Workspace Wednesday welcomes Joyce Lamb!


I am delighted to have as my guest today Joyce Lamb, award-winning author of romantic suspense novels. Joyce is also the curator of USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog, which is must-read material for romance novel lovers everywhere.


I met Joyce at the Romance Writers of America national conference in New York City in 2011. She was celebrating after just having won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for her book True Vision. My first impression was that she was extremely quick-witted, funny, warm, grounded and interesting. She also seemed to be genuinely interested in the people around her. Of course, at the time I didn’t realize that Joyce Lamb the author was also Joyce Lamb, intrepid reporter. She comes by that interest/curiosity naturally, I guess! I’m happy to say my initial impressions of Joyce proved true, and then some!


With that intro, here’s Joyce.



JOYCE:  Thanks for having me, Norah! I’m thrilled to be here. : )


Exploring my workspaces for this post was eye-opening. I had no idea that I actually work all over the place!



The sofa is where I do a lot of my writing, but while I am indeed sitting right in front of the TV, it’s not on when I’m writing. Too distracting! Especially if a show on The Animal Planet about cute puppies or kittens comes on. Instead, I have my iPod Touch docked and cycling through four seasons’ worth of Battlestar Galactica soundtracks (the version revived in 2004, not the one from the late ’70s). Composer Bear McCreary is a master at creating tension, and the tone of the music is perfect for writing romantic suspense.


As you can see from the quilt draped over the back of the sofa, I’m helped along by Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. I love Tigger! The wonderful thing about Tigger …



I also have a home office, for when I’m feeling the need to behave like a professional writer. Best desk chair ever! I feel very “executive” when I’m sitting in it – just not nearly as rich. And it’s perfect for one of my kitties, Maddy, who likes to perch on the back. She’s only fallen onto the back of my neck twice.



Sitting on my desk is my pink Safe Sex Monkey. (And, yes, that is indeed a shameful plug for my books sitting right next to SSM.) The story behind SSM: Fellow writer friend Diane Amos, author of the fabulously funny Getting Personal (a $2.99 e-book!), has spent much time teasing me about the “wild monkey sex” in my books. Several years ago, she sent me the pink monkey with condom in paw as a joke (which my mother quite enjoyed when I opened the package while she was visiting). Now, SSM sits on my desk to remind me to make sure my characters always have safe sex. : )



I also have workspace at USA Today, where I work on the Happy Ever After blog devoted to all things romance novels ( As you can tell, I have some toys on my desk – I wouldn’t be a real copy editor if I didn’t. So I enjoy my Mr. Potato Head (at right) as well as my Tickle Me Elmo key chain, which giggles REALLY loudly, much to the consternation of some of my co-workers. What you can’t see on my desk is that to the right, there’s a TV. Yes, it’s true. I have a TV on my desk at work. It’s rarely on, but it’s actually quite necessary at those times when breaking news is happening. The last time it was on was during the Super Bowl in February, because USA Today does a huge thing about the ads that play during the Big Game. So I got paid to watch TV during the Super Bowl. Kinda cool!


You might also think from what you can see of the background in this photo that the USA Today newsroom looks as though it was decorated by IKEA. And you would be right.



One of the favorite things on my desk at work is a book called Boo: The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog. I prop the book open to different pages, but this one here is my favorite, because it looks as though Boo is lounging on a chaise lounge in a very “come hither” pose. Very romantic! When things at work get stressful – and they do often, considering it’s the news business – I have Boo to turn to to make me smile. Boo never fails me!


Do you have any toys or stress relievers on your desk at home or at work?


A commenter here will win a signed collection of my True trilogy, which includes 2011 Daphne winner True Vision and 2012 RITA finalists True Colors and True Shot. (International commenters eligible, too!)



Thank you for that tour, Joyce. Why am I not surprised that I had a smile on my face all the way through it? Oh, and my stress reliever is a tiny bottle of essential oils (bergamot, grapefruit, orange and ginger) that I keep on my desk. When I think about it, I pop the cover off and and inhale.


Okay, before I turn it over to comments (and holy smokes, GREAT prize!), let me just pimp Flash Heat for you. It’s my current read on my Kindle.



You can connect with Joyce as follows:





USA Today HEA Blog

USA Today HEA Twitter


Okay, let the commenting begin! Joyce’s question for you was, “Do you keep any toys or stress relievers on your desk at home or at work?”


