Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eggnog...With Rum

Okie dokie. Earlier this month I gave a very sincere Thanks and meant every word of it. I would really like to have something equally heartfelt to close the month with.

As I try to find words and a topic all that comes to mind is: Thank God it's over.

My computer blew up this month.
I've outlined six stories for different proposals.
I am mid edits (due Friday).
I have lined up two blog tours for January.
I've had to overhaul two blog sites.
I've had freelance editing projects going on.
The horse got sick, the dog forgot he's housebroken, and it took 2 weeks to get a simple washing machine hooked up.

Tomorrow I will finish my edits.
Tomorrow I might get to write a creative word!

Tomorrow my sanity might just return... well as much as its ever been here ;)

I hope your December and your holiday season kicks off smoothly and let's all go have some eggnog. With rum. What say you?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Secret Dreams of Readers.....

By Glenys O`Connell
In my last blog I offered a print copy of my Canadian set romantic suspense novel, Judgement By Fire, to a reader who posted a comment that I liked the best.
Unfortunaterly, I loved all the comments about how you survived winter, and I'd love to send a book to all of you. Not possible, of course, but I did choose two winners instead of one, McKenzie Crowne and Kerry Schafer - congratulations! Please send your snail mail addys to me at RomanceCanBeMurder @ hotmail. ca (without the spaces) and I`ll get your books in the mail. Doing this contest reminded me of the wonderful relationship between readers and writers - one thing a writer must never do is lose sight of who we`re doing this for: You, the reader. Without you, we writers would be lonely indeed!
So onto the long list of people and things I am thankful for, I`ve added all the wonderful folks who buy and read my books.I am truly grateful for your support and encouragement.
I`ve taught a creative writing class for many years - initially in the classroom at third level, and mopre recently online. You can read a little about the Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Novel at
Whenever I receive a note from one of my students, announcing that they`ve received a publishing contract and praising the course, I am just thrilled. But I also know that this has been a symbiotic relationship - I`ve learned lots about the craft of writing while working with the students taking the course.
One thing I do know is that many readers harbour a secret dream to write their own novel. So, in honour of that dream, and readers everywhere, I`m offering an ARC - an Advanced Reading copy of my new creative writing book. No Frills Way to Write Your Novel is a compilation of the lessons from the writing course along with some of the wit and wisdom I learned while working with new writers. I`m told it`s a great read, and this is your chance to grab a copy before it is actually published in the New Year.
Just leave me a comment here on the blog about your writing, or dreams of writing.Good luck!

Glenys O`Connell writes romantic suspense and comedy, award winning plays, and non-fiction books on subjects such as depression and PTSD. She has also been known to stop traffic on the busy TransCanada Highway to help turtles cross safely. You can read excerpts of her fiction at

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Interview With Jana Richards

Jana Richards
What do you find the most difficult about being a writer?

A couple of things. The first is finding the time to write. It’s tough juggling a day job and family and domestic duties, while still trying to make it to the gym. The second is getting readers to know I exist! Before I was published I thought the hard part would be writing the book. I’ve found that the writing is only the beginning.

What is your hero's biggest challenge?

Finn Cooper, my hero in “The Girl Most Likely” faces the challenge of convincing the heroine, Cara McLeod, that he loves her just the way she is. He’s fighting an uphill battle because Cara is sensitive about her weight, and her age. She’s eight years older than Finn and can’t believe a gorgeous younger man like him could be interested in a woman like her, a woman who’s on the other side of forty and not as svelte as she used to be. After all, why would Finn find her attractive when her ex-husband no longer does?

What is your heroine's biggest flaw?

Cara’s greatest flaw is believing that her self-worth is tied to her looks. She has to learn that she’s so much more than a pretty face, and that she’s a fabulous woman even if she’s not a perfect size two.

What prompted you to write this story?

The Wild Rose Press put out a call for submissions for a series in the Last Rose of Summer line called the Class of ’85 . The series centers around the 1985 graduating class of Summerville High School as they prepare for their 25th year reunion. It sounded like a fun series. A high school reunion can be full of drama and angst and nostalgia. I felt the situation was ripe with possibilities!

What is your least favorite genre? Would you ever consider writing it?

I probably couldn’t write inspirational romance since I don’t possess the faith-based background to do one justice.

Who has helped you the most?

Lots of people. I’ve belonged to the Saskatchewan Romance Writers for many years, and without the support of this group I don’t think I would have become an author; I wouldn’t have believed in myself without them. Friends from my critique group (we call ourselves Lovers’ Knot) have provided invaluable critiquing help over the years, not to mention good friendship. And my friend and critique partner Janet Corcoran has helped me navigate my way through edits on more than one occasion. Thanks Janet!

Do you have a favorite theme? Eg: love conquers all; good vs evil; How do you use it?

I often find myself writing about trust, usually regaining lost trust. Sometimes my hero and heroine must learn to trust each other, but often they must learn to trust themselves first, to believe in themselves.

What have you learned about yourself from your writing?

I’ve learned that I’m more determined than I ever thought I was. I’ve learned that aside from my family and my health, writing is the most important thing to me. I’ve learned that when deadlines loom and things look tough, I can buckle down and get the job done. I’ve also learned to trust my own judgment when it comes to my writing.

Why will your reader think your book is different?

For a start, my heroine is older than my hero, a situation that’s not used too often in romance novels. Though I love stories about outsiders in high school who return for their reunion as winners, Cara’s story is the reverse. In high school she was one the popular girls. But now life has thrown her some curves. She’s afraid that her former classmates will either feel pity for her because she’s lost her perfect marriage, her perfect figure and her perfect life, or they’ll be happy to see her get her comeuppance in life.

As well, Finn has some secrets that make him an atypical romance hero. But those secrets make him the perfect match for Cara. That’s all I can say about him without giving too much away!

Buy link: “The Girl Most Likely” will be released on November 30, 2011 as part of the Class of ’85 series. To check out other titles in the series, click here.

