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The Morcai Battalion

Hello to my readers. I hope you are having a lovely spring and looking forward to summer. I have planted corn and beans, potatoes and cucumbers and tomatoes, and my pride and joy, a righteous pumpkin patch. When I was a little girl in Calhoun County, Georgia, my grandfather took me to visit a friend of his. The friend, an elderly gentleman named Tanner, had a pumpkin patch. It covered a huge area. The leaves were enormous and green and hidden among them were these beautiful orange vegetables. I remember that my grandfather had to drag me away. I have loved pumpkins ever since, even more so when I saw Cinderella for the first time. Coincidentally, I ordered Cinderella Pumpkin seeds to plant this year, and they’re orange and look just like the coach in the story. If I get any to maturity, I will photograph them and put them in my Christmas newsletter. I am also taking art lessons from my friend Jan Walker who does the Knee-Neep books and has taught art in our county for two decades and more.(She still looks young).

In other news, I have a new granddaughter! Our lovely daughter-in-law, Christina Kyle, gave birth to Selena Marie Kyle on February 24, 2009, and her father Blayne, as well as ourselves and the James Claytons of Olive Branch, Mississippi, are absolutely overjoyed at her arrival. Sadly, I had a bad lung infection from December all the way to March and was unable to get up to Tennessee for the birth. But James and I finally made it in April, and we were so proud of this lovely creative effort. If you want to see this beautiful baby, Christina Kyle has a web page at Myspace.com and you can see for yourself — it’s the Christina in Murfreesboro, TN, by the way.

I am overjoyed to announce that THE MORCAI BATTALION will have two sequels! The first is THE MORCAI BATTALION: The Recruit, which will be published by Luna Books as an e-book in November of 2009. This story covers the arrival of a fumble-fingered techie who is oppressed by his sergeant and ends up working for Dtimun in the Holconcom. Dr. Madeline Ruszel saves an old Cehn-Tahr soldier from certain death at the hands of a Rojok, and his inability to lead his kehmatemer, a bodyguard unit from the imperial Cehn-Tahr Dectat, puts Madeline in charge of the troops to lead them into battle against a superior Rojok force. She and Dtimun square off after an unexpectedly tender interlude, when he replaces her aboard the Morcai with a younger, less experienced medical specialist and open war results. Ruszel will end up back in the Amazon Division as a captain, leading a commando mission that may end her life.

This December, those who have pleaded for Harley Fowler’s story will finally get it. THE MAVERICK, a Harlequin Romance, will be out this December and his love interest will be the unforgettable Alice Mayfield Jones who attempted to autopsy a Thanksgiving turkey in BEFORE SUNRISE. There is a murder in Jacobs County which will continue in next year’s hardcover.

Next year’s hardcover will, by the way, be the story of Officer Kilraven (who is really a fed) and Winnie Sinclair, the 911 dispatcher. A kind lady who is a real-life 911 dispatcher is my resource person for the book and gets the dedication. I have a real affinity for emergency operators because my life was saved by one many years ago. I am always in the market for a resource person, by the way, and would love to have anyone who is RETIRED FBI or CIA or DEA or NSA or law enforcement contact me. The best I can offer you for your information is a book dedication, but it will be a very nice one. And any information I ask for will be, of course, unclassified and general in scope. When I was a reporter, I had all sorts of resource people, including pilots, doctors, emergency management personnel, firemen and police officers, but those days are behind me and I am a semi-invalid these days. I don’t socialize anymore.

This September, Harlequin is re-releasing an old favorite of mine, THE COWBOY AND THE LADY. It has been out of print for many years, so newer readers probably haven’t been able to find a copy that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s in conjunction with Harlequin’s 60th anniversary, which I am very proud to be a part of. Our company has survived many obstacles to last into the 21st century. It goes to show that romance is still alive, and Harlequin is still the heart of it. Lucky me, to get to work for such nice people!

In December, Harlequin is re-releasing my favorite of all the historical romances I ever did — NOELLE. This is the story of a New York attorney who turns out to have been, in his salad days, a notorious gunfighter and even a Texas Ranger. His love affair with his grandmother’s paid companion (who survived the Galveston hurricane of 1900) is a stormy and passionate story. The book is dedicated to a brother of my son’s best friend in high school. The young man, Ryan Hendricks, died of cancer at the age of 21. He said that he hadn’t lived long enough to make his mark on the world, and he was afraid that people would forget he had lived. I told his mother that as long as NOELLE remained in print, or on people’s bookshelves, Ryan would never be forgotten. He appears in the book, in a cameo. He was a fine young man who was studying for his degree at Georgia Tech.

This is all the news I have for now. I hope to have something more for you in December. I love your letters and emails. I am so slow about answering, and my health is in such state that I rarely schedule chats. But I am happy to answer questions and so happy that all of you continue to read my books.

Much love to you from my house and garden,

Diana Palmer

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