Saturday, October 1, 2016

Traipsing through the National Parks while I Build a Website by Rolynn Anderson

By the time you read this, I’ll be in Moab, Utah (near Arches and Canyonlands).  Warning: I might have trouble getting on line today, but I will respond to your comments as soon as I have internet access.

My husband and I visited Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Arches, Canyonlands; later, we’ll check out Monument Valley, Zion, and the Grand Canyon.  Jaw-dropping, spectacular sites.   Enjoying the scenery is our prime objective; finding a new setting for a novel is another.  A third goal: get my new website up and running.  My old iWeb format isn’t supported anymore, so I’m having Kris Lynn build a WIX website for me, which will include a blog.  I write medium dark suspense/mystery spiked with romance, and I’m discovering that dichotomy is difficult to convey on a website.  My brand: show a hero and heroine on the precipice, confounded by some underbelly of humanity-not too bloody or procedural-with a look toward the HEA, enhanced by a conflict/mystery in a romantic relationship.  The task feels as big as Bryce Canyon, filled with hoodoos (which are bad people turned to says the native legend).

So I’ve developed a new website.  I hope you’ll take a look at it and critique it, including the mechanics (the memes flipping through, ease of navigation), content of the pages, and overall concepts/tone/color.  I took a look at other romantic suspense author websites to inform my design decisions, but for the most part, what you’re seeing is the creation of my web artist and me.  Thoughts?  I welcome them!

Now, back I go to visiting natural monuments.  Happy October, everyone!  

Friday, September 30, 2016

Adventures & Birthdays by Diane Burton

Last Friday, Margo Hoornstra posted about the adventure she and I were about to embark on. An all-day event in Alpena, Michigan. I’ve lived in Michigan most of my life, yet I’ve never been to Alpena, a port city on Lake Huron near the top of the mitten. On Monday, I wrote about the Alpena Book Festival on my blog. We both had a great time and can’t wait to go back next year.

Margo was the best traveling companion. She kept me alert on the five-hour drive each way without being a Chatty Kathy. LOL We talked about family, our books, marketing, our concerns about this unknown to us event (going up) and how much fun we had (going home). I’ve shared a room with her before—at our RWA chapter’s retreat—so I knew how respectful she is of a roommate. Great quality in a traveling companion. And she’s a terrific navigator—even if the GPS wanted to send us off on a circuitous route. The only bad part was I had another hour plus drive home after dropping her off.

As September fades away, my birthday looms around the corner. While I try to ignore another year’s passing, I remind myself to be grateful I’m still around to celebrate birthdays. Health issues can plague us, but at least our medical professionals don’t dismiss our concerns by claiming “aging” as if they don’t matter. I’ve mentioned before my worry about dementia since my mother had Alzheimer’s. I’d rather lose all physical abilities than lose my mind like she did. Fortunately, my doctor said I didn’t need to worry because my writing is keeping my mind active. From a guy who’s younger than my children, that was a welcome piece of information. And a good excuse to spend more time writing.

 I spent the month of September promoting my new release. So many wonderful people welcomed me to their blogs where I shared tidbits of info, the characters, the background of Mission to New Earth, which started right here at The Roses of Prose. If you were around three years ago, you might remember “Christmas in Space” the short story about astronauts preparing to depart on a one-way trip to a new planet. I had a great time expanding that story into a novella, even if it did take me three years to complete. While doing so, I kept getting ideas of what could happen next. Another series maybe? I don’t think I’ll ever run out of stories to tell.

The giveaway accompanying Mission to New Earth ends tonight. If you haven’t already entered, there’s still time. Just go to

Meantime, enjoy Autumn. Trees are just starting to turn here along the west coast of Michigan. Days are shorter but warm. Nights are cool. Love sleeping with the windows open.

