Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest Christina James - Just Do It!

Don’t stop to think about it…just do it

Christina James

I’ve been a published author for three years now and, my gosh, how the time has flown. When I reached my dream of being published, I remember asking myself, “What next?” I did have other books in all phases of production so my creativity was in high gear. But I wondered about all of the things that come with being published.

Did I expect to have the paparazzi watching my every move? No, of course not. But I knew there would now be readers I had a responsibility to. A responsibility to keep the books coming. And not just coming…keep making them better and better.

I am a perfectionist at heart and launched myself into a frenzy of writing to keep up with my self-induced deadlines for my future novels. I had accomplished my dream of getting published, now I wanted to be multi-published. Once I published the next few books then I gave myself a new dream…winning a contest. Then with my first contest win I finally had concrete evidence that my writing was worthwhile to show my well-meaning family and friends who worried that my “hobby” was taking over my life.

I had readers emailing me to tell me how much they enjoyed my books, my reviews were awesome, my editor was asking for my next book, and I had received some royalty checks. All of this while I worked a full-time job, was newly divorced, raising my two children as a single mom, and re-entered the dating scene after 17 years of marriage. Introducing myself as a romance author certainly kick-started the conversation!

I had the craziest schedule with working during the day, taking care of the kids and writing every night once the kids were settled. I wrote into the wee hours of the morning because I knew I had to keep writing and producing books or the name recognition and professional reputation I was growing would be lost. But this craziness had also given me my next dream…to quit my full time job to write full time. I haven’t been able to do that yet and while I would love to write all day long with no other job to interfere with my creativity, I worry that I would be giving up my “free” research - all that people watching all day that gives my imagination a boost with new ideas for new stories. Now when I tell someone that I’ll put them in a book, I’m actually not kidding!

Yes, tapping away at my computer all day would certainly help me produce my books faster, but I also enjoy seeing the outside world. As writers we can get so wrapped up in our writing and the worlds we create that we can forget there’s a real world right outside our door.

People have asked me how I manage to do so much in a day every day. If I stopped to think about it then I’d probably never be able to do it. And I’m not alone - many authors sacrifice time with friends and family to dedicate time to their writing. And that’s okay because our writing means something. We are providing hours of enjoyment for our readers to allow them to escape this sometimes crazy world. We owe it to our readers to give them the best possible product.

And we owe it to ourselves as professional authors to keep plugging away and making our lives work with our writing any way we can because we’re living the dream.

Don’t stop to think about it…just do it

A Place To Call Home, by Christina James


Dangling precariously from a ceiling, Hannah O’Leary never expects her rescuer to be so gorgeous…or so irritating. After a horrible childhood of running from her abusive father, Hannah moves from place to place expanding her restaurant chain, never allowing herself to get close to a man, and never choosing a place to call home.

From the moment he pulls Hannah to safety, Austin “Mac” MacDevin is captivated by the saucy redheaded woman who wishes to hire him for renovations on her new restaurant. Mac, a divorced single dad raising three sons, isn’t prepared for the lust that feisty Hannah ignites in him.

Working together, Hannah and Mac’s passion heats up. Her spitfire attitude is just what Mac needs to shake up his orderly but lonely life. Surprisingly, Hannah blends in easily with Mac and his boys, creating a home life she never had. When Hannah realizes Mac can give her the family she’s yearned for, can she stop running and set down roots? Or will the cruel plot of Mac’s ex-wife make the decision for her and destroy the only love she has ever had?

Buy links: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007BJTSB0



He cracked a smile then laughed.

“It’s not funny,” she scolded.

“You are so friggin’ beautiful, Hannah. And then you open your mouth and fire comes out. It’s, well, just such an amazing package I can’t believe no one has scooped you up yet.” His hands slowly rubbed her arms, sending delicious shivers down her spine.

Worried about the boys upstairs, she kept her voice soft but her words stern. “Don’t you dare patronize me.”

“Think what you want, but I have no reason to fluff my words.”

He was too close. She lost her concentration. “Maybe it’s your way of getting into my pants like you want to.”

His eyes darkened, became serious. “Darling, when I want to get in your pants, I’ll seduce you like you’ve never been seduced before. I promise you. You’ll forget your name.”

God, she’d already all but forgotten it right now.

“You won’t get the chance,” she said with heat.

His grin was devilish. “Oh, I will. There’s no sense us fighting our attraction. It’s just a matter of when we end up in bed and who takes the lead.” His hands slid to her waist, his fingers kneading her skin ever so lightly. “Which, given both our personalities, should be quite interesting and something I must admit I’m looking forward to.”

