The Roses have gone to the movies--and twisted them to suit our creative purposes! For August we're breaking a few rules with Rebel Without a Cause then getting Lost in America. Come join us!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Books Helped the Rebel in Me by Brenda Whiteside

If you're looking for Alicia Dean today, well, you got me. We swapped days. Look for her post on the twenty-fourth.

We watched another segment of the series, The Sixties, tonight. We TEVO so not sure when it ran originally. Tonight's segment was on the "hippie generation" which leads right into our rebel theme. I learned some things. When the whole teen rebelling era began, I was a couple of years too young to know it had started. This was the thing I learned. The series claimed it started with the beat generation that transitioned into the hippie generation by Ken Kesey of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest fame. One of my all-time favorite books.

I came in about the time Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan took center stage. Music played a huge role in the sixties culture, and books played a big part in my life during the sixties. I came of age too and the books that attracted me were cutting edge (in my humble opinion). Here's a partial list of the ones that I enjoyed and made me feel like I was really delving deep into myself and the written word, in no particular order.

Franny and Zooey  JD Salinger
Portnoy's Complaint  Philip Roth
The Agony and The Ecstasy  Irving Stone
The Andromeda Strain  Michael Crichton
The Chosen  Chaim Potok
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest  Ken Kesey
The Group  Mary McCarthy
To Kill a Mockingbird  Harper Lee

Do you have a time when it seems you came of age with the books you read? Makes me want to go back and reread them to see if I'm still so impressed!

Brenda spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love. After trying her hand at a couple of genres, she’s settled on romantic suspense. She’s found all good stories involve complicated human relationships. And if you add murder to the mix, the novel makes for good entertainment. She’s also found no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or suspense, all her books revolve around those two facts.

Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at

Monday, August 18, 2014

Road Trip Through America by Jannine Gallant

I'm going to shamelessly plug my new release using our "America" theme for the month. In case any of you missed my big announcement, Road To Serendipity is now available on Amazon. A little background to bring you up to speed. This is a three book anthology that originally started life as three separate stories for the Class of '85 series. After several years of dismal sales, I took matters into my own hands (and dragged Margo into my devious plot with me.) We took our rights back, edited, changed the reunion to 20 years to make our characters younger since I'm getting the feeling no one wants to read books about old ladies like us, and relocated the reunion from the shores of Lake Ontario in New York to the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. Yea! I've actually spent time in Vermont and thought it was absolutely gorgeous. If you saw Chris's post on the subject on the 14th, you'd have to agree. So, the town of Serendipity, Vermont was born.

Back to the Road Trip Through America my title promised. The first story in the Anthology, Lonely Road To You, takes readers from Seattle to Vermont on a cross country drive to the reunion. Kate crashes into Tyler in Montana (literally) and they continue the journey together, with stops in Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and The Badlands along the way. You won't want to miss their trip!

In  Rough Road Ahead, Chantal leaves New York City for the backwoods of the Adirondack Mountains. Not by choice, mind you. Her cosmetics company is gobbled up in a hostile takeover, and the decrepit hunting cabin is all she has left. I promise you'll enjoy Chantal's transformation from a confirmed city dweller to a woman who learns to appreciate nature.

Finally, Winding Road Home features my hero, Adam, disappointed in Vermont at the reunion while the woman he wanted to see, Chloe, is in Hawaii getting booted off a reality dating show called Get Lei'd. Don't worry, they hook up at the Lake Tahoe Marathon where they're both hot and sweaty and gasping for breath... Moving on from Tahoe, the story wraps up at Chloe's home on the California coast. (Check Alison's post from the 15th for photos of this area!)

So, for a journey from coast to coast across America, you won't want to miss Road To Serendipity. You can also check out Margo's Serendipity stories by picking up a copy of Saturday In Serendipity. Hope you'll enjoy both books!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Rebels, Causes and Dark Brooding Men

Unlike many of my fellow Roses, I've seen and liked the James Dean movie, Rebel Without a Cause. His dark brooding looks and bad boy attitude, so reminiscent of Elvis in his early years, brought women to the theater in droves. Okay, most came in cars, but cut me some slack.

Whether in East of Eden or Rebel, Dean delighted audiences because of his blatant sex appeal. Remember, this was in the middle of the fifties when there were three channels on television and no sitcom could show a bedroom unless there were double beds for married couples. The United States was barely out of a devastating world war, trying to find its center, not yet ready to rebel against much of anything. That had to wait at least another decade.

