that made it hard to initially match the beat with the moves they were doing.  Still, a very good performance, but the band hurt them. Score Thumbs Up for Danica & Val and Thumbs Down for the Ray Chew Crew.  Tom tells the judges it’s Val’s birthday – and hey, we share a birthday month!  Judges: All three offer great praise and tiny detailed helping commentary, but I see good scores coming.  Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24 in a repeat from last week.

3. Billy Dee & Emma: Tango –  He makes it clear his performance last week sort of crushed him, and made him doubt himself, feeling like an old man trying to do something he shouldn’t.  He felt foolish. Aw.  My heart breaks a little.  I know he’s struggling against odds he can do little, really, to overcome, but I want the force to be strong within him, not like this.  Makes me sad.  Emma is sad, too, and feeling the pressure of wanting to make it a better experience for him.  You have to love her.  Bless her, she brings in two dancers from the troupe, surround Billy with beauty and good cheer and convince him to have more fun, embrace the journey and do the best he can with it, regardless of where the chips fall.  I am glad to see him perk up.  Maybe a little too pervy there for a moment with the foursome comment, but we quickly move past that.  At least if he goes down now, he goes down fighting instead of surrendering, and that’s a good thing.  Good on ya, Emma!

Dance: We get the soundtrack from Peter Gunn, which gets the crowd going.  The tango starts with all three ladies and a secret agent man looking Billy, but the extra two quickly peel off, leaving Emma and Billy to tango.  And, while it’s still a lot of Emma making a go of it, Billy is at least dancing this week.  He truly is physically limited and I do still wonder at the wisdom of casting him – they have to have some kind of minimal physical ability standards, don’t they?  We don’t care if they can dance, but they need to at least be able to try.   She has to more or less lead/force him through the steps, but they get through it.  The fact that he wasn’t even in the Bottom 2 this week after last week’s dismal showing makes me feel like this won’t be sending him home, either…although it will still likely end up on the bottom of the scoreboard.  The very sincere cheering for him from the celebraquarium is nice to see.  Judges: Carrie Ann is kind, but nudges him to find a few more moves.  Len lays it bare, and not all that nicely.  Come on, don’t rain on Lando’s parade here, Darth.  Bruno is, well, Bruno.  Use your imagination, only not too much.   Scores: 5, 5, 5 = 15 same scores as last week, but, as Erin points out, that didn’t send them home.

 Switch Up News: Tom explains more about the Pro-Celeb Switch-up.  Apparently, we at home are supposed to Tweet with hashtag followed the names of who we want to see paired with whom.  You can’t vote for existing pairs.  I’m hoping now this might just be a one week twist, and if that’s the case, I’m less annoyed, but think it should happen later when we’re more invested in the current pairs…although that would leave less folks to switch around.  Hmmm…   So, who would you like to see dance together?  I’m just getting used to the pairs we have!

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4. Meryl & Maks: Swing –  I realize that the only person so far we’ve seen on camera stating his secret dream dance has been Drew.  So my suspicions, they remain in tact, but Meryl does cop to having chosen this one, mostly due to the flips and tricks.  Makes sense, I can see where that would appeal to an ice dancer.   We get a little flirty flirty in rehearsal. It’s very clear that Maks is enamored of her if you’ve watched his sometimes handsy body language in the background while others are performing, but what’s interesting is when Meryl is doing the flirting, he gets a little flustered.  Heh.  I told you she was a good match for him.  In rehearsal, she’s all “toss me around, I love it!”  And he’s all over that…until he realizes he’s not a youngster anymore.  Meryl isn’t even breathing hard, all “yay! love this!” as Maks sits winded on the floor.  This might be my favorite Maks match up ever.