She poked his chest. “You listen to me, Austin MacDevin. I’m not some game you can play. I’m a busy woman and don’t need to put up with shit from you. So let go.” She pushed out of his embrace and walked away, fighting her desire.

“Hannah,” he quietly called after her.

She stopped, hesitated, and turned to face him, his voice tugging her heartstrings. The dreaminess in his eyes revealed pure lust and hunger, and her temper lost its bite. She couldn’t deny she wanted him any more than she could live without air.

He sauntered to her, his tall shadow cascading over the deck floor. The desire in his eyes mesmerized her. His gaze roamed her face then rested on her lips. Those long fingers skimmed her jaw while his arm wrapped around her waist and gently held her against him.

“Aw, hell,” he whispered. “I give in.”

Mac bent his head, his lips covering hers, the kiss as gentle as a butterfly’s wings brushing over her skin. His hesitation appeared obvious, the way his arms quivered while they circled her. Her own nerves electrified when her heartbeat quickened against her breastbone.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Where's the Romantic Sunset? by Brenda Whiteside

Sunset over our orchard
Share a Sunset with Your Lover Month. What a great idea - and certainly something a romance writer should slip into her books, right? Shame on me. I found one vague reference in Sleeping with the Lights On.

The glow from the candle on the table danced in my wine, and the boot on the ankle trick flowed through me. We took a few bites in silence. The sun had not quite gone down, and the moon appeared as a wispy vision when I glanced out the window. The moon, fettuccini, Chianti, and Carson’s touch set the mood.

We moved to Arizona, on a northern prairie, at the beginning of the year. I grew up in the desert area of Arizona. One thing I remembered about the desert was the great sunsets. Not to get too technical, I've heard the dust in the air makes for great sunsets. Here on the prairie we have great sunsets also. And this is by far dustier than the desert.

At night, we like to sit on the patio and watch the sun go down. So I thought I'd share some of my sunset pictures with you in celebration of Share a Sunset with Your Lover Month.

And for sure, in the book I'm writing right now - I need to get some romantic sunset scenes written!

Don't miss my latest release, The Morning After, reviewed by RT Reviews and received 4 Stars, reviewed by Coffee Time Romance and received 5 Cups.
Buy Link

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Guest Doris Lemcke Shares Time Travel for Writers


I believe that in order to write a memorable story, one must be part artist, part scientist, part craftsman, and part magician. And for historical writers, it helps to be a time-traveler too.

I owe my love of historical fiction to my 4th grade teacher’s reading list, beginning with The Silver Chalice, and my love for the American historical to Gone with the Wind. Those characters were so real, their world so “present,” I devoured every historical novel my reading level would allow. And as I grew up with the wonderful old Westerns on TV, I imagined myself in every show, certain I’d been transported from the past via The Twilight Zone. When I finally realized I was indeed born in the 20th Century, and couldn’t travel through time, I did the next best thing. I read old books.

They seemed to find me. The first one to reach out was the hundred year old, thirty-pound family Bible sharing space with the insulation in our attic. Besides 1800 pages filled with frightening illustrations, I found flowers, wedding invitations, obituaries, Sunday school papers, locks of hair and pictures of long-dead ancestors, all lovingly pressed inside the sacred book. When I was around ten or eleven, and for a reason I simply cannot remember, my dentist gave me an 1835 edition an American military tactics manual.

Shortly after that I hit the mother lode while exploring the junk stored in rafters of our garage. Inside a beat up old metal trunk with my great-grandmother’s name stenciled on the side was a stack of old books my grandfather had bought at an unclaimed freight auction. They were smelly, brittle, tattered, really-old-books, including a Civil War soldier’s pocket manual. Most of them dated from the late 1800’s to the early 1920’s and I couldn’t get enough of them. My mother wouldn’t allow them in the house so I read them up there in the steamy-hot rafters until my father took pity and brought them down to the garage floor. And there they stayed, until I got married and hauled them around the country to thirteen different basements. Now and then, I’d pluck one out and revisit an old friend.

My Passion’s Legacy Series was actually inspired by one of those books. Written in 1873, Seven and Nine Years Among the Comanche and Apache was a first-hand account of a husband and wife separated on their trek West and held prisoner in two different tribes. I put that together with a collection of Civil war diaries and letters that hadn’t been checked out of the library in thirty years, added a hidden treasure, and wrote Passion’s Secret. Book two of the series, Passion’s Spirit, was also born of that old trunk. The great-grandmother whose name was stenciled on the side was an Ojibwa Indian, and I was fascinated by the Native American culture.