Diane Burton writes science fiction romance, romantic suspense, and mysteries. She blogs here on the 30th of each month, with Paranormal Romantics on the 13th, and on her own blog on Mondays.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Forgive Me While I Virtually Toss Up My Hands by Mackenzie Crowne

When the lovely Roses of Prose approached me several months ago and asked if I’d be interested in contributing to their daily columns full of wit and wisdom, I hesitated. Wisely so. I know myself, you see, and freely admit I’m one of those organizationally challenged people who tend to bite off more than they can chew, only to be horrified later when all those balls they’re attempting to juggle start binging off their head as they crash to the ground.

Another reason for my reluctance was the ladies of prose themselves. You’ve read them. They’re freaking brilliant. Most months, as I sit down and contemplate ideas for my contribution to the insightful and entertaining posts you normally read here, I end up feeling like Carol Burnett at a beauty contest.

(Some of you may be too young to get the reference to Carol. Just know, she’s gorgeous, in a hilarious way)

Well, this month is one of those balls crashing to the floor months, reminding me I was correct to hesitate. My lack of organization has slammed smack dab into the deadline wall I’ve been attempting to scale for the past several weeks. With TO WIN HER SMILE, the last book of my PLAYERS series due to my publisher today, I still have several more chapters to write. Consequently, I haven't come up with a single insightful thing to say here today. Seriously, I’ve got nothing and don't want to be me today.

At the moment, every single bit of my concentration and imagination is tied up with Wyatt Hunter, a sexy, superstar quarterback who isn't quite sure what to do with Piper Darrow, a broke, modern day English Baroness with a camera and an attitude.

Wyatt and Piper's story won’t be available until late next year, but Wyatt has a couple of friends named Jake, Tuck, and Max whose stories are all on sale at the moment. How’s that for a shameless plug?

I’ll be back next month with something amazing and life-altering, maybe, but for now, check out my Players and have a fabulous weekend!


When Mac isn’t bashing her head against a wall and ignoring everything else in her life because of a deadline, she spends her time weaving HEAs for her characters, like those in her Players series from KensingtonBooks

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When Vultures Circle by Betsy Ashton

Vultures circling overhead cause chills to race along most people's spines. Omens of evil, maybe, or just one of nature's garbage disposals, not many people like watching them rise on thermals. On Saturday at a book fair in Danville, VA, the largest flock of vultures I'd ever seen in an urban environment flapped lazily overhead.

I'd written about vultures before. In a shameless moment of self-promotion, I'd like to share the opening section of UNCHARTED TERRITORY, the second Mad Max story:

In pre-dawn darkness, I eased the RV door open and tiptoed down four steps to bare earth. Coffee cup in hand, I turned three hundred and sixty degrees. A strong northern front had blown through overnight, sweeping the humidity out to sea and leaving a crystalline sky behind.
The underlying stench of death and decay, however, remained.
Johnny, Emilie and I settled into our new home the day before. While we waited for the rest of the family to arrive, I watched large birds ride thermals in lazy circles over a distant bayou west of our compound. I didn’t know what kind they were, but they were always in the same place. Black and large, they added to the ominous emptiness. I hadn’t had time to drive across the gray wasteland to find out what was going on.
The slamming of a trailer door and boot steps on packed earth announced Johnny’s arrival from the other side of my RV. He walked up, smiled and stared at the rising column of birds. Clad in jeans, boots and a clean T-shirt, he was ready for work.
“Good morning, funny man.” I tilted my face for a kiss.
“Back atcha, pretty lady.” He kissed my cheek.
“Do you see those birds?” I pointed.” More of them today than yesterday.”
“Yes. Something’s dying over there.”
“Yes.” Johnny tugged my left earlobe.
“Not dead?”
“Buzzards circle until an animal dies. Then they land.”
“Whatever it is sure has attracted a crowd.” I hugged Johnny but kept staring at the birds. Day one, and I was already spooked by the alien landscape.
More flocks formed near the unseen bayou. Birds landed, rose and circled.
“That’s not all that’s attracting crowds.”
What did he mean by that cryptic remark?
Johnny clapped a ball cap on his head and walked to the cook tent for breakfast before leaving for the job site. His boots kicked up tiny puffs of dust in his wake.
Before I came down to Mississippi, I hadn’t expected such unbroken flatness, such a lack of color. Nothing taller than a car or trailer or pile of rubble. No flowers. In fact, nothing green except a few battered live oak trees. Had Charles Dickens written about spoiled lands instead of broken people, this landscape would have made a perfect model.
When I reflected back over the past few months, I could never have foreseen the changes I would make in my life. I never figured I’d be taking my grandchildren into a war zone.