Dance: You know his this is going to rock…and it does.  They cutely start up in the celebraquarium, and while she’s got the personality in spades and the overall body language of the dance down, she’s not really extending that into her feet, if you watch.  Not real flicky, if you get what I mean.  When they race down the stairs, she gets it a little more in control, but I think the focus is more on the general body and feel of the dance while preparing for all the insane flips and throws, so it’s understandable if her feet aren’t 100 percent – she doesn’t have to do that part in skates – but hey, they’re so good, we have to find something to quibble about!  All in all, fun, perky, I still like them, even if she is ridiculously talented.   Cutely, they end up in a heap on the floor, and she drags Maks over to Tom by his foot.  Judges:  Props to the band from Len, and he’s right!  They were good in that.  Bruno underscores how hard that routine was and notices the little things I did.  Maks frowns, having missed it, and asks for specifics, which Bruno gives him – all without snark.  For a change.  On either part.  My boys, all grown up. Carrie Ann comments that she saw the same misses, but mostly loves that Meryl kicks Maks behind.  Agreed. Upstairs, Erin gives it to her former dance partner, and I love that everyone is riding Maks this season. Works for me.  He handles it well, but still, point to Erin. Scores: 8, 9, 8 = 25 I think a routine that hard should have been 9’s, but whatevs.  Maks comments that he got the 9 from the “important one.” (Aka Len.)

Now, we have Candace, Amy and Diana on the Chopping Block of DoomDerek & Amy are safe!  Candace & Mark are safe!  Diana & Henry...wow.  No “you’re in the bottom two.”  Tom just says “you had the lowest combined scores…you’re going home.”  Whoomp.  There it is. That’s…harsh.  And she has the hot sequin number on, too. What a shame!  No dance-of-your-dreams for you, Diana!  She is beyond gracious in her good-bye speech, wishing she could have given her partner a longer run, but then Tom says he heard her comment to Henry how sad she was that they wouldn’t’ get to dance, and….dance they do!  Thank you, Show, because otherwise, this went from a feel good show to a feel really bad show in one unnecessarily harsh elimination moment.

Diana & Henry: No rehearsal clip, they walk right to their spots, the music kicks in and it’s cha cha cha time!  The crowd is behind them straight off, and dancing might not be Diana’s thing, but drive and dedication are, and that clearly shows in the effort she put into giving this dance her best.  And while I’m not surprised by her elimination, for her sake, I wish she’d gotten more of her DWTS experience that she so longed to have.

Back from commercial, Erin is talking to Jeremy Miller—you remember this guy?  Yeah, he’s the one who ditched Candace to date Danica while he was on Growing Pains.  Oh, the level of live on national television awkward right now.  I love it.

5. Candace & Mark: Rumba –  This was the dance-of-my-dreams I had the hardest time believing.  Given Candace’s emphasis on her faith and not getting all down and dirty dancing with her time on the show, this is the last dance she’d have chosen.  She emphasizes that their dance will be more about the emotion of it, sensual and powerful, not raunchy and sexual.  Gossip Aside: I love when we hear Mark’s Brit accent peek out from tie to time. His mum is a Brit, doncha know.

Dance:  They were very good last week and she has both a shapely body and a very athletic one.  Clad all in black – both of them – the dance is slow and she is giving us emotional face throughout, meant to convey something hopefully deeper than I-want-your-body, which this dance is not about.  It is very beautiful, flows very well, she’s both a good dancer and a good actress, and Mark manages not to showboat for the whole minute and a half, so a win, really. In fact, it might be the most understated I’ve ever seen him.  Even his hair is somewhat restrained.  She does the dance proud…and moves past it. Good on her.  Judges: I’m surprised, as I thought the judges would be gushy gushy, but Carrie Ann goes right in with the “it wasn’t rumba enough for me” which…ruh?  Candace is heartbroken and because it’s sincere, you feel for her. She does end with a compliment, but dude, next time, lead with that.  It makes the critique much easier to take in.  Len agrees, something about her arms not matching her face, and Bruno makes it three, but at least starts with some love.  So…no nines for you, I’m afraid!  Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21 Low.  I’d have given 8’s.  They’re both very gracious.

6. Amy & Derek: Swing – This is challenging in the best of times, but for someone like Derek who would love nothing more than to push a partner like Maks’ Meryl to do this way over the top…he has a partner with two prosthetic legs.  So the challenges now is just to find a way to get his partner through a dance which could literally flip her right off her feet.  She has a hard time with the speed as it gives her no time to find her balance from position to position – remember, those feet aren’t real, so she can’t feel them, at all – all she can feel is that she’s pressing the ends of her prosthetic on the floor. Then there’s that part where when she snaps her legs together, sticking the landing, as it were, it can hit the button that actually releases her prosthetics from her body…and that wouldn’t be good during the dance.  Derek, to his credit, is open and honest about worrying about her and trying to put together a routine they can not only perform, but safely navigate.  I like their humor and good nature during rehearsals.  She is one very lucky girl to have gotten him as a partner for her journey on this show. I think they will both come out of it having learned a great deal more about themselves.