For historical writers, those old books, diaries, letters, postcards and sepia-toned pictures in oval, “faux” tortoise-shell frames lurking in dusty attics and garages speak to us. We go back in time the moment we touch the yellowed pages that crackle as we turn them. And as we squint at the faded Carter’s ink to read penmanship that once defined a person’s social class, we enter their world. It’s the next-best-thing to being there, and sometimes, it’s hard to come back.

For all you historical writers—and readers, I wish you safe time-travel.


Not even Georgia’s founding family can keep its secrets hidden forever.

Follow the lives, loves—and haunting secrets of four generations of one of Georgia’s langesford family. From the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, to New Mexico’s sacred Taos Pueblos, and the jungles of Cuba, this amazing family takes life and love to the limit, and never looks back.

Meet the people who demanded their stories be told, baring their secrets—and sins to the world:

Flora DeBoucher, the beloved quadroon servant from New Orleans whose secret enslaves her.

Camilla Langesford, who pays dearly for trying to escape the faded dream that was “The South”.

Patrick O’Grady, haunted by the sins of his father and searching for the treasure of a lifetime.

Sean O’Grady, whose untamed spirit yearning for the freedom of the West could get him killed.

Lily O’Grady, the musical prodigy with dreams of becoming the next Lily Langtry, but must help free a nation first.

Tempered by war, betrayal, love and loss, this brave and passionate family risks everything for love and leads us through the physical and cultural expansion of our great country—into a new century.

Book One - Passion's Secret

She’d never give in…Camilla Langesford has no intention of letting her ailing father’s Yankee partner steal their plantation. But Patrick O’Grady isn’t like other carpetbaggers. Claiming to be a soft Northern businessman, his powerful body, brooding Irish temper and pewter-gray eyes speak of a dangerous past. And his soul-searing kisses melt her frozen heart—until a deadly secret shatters it.

He’d never give up…Langesford Plantation is the former Pinkerton agent’s last chance to solve a mystery that’s haunted him for four years. But he didn’t plan on the chestnut-haired virgin with smoldering, green eyes and a fiery temper, dogging his every step. And after a secret tryst in a hot-spring grotto, he discovers a treasure worth more than a cache of gold bars—until one night changes everything.

Patrick talked to her from the other end of the pool as he washed, his deep voice young and carefree. “I've heard of hot spring pools, but never thought I’d enjoy one in private with a beautiful woman washing my clothes,” he chuckled.
“Just your shirt, Mr. O’Grady, and this is an emergency situation.” But Camilla couldn't forget the sight of his bare chest, the corded muscles defining his strong arms, or his soft voice when he’d called her beautiful. Suddenly, she ached to reach out to something, or someone.
But certainly not a Yankee! She shouldn’t have brought him to her secret haven where she could lay on the fresh grass and dream of far-away places. Now, the position of the sun told her it was well past luncheon.
“You better hurry,” she called. “Or we'll be late and my honor will be severely compromised.”
“We wouldn't want to do that, would we Camilla?” warmed her ear, and her neck tingled from the caress of his breath. She turned to meet his smoldering gray gaze and wide smile. A heartbeat later, she was in his arms, her palms resting against the still-damp, curling hairs on his chest.
Her heartbeat quickened at the feel of his warm, moist skin against her fingers, his strong thighs pressing against hers through the thin, cotton dress. And when he kissed her, his lips suckled hers, top lip first, then the bottom, while his tongue tickled them into a smile.
She knew she should stop him, but the heat that spread though her body wouldn’t be denied. She’d never felt anything so...right. With her eyes closed, the curves of her body molding against the sharp angles of his, her hands slid up the rugged landscape of his chest and her arms wrapped around his broad, sinewy shoulders. Then her lips parted to taste him.

Book two – Passion’s Spirit

Untamed Hearts, Worlds Apart
Raised by Santa Fe missionaries, half-Apache orphan Elena Santiago has vowed to avenge their murders the Apache way. But first, she must masquerade as a white woman to deliver a dangerous message across the country, into the land of her enemies. But more dangerous than the warning she carries, is her heart’s response to the untamed spirit behind Sean O'Grady's smoky grey eyes in a body that reminds her more of an Apache warrior than a soft, white “gentleman”.