Blurb: Cara McLeod, the girl most likely to have the perfect marriage, is now divorced and, in her own words, “fat, frumpy, and over forty.” The thought of facing former classmates—and the ex-husband who dumped her—at her high school reunion terrifies her. Cajoled into attending by her kids and her best friend, Cara enlists help at the gym to lose weight and look great for the reunion. Personal Trainer Finn Cooper is more than willing to help—but does he have to be so to-die-for gorgeous?

Finn thinks Cara is perfect just the way she is. She’s everything he wants in a woman, except for one thing—she can’t get past the fact that he's eight years younger. To Finn, age and weight are just numbers. But can he convince Cara the numbers she worries about add up to only one thing for him—love?


He chuckled. “Jessica better watch her back. You could give her a run for her money.”

He heard Cara’s throaty laugh, and various parts of his anatomy tingled in response. “Yes, that’s my evil plan. Take over Rochester Noon, then the world.”

“If you set your mind to it, I’m sure you could do it.”

“Thanks Finn.”

“For what?”

“For believing in me.”

“Are you going to be okay now?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Thanks to you.”

He wanted so badly to tell her he loved her, adored her, thought she was the most amazing woman in the world. But fear stopped him. Was she truly over her ex-husband? Why else would losing weight for the reunion be so important to her if not to impress Peter?

“I’ve got to run. Thanks again. I’ll talk to you later at my condo, right?”

“Absolutely. I can hardly wait to hear about your big TV debut. Break a leg. Isn’t that what they say in show biz?”

She laughed. “Yeah, that’s what they say. Bye.”

Finn replaced the receiver and closed his eyes. He hoped everything went well with this interview. Cara deserved to realize how amazing she was.

If she did come to that realization, would there still be room in her life for him?

Jana Richards

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blessings Come In Many Forms--even Internet access

--By Vonnie Davis

Remember life without the Internet? Days gone by when we weren't connected online with family, friends and strangers. We did our shopping in stores or through catalogs back then. All of our bills were paid by writing checks and stuffing envelopes. If our families were spread across the country, our phone bills were horrendous. We gave out our street address instead of our email address. And we queried agents and publishers via snail mail. Heck, we didn't even know what snail mail was back in the day!

Now we query online to most publishing professionals. Even so, we still present our best side; we write professional and error free emails. Of course, there are those who send queries just like they do texts. My agent complains of email queries with no capital letters and the number two instead of "to." Evidently these wanna-be-writers have never heard Forrest Gump's mother's famous words: "Stupid is as stupid does."

I have a special benefit from the Internet--my husband Calvin. We met on match dot com and were married a year to the day of his first email. He was a retired English teacher and writing his second novel. I was living in a neighboring state, working at a job I darn near hated and doing rewrites on my first book (or would that be mess-terpiece?).

As a grandma, I keep in touch with my grandchildren online through email, Twitter, Facebook and Skype--all free, which never hurts.

The Internet has also changed how many do their jobs. Lab test results at hospitals are now emailed to doctors. Teachers post grades on the Internet so parents can ground their kids before the report cards are printed out. Realtors use Internet listings to find the perfect house for their clients. Need a recipe? Do an online search.

In my book, Storm's Interlude, Sunny, a cancer patient, needs to get stronger for a second round of chemo. She finds my heroine online. Rachel is a nurse with a Masters in nursing and extensive training in non-traditional methods she incorporates into traditional medicine therapies. She travels to the hillcountry of Texas to the ranch where Sunny lives with her twin brother Storm. Fireworks start the minute Storm and Rachel meet--both times. And you'd have to read the book to understand that...

I'm sharing an excerpt below. For a chance to win an eCopy of my debut book, leave a comment telling me the kind of bread on the counter and your email address, so I can contact you should you win.
Storm heard off-key singing when he opened the back door. He quietly toed off his boots in the mudroom before stepping into the kitchen.
An open laptop sat on the wooden kitchen table. Beside it was a mug of steaming tea. On the counter was a loaf of wheat bread next to a jar of peanut butter. Protruding from the opened refrigerator was a cute behind, covered by baggy yellow pajama bottoms, wiggling to the beat of the song being sung. “Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name.”
The off-tune singing stopped, but that perfectly rounded bottom continued to wiggle. “Pickles...pickles. Surely there are pickles in this huge refrigerator. Maybe some of those sweet little Gherkins. Oh, look, cottage cheese. You give love a bad name…” The off-tune singer extracted a container from the crowded contents of the refrigerator, absently reaching out to set it on the counter.
Sneaking up behind her in his stocking feet, he placed a hand on the edge of the open door of the refrigerator and leaned over her bent body. 
She moved a pitcher of orange juice. “Okay, pickles, where are you hiding?”
“Check behind the milk.”
Rachel yelped and spun around, her hand to her heart. Her big blue eyes opened impossibly wide. “You! Wha...what are you doing here?”
He held out his hand. “Hello, Rachel. I’m Storm Masterson, Sunny’s twin brother.”
“You…you’re Sunny’s brother? Don’t you dare touch me.” She made a fist and had the audacity to shake it under his nose. He didn’t know whether to laugh or paddle that cute behind she’d been wiggling earlier. “You…you just keep your hands and your lips to yourself. You…you naked, kissing bandit.”
Storm leaned his head back and laughed. “Well, I’m not naked now. Just how do I classify as a bandit? I didn’t steal anything from you.”
Rachel fisted her hands on her hips, leaned in and narrowed her eyes in such an appealing way he was overcome with a keen desire to kiss her softly and slowly, the kind of kiss that made you sigh partway through it. “You stole a kiss from me.” Her eyebrow arched. “Or have you forgotten?”
He smiled, his hands itching to touch her. What man walking the face of this earth could forget a kiss like the one they’d shared earlier? “Is it called stealing when the woman gives as good as she got?”
Rachel shook her fist again. “Back up, buster. I’ll not be kissed like that again.”
Buy Link for Amazon:
Buy Link at The Wild Rose Press:

Holiday Happy

(I'm on the road again, so this post is scheduled for my day. Apologies if I don't reply to comments).