Why were Dean and Elvis so magnetic? More than the brooding stares, more that the slicked hair, was their sex appeal, which ran counter to the then-current cultural norms. Other actors who went on to lengthy careers were more handsome than Dean but didn't have that something, the magnetism, he showed in every glower and mumbled line of dialogue.

Other singers during Elvis's era either were copycats in looks or were so squeaky clean that they belonged in the fifties. Pat Boone should have stayed in the fifties and not the tattooed ick he morphed into in the "oughts." Ricky Nelson. As clean cut as his parents. A good talent and a physical representation of the era.

So why did we need these rebels? Maybe it was because young people needed a reason to be different from the parental generation. Maybe it was a precursor to what would come a decade after Dean's death at 24 in 1955. After all, mass media was in its infancy with those three television stations and movie theaters providing the only moving images of stars. The Ed Sullivan Show brought musical acts into our living rooms, all but Elvis's pelvis waggling at the girls who screamed.

After a generation of deprivation with the Depression and WWII, youth needed an outlet. Our bad boys gave it to them. They opened the door for the later rock acts, hippies and social unrest of the sixties. Long live the rebels who show us it is all right to be different.


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory, will be released in June 2015. She lives for words and writing.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rebel Without A Genre By Donna Michaels

Yep, you guessed it. I’m the rebel.

In the writing world, branding is a huge way to get recognized and to gain a following. I should know. It happened to me without even trying. See, I write romaginative fiction, romance mixed with comedy, contemporary, suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, adventure, time travel. I love to read variety and write variety. My books range from short to epic, sweet to very hot, and I’ve even written a story in first person. Variety. It is the spice in my writing life.
But something happened almost two years ago. The Wild Rose Press released my contribution to their Honky Tonk Hearts Series, COWBOY-SEXY.
Amazon offered Finn for free for four days. This was all new to all of us. I made up promo, and advertised on Facebook and all social media I could think of, plus I handed out cards to anyone locally who would take one. lol The gals at the annual Vampire Diaries Party ( or as I like to call it-VD Party) were given special promo and, bless them, they all promised to download my free book and tell a friend. 
It worked. I had thousands of downloads. Who knew cowboys were so hot?
I do now. Those thousands of free downloads somehow got the book into Amazon emails and I actually sold a good chunk. Good enough to generate a royalty check that could pay for more than lunch. Yeehaw! It also generated fan mail and readers wanting more. This got me thinking. Cowboys sell. I love cowboys. I have more cowboys. I’m going to turn those cowboys in to a series and see if that makes the readers happy. It did, and does. My Harland County Series is an Amazon Best Seller. With four books out so far, I have plans for four more, and I already have another cowboy series talking in my head.
But I told them to simmer down, especially since the contemporary military series I put on hold to wrangle those Harland cowboys was starting to chant really loud. I was getting antsy. Variety. I needed to mix things up or I knew I’d start twitching. Probably develop an eye tick, too. So my cowboy heroes and military heroes starting talking and negotiating. Here’s what they came up with:
They’re sharing custody of me.
I get to write a Harland County spinoff series that ties the National Guardsmen from PA to my Texas cowboys. There will be characters crossing over from both series. In fact, the hero and heroine in cowboy book #3 will be getting married in the first book in the Citizen Soldier Series.
Brilliant. I’m happy. They’re happy. Now, I just hope my readers will be happy. The PA Guardsman aren’t exactly the quintessential cowboys, but they are outdoorsman. They own a resort in the Pocono mountains, so there’s hiking, fishing, boating, white-water rafting, skiing, horseback riding. Those men are no slackers. And they have great bodies to prove it. They may not wear cowboy boots, but they do wear boots. Combat boots. 
As you've probably guessed, even though I write several genres, I’m mostly known for my cowboys. But that’s okay. I love writing them. I’m just not going to write them exclusively. That’s the rebel in me. Guess you could say the rebel made me do it. J
So, if you see me at a convention you’ll find two boots on my table, but they don’t match. One is a cowboy boot and the other is a combat boot. Too bad they didn’t make a suspense boot, or a sci-fi boot, or a paranormal boot…
What are your thoughts on branding and writing? I’d love to hear your input. Especially since my first book in the new series isn’t out until next month. I’ve no idea if it’ll bomb, or if my readers will embrace the change and go with the flow. I sure hope so. I really don’t want to twitch. And that eye tick thing doesn’t sound very fun.
My fourth Harland County book, Her Forever Cowboy is up for Book of the Month over at SSLY!