At least it seemed like one to me.

I hoped I captured the mood of the place where Max finds herself setting up a new place to live with her family. Whatcha think?  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Here we go again ... maybe

When you read this, my town (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and my hometown (Vinton, Iowa) will be partly under water. Heavy rains north of town means the river flowing through both will flood. It's just a question of how much.

In 2008, it was epic. Our flooding rivaled Katrina for devastation and damage. No, you didn't read much about it because flooding in small and medium-sized towns doesn't make the news. It was as bad, though, relatively speaking. It's taken years to come back from it. The Performing Arts Center in Iowa City just reopened 2 weeks ago after being in temporary quarters for 8 years. The libraries and theaters and museums just reopened 3 and 4 years ago.

Now it's happening again. But we've learned a lot and the damage won't be as bad this time. Flood measures are in place at the buildings, parking lots are on the ground floor now and offices are higher up, and we know now which roads will flood and which won't (which we didn't know in 2008). The entire community has volunteered space, money, sweat labor, and support. That's kind of what we do. We dig in and get it done. It's great if the Feds help us, but we've learned not to count on them. Don't get me started on that.

This isn't a question of people living near flood zones (I mean, New Orleans: I'm sorry. You're below sea level. Yes, you will flood. Often.) Some areas that are flooding here are, for the most part, far away from the river. We lost a lot of homes and business in 2008 and they didn't rebuild in the flood plain. We put in green spaces and parks. Yes, some businesses will flood, but it won't be as bad as it has been in the past. Hopefully.

So keep your eyes on that news story buried somewhere in your newspaper or that 30-second sound bite on the national news. That's us, in the heartland. We'll come through it, but it would be nice if you folks out there would send us some positive thoughts and prayers. We'll probably need 'em.

J L Wilson

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Please join me in welcoming back a returning guest, Vijaya Schartz. Always a nice addition to The Roses of Prose.

It's always bittersweet to write the last book in a long, beloved series. I've been working on the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval fantasy series for twenty years, off and on, including years of intensive research.

The myth of the ondine (siren, mermaid, silken etc.) is widespread in Europe. Melusine the Fae is an immortal, related to Morgane the Fae. Because she abused her supernatural gifts in childhood, she was cursed to become an ondine (water serpent from the waist down) on specific days. If the religious authorities learn what she is, they will hunt her down as an evil monster, and burn her at the stake.

In mythology, she represents the independent, knowledgeable and wise woman, the crone, the witch, the healer. She represents a threat to medieval society, who wants women to remain ignorant, modest, docile, and obedient. The religious order of the time also wants to suppress the influence of women, going as far as denying them a soul. Ignoring the taboos of her time, Melusine fights her oppressors and accomplishes much, despite their opposition and intrigues. She fights for justice, protects women, marries for love, empowers her men, builds mighty castles, forges alliances, and gives birth to powerful rulers.

Book 8 - ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN, scheduled for January 2017, will be the last in the Curse of the Lost Isle series, bringing Melusine's curse to its conclusion. Along the course of this series, Melusine first appears as a child in Book 2 - PAGAN QUEEN. She is then the main character in Book 3 - SEDUCING SIGEFROI, Book 4 - LADY OF LUXEMBOURG, and Book 5 - CHATELAINE OF FOREZ. Books 1 and 2 tell the story of her mother, Books 6 and 7 the story of her sisters. Find this series on  Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Previously, from her Luxembourg family, after marrying Count Sigefroi, Melusine gave birth to a line of powerful rulers who reigned in Germany, Flanders and Austria. Later in Forez, with Count Artaud, her initial success was soon crushed by mounting religious conflicts.