Keeping up with the theme of thankful, I'm thankful someone else cooked for Thanksgiving. Since we moved, we've been doing a lot of entertaining -- our new house is just made for parties, and we've had many. And I enjoy cooking and entertaining my friends. It's fun.

But it's also fun to be entertained sometimes, and this holiday, we're on the road to Kansas City, to spend time with my sister. She and I mapped out the menu the last time she visited me so it was like entertaining without the heavy lifting, so to speak. I'll pitch in and help, of course, but there's nothing like visiting someone, sleeping in their bed, eating their food, then hopping on the road to come home. I love visiting and I love coming home.

So here's to Over the River and Through the Woods and to safe returns home!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Guest Allison Knight Tells Us What She Thinks Makes a Really Good Novel

At an early age I learned to read. That love of the printed word translated into trips to the local library, my grandmother's bookshelf, even the books at home. I still giggle a bit when I think of the books I hid from my mother, when I should have been cleaning or washing or doing some other chore.

Now that I'm a writer as well as a reader, I analyze why books, especially the ones with an HEA, ending fascinate so. I've come to the conclusion most people read to get lost in another world, or a different time period. There's also the need to escape from reality. Some people read to learn something, but I think romance readers also want to share in the emotions of the book characters. So the question that follows is --

What makes a good novel really good?

I’ve been writing fiction for nearly thirty years now and I think I’ve learned what I believe are the three most important points in writing that darned good book.

First, I learned you better start with action, or dialogue and it had better be where the story really begins. It doesn’t matter if the reader doesn’t know the hero or the heroine or the murderer yet. The first couple of sentences, the first couple of paragraphs had better be the start of something important. You can tell us later what happened before, maybe at the end of the second, third, or fourth chapter. But start off with the immediate. The long detailed explanation or scene setting no longer fits our life style. We move fast; we get bored easily. It has to be in the here and now.

Second, I learned much of a books today need to be full of dialogue. Good dialogue, in the voice of the character, with indications about what he’s feeling, doing, or how he’s reacting. If the heroine is despondent, then she can talk followed by an action – hanging her head, wiping away tears so the hero can’t see them, or even flopping into a chair. Just remember, if you're in her view point she can't see the gloomy expression on her face.

Third, and just as important as the other two, especially in a romance, the reader has to know there are problems right from page one. If it is a romance the hero and heroine don’t have to be together on page one, we just need to know things are anything but good, and we understand they are not going to go well. He can be a tycoon, she a struggling artist. He can be a bad boy, just out of prison and she the daughter of the most honest politician the town has ever known. They have to be different, enough to make the story interesting so at the end the reader can say, “Ah, isn’t that nice. They solved their problems and now they’ll live happily ever after.”

It took me years to figure all this out, but I now read with the soul process of deciding why I like a particular story. The reasons are always the same. The story starts right away, there’s lot of dialogue and the hero and heroine have what seems like an insolvable problem at the beginning of the book. I’ll also add the bigger, the more difficult it will be to solve the problem, the better the story. With the next good book you read, think about my three points. I suspect you’ll find that’s what makes it a good book for you too.

Alwyn ab Brynn Ffrydd wants revenge against a powerful Baron without losing his king's support. What better way to exact revenge than to kidnap the Baron's long time mistress. But she is not what he thinks she is.

Shy, unworldly Milisent Mortimore has been confined for nine years by a brother who now demands she agree to wed a cruel, heartless man. Thanks to her father's will, she has the right to chose her mate or her spouse will lose her inheritance.

When Alwyn kidnaps her, desires flares and together they must struggle against the treachery of Alwyn's current mistress, her brother and the man he wants her to marry.

In defying all three, Alwyn places his life at risk. Milisent saves him from certain death and together they celebrate their life of love.

Allison has graciously offered to give away a digital copy of Windsong to one lucky commenter. What do you think makes a really great novel?

Allison Knight
'Heart-warming Romance With A Sensual Touch'
Award winning author, Allison Knight claims she's married to the world's greatest husband because he's her biggest supporter and works with her on all her projects. The mother of four children, Allison retired from teaching to enjoy her six grandkids but now that they've grown, her three cats. She has published seventeen romances, her latest, available November, 2011, is the third in a series of medieval romances about the members of a thirteenth century Welsh family drawn into the turmoil of the times.
Because she can never quite step out of teaching mode, she blogs often sharing the knowledge she gained writing and publishing in the romance genre. She also loves to talk about the growing digital market.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank You for Stopping By

Blogging on Thanksgiving? Well, I have to do something after the table is cleared and the football games are on. And if you're reading this, then you're amusing yourself while the turkey is settling or waiting for pie or, if like me, you just can't watch football. So, I'd like to thank you for dropping in and spending even a few minutes with me.

And to thank you, I'm giving away the very first copy of my e-novelette, Tattoos, Leather and Studs. When I say first - I mean, really FIRST. The story doesn't release until December 4th so this is like a sneak preview for one!

Here's the teaser:

Rachael suspects her date, Jason, is a drug dealer, and she’s torn between her attraction for this hot bad boy and running for safety. But a famous rock star vying for her attention and spiked champagne pose far more trouble. On a blind date she’ll never forget, Rachael learns first impressions can lead her down a dangerous path and straight into the arms of love.

Is Jimmy not a hunk on a motorcycle? You might just want to hop on behind him, bad boy or not.

So leave me a comment and your email address. I'm really excited about giving away this first edition.