If you've read Kevin's story and would like to vote, I'd sure appreciate it. Click HERE. Thank you! I'll love you forever and back!
Pssst! Speaking of conventions, I’m in New Orleans right now...TODAY, this very minute! at the Author Reader Con at the Marriott. If you’re in the neighborhood, I hope you’ll stop by for the book fair today, it’s 2pm-6pm. You can’t miss me. Just look for the boots!
Visit me anytime at 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lost in America - Finding Your Place by Alison Henderson

I've never considered myself lost. I've traveled all over the world, from Ireland to Japan, and lived in 5 U.S. cities, coast-to-coast. I've found something to like about nearly every locale (except Bizerta, Tunisia. It's a hellhole). But only in the last few years have I felt I've truly found my place. 

misty hills
About five years ago, my husband and I took our first trip together to Carmel, California. I had been once before at age seventeen when my parents brought me and my sister to the West Coast to look at colleges. My strongest memories of that visit were the "scenic" motel with no TV and the famous French restaurant where we were encouraged to eat escargot (my sister acquiesced; I refused). 

After more than twenty years in Minnesota, OG and I were looking for a place that had it all: beautiful scenery, things to do, great restaurants, and above all, mild weather. Carmel fit the bill in every way. The minute we arrived, I was smitten. With every succeeding visit, I became more and more convinced that this was where I was meant to be. Eighteen months ago, fantasy became reality when we moved here full time.
Carmel Valley

The first time we drove inland from Carmel-by-the-Sea and beheld the magic of Carmel Valley, I thought I had reached Shangri-La. A deep sense of peace overwhelmed me, and I knew exactly what the poet Robinson Jeffers meant when he described his first sight of his "inevitable place". I'd like to share a few pictures to whet your appetite for a visit to my little slice of paradise.

Point Lobos

Point Lobos

Big Sur 
View from my deck


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lost in America: VERMONT

I thought I’d treat readers today to a virtual trip to my favorite state, Vermont. These are all photos I’ve taken myself on my property called “Woodland Lodge.”

And no, I’m not so crazy pompous as to give my property a name. It came with one and it definitely fits.

So put on your hiking boots and grab your favorite walking stick.

Mutant Vermont grasshopper on a day lily

Mountain view out great room window - summer

Driveway view - summer

Great room view - early fall

Great room view - winter

Mountain MAN view - winter (Gosh, I love a Carhartt jacket on a man!)

Great room view at dawn - winter

The Lodge - totally reconstructed by The Husband and his lovely assistant

Great room view - winter

My favorite indoor writing spot

My favorite mode of transportation in VT

First moose sighting... until the dog barked

Great room view at dawn - summer

Log cabin that we have no idea what to do with
The woods - winter

My dad, me, and my mom having some silly autumn shadow fun

Hope you enjoyed this peek into my favorite state! If you've never been, I highly recommend. And be sure to grab some pure Vermont maple syrup while you're there.

For more adventures in Vermont, try my book Firefly Mountain or my series, The Maple Leaf Series.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ah, James Dean

I don't know if I've ever seen Rebel all the way through, but Lord knows, I've seen enough clips of it on the 100 Best Yada Yada lists.

Let's not talk about the movie. Let's talk about James Dean. Regardless of whether you think he's sexy/cool/hot or not, there's that Star factor. He had, Steve McQueen had it, and a few others had it. I'm not sure if we have Stars today the same way we had Back in the Day. I think we (the public) know too much about our stars and that's colored the way we perceive them. Look, I still like a good Harrison Ford movie, but his Star factor plummeted for me when he took up with what's-her-name and left his wife.

That kind of story might have been hushed up thirty years ago. Of course, it works the other way, too. Sometimes I'll find out things about a star and think, "that guy has more character than I thought he had." Doesn't happen often, but it does sometimes.

I know that when I write my heroes, I always think of actors whom I think are not only handsome in some way, but have character. I imagine that actor in the role and think, "What would he do? How would he look?" My current project has a Hugh Jackman guy in the lead role and he's going through a ton of changes through 9 books (yes, you read that right. 9 books). I'm having fun looking up "old Hugh", "young Hugh", "bald Hugh", etc.

So let's hear it for the stars (past and present). They make our current writing projects a lot more fun.