30 Responses to “Workspace Wednesday welcomes Joyce Lamb!”

  • Heidi Hamburg:

    Oh yes. More inspiration than stress reliever. I have a little model of Queen Elizabeth, a Christmas present from my daughter. There’s a photo cell in Her Majesty’s black handbag, so as long as there’s light she keeps waving her tiny hand. I figure if she can keep going and going, never giving up, so can I.

    • Hi, Heidi! OMG, that’s too funny! I can totally picture that — it’d be a sad day if that tiny little hand stopped waving. I’m afraid I would end up staring at it for so long while thinking that I’d end up hypnotized. : )

  • No toys on my desk–it’s too small–but I have an Aflac duck on my bookshelves to remind me that if I don’t keep writing, I might have to go back to the daily grind of the working world. I love being a full-time writer and my hubby loves being retired. So I have to keep the books coming so we can both stay that way! I used to have stuffed bats from Harlequin friends all over, but I finally moved them out of the office when they started taking over my work space.

    Love your office chair. My husband says I’m a chair junkie. Where other women want new shoes, I want new chairs. I’m still searching for the perfect office chair.


    • Hi, Tori! I used to be a chair junkie, too, until I found this one. It wasn’t cheap — which was the key to me! It’s perfect for sitting back to think. Except then I start to get sleepy because it’s so comfortable. Can’t win! : )

  • Ellen:

    I love SSM. I just read a novella where two just-met, educated, intelligent, aware 35+ adults had the “I don’t have anything; do you?” conversation. If it hadn’t been on my Kindle, it would have hit the wall. Even in a novella, you have time to accomplish the sexy condom portion of the evening’s entertainment!

    • Hi, Ellen!
      Yeah, that bugs me, too. And what’s the alternative to the guy always having a condom in his wallet? Do ALL guys carry a condom in their wallets? If so, maybe muggers aren’t after cash and credit cards — maybe they just need a condom. : ) And what do we do when the iPhone replaces wallets? Woman: “Do you have a condom?” Guy: “No, but I’ve got an iPhone. And there’s an app for that.”

  • It always amazes me how many writers work all over the place. (Note to self – be more adventurous!)I’ve read most of Joyce’s romantic suspense novels and love them.

    I didn’t think I had toys or stress relievers on my desk but after reading Joyce’s interview, realized I did! I have a beautiful clay bowl my daughter-in-law made that’s filled with rocks, pebbles, seashells and even a rough cut crystal. I often hold one of the treasures in my hand when I’m thinking about my story. And I have a teeny, tiny little Buddha who likes to have his belly rubbed!

    • Hi, Kate! Thanks for reading my books!! : ) I love the tiny little Buddha. I have something similar: A big fluffy kitty who likes to have her belly rubbed. Virtually the same thing, right?

  • Thanks for having me, Norah! This is a great idea — AND it forced me to clean my desk at work before taking the pic. It was quite disastrous, so now it’ll be organized at least until, say, tomorrow. 🙂

  • I love desk my desk and never write anywhere else. Unless I am traveling in which case, anything or any place is okay. I don’t have toys on my desk, but many useful knick-knacks from around the world.

    • Hi, Mona!
      That would be cool, too! I would think that would be super inspiring every time you look at stuff that came from somewhere else in the world. Suddenly, I’m seeing a great excuse to do more traveling. If I do it to collect inspiring knick knacks for my desk, would that make the trips tax deductible?!?! : )

  • It was great to take a peek into your world, Joyce! I don’t have any stress relievers. It relieves stress for me to have a completely clean desk–LOL–because that means I’m mostly caught up. But I enjoyed seeing some of yours!

    • Hi, Brenda!
      This activity most definitely inspired me to declutter a bit. Which was fantastic — because clutter totally distracts me. Of course, now I have NO excuses for being distracted! : )

  • Fun post, Norah and Joyce. Got a good chuckle out of Safe Sex Monkey. 🙂

    I have lots of toys on my desk, but I’ll post about that in my upcoming Workspace Wednesday post. 🙂

    When I was still working at a magazine, I didn’t have a ton of fun stuff on my desk, some photos mainly. One thing I was never without was a fleece blanket and a space heater because I would freeze half to death in that office — freezing cold AC in the summer and not enough heat in the winter.