Could this room get any thicker with sweaty, grinding bodies?
The bass blasting out of the speakers on stage reverberated in Rachael’s chest. This had to be unhealthy for her body’s natural electrical impulses.
The rapacious drumming coming from the guy standing at the table next to her grew louder by the minute. Did he think he’d come to a concert or a drum competition? He threw his whole body into his efforts, and she could barely avoid rubbing hips with the man while trying to not bump into her date on her other side.
Rubbing hips with her date would be perfectly fine. Thigh to thigh would be better considering his legs. But they barely knew each other’s names and at this point, good legs or not, his choice of venue and his image still had her wary. Rachael planted her feet firmly, but one particularly hard shove from behind, by a guy trying to dance his way to the bar, sent her sideways into her date giving him full knowledge of her breast size and resulted in a flirtatious smile.
Jason leaned in close, his mouth dampening her earlobe with his words. “I hope you like crowds. Truthfully, I wasn’t prepared for this.”
She could barely hear him above the noise. Practically shouting, she asked, “No? What were you expecting?”
“Something a bit more intimate.”
His emphasis on intimate sent goose bumps between her thighs. Rachael raised one foot and then the other; her high heels cramped her feet. She glanced sideways at the tattoos on her date’s forearms. Her scan included his biceps. He had nice arms, but what did all those strange symbols mean? There were so many of them. She could hear Shelly—Loosen up girl. Stuffy Mark had you in a five-year rut. How true. She used to know how to have fun. Her gaze drifted around the room and back to Jason. But the world changed while she was holed up with stay-at-home Mark.
Jason shifted his arm on the table, muscles and tattoos flexing. Her heart thumped. Had she accepted a date with a bad boy? Could this be her sister’s attempt at pumping up the volume on her otherwise boring life?
His mouth grazed her ear again. “I’m glad you’re with me. Makes the crowd bearable.” He pulled away and smiled, one of those mouth and eye smiles that smacks of sincerity.
Her heart thumped again, obviously telling her something her head couldn’t.
Another bump and this time their contact lasted, Jason’s leg brushing between her thighs. Definitely nice firm thighs. Did he do that on purpose? She didn’t move away. Why was her mind telling her one thing and her body another?
All the way to the theater he couldn’t quit raving over their good fortune—invitation only, small venue, pre-concert show available because of his business contacts. His rant sounded nervous, but he smelled so sensual in his Halston Cologne and smiled so charmingly. And he could talk intelligently about Lautrec. He’d said more than once that he’d been happy she’d agreed to a blind date.
Muscular thighs and Halston—apparently her sister knew what tempted her.
At the break, the decibels dropped to the tolerable roar of the black vinyl crowd. He ran his hand along her spine from her neck to her waist. “Would you like a beer?” Her ink-stained escort screamed louder than necessary in her ear then looked regretful at his faux pas.
She nodded her head, the tingle of his fingertips leaving her speechless so she forgave the eardrum assault. The crowd noise made talking difficult anyway, she reasoned.
His mouth stayed by her ear, his breath tickled her lobe and his fingertips slipped off the edge of her dress and onto the bare skin between her shoulder blades. She caught her breath at the subtly worded, “One more set.” With that he pushed through the crowd.
She glanced toward the bar, caught a glimpse of that gorgeous profile. After the show, she could decide whether to beg off for the rest of the evening or not.

Brenda can be connected with at:
You can find Sleeping with the Lights On wherever e-books or print books are sold.
Look for her upcoming releases:
Tattoos, Leather and Studs coming in Dec 2011
An Elfin Secret and On the Way to the Snow Ball (anthology) in Dec 2011
Honey on White Bread coming Dec 2012
The Morning After coming summer 2012

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, so I thought I would blog about a lucky charm, a magic silver boomerang (a boomerang is an Australian aboriginal hunting weapon), that brought my father home from war.

I always scoffed at magic or lucky charms. If I couldn’t see it, I didn’t believe in it. Well, that is not until I visited my Dad’s sister, a sprightly old dear in her nineties. It was the 30th anniversary of my father’s death.

After a watery, milky cup of tea and some stale cake, that Aunty said she had baked the previous day, but I think it could have been the previous week, she started telling me about the silver boomerang, which we had found many years ago amongst my late father’s war medals.  The boomerang bore the words “I go to return.”

It was a good luck charm, and my father apparently wore it throughout the 2nd World War.  There was magic in the boomerang, the lady who had given to him was convinced of it, as was my aunt. Whether Dad believed in it or not, I have no idea.

The original owner apparently survived the carnage of the 1st World War.  So, did the good luck charm live up to its name the second time around?

In March 1940 Dad felt duty bound to answer his country’s call to war. When the Japanese poured into Malaya he was there as a member of the 2/29th Battalion of the Australian 8th Division, (most of whom ended up dying as Prisoners of War).

Wounded in action in Malaya, and transferred to an Australian Military Hospital in Singapore, my father was blown out of bed, but survived the Japanese bombs which took the roof off his ward.  The British forces fell back across the causeway into Singapore. Day and night the fires burned.  The bombers came over spreading their destruction. Shattered shops were left to the mercy of looters, bodies rotted in the streets, and packs of marauding dogs gorged themselves with little resistance, as a pall of black smoke hung over Singapore. The giant British guns that might have saved Singapore were embedded in concrete and pointing out to sea. Useless to quell the invaders who came over land through the jungle.

All aircraft and ships had departed loaded with civilians, nurses and wounded, and after this desperate flotilla sailed off, those left behind could only await their fate.

In the last terrible days before Singapore capitulated in February 1942, trapping 80,000 Australian and British troops, a small boat braved the might of the Japanese air force and navy, and set off, crammed with wounded.  Only soldiers who were too incapacitated to fight yet could somehow mobilise themselves, were given the opportunity for this one last chance of escape.

With a piece of his back bone shot away, and weakened from attacks of malaria, Dad had somehow made it to the wharf, with a rifle and the clothes he stood up in. As the boat wended its way out of the Singapore harbour, littered with the smouldering debris of dying ships, a Japanese bomber dived low over them, but the pilot obviously had more important targets on his mind.

They drifted around in the sea for several days until they were finally rescued by a passing allied ship and after another couple of weeks, Dad finally made it home.

Thank you magic boomerang for helping my Dad make it home. 

Margaret Tanner is a multi-published author of historical romance with Whiskey Creek Press and The Wild Rose Press.

I am giving away an e-copy of my WCP novel, Savage Utopia, to one lucky commentator.