Dance:  I have to give massive props to Derek for devising a routine that allows her to get into the swing style, complete with lifts and slides, while managing to make us not think so much about what she can’t do – no lightning fast little flicks or kicks, but the fact that we can’t believe what she can do….dancing like that on feet that aren’t actually hers.  Amazing, fun to watch, and pretty damn good! Judges: All kind gushy gush with only a minor arm pass miss (Derek blames his tight jacket.  Manly man partner that he is.) Scores: 8, 8, 8 = 24  She is amazed, they’re both thrilled.

On the Chopping Block of You Might Go Home Righthisverysecond are James and Charlie. Charlie & Sharna?  James & Peta?  You’re both safe!  (In case you’re keeping track, that leaves Nene, Cody, and Sean still in jeopardy.  And, frankly, it could be any of those three…but I’m thinking Nene has the fan base, and Cody has the tweeners, so maybe the arrogant and oh so hard to like Sean will get the early axe.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.)

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7. James & Peta: Salsa —  Here, we start to get a little insight into James’ dry, oh so very dry humor, as he explains that maybe they should take the man cake comment the judges made in reference to his role on the show this season and run with it.  He very calmly, as if discussing the weather, says, you know, perhaps they should go shirtless, still focusing on the quality of the dance of course, or possibly pantless, maybe totally nude, but maintanint the integrity of the performance, of course.  I wasn’t this guy’s biggest fan last week and he hasn’t won me over this week, but at least he was less of a patoot here.  I might be more of a fan if he bares said patoot, not over the moon, mind you, butt….

Dance: Peta not only cut off most of her hair at some point between rehearsals and the live show, but she also cut off most of her costume. The amount of fabric she’s wearing wouldn’t make a decent pair of gloves and a headband.  Just sayin.  Not to be left out of the skin showing, Derek has his shirt open exposing a very nice chest, I must say.  They’re both going for it and he has the rhythm to be a good dancer, and the competitive spirit and work ethic to be a threat this season, only in this case they’re so focused on killing it, it’s like they’re killing each other.  It’s a bit frenetic and overly expressive and he loses a bit of his finesse in his determination to attack the dance. And whichever cameraman is closest.  It’s fast and I can’t tell how much actual samba content is there, but the crowd cares not at all. Judges: Bruno gushes, Carrie Ann has unsurprising palpitations, Len, on the other hand, says exactly what I just did.  Scores: 9, 8, 8 = 25  Calm down, Carrie Ann.

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8. Charlie & Sharna: Tango –  I love that Sharna takes Charlie directly over to Maks so he can learn how to be a bad boy.  And…Maks actually takes the time to give him pointers that make sense and would translate on the dance floor.  Charlie reveals he’s been in a relationship for five years, so the idea of being a James Bond like womanizer is so outside his circle of comprehension that he’s grateful for any tips Maks can throw his way.  Aw, Charlie, how do we love ya, let us count the ways…

Dance:  My first thought on the opening notes was that, try as he might, and good as he is, those blonde curls and boyish face simply aren’t going to translate into tango man god goodness.  Then he started dancing with her.  And all those years on the ice, this guy knows how to lead a woman around the floor.  There was no doubt, not a single one, who was in charge of this dance.  And Sharna is no retiring, shy thing, so that’s a double accomplishment, there.  He’s such a good performer, good dancer, every bit as much as his pro partner, Meryl, only…with that something a little extra.  Maybe it’s the boyish thing adding the vulnerable edge? I dunno.  But Danica?  He’s still my gold medal winner.   You’re on the podium….but dayum.  That was hot. Judges: Carrie Ann gets it! Len lectures him on the rules of tango. No breaking hold.  Bruno cares none at all for rules, he was all over it.  And so, still, am I.  Scores: 9, 7, 9 = 25.  Oh, Len.