Sean O’Grady has always dreamed of exploring the Wild West, but at twenty-five, he’s put aside his dreams to run his family’s Georgia plantation and wed his neighbor. When Elena arrives looking and speaking more like a Spanish lady than an Indian mission girl, he wonders if she's really who she say she is. Is she a virgin or a vixen? The question taunts him as he struggles with feelings he’s never felt for a woman before.

Feelings that could get them both killed.

When Sean pulled away, Elena looked into his eyes wondering, is this what love feels like, or is it only lust? She decided that nothing as beautiful as the moment they’d just shared could be evil. But it could never be love, either. She had felt his passion press against her and ached for him to fill her. Now she was grateful that he hadn’t. They were from different worlds that still warred against with each other. He could never survive in her world and she refused to live in his.

As if he read her thoughts, he leaned into her, whispering so close to her ear that it could have been a kiss, "Why can’t you be Mary Louise? And I the Apache brave who will eventually claim you?” Then he turned to stare at the stream that patiently followed the course nature had carved out for it.

The question echoed in Elena's mind. For a moment, his heart had matched the rhythm of hers. The curves of her body had melted into the angles of his as they breathed the same breath and tasted each other’s souls. For a moment, they had truly been one body and one soul.

Now separated, the chilly breeze that stirred the pine needles at their feet told her that when she was with him, even angry, she was whole. And though he changed his moods faster than the mountain gods and was promised to marry a weak and silly white woman, part of her would always belong to this loco Gringo.

She also turned her gaze toward the river. "We can only be who we are."


Available through

Doris Lemcke - Timeless Romance
The Passion's Legacy Series




Thursday, July 26, 2012

What does independence mean to you?

In the traditional sense, "Independence Day" means 1776, Ben Franklin and those guys, signing the Big Paper, and fireworks.

But there's a lot of talk lately about "Indy Publishing" -- so what's that all about?

I chose to go the Indy Route for the books I'm releasing this year. Let me hasten to say, it has nothing to do with my publishers (Ellora's Cave, Resplendence, and Wild Rose Press). I love them all and they've all been good to me through the years.

But I find, more and more, that I'm writing books that just don't quite fit in. There isn't a lot of romance, there's not a lot of mystery: there's a blend of the two worlds, each as important as the others. Mystery publishers don't really want the romance, and romance publishers don't really want the mystery -- they prefer to have the book be weighted, one way or the other.

So I thought I'd give the Indy route a try. It's not terribly expensive (I pay for my covers and formatting), and my sales have been okay. Not great but okay. I do very little promo any more, so I'm not surprised that I haven't been 'discovered'. I plan to set my latest book to Free on Amazon in a week or so, and we'll see if that generates any interest.

Sometimes independence is just a matter of figuring out that your path isn't the same as the usual path. It's not a big dramatic shift. It's just a slight jog in a different direction. Before I tried Indy publishing, I had 27 books released. I figured I gave that path a good workout. Now let's see where this new path takes me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Guest Jennifer Ann Coffeen Sets Goals

Summer is a very productive time in our household. In between work, family, vacations and long lazy beach days I try to get as much writing done as possible. My goals this summer include finishing the second WIP in a series, a holiday short story, and submitting my latest novella. Halfway through the summer season I am knee deep in writing deadlines but progress is being made! This leaves me wondering if goal setting is the key to success. 

Maybe it’s just my inner optimist chatting away, but I believe that setting high goals can be a great motivating tool for writing. Setting goals allows you to sit down and figure out what you really want. Hoping to publish this year? Knock out a first draft? Or build up your fan base? While all the goals include writing, they can take you in very different direction. Learning to set the right goals helps to keep you on track especially when work and laundry start piling up. Here are a couple of goal setting tips to get you started.

1.  Start out small. Goal #1 shouldn’t be climbing Mt. Everest. Begin with small, achievable goals and build up. When I started my first novel I didn’t think about selling it. I simply set a daily goal of 500 words. Then I moved up to 1,000 and 1,500 until one day I had a first draft!                                                                   
2. Write them down. Something about the act of sitting down and writing out your goals makes them more real. You can post your goals on the fridge as a daily reminder or keep them in a private journal.                       
3. Make yourself accountable to someone. A writer friend of mine tells everyone from her boss to the next door neighbors about her goals. While you don’t have to be quite so public about them it’s always a good idea to tell your goals to a trusted person in your life. Find a writing partner to set goals with or have a friend call you once a week to cheer you on. It’s all about staying focused and motivated.                                
4. Know your limitations. I tend to set very high goals for myself especially when I have a lot to accomplish. But I also accept that sometimes life simply gets in the way. As a full time mom, wife, friend, and writer I only have so much time in my day. If I’m a little short on my goals this month I don’t let it get me down. I simply put it on the list for next month and keep writing.                                                                                
5.  Reevaluate every few weeks. Life changes and so do your goals. You may have a busy month at work and can only manage a few words a day on your novel. Instead of abandoning your goals just change them to fit your current time limits.