    • Hi, Trish!
      OMG! I have a space heater under my desk at work, too! And an LL Bean fleece jacket stuffed in a drawer. And for those lovely hot flashes, I have a fan on my desk (which you can’t see in the photo). I’m set for all types of temps! : )

  • Joyce,

    I’m relieved that only SSM made it onto this interview and not some of my “other” original gifts! You’re not only a fantastic author but a great friend. Love all your books. See you at the NJ conference.


    • Back at ya, Diane! : ) And I would NEVER mention that one gift you gave me, even though it gets a LOT of use. : )
      Can’t wait to see you in October!

  • Thanks for the peek, Joyce. I’m glad to see you manage to keep so much fun front and center in your life!

    In my office, I have a brass rubbing of Robert the Bruce that I did in London-perfect since I write Scottish historical romance, and a framed poster of “Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft elves” by JRR Tolkien that I got at the Bodleian Library in Oxford many years ago-my nod to a masterwork that I love. And a counted cross-stitch of Florida, Texas and Maryland state flowers done for me by a dear friend who has since had a stroke and won’t be doing any more.

    I also have a comfy wingback chair that was my grandfather’s. And then there are my books. Lots of them. Sci Fi, Romance, history, Hardy Boys, you name it. Those are my favorite toys!

    • Hi, Willa!
      Hardy Boys?!?! That’s so awesome! I have to admit that I was WAY more into the Hardy Boys TV show than the Nancy Drew show. Must have been my first clue that I had a thing for heroes — really really cute heroes, too. Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson adorned my bedroom walls when I was a young’un. Kinda funny to see those posters now, though. Those guys look kinda girlie. We’ve come so far! : )

  • Joyce, Loved seeing your workspaces! And the monkey Diane sent you is too cute. I’ve love to hear Diane explaining why (in person). All of your book covers are as gorgeous as the books are fabulous! Lina

    • Hi, Lina!
      Yeah, you’re pretty much guaranteed a big laugh when Diane is telling a story! I don’t think she intended for Safe Sex Monkey to play a continuing role in my writing, but there you go. He’s a good reminder to keep things clean. Wait … does that even make sense? Sex shouldn’t be clean — it should be very, very dirty. But with protection. Yeah, that works. : )

  • Toys on my desk- of course.

    I have two Mickies – one as the sorcerer’s apprentice and one in a Christmas water globe. I have a sea shell mouse, an elephant for good luck, my breast cancer budda, and a beanie baby dragon.


    • Hi, Lynn!
      Ohhhhhh, I like your toys!! They sound very inspiring! I’m thinking of calling my cat Buddha — she always wants her belly rubbed. And it’s kind of a round tummy, so it fits. : )

  • Mary G:

    Hey where are your lamb-borghini toys lol? I have 2 soft mousepads – a smaller tennis ball shaped one on top of a bigger one depicting the cover of Paradise Rules by Beth Kery. My two faves, books & tennis.

    • Hi, Mary!
      My Lamborghini is just to the right out of the shot. Can you see the little lamb you sent me right above the copy of Cold Midnight? The chocolate, however, is gone. LONG gone. : )

  • I have a box of “word” magnets that I play with when I get stuck sometimes

    • Hi, Shar!
      Ohhhh, I have that, too! Where is that? I haven’t seen it in a while. It must have gotten buried in my desk drawer. Thanks for the reminder — I’m going to go dig those out. Which reminds me, I also have this awesome toy called Brenda Bender, which is a wiry magnetic stick-figure-like toy. Very fun to rearrange into different poses when I’m stuck — she’s usually running away from something. I’m sure that doesn’t have any kind of Freudian meaning. Nope, not at all. : )

  • Hi Joyce,
    Love the safe sex monkey. And your ‘roving’ desk is so reassuring! I write wherever, whenever, keeping my office for when I want to really get down to work.
    Boo looks like a great dog. Stress relievers? Too many to count! Hopping up from wherever I’m working and doing Qigong is a major one for me.
    Stella MacLean
    November 2012

    • Hi, Stella!
      I’ve also learned how to leave what I’m writing in the middle of a paragraph — sometimes the middle of a sentence! — and come back and pick up my train of thought even several days later. Not sure how that happens, seeing as how I can barely remember my train of thought while walking from one room to the next when I’m doing stuff around the house. I don’t know how many times I’m in the kitchen and think “Oh, I need to do such-and-such in the other room” and by the time I get to the other room I’ve already forgotten what “such-and-such” was. Sigh.

  • Aaahhh…. I adore Tori Black, she is so sexy. Pondering if she is still looking for someone.

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