Tom lets us know that some of the upcoming guest judges will be a return from Julianne Hough, also, Ricky Martin (I’m all over, that, too), Red Foo from LMFAO, and others!  More to be announced.

On the final Chopping Block of Please Don’t Let It Be Me: Cody, Sean & Nene.  Who is going home?  We won’t find out until all three have danced.  Augh.  This is the recap that will never end!

9. Nene & Tony: Jive –  As I commented last week, Nene is a bit much for me.  Maybe more than a bit.  This week, she tells us it was her husband who wanted her to dance the jive as it’s his favorite. Remember last week when I kind of wanted this show to kick her butt a little?  Yeah, well.  Wish granted.  Heh.

Dance:  It starts off a little awkward and the pink footies she’s wearing are part of that.  But when they get down to the dance floor and ease into the dance itself, she relaxes, the performer in her comes out, and it’s a lot more smooth and fun to watch.  Not the greatest, but not bad, either.  The hug with hubby afterward was cute. Judges: The judges are easy on her.  Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21 I was thinking more like 6’s, but mkay.

 10. Sean & Karina: Salsa – Setting aside his somewhat violent , brawler/enforcer past – oh, and he also plays hockey — in this environment, he’s an odd duck, Sean is.  He’s got his super power vest on in training again, and his dry humor cracks Karina up, but he’s got that dead eyes thing going on that makes it less funny and more…”Don’t wake up the monster, Clarice” to me.  I’m not Nene’s biggest fan, but with Billy Dee already safe, I’d rather this guy go home this week.

Dance: Sean looks surprisingly normal, smiling and giving it his all as the dance opens.  As we learned last week, he’s somewhat surprisingly committed to the dance, his ego not so much in fear of being made a fool, but so far past that that is simply wouldn’t occur to him that he’d be anything less than fabulous.  It’s kind of weird in a rubber necking sort of way, to watch them, and yet, the mom in me still wants to whisper “Run, Karina!  Run!!”  He’s a pro athlete and his performance is more athletically competent than it is graceful, he’s got no hip action, but he goes for it.  Judges: Kissy kissy, point your toes, don’t hurt me.  Scores: 7, 7, 7 = 21  Kind.  Too.

 11: Cody & Witney: Tango – This guy surprised me last week with his leading man abilities, and that will hold him in good stead this week.  He’s wanting to switch it up and modernize it and she’s all “we can’t break hold, no you can’t pick me up” and trying to get him to understand the boundaries. As a new pro she’s smart not to flaunt the rules, so I hope she keeps him in check. Seeing Charley take the hit for breaking hold from Len hopefully got Cody’s attention.  Also, for the love of all that is Hammertime, can we please, please, please retire the wacky awful, complete unsexiness that is the drooping crotch pant?  Like, TODAY?

Dance: It’s good, and God help him, he has drop crotch tux pants on…deep, so unappreciative sigh – and while he’s trying hard to make it young and fresh, Witney is trying just as hard to rein him in, and some of that struggle shows as they dance.  He is a natural partner leader, but she’s fighting him a bit on it this time, not trusting him to keep it under control.  All in all, it’s a very competent tango, but the chemistry takes a hit for all the added tension between them. It ended better than it started.  Judges: More or less, what I said.  I thought it was odd that Carrie Ann went a little on about wanting him with a taller partner, and Witney is all, “Um…gosh, CA, thanks.” We learn that he chose the tango because he has a photo of his parents doing the tango at their wedding.  Aww.   Okay, extra points from me.  Now, if you want to honor your folks, pull those pants up.  You know your mum is thinking the same thing!  Scores: 7, 7, 8 = 22

 Final Scoreboard:

25: Charlie, James, Meryl

24: Amy, Danica

22: Cody

21: Drew, Candace, Nene, Sean

15: Billy Dee

All we have left is to find out….who else goes home?  Tony & Nene?  Safe! Erin does comment that the final two couples don’t necessarily reflect the bottom 2 and 3 vote getters (given Diana has been confirmed as the lowest) but that one of them did receive the second lowest total score.  And that would be……?  Yep, it’s Karina & Sean.  We all know I’m very okay with this.  You? I feel for Karina, as I do for Henry, but that’s how it works in the glitter dome!

Next week? We’re down to 10 couples. Who stays?  Who goes? What Twist Bombs will they toss at us then?