“The French Blue diamond must be destroyed.” Haunted by the words of her dying father, Lady Madeline Sinclair arrives for the London Season with more than parties and the latest fashion on her mind. She has sworn a vow, and the beautifully headstrong and fearless Madeline will allow nothing to distract her…until she meets the infamous Lord Colin, Duke of Douglas, a man known for his scandalous past engagement. With a dark grin and stormy eyes, he threatens to make her forget her duty, along with her manners.
Bound together by the mysterious diamond, Madeline and Colin soon succumb to the passion raging between them, even as the diamond eludes their grasp. But the true threat lies in the hands of an enemy whose dangerous obsession with the past has the power to destroy them both.
“I promise not to hit you again,” she replied, forcing a light tone. “If you promise not to throw me to the ground and—”
“And?” One eyebrow shot up.
“Provoke me.”
He laughed then, a full, rich sound that seemed to drop the tension from his face. He was more recognizable now, and Madeline felt her shoulders relax.
“I am sorry,” she added. “My behavior that day was unforgivable. I do hope we can start over as friends, Lord Douglas.”
She held out her hand, the small warning bell in her head quickly silenced.
“It would be my pleasure.” He took the offered fingers, bending slightly to press them against his lips. Not a trace of impropriety, but a sigh caught in her throat all the same, and she held it there, no longer breathing.
In the back of her mind she knew this was not a good idea. She knew perfectly well she should invent some excuse, run straight back into the ballroom and discuss Lady Farris’s flowers. She didn’t move.
“And since we are already intimately acquainted, I must insist you call me Colin.”
“Colin,” she said, finally exhaling so the name rushed out in a breathless tone. She wildly searched her mind for something else to say but never managed a word.
Colin pulled her to him, the kiss as much a surprise as her own response to it. Madeline’s body instantly betrayed her, melting against the strong arms that held her until she had lost all sense of her earlier outrage. The world fell away, leaving nothing but Colin’s searing lips blistering her own—and the faint smell of lilacs.
Follow me online at JenniferAnnCoffeen.com.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sharing A Sunset Is Nice, But Moonlight Can Be Romantic Too by Margo Hoornstra

A few summers ago, my husband and I went on a week-long cruise to Alaska. This is a mode of travel I highly recommend and one trip we plan to take again, hopefully, in the near future.

Not only was our Alaska cruise one fabulous vacation, it also provided the groundwork, a ready-made synopsis if you will, of my first published novel Honorable Intentions.

Naturalist classes, various excursions, the formal captain’s dinner, our itinerary became the itinerary of my characters, Chase and Samantha. After I introduced them to each other and threw in an extremely awkward situation to start things off.

Acting on a dare, cop turned security agent Samantha Wells comes on sexually strong to a random stranger. Alpha male that he is, conservation officer turned naturalist Chase Canfield instinctively responds in kind to the woman he’ll never see again. Except Chase turns out to be the best friend of Samantha’s new boss and a major component of her newest assignment; chaperone the single father’s teenager on an upcoming cruise to Alaska.

Given the circumstances of Chase and Samantha’s initial encounter, she’s the last person he’d pick to watch over his young, impressionable daughter. Consequently, he now has to find a way to go along.

And while my mother-in-law stayed in the adjoining cabin to ours with the shared balcony, for my heroine it was the hero who lived next door. The perfect set up for at least one romance in the moonlight scene when Samantha walks out of her room for some air.

The peaceful Alaskan night was a welcome contrast to the turmoil of her thoughts. Soothing waves whispered against the ship’s hull, a mild reverberation in the stillness. Strands of multi-colored lights, strung stem to stern on the decks above her, reflected in shining ripples on the smooth surface of the water. Beyond the faint light, a blue black haze hid any landscape they might be passing.

Elbows rested on the short railing, she allowed the surrounding darkness to bring her into the comfort of its folds, until thoughts of where she was going and who was along started up again. Serenity vanished, and she lifted eyes skyward, huffing out a sigh of annoyance. The restless toss of her head from one side to the other did little to dispel her irritation, then a movement to her left caught—then held—total awareness.