Savage Utopia Blurb:
On board the convict ship taking them to the penal colony of Australia, Maryanne Watson and Jake Smith meet and fall in love, but Jake hides a terrible secret that will take him to the gallows if it ever comes out.
On arrival in Sydney the lovers are separated. Maryanne is sent to work for the lecherous Captain Fitzhugh. After he attacks her she flees into the wilderness and eventually meets up with Jake who has escaped from a chain gang.  They set up home in a hidden valley and Maryanne falls pregnant.  Will Jake come out of hiding to protect his fledgling family? And how can love triumph over such crushing odds?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Things (or people) I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I've realized I'm in no way prepared for it this year. My house still needs to be cleaned, I haven't yet bought a bird, and I'm not entirely certain where my tablecloth is.

But in recent days, despite the constant hecticness, I've been made aware of the fact that even though we aren't ready to celebrate formally, I'm particularly thankful for some very special people and some rather ordinary things.

There's a father-daughter duo who bring my hay, rain or shine, mud or no mud, and without them, my horses wouldn't eat. They've even shown up in a pinch now and then, and are the friendliest people. True, our relationship is a business arrangement more than anything, but I'm grateful that it is the both of them I work with. I enjoy them, even when we're unwrapping bales in freezing cold rain.

My boss... yes, I have a part time day job. But my boss is a god-send on many levels. He is so encouraging and supportive of my writing. If I need time off to catch up on a deadline, it's not a problem. If I need to gush about some recent news in my writing career, he listens. He even asks questions! If I worked for anyone else, or had to report to a corporate environment, I would never meet the time constraints I have.

All writers have a vast network of writerly friends who help them. You'll find my acknowledgements in every book and I try to thank them as publically as I can. Dyann Love Barr has been... there just aren't words. And the same goes for my family.

I'm thankful this year, for the new washer and dryer so I can now do laundry at home and not have to lug baskets around.

I'm thankful for my dogs, cats, horses, pigeon and the two little mice I saved from the cat. They bring me joy and make me smile. Even if all they're doing is hiding under the torn-up cotton balls I put in their cage. Or the cat is sitting on the cage waiting for the mice to escape.

With two major releases coming in January (Immortal Hope as Claire Ashgrove and Stripped as Tori St. Claire), I've done a lot of reflecting on my writing career. My agent is an angel, my editors too. But I've met so many talented writers -- and learned from them as well. Little lessons I can't necessarily point out, but things that have helped me achieve goals and dreams.

And very recently I'm extremely thankful for the little computer store nearby that never hesitates to leap-to... and when my machine blows up unexpectedly, manages to get me up and running within 24 hours, without making me pay through the nose. Amazing people.

There are a lot of people who deserve remarks, who have touched my life in one way or the other. A lot of people who helped me get over hurdles that would have sucked me under if they weren't around.

I would be where I am --wherever that may be-- without them.

What about all of you? Anything that may seem "little" on the surface, but has a large effect?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanks for the Memories

How do you share reflections from the past?
My life has been full. I have wonderful children. They have children to brag about. I earned a graduate degree from college. I am lucky enough to be married to a great man. We travel all over the country and are active and healthy. I am constantly surprised at the gifts God has seen fit to give to me. And thankful.
At my Terryville High School reunion last month we all stood up and bragged about what we had accomplished over the years. I could still see those youthful faces in the older versions. The class members had spread into all walks of life ranging from Wall Street broker to FBI agent, Registered Nurse, career military, teacher and yours truly, published author, to name a few. Not bad for a bunch of small town kids. Many are cancer survivors. Many of the men enlisted in the military to serve our country. Many have children and even grandchildren that make a sparkle in the eye.
There is so much to be thankful for.  
We had a brief moment of silence in memory of those who’ve gone before and shared thoughts about them. I hope they heard our laughter and smiled.
As I get older, friends are listed more often in the obituaries than the wedding notices.  A part of life everyone experiences with maturity. My kids don’t recall those days when I was a silly teenager, dating, doing homework, but these people do.
Thank you for the memories.

Terryville High School Class of '61
What I bragged about to my old friends.

 Ancient Blood by Barbara Edwards
Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all.
Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.
Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.

“Lily?” His strong hands gently cupped her shoulders.
“Don’t, please don’t.”
She pulled away, fully intending to flee. Her resistance shattered, and she turned into his embrace. It was too late to escape. Pressing against his strength, she wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His erection prodded her stomach, and she moaned. A heavy groan filled his throat as he lifted her from her feet. He kicked the bag aside as he sat her on the counter.
“I can’t wait,” he growled. His flaring aura spiraled with colors she couldn’t name. She caught her breath. One hand burrowed through her hair, keeping her still as he stepped between her thighs. “You’re all I could think about all day.”
Clasping her bottom, he slid her to the edge of the counter. With his lips claiming her mouth, he unbuttoned her slacks, than lifted her slightly to push them down and off.
The cold surface only made her more aware of his scorching heat. His rough denim pants scraped her inner thighs in contrast with the silky hair under her palms. Her pulse leaped, and she gasped. His male scent mixed with hints of the wild forest filled her nostrils. When his fingertip explored the heated moisture gathering at her juncture, she tightened her thighs around his hips.
Barbara Edwards
The Wild Rose Press: Ancient Blood, a Black Rose
Ancient Blood

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

Laura Breck
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the USA, and we have a traditional huge family gathering to look forward to. When we sit down to eat, but before we dig in, we like to say what we're thankful for. We used to let people ramble and mention everyone present, but by the time we'd gone around the table, the food was cold. So now, we limit it to five words or less. The kids go first, and we hear things like, "My Wii", "Four days off school", and "Dirt bikes." But most of the adults say "Family."
Family is important this time of year, and I'm definitely grateful for mine. I've posted a scene from my latest release, Scandalous L.A. Desires. It's a big Thanksgiving dinner in Las Vegas, and shows the drama and excitement a family gathering offers.

Thanksgiving day at noon, the men—Dante, Antonio, Ryan, Valerie's dad, Scott, and her brother-in-law, Joe—sat in the media room watching football. Tony was on the floor with his toys, and shouted with the men every time they cheered a play.