In the historical chronology, Book 8 - ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN actually takes place before Beloved Crusader and Damsel of the Hawk (already published standalones, portraying the other two sisters, and set during the Crusades). This last novel, however depicts the most well known legend of Melusine, the popular myth scholars have been studying for centuries... particularly in Europe.

This last book in the series is set in Lusignan, a town in Aquitaine, created by Melusine, according to legend. Lusignan is also the name of the powerful family she founded there, where she falls in love with Count Raymond, and gives birth to a mighty noble line.

Her descendants Guy and Hugh of Lusignan later became kings of Jerusalem and Cyprus during the Crusades. Another descendant of hers is the famous and infamous Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen, in France and in England. King Richard the Lionheart mentions more than once the stain upon his family, his dark ancestress through the centuries, the cursed one. That was Melusine the Fae, whose blood also flowed in Eleanor of Aquitaine.

But as a writer, I wanted to find the truth beyond the myths and the legends. I wanted to discover the heart of these characters. A series of facts does not a story make. Their indomitable passion is what drove them to extraordinary feats and brought their names all the way into this century. Unfortunately, at the time they were judged harshly. Remember that history is always written by the victors, and Paganism was crushed by Christendom. So it made sense that the Pagans of the time would be reviled in the official records, and presented in a negative light, even accused of horrible deeds.

In my intensive research for this series, I peeled off the layers of superstition to find the truth of these fascinating characters, and bring them to life into the light, with all their hopes and struggles.

I hope you will enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it. 


Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - All Romance eBooks -

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Down to the Wire #NewRelease by Brenda Whiteside

Penny Sparks has secrets that can ruin a presidential contender, got her family murdered…and mark her as the next hit. 

My latest book is set in Flagstaff, Arizona in December. The Power of Love and Murder is book four in the series. When I wrote it I didn’t consider making it a holiday release. Once I sent it off to my publisher, the idea came to me. The first response I got was a negative. I’d submitted the manuscript in June and April is the usual deadline for holiday submissions. Yep. Way out there. But I have this fantastic editor and with her prodding, we’re trying to get it done. 

By the time a book is released, an author has read her creation at least four times. Yesterday, I completed read number three. It was a marathon read in eight hours. Even though I’ve written and read it, I had to read it relatively slowly searching for any mistakes that have been missed. It’s not exactly enjoyable reading. 

I also had to choose an excerpt. This is the most hated part of the process for me. I have to scan the manuscript and choose a section that does not give away anything that would spoil the ending, but has to be enough to entice the reader. 

Wish me luck I get the editing wrapped up so I can make the release happen before Christmas for The Power of Love and Murder. See what you think of the excerpt I chose. Is it at all enticing or do I throw it back and go for another? 


Jake sank onto the bed, his mind reeling with her assumptions. “So, you think the senator—hired—an FBI agent to make the accounting woman disappear and to kill your family?”

“Yeah, I do.” Penny rose and paced in front of him. “And how do I know he’s involved? Westingly wasn’t a senator back then. But he must’ve had aspirations. He sold off the nuclear waste division and bowed out of the company to go into politics. And you know what else?” She stopped, her eyes wide, fists at her sides.

He swallowed deeply. “What?”

“Those two other people, Burke and Severing? The two that Angie thought were doing the embezzling? They both died within a couple of years of when Westingly resigned from the company and went into politics.”


“Burke drowned while out on his yacht, and Severing died when a car hit her while biking after dark. Hit and run. Accidents. Hmph. That means anyone who knew what Westingly did is gone.” Her chest expanded with a deep breath. “Except for me.” 


For thirteen years, Penny Sparks has managed to hide from the political powers who murdered her family. When she unwittingly exposes her true identity, not only is she marked for death, but the people closest to her risk meeting the same fate. 

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. A woman named Penny comes on the scene, and Jake believes he has someone who can help him find life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world. 

With a government agent turned hitman closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at
She blogs about life’s latest adventure on her personal blog
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