Too late, she discovered Chase was out there too. Reclined in a deck chair, feet propped up on the railing with a blanket across his lap, he looked to be asleep. As far as she knew, she hadn’t bothered him—yet. Not wanting to disturb him now, for his sake as well as for hers, she turned to go inside.

“Don’t leave.”

The softly spoken words stopped her progress and stilled her heart.

A stroll on the deck, again with moonlight filtering down, can draw two people together too.

The deck was quiet and deserted as they stepped outside. Behind them were the bright lights and blaring music, before them only inviting darkness and welcoming peace. A light breeze washed across the water, took on the coolness of its surface, then brushed back across the deck. Samantha hugged herself against the unexpected chill at the same time as Chase’s tuxedo jacket fell over her shoulders. She pulled its comfort more tightly around her as the warmth from his body spread down over hers. They strolled side by side in silence, then stopped to lean against the smooth, thick railing. A full moon revealed the blurred outlines of sloping hillsides and high peaked mountains rising from the shoreline in the distant mists.

“That’s twice now you’ve protected her,” Chase noted quietly. “Once when we were boarding, and just now in there.”

“I wasn’t aware we were keeping track.”

He glanced at her with a shrug. “I still appreciate that you did it. Twice.”

She started to say It’s my job, then stopped short. She would have done the exact same thing job or not. “You’re welcome.”

It was awhile before either spoke again then his voice broke into the silence.

“Her mother is trying to take her away from me. For good.”

As the title of this piece suggests, sharing a summer sunset with your lover is nice, very nice. But, sometimes a stroll in the moonlight with a potential love interest has its benefits too.

Honorable Intentions is available in print or electronic format at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and The Wild Rose Press.

Or through my Website and Blog at www.margohoornstra.com and www.margohoornstra.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Short Story First Line Winner!

The winner is: She had just one wish for the holidays.

Thank you to everyone who voted. Look for our holiday stories, each beginning with this this line, throughout the entire month of December.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Snowing - In Our Imaginations!

For the second year, the Roses of Prose authors will make December a holiday read month on our blog. This year, instead of writing a progressive story as we did last year with A Holiday to Remember (available free my website and at Smashwords) we're each writing a short story.
We'll post the stories during the month of December, and in January, we'll create a book from them which you can download free.

We need your help, though. To add a fun challenge for us, each of our stories will start out with the same first line, and you get to choose which one we use!

Here are the first line ideas:

1) She had just one wish for the holidays.

2) So much for her first holiday vacation in years now that the airport she practically broke her neck to get to was shut down.

3) The black boots quivered and twitched before disappearing completely beneath the towering noble fir.

4) Two surprises greeted her when she opened her front door that morning: a foot of pristine snow and a wrapped package on her doorstep.

5) Was it bad luck to find dead mistletoe on your doorstep?

6) She watched in surprise as the man in the Santa suit pulled a badge out of his red fur bag, and flashed it at…her?

7) What was it about the holidays that made normally sane people lose their minds?

8) Why did the past twenty-four hours feel more like twenty-four days?

It's tough to choose just one, isn't it? Leave a comment with your vote, and we'll let you know the winning line this weekend.

Thank you!
~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance
Dancing in a Hurricane is available in digital and paperback formats at Amazon and in paperback at Createspace

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dog Days of Summer (or Using Dogs to Enhance your Writing) by Jannine Gallant

Ginger - she looks sweet...
July… A sun baked beach with the smell of tropical tanning lotion wafting on the breeze… The whir of crickets on a sultry summer night… A sweat dampened shirt and aching muscles, the stillness of the forest in mid-afternoon, anticipating a hint of breeze at the summit of the climb… All images I associate with The Dog Days of Summer. Of course the Dog Days wouldn’t be complete without the all important dog.

Ginger the stick loving menace to squirrels!

A dog at the beach means throwing a ball, over and over and over… In the evening calm, man’s (or woman’s) faithful companion lies in the grass and rolls to her back, all four paws waving ludicrously, and moans. The stillness of the forest erupts in a frenzy of barking as a squirrel scampers across the trail. See how a dog changes up the scene, either enhancing (or destroying) a mood, or adding comedy and excitement. Maybe that’s why I put them in all my books.