While we wait for next Monday night…how about we do a fun Giveaway to bide our time?  Let’s do it!

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One lucky winner will get his or her choice of any book from my website bookshelf .  I know!  And that’s over 50 books to choose from.  What will you choose! Well, drop an email to me at donna@donnakauffman.com with “Oooh, free book shopping! I’m in!” in the subject line, then take a stroll through the bookshelf  and add the title you’d like to win in the body of the email.  That’s it.  That simple.  Well, if you want to add along a little DWTS glitterdome dish, go right ahead!  Winner announced right here in next week’s DWTSrecap.

And hey, if you’re not all recapped out, bop on over to my USA Today Castle recap!  (Pssst!  There’s a second Giveaway happening there!  Double your chances to win something this week!  Details at the end of the recap.)

Until then, keep your spray tans even and the sequins from getting into those uncomfortable places!  See you next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well…okay, not right this second, but soon!

Mother Nature has managed to delay things a bit!  She’s gotten very good at that.  A power outage and freak March snow storm on the mountain this morning has delayed the recap as I couldn’t format it for the blog.

Please check back in this afternoon for my recap, all my latest Dance Dish AND a new Giveaway! 

All will all be LIIIIIIIIIVE at approximately 2PM!!

In the meantime, check out my Castle recap over on USA Today.   There’s a giveaway happening there, too!

Dancing With the Stars is back! Check out my USA Today recap! Also? Fab Giveaway!

Yes, I got to go back to the ballroom again, this time for USA Today as I recapped last night’s fabulous Dancing With the Stars Season 18 premiere!!!  I know, 18 seasons!   (Don’t worry, Castle fans, I’ll be back recapping next week!)

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If you haven’t gotten the chance, check out the recap right here.  I got to dish on all 12 of the new couples, and all in all, it was a really great opener for the season.  Lots of good partnering chemistry and the celebs all came out and really gave themselves over to their performances. Well, almost all.  I loved some more than others, a few early favorites already popped out.  Jump over to USA Today to read all about it and then let me know your thoughts on the premiere!

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Also, while you’re there, you can read all about the brand spankin’ new awesome HALF MOON HARBOR giveaway I’ve got going on this week!   THREE lucky readers will win a signed advance copy of my April 29th release AND this gorgeous bookmark charm designed especially of this book by the fabulous Joyce Taber of The Cotton Thistle.  (You know, she’s the one who designs jewelry for all of Nora Robert’s new releases…)

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Joyce has launched her exclusive Blueberry Cove Collection, inspired by my coastal Maine series and they’re all available on her site.  Order your very own piece of my slice of coastal Maine between now and April 1 and get free shipping!  Just type LIGHTHOUSE in when you place your order.

lighthouse_w_tct     Pelican Point Necklace I[1]

 

To find out how to enter this week’s Half Moon Harbor Book & Bookmark Giveaway, hop on over to my USA Today Dancing With the Stars recap.  The entry details are at the end!

Then drop by my Facebook Reader Page for today’s Mark Harmon Moment.  (Why do we have a Mark Harmon Moment every Tuesday?  Because we can.  It’s that kind of reader page.)  And if you haven’t “Liked” my Reader Page yet, I’m closing in on 3000 likes.  The one to click the magic 3000th like wins a signed copy of HALF MOON HARBOR.  Just saying… (UPDATE –  YAY!!  I’ve hit the 3000 mark and then some!  You guys rock.  But then, you knew that.  And hey, 4000 can’t be too far away!  I’ll give another one away then. :)

Giveaway winners announced in my USA Today Castle recap next Tuesday morning.  Good luck!

Free Stuff Friday is HERE!!!

It’s Friday, it’s Friday!  And you know what that means. As promised for this week’s Free Stuff Friday Giveaway,  THREE lucky winners will get their choice of book from my website bookshelf.  Yep, you name the book, I sign and send it to ya.  Sweet, right?

And yes, that includes my most recent release, PELICAN POINT or even an advance copy of my upcoming release, HALF MOON HARBOR, due on shelves everywhere April 29th.  You could be the first on your block to have a copy!