In the kitchen, Valerie led the women—Lindsey, Valerie's sister, Monica, and her mother, Dena—through the choreography of getting a meal on the table for ten people.

Dante went in once to get more beer, and was nearly trampled. He refused to go back again.

Lindsey appeared in the media room doorway. “Dinner's ready. Come and eat.” Tony ran to her, fell, and then crawled toward her on his hands and knees. Lindsey went to him and scooped him up in her arms, kissing him on the head. “Are you hungry, Tony?”

Tony nodded and stuck his finger up her nose. Lindsey pulled it out and kissed his chubby cheek.

Dante's heart leapt in his chest. He'd never imagined anything as beautiful as Lindsey with a tiny Daniato in her arms.

The men filed out after her, but Antonio put his hand on Dante's shoulder. “You know, she got that very same expression on her face when she saw you holding Tony. What gives?”

Dante shook his head. “I'm hooked.”

“You're hooked, landed, and filleted, brother. When are you going to ask her?”


“Better do it before Ryan steals her away.”

Dante's jaw clenched. Ryan was an asshole. But he'd made a promise to Lindsey yesterday, and he would be damned if he'd break it.

Dinner was casual, the only choice when toddlers were involved. Dante ended up at the other end of the table from Lindsey, who sat next to Tony in his high chair, with Ryan on the other side of his nephew. Dante watched as Lindsey cut up little pieces of meat, vegetables and potatoes and put them on Tony's plate. Ryan chatted with her and helped keep Tony's food on his tray instead of on the floor. They talked baby talk and laughed at Tony's efforts to feed himself with a starter fork.

Lindsey chatted with Valerie's sister, Monica and her husband, Joe. “How do you and Joe like staying in the penthouse? I've heard it's beautiful.”

“It is,” she answered, rearranging the shawl over her shoulder to cover her nursing baby girl, three month-old Genevieve. She smiled at her husband, who looked at her and their daughter as if he couldn't believe his luck. “She's asleep.”

Joe took the baby from Monica and gently placed her on his chest to burp her. He spoke softly, “The condo's got every amenity, and you can walk to all the casinos. You should borrow it some weekend. Have a vacation.”

Ryan said loudly enough for everyone to hear, “I don't think Dante would want to stay there with you, Lindsey. He might run into one of the ladies he…dates…when he's in Vegas.”

Ryan had the nerve to wink at him, and Dante would have liked to pluck the man up off his chair and throw him out of the house. But he'd promised Lindsey.

She was looking at him, judging his reaction to Ryan's teasing.

Valerie brought in another platter of turkey and handed it to Dante. He had to unclench his fists to take it from her.

She nodded to the opposite end of the table. “They make a cute couple, don't they.”

He passed the platter to Antonio. “Valerie, you're just trying to get a rise out of me. But I'm going to ignore you and be the peacekeeper.”

She plopped down in her chair, laughing. “What's gotten into you? Oh, wait. Did Lindsey tell you not to pick a fight with me?”

He stared at her.

“That's it, isn't it? She told you to behave. I love it.”

“I'm also not supposed to pound your brother into the ground,” he glared at Ryan, “but he's making it difficult to resist.”

Her voice quiet, Valerie leaned toward him. “Dante, seriously, that girl is not interested in anyone but you. If you think for one minute she's even the slightest bit impressed with Ryan's 'woman charmer' act, then you're blind.”

“I know.” He stabbed his fork into a potato. “It's just the way Ryan works. He's a player.”

“And you're not?”

He looked at his sister-in-law. She was merely trying to help him understand her brother. He nodded. “I was. But not anymore.”

“There's the difference. You found your woman. My big brother's been looking for his, but he's disappointed every time.”

Dante looked across the table.

Ryan was dealing with a baby who was done eating and throwing the rest of his food on the floor.

Valerie said, “He's only 28, but he's ready to settle down.”

Dante nodded, understanding how Ryan felt. He watched Lindsey talk to Valerie's parents. She turned and looked at him, then touched her necklace—the one he gave her. His heart filled with emotion just seeing her smile.

“God, I love her, Valerie.”

“I can see that.” Her voice sounded choked. “I'm happy for you.”

“Me too, brother.” Antonio joined their conversation. “She's amazing. And when she volunteered to feed Tony, I think I fell for her a little myself.”

Dante and Valerie laughed, and watched Ryan pick up something from the floor and get a little boy hand full of potatoes in his hair.

Ryan pulled the gooey mess out of his hair and said to Tony, “Seriously?”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm giving away a copy of Scandalous L.A. Desires to one lucky commenter. Can you express what you're most thankful for in 5 words or less?

Hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful!

Secret Vegas Lives
Scandalous L.A. Desires
both available from Red Rose Publishing

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Uniting of Family by Amber Leigh Williams

Sweet Potato Casserole
Thanksgiving is about family. For me, it's as simple as that. As my family is spread over the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Oklahoma, it's difficult to celebrate with the whole gang. As the years have gone by, however, and the family has spread further and further apart, Thanksgiving is the holiday that I love most because it gives family a chance to gather and give thanks for one other.

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition isn't the meal itself, but the moment that everyone joins hands around the table and announces what it is he or she is most thankful for. Aside from our country's troops, most everyone is thankful for one thing above all - the people around the table. It's easy to lose ourselves in personal or economical problems - and there have been all too many of those throughout the last five years in particular. But this tradition gives everyone the chance to reflect and realize that the strength of our family is not diminished. And not only are we thankful for those around the table but the family members spread across the south who are gathered around other tables as well.

2007 - Three Generations - My Sister, Me,
My Mother & Grandmother

We have other Thanksgiving traditions in the Williams house including a round of horseshoes in the backyard. I'm the shortest competitor and my gracious family members give me an eight-foot advantage. Despite this, I always manage to lose. In my opinion, there is still nothing better than a little friendly competition between loved ones. And everyone seems to laugh when I announce in the pre-game warm-up that this is my year....