The following is a scene from After All These Years where my heroine, Chantal, discovers a skeleton. A scene like that isn’t easy to write. It’s hard to get the drama without making it totally cliché or worthy of an eye roll. Ace the basset hound adds that extra something that makes this scene work. (At least I hope it works! LOL)

Covered by a mass of honeysuckle, she saw the shape of a wing attached to a fuselage. The sun glimmered off the tip of a rudder protruding from a clump of ferns. It appeared to be a small, single engine plane. Ace sniffed around what was undoubtedly the cockpit, half buried in the earth. He gave a long, low woof and dug furiously.
“Ace, the plane has been there for years, probably decades. I don’t know what you hope to find.”
Undeterred, he continued his excavation, and then disappeared completely into the rusted body of the plane. Chantal climbed across the broken wing after him. “If you get stuck in there, so help me—”
Empty eye sockets stared up at her as the skull rocked precariously and toppled from the skeleton. Ace gave a final tug on the humerus clamped in his jaws and came away with the grisly prize.
“Drop it, Ace! Drop it this minute!”

I’ve also used dogs to tell my readers something about a character. How a person reacts to a dog is generally indicative of the type of person they are. Are they timid, concerned about their appearance, overbearing, reluctant? The list goes on. In Nothing But Trouble, my hero, Chase, learns something about Honor’s temperament when she’s introduced to his hound dog, Bo.

            At the truck door, she came nose to nose with a long eared, soulful eyed hound dog. He put his oversized paws on the window frame and gave her a sniff. Reaching out a tentative hand, she scratched his head. Tongue lolling, he moaned in response.
            “Move it, Bo.” The dog retreated at Chase’s command, and she opened the door. “I can make him get in the back seat.” His words held more confidence than his tone.
            She squeezed inside. “It’s okay. I like dogs.”
            Starting the engine, he smiled at her over the recumbent dog who’d draped head and shoulders across her lap. “That’s good, because he seems to like you.”

Have you used dogs in your writing? If not, give it a try. Or choose a different animal. Cats are full of personality. I can only imagine what they’d add to a scene. Hmm, I may have to change it up one of these days…

My books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailer. Buy links are on my website.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Have you ever planned an event that you wanted to be just right? You work endlessly over every detail to make sure your party is a success. Painstaking time is spent to get every aspect of your event perfect...from picking out the date of the event, invitations, the food, to even where your guests should park. Every detail. Nothing is overlooked. For in the end your one desire is for everyone to leave satisfied and happy they came.
That's my mindset when I sit down to write a book. My one desire is to create a story that will stay with a reader. I want my book to be the one you can't put down and even disappointed when you finish it. Okay, maybe, I'm getting a little carried away, but you get the idea. I want you to enjoy my creation.
Like planning a party, you have to create the right mood and atmosphere. 

If I ask you what you think of when you think of a romantic dinner, doesn't your mind wander to a small table covered with an elegant white tablecloth in a dark and secluded area lit only with two candles burning on either side of the two wine glasses. A single red rose bud sits in a crystal vase serving as the centerpiece. While a couple of empty chairs wait for the lovers to enter the room. Not what you would plan if you were planning your ten-years-old birthday party.
That's why when you're writing the setting is so important...like setting the table.
I was thinking about settings to books while I was editing an upcoming release. I have two books coming out soon. Ruse of Love in August and Another Night Falls in September. Both are set in Charleston during the American Revolution. They even have a couple of character exchanges. But I was thinking of how the stories evolved. Truthfully, both were inspired by Patriot Secrets. I have said many times I'm fascinated by the American Revolution. While I was doing research on the American Revolution for Patriot Secrets, I literally stumbled over the Southern Campaign. When I was in school, I swear I never learned about the battles in the South during this time.
The whole of the war took a interesting turn in the South. We Southerners even then walked to a different beat. The more I researched, the more I was drawn to this place, Charleston...Charles Town before the American Revolution. Interesting, intriguing, romantic all words I connect to Charleston. Last summer, I visited Charleston and fell in love with it. It was just as I imagined...more so. Different I have to admit from my visit to London this year. Not going to go into details about my trip to London yet, but my visit to London didn't inspire me the way Charleston did and I write about both places. London though is a huge city in the middle of getting prepared for the Olympics.
Charleston on the other hand...just walking down the Main Street inspired stories within me. Remember I write romantic suspense. Charleston still holds within it a charm of people forgotten; a remembrance of a time lost. Charleston has character...good and bad...that's good for me. Without conflict, I wouldn't have stories. At a convention last year I attended a seminar given by Donald Maass, he said something that when I write I live by. 
What’s the worst thing your antagonist must do? Make it against his/her principles. Make it unthinkable. Then make it imperative.
To do this to my characters, I have to have a setting that would enhance my stories. Charleston is perfect.
For me, my stories cry for a setting such as Charleston. Underlying the beauty of Charleston is a different character. To understand better, you need to understand the early Charleston. No matter the beauty, Charleston had death surrounding it. With its warm weather, Charleston became a haven for sickness, mainly fevers of all sorts from yellow fever to malaria. The area was made up of a diversity of people from the elite to slaves and don't forget the Indians within this mix. The elite of Charleston tried to emulate the aristocrats of England. Their homes illuminated their wealth even today you can see the magnificent dwellings. Yet most of their wealth was built on the back of slaves. During the American Revolution, at times the war seemed as a civil war which had little to do with the British. More as if the war gave anyone who held a grudge against another justification to go after that person. Greed and revenge motivated vicious crimes. But within Charleston, there were also brave, courageous men and women who help forge our country. I love some of the stories I've read of the brave women and their actions they took to save lives and their homes.
On August 7th, Ruse of Love will be released. It's Book Two in the Winds of Betrayal series.