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So…who are the lucky three?  Come on down, Jillian Hajdasz, Lori Miller, and Karen Varn!!!!  If you haven’t checked out the website bookshelf yet, go here and browse to your heart’s content.  Then drop me an email to dmkauffman1@gmail.com with the title of the book you’d like and an address to ship it to, and it will be on its way!  Woo hoo!!  I hope you all enjoy the books!

And while you’re clicking about and looking at stuff, have you been over to The Cotton Thistle yet and checked out the Blueberry Cove Collection?  So far there are two fabulous pieces designed by the ah-mazing Joyce Taber exclusively for my new Maine series.  (You know, she’s the one who also designs exclusive pieces for all of Nora Roberts books!  I know!  I’m so honored!!)   She’s got both the PELICAN POINT pendant up for special order, AND the beautiful bookmark charm.

lighthouse_w_tct             Pelican Point Necklace I[1]

I have one of each and I have to say, she does beautiful work, Joyce does!  I’m thrilled she is inspired to design pieces for my Blueberry Cove series.  They’re like having a little piece of Maine of your very own.  I know I love mine, get compliments every time I wear that lovely pendant!

Pssssst!  Check out upcoming contests to find out what she’s got in store for HALF MOON HARBOR, Book 2 of the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series.  I’ve seen advance photos of the bookmark charm and can’t wait so share that with you!!  And I mean really share that with you….like it will be part of the next Big Blueberry Cove Bundle Giveaway!!

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So, when is the next contest you ask?  Well, exciting news!  With all the controversy over the upcoming changes in Season 18, I’ve been asked by USA Today to cover premiere night of Dancing With the Stars, happening Monday, March 17th on your local ABC station. I know!!  How exciting is that??   My recap goes live the following morning at 6am and will include all the details on the next big contest!  So, join me in the ballroom for all the latest dancing dish, won’t you?  No spray tans or sequined outfits required…unless of course you want to!

See you there!

 

New week! New Castle ep! New Free Stuff Friday Giveaway!

Hey Castle watchers!  My recap is LIIIIIVE over at USA Today.  You can check it out right here. 

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 It was a deliciously dark and twisty episode I was prepared not to like, then really, really did.  Props to  Stana Katic (aka Detective Beckett) for an outstanding performance.  Whoa.  Also in my recap?  The names of last week’s two Big Blueberry Cove Giveaway winners!  So pop on over, get the latest Castle dish and find out if you won a free book!

Then pop back over here already, because there’s more news!

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Next Monday, March 10, no Castle episode (sad face) BUT then the following Monday, March 17th is the Big Premiere night of Season 18 of Dancing With the Stars AND???  I’ve been asked to cover that for USA Today and I’m SO doing it!  Just one week, but have you heard what all is going on over there?  They fired Harold Wheeler and his orchestra, then hired Ray Chew and his band to replace them.  Brooke Burke is out and now Erin Anderson is in.  Maks is back on the dance floor, and, well…it’s just crazygonuts over in our sequin bedecked ballroom.  Tom Bergeron is still there (whew!) and I’ll be there, too!  So join me, won’t you?  The new cast is being announced today, March 4th right here – check it out!

Then the following week, it’s back to Castle along with a really fabulous new HALF MOON HARBOR Giveaway!

But what with all that hopping back and forth and skipping a week and whatnot, there’s no giveaway attached to this week’s Castle recap.  But, (shhhhhh!!!) that doesn’t mean we can have one right here.   I know!  I’m so stealthy like that!

So, here’s the Free Stuff Friday deal:  drop me an email to donna@donnakauffman.com with “Psssst, over here.  Send me a book!” in the subject line.  That’s it.   No, really.  That’s all you have to do.  Oh, what will you win, you ask, if your name is picked?  Well, first of all, three winners will get picked, and they each get their choice from my website bookshelf.  No, I’m not kidding!  Have you seen my website bookshelf?  Well, click here already and go check it out.  That way when I announce your name here on Friday, you’ll already be prepared on what book you want me to send you.  I know!!