2009 - Three Generations - My Mother,
Me, My Grandmother & Sister

Not everyone likes marshmellows baked on top of their sweet potato casserole so a few years ago my sister and I decided that instead of preparing a separate casserole without marshmellows, we would leave marshmellows out of the center in a fun and/or meaningful pattern. One year we used our family's favorite college football team's emblem. Last year, we used a "W" for Williams, which turned out to be a popular choice. Next week, I look forward to another marshmellow challenge....

2010 - Three Generations - My Husband, Me, My Father & Grandmother
This is the first year I will be spending Thanksgiving outside of my hometown, Fairhope, Alabama. My husband and I will be traveling to the Florida Panhandle to celebrate the holiday with my mother and grandmother. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there. I wish, however, that we didn't have to give up another Thanksgiving tradition. This one involves walking the Fairhope Pier overlooking Mobile Bay on its picture-book beautiful eastern shoreline after dinner. Usually, we finish the meal just in time to catch the sunset. Fairhopians and their visitors travel to the pier around this time and gather in silence as the sun descends from the sky. It's a breathtaking experience and though I don't live far enough away from Fairhope to give up walking the pier altogether, I'll miss the chance to do so next week and cherish those memories of the years we could do so before for the rest of my life.

Sunset on Mobile Bay - Thanksgiving 2008

So here's again this holiday season to family - Thanksgiving would not be the same without it! And because next week marks my favorite time of year, I'm giving readers a chance to win a good holiday read. By commenting to today's post before midnight EST tomorrow, you'll be in the running for a chance to win an ebook of your choice from my backlist. Be sure to let me know which title you would like to win and leave your email address so I can contact the winner directly Monday morning! (You must be 18 years or older to enter. Chances of winning depend on the number of entries.) For a look at my backlist, here's a link to the BOOKS page on my website! Thanks for letting me share!

Friday, November 18, 2011

In My Book – Dogs Rule! By Jannine Gallant

What am I thankful for? First and foremost – my family. And a special part of my family is our dog, Ginger. I’m sure most of you feel the same about your pets. Your lives would be missing that extra special something without them. Ginger makes me smile when I’m down and laugh at her antics. She isn’t a show dog or the smartest dog in the world. She’s 100% mutt, and I love her dearly.

It’s not just Ginger. ALL dogs are wonderful, whether they’re a big and slobbery or little and yappy. So, call me crazy, but I put a dog in every one of my books. What beleaguered heroine doesn’t need a four-legged companion to give her comfort and add a little comic relief? I’m not partial to any one breed, but all my four-legged characters have their own distinct personalities.

In Victim of Desire, my heroine has a golden retriever named Daisy who’s afraid of the water and gets car sick. With my Class of ’85 Reunion stories, I created unforgettable canines who play a central roll to the story. In Lonely Road To You, Lucy is an Irish setter, cocker spaniel, poodle mix who sleeps on the furniture, loves road trips, and never listens to her owner. Trixie is a pint sized cairn terrier who terrorizes the heroine’s dates and eats her mail in Maybe This Time.

After All These Years features two dogs. Ace is a basset hound with one eye on his food bowl and the other on the wildlife in his backyard. Sasha is a well trained German shepherd dedicated to her young mistress. When her cosmetics company is consumed by a hostile takeover, my heroine takes inspiration from her pet and starts a dog treat business.

If you’re a dog lover, I guarantee you’ll find something to make you smile in these stories. For those of you with your own dogs, here’s a recipe they’ll adore.

Ginger’s Favorite Treats
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups grated cheddar cheese
1 stick softened butter or margarine
1 clove garlic finely chopped
Pinch of salt
¼ cup milk (approx.)

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix together all ingredients except milk. Add enough milk to form a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out dough on floured board and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 15 minutes.

Today I’m giving away a PDF copy of After All These Years. All you have to do is leave a comment to be eligible to win. Do you have a pet you adore? Let’s hear about them!

My books are all available through The Wild Rose Press,, Barnes & Noble, and other online outlets. Find buy links on my website at

Thursday, November 17, 2011


My Mississippi Home
I love Facebook. Great for networking and staying connected to friends which is awesome for me.  I’m a Southern girl far from home. But at times I have to laugh. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for life to be as great as we project it on Facebook. You never see post like  Looks like Suzie’s heading for summer school this year! or  Had to go down and bail out Uncle Martin again. And certainly not  Check out the awful review on my latest release!

No, you hear everything is wonderful, great, couldn’t be better. That’s what we do on Facebook. So when I checked on an old acquaintance status I wasn’t surprise to see, “So proud of my Miss Sweet Potato Queen!” Okay, I laughed. Lovely girl, but I had to laugh. Really? Someone entered a contest to become Miss Sweet Potato Queen?

I can laugh though. I’m from the South, the deep, deep South. We’re like family. You can laugh at your own family, but no one else can. Right? One of my favorite comedians, Jeff Foxworthy, has done it for years. Everyone has heard of ‘You’re a Redneck if…”
Yes, I have family that would fall under that category (proud of it too, mind you).  Yes, I know someone who has cut down one of his shrubs outside his front door to use for a Christmas tree. Who from down South doesn't have family that deer hunts? Where my Momma lives is rural country. Miles and miles of farm land. Hardly a person to be seen until...someone kills a deer. And then its like ants swarming around a picnic basket as was evident the last time I was home during deer hunting season. I looked up from the kitchen table to see the whole of my small community outside in my Momma's shed. In a matter of minutes trucks drove in, one right after another. I had no doubt my brother had killed a deer. 

Living in the Boston area, the cultures between here and home...well they couldn't be more different than night and day. When I first moved up here, everyone asked me what nationality I was. Everyone up here seems to know exactly where they come from- Irish, Italian, German, Scottish, Portuguese ...except what could I say but Southern. Southern is a nationality. I have always contended that it is. How am I suppose to know what nationality to claim? I basically have everything you can imagine- English, Irish, Scottish, French, and Native American. Those are the ones I know about.  Then you have the culture barrier. When I first ordered tea in a restaurant up here, I was served a cup of hot tea. I didn't know what to do with that. What happened to my ice tea? Then for the longest time I kept getting looks when I asked for a Coke. I wasn't talking about a Coke. I drink Diet Coke, but down South we call all soda Coke, certainly not a pop. Not to mention when I used the word fixin'. And nobody...I mean nobody knew how to fry chicken. Now, I'm not a cook, but I know if I ever have a doubt how to cook something...just fry it up. Don't matter what.