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And while you’re clicking about and looking at stuff, have you been over to The Cotton Thistle yet and checked out the Blueberry Cove Collection, designed by the ah-mazing Joyce Taber exclusively for my new Maine series?  Well, you can do that, too!  She’s got both the PELICAN POINT pendant up for special order, AND the beautiful bookmark charm.

lighthouse_w_tct             Pelican Point Necklace I[1]

I have one of each and I have to say, she does good work, Joyce does!  (And no, no kickbacks come my way, I just love the pieces and think you will, too! Like having a little piece of Maine and Blueberry Cove to make you smile!)  Check out upcoming contests to find out what she’s got in store for HALF MOON HARBOR, Book 2 of the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series, getting ready to hit the stands on April 29th! 

Okay, okay, so head on over and bookshelf browse and do a little shopping with Cotton Thistle, then drop in again right here on Friday and see if it’s your name in the winner’s circle!  Good luck!

It’s almost March. No, really. Winter will end. The giveaways, however, continue!

It’s another fun week in the snow-packed mountains of my world, but last night we all got to escape to New York City and the latest twisty murder plot on ABC’s Castle.  Don’t miss my recap over on USA Today.  You can catch up on all the dish right here!

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That’s also where you’ll find out who won the Big Blueberry Cove Bundle giveaway from last week!  And boy were you all enthusiastic about that one!  More entries than for any previous contest and from more countries around the globe as well.   In case you missed it, here was the deal: one lucky winner will receive: Joyce Taber ‘s gorgeous, exclusively designed necklace (see photo below) along with a signed copy of Book 1, PELICAN POINT…AND…AND!…a signed advance copy of Book 2, HALF MOON HARBOR, (which doesn’t hit the shelves until April 29th!) 

I can also share with you the new contest starting rightthisverysecond!

If you’ve been hoping to start the Blueberry Cove series, or maybe you already have read Book 1 and you’re chomping at the bit for Book 2, then this is the contest for you!  I will pick TWO winners this week and each winner gets his or her choice of a signed copy of Book 1 OR a signed advance copy of Book 2!  I know!  Pick your own prize!

How to enter? Simple.  Drop an email to me at donna@donnakauffman.com with “I want to go to Blueberry Cove!” in the subject line.  Aaaand…that’s it!  (Viewing last night’s Castle episode show isn’t a requirement, but if you did, feel free to include any Castle dish you want!)  As always, international readers welcome!  I’ll announce the winners in next week’s USA Today column.

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Also!  I have another exciting announcement.  If you stopped by this blog last week  and checked out the beautiful necklace the fabulously talented Joyce Taber of The Cotton Thistle designed exclusively for PELICAN POINT and pined for one of your very own, or if you’ve seen the adorable book charm bookmark she designed for the series, but weren’t lucky enough to win one in a previous giveaway, you’re in luck!  Joyce, who also designs exclusive pieces for each of Nora Roberts /J.D. Robb’s releases, has set up a Blueberry Cove Boutique right on her site!  So either piece can be yours for the ordering!  There will be exclusive pieces designed for Book 2, HALF MOON HARBOR,  as well as Book 3, SANDPIPER ISLAND, and all future installments in the series. (Psssst!! Check back here next week for a Big Announcement about that!)  You can check out the Blueberry Cove Boutique here and start your collection!

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After you’re done recap reading and jewelry browsing, drop on by my Facebook Fan Page  for all the up-to-the-moment fun and frivolity.  If you’re interested in learning more about my books, including other connected series, like The Cupcake Club, The Glass Slipper Series, or my infamous Hot Scots,  you can find them all on my Bookshelf.  I even have a printable booklist showing which books are connected, and what order they go in.  Check it out!  Handy ordering links, too.  I know, I’m an enabler like that!  Happy reading!

 

New week, new Castle, new Giveaway! The trifecta of goodness!

After too many snow days to count and not enough new television due to fear of competing with the Winter Olympics, I hate to admit just how happy I was to hear that there was a new episode of Castle on this week.  Ah, the murder, the mayhem, the Beckett-Castle banter…it’s good to be back!

For all the juicy recap dish on last night’s episode AND to find out who won the last giveaway, head on over to my USA Today column in the Happy Ever After/Book section and catch up already!

So…is there a new giveaway you ask?  Oh…there’s a new giveaway this week, all right.  BOY, IS THERE!

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With the release of Book 2 in my Bachelor’s of Blueberry Cove series, HALF MOON HARBOR, just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to do something BIG to get the buzz started.  So, naturally, I involved the fabulous and ridiculously talented Joyce Taber of The Cotton Thistle–you remember Joyce, she’s the one who designed the awesome lighthouse bookmark charm for Book 1 of the series, PELICAN POINT, which she managed to do while also designing jewelry in conjunction with each of Nora Roberts’ new releases.

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Well, let me tell you, she went full out this time with this gorgeous charm necklace celebrating PELICAN POINT.  I loved it so much I commissioned one for myself!   (Okay, so I figured I had to because otherwise it might have raised a few eyebrows when I won my own contest…)

So, here’s the deal:  For this week’s giveaway, one lucky winner will receive: Joyce’s gorgeous, specially designed necklace, along with a signed copy of Book 1, PELICAN POINT…AND…AND!…a signed advance copy of Book 2, HALF MOON HARBOR, which won’t hit the shelves until April 29th!

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I’m also thrilled to announce that after the winner is announced next week, Joyce will be setting up a special boutique on her website featuring the bookmark charm and the necklace for PELICAN POINT, so you can purchase one of your very own!  She’ll be designing charm bookmarks for Book 2HALF MOON HARBOR and for Book 3, SANDPIPER ISLAND, along with other unique pieces, exclusive to the Blueberry Cove series.  More information to come!  You can head over to her shop, The Cotton Thistle, rightthisverysecond to see all of her lovely pieces, including those designed for the Nora Roberts‘ books.  (I love what she’s done for Nora’s new Dark Witch and JD Robb releases!)

The winner of the Blueberry Cove Bundle Giveaway will be announced in next week’s Castle recap on the USA Today site. Link will be posted in the blog here, and on my Facebook Page and Twitter stream, so don’t miss out!  It could be you!

But, to be you, you have to enter.  Here’s how:  Drop me an email to donna@donnakauffman.com with “Bundle me some Blueberry Cove Goodies!” in the subject line.  That’s it.  It’s that easy.  So enter, then hop on over to The Cotton Thistle to browse, and don’t forget to catch up on the Castle recap over at USA Today…and we’ll meet back here next week.  Same bat time, same bat blog station!

 

New week…great giveaway! And great e-book sale!!

It’s still snowy and cold here in my new abode in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so let’s warm things up a little shall we?

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Show of hands…who would like to be the first to snag an advance review copy of my upcoming April 29th release, HALF MOON HARBOR??

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Here’s a little bit about the book….

“Witty dialogue, sexy heroes, Donna Kauffman’s a must-read!”  — New York Times bestselling author, Jill Shalvis

Bold, brash, Irish–Brodie Monaghan’s been breaking hearts ever since he arrived in Maine to rebuild the family business. Still, there’s one woman he just can’t wow. Grace Maddox claims she’s now part owner of Monaghan Shipbuilders, and she has her own dreams for the weathered dockside buildings. Tiny Blueberry Cove has a way of welcoming strangers with wide open arms, but is the sleepy coastal village ready for the fireworks these two spark?

DIY is so much better with two. . .

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Are you in?  Well, this is how to enter:  simply drop me a line to donna@donnakauffman.com with “I want to be the first!” in the subject line.  That’s it!  I know, right?  I’ll draw a name from the stack and announce it one week from today in my next USA Today Castle recap.  What?!?  You haven’t been reading my recaps?  And you love Castle?  Well…head on over and catch up already.  Just click HERE for last week’s recap!

And while you’re hopping, check out my Facebook Fan Page for all the latest fun and frivolity!  Check out who has been visiting my bird feeder station…some winged, some not so much!  There’s a little eye candy for everyone.  Yesterday was Man Candy Monday and today we have our Mark Harmon Moment.  Why?  Because we can.  :)   Drop by, join in!

LATE BREAKING NEWS!  If you haven’t started the Bachelor’s of Blueberry Cove series, now’s the time!  Barnes & Noble and iBooks both have Book 1, PELICAN POINT, on e-book sale for 2.99!  I even have some handy links for ya!  I’m so helpful like that. :)

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PELICAN POINT ~ 2.99 from 2/11 through 2/25

BNhttp://goo.gl/1h1U6o
Applehttp://goo.gl/RADYot

Go forth and download!  I hope you enjoy your trip to my little coastal Maine town…