So to say I was a little ecstatic to see one of my friends the other day post on Facebook about what Jeff Foxworthy had to say about New Englanders would have been an understatement. Just had to smile. I'll share a few with you that I enjoyed.  

 If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New England .
If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you live in New England.
If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in New England.
If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in New England .
If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in New England .
If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow,you live in New England.
If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in New England.
If you find 10 degrees 'a little chilly', you live in New England.
If there's a Dunkin Donuts on every corner, you live in New England.
If you think everyone else has a funny accent, you live in New England .

Now, I feel right at home. I can laugh with my adopted home, too. Can't I? Laughing is a good thing.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

The Path Now Turned
Coming Soon!
For anyone who wants a chance to win a copy of my upcoming release under my pen name-Carrie James Haynes, The Path Now Turned, the second installment of Whispers of a Legend, leave a comment below. For the winner, I'll send a PDF copy on the day of its release, November 28th. Don't forget to get your free copy of Whispers of a Legend, Part One, Shadows of the Past!
Shadows of the Past
Like to thank Jeff Foxworthy for the things he said about New England and all his  redneck jokes.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

4-Book Give Away Day!

Today I'm giving away a set of my 4-book series called, Seasons of Redemption.

 To find out about the stories, go my renewly re-designed website and click on the tab BOOKS.

To win, all you have to do is leave a comment. At the end of the day, I'll select a number and the name that coincides with it will be the winner! You may leave a comment more than once.

Below is a blog interview I did after book 4, Undaunted Faith, was released last May. It appeared on Lena Nelson Dooley's blog around that same time.


  God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I just handed in the manuscript to my editors for a book called Threads of Hope. It’s book 1 in my new series called Fabric of Time.
    *     *     * 
            Tell us a little about your family.
I’m married and have 3 grown sons, 1 daughter-in-law, and 4 grandchildren. I also have a fine church family.

       Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I’m afraid I don’t read as often as I’d like. With researching my historical novels and all the time spent writing them, I barely have time to clean my house and see the grandkids, let alone read. Still, I try to read a book every couple of months and I love to read my friends’ books. Right now I’m reading Louise Gouge’s At the Captain’s Command. Then I’ll begin Karen Witemeyer’s To Win Her Heart.

       What are you working on right now?
I’m writing a short contemporary Christian romance novel and I’m hoping to get a proposal for it to my agent Steve Laube soon so he can shop it around.
 What outside interests do you have?
I love to take walks. I recently underwent a total knee replacement and I’m healing up just great. I can’t wait to take regular walks outside come springtime. My husband and I also enjoy seeing our grandchildren. We make that a regular practice.

        How do you choose your settings for each book?
Somehow certain areas just grab me, like the Arizona Territory in 1867. You’ll read about it in Undaunted Faith, Book 4 in my Seasons of Redemption series.
But I’m also interested in local history. Book 2 in my series takes place here in Milwaukee. Book 3 is set in Chicago and then in Milwaukee again. I love to research my hometown and my State. My next series, Fabric of Time, will take place in Wisconsin.

       What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I would have learned more about self-editing. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to read my older works, even if they’re published. I suppose that means I’m growing as a writer – and that’s good!  J

             What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
God has shown Himself faithful in so many ways. He takes good care of me. One of the lessons I’m learning is that because my Heavenly Father is the King of kings and I am His child, then that makes me…a princess! So I ought to act like royalty, not in a snooty manner, but a manner in which I treat myself with respect and take care of myself. The Bible says that we should love others as ourselves. But if we don’t love and respect ourselves, we cannot love our neighbors.

So all you princesses out there – listen up! Do something wonderful for yourselves today – and then show some kindness to someone else. J

 What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
               1)  Don’t give up.
 2)  Learn all you can about writing and hone your skills
 3) Trust God to open the doors to your success. Then don’t                be afraid to walk through them.

 Tell us about the featured book Undaunted Faith.
Sure. Here is the back cover copy.

The McCabe brothers have their hands full. Trouble on the range and trouble in town. But they never expected their sweet schoolteacher, Bethany Stafford, to join in the mix of woe. When her reputation is unfairly tarnished, Pastor Luke McCabe is quick to propose marriage. But Bethany wants better than just a marriage of necessity to save her good name. Could Luke ever come to love a plain “little field mouse” like her?

Dr. Annetta Cavanaugh has her own questions about men and their intentions. While Pastor Jake McCabe seems sincere, she still has her doubts about him. But after he accompanies her on a medical call, she sees a whole new side of him and can't help but admit her attraction to the handsome pastor.

However, there’s evil brewing in town—a lawlessness that even the sheriff cannot tamp down. Finally, it comes face-to-face with both Luke and Jake and it threatens the lives of the women they love. Are the McCabe brothers ready for the fight of their lives?

        Please give us the first page of the book.

Journal entry: Monday, April 1, 1867
I, Bethany Leanne Stafford, am writing in a
leather-bound journal, which my dear friend Mrs.
Valerie McCabe gave me for a going-away gift. She
suggested I write my memoirs of my impending
journey West and about my new life as a schoolteacher
in the wild Arizona Territory. Valerie said
she wished she’d have kept a diary of her escape
from New Orleans and a loveless marriage from
which her husband Ben had rescued her.
For continuity’s sake, I shall back up from the day
I left Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In September of last
year, upon leaving the city, I took the train to Jericho
Junction, Missouri. My traveling companions
were Pastors Luke and Jacob McCabe and Gretchen
Schlyterhaus, a German widow.

 How can readers find you on the Internet?
I invite readers to my website:
Once there, readers can find my blog and a lot of other information. They can also find me on Facebook.

To win a 4-book set of Seasons of Redemption, please leave a comment.