The tides of war have shifted. When all eyes turn south, Doctor Jonathan Corbett finds himself once more thrust into the war’s turmoil. On assignment from General Washington, the dashing doctor discovers his mission has taken him straight into a conflict where the British are not the only ones to be feared. 
Rebekah Morse has no time to contemplate the exploding war around her. Caught up as a pawn in a deadly conspiracy, she finds her only hope lies with her old friend, but things have changed since they last saw each other.

Yet destiny has not intervened in their lives without cause. Rebekah’s strength, courage, and breathtaking sensuality sets within Jonathan a desire he swore never to feel again. When Rebekah’s life is threatened, Jonathan is determined to save the stubborn woman whether she wants to be saved or not. Now Jonathan and Rebekah must face the perilous threat together—only to discover a passion they never imagined...Ruse of Love by Jerri Hines-Coming August, 2012! 

Following this release, Another Night Falls will be released. Another Night Falls is Book Three in the Tides of Charleston Series!
  Sumner Meador walked in a world of wealth and privilege of Charles Town’s elite, but that was years ago. Now he fights in the Southern backwoods driven by the passion he holds for the Patriot cause, shadowed by his past.  Reeling from a devastating defeat at the hands of the British, Sumner seeks haven at his farm, only to find an interloper, an unwelcome and unwanted distraction. He has no time for the young woman or the complications she brings with her, but soon discovers he has no option but to give aid to the stubborn, courageous beauty whether she wants it or not.
 A widower, Sumner has been haunted by the death of his wife and is consumed with a desire for revenge. Jane Kilmer has been violently thrust into the midst of the civil war ensuing in the backwoods. Hiding from one of the most dangerous vigilantes, Jane trusts no one. Suddenly, she has no choice but to put her life in Sumner’s hands. Both desire revenge, but neither wants what happens-to fall completely, undeniably in love with each other- so much so, that both are willing to die for the other. And they might have to. 
Another Night Falls coming September, 2012!
Both books are set in Charleston during the American Revolution...both a historical romance/romantic suspense. Both, I hope, will be a must read...and you will put down the books satisfied and happy you read them!

And just for fun...want a few good FREE reads....click on the title. If you're interested in Book One of the Winds of Betrayal Series...Patriot Secrets....and if you're interested in Tides of Charleston Series....The Judas Kiss and The Promise.  Enjoy! Have a good one!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Who is Emily Jackman? by Jena Galifany

My father has made a living from haunting family estate sales, swap meets, yard sales and the like. He has a knack for finding items that mean nothing to the present owner but is worth much on the open market. Daddy once found a little cream pitcher that was about 3 inches tall at a garage sale. It looked like it came from a child's tea set. He paid twenty-five cents for it and went about his business. Once he'd posted it on eBay, it sold for $125.00. It was silver and a collector's item. Daddy knows what to buy at a garage sale!

I've told you that to tell you this: My father knows I own Galifany Used Books here in Lancaster, California.  He found a couple of books that he thought I might enjoy and shipped them off to me. They are a set of two diaries. On the inside title page, they tell me the author of the diaries was Emily Jackman and the years are 1871 and 1872. The leather covers are smooth and soft but thin from age. They are amazing.

I've decided to not only read Emily's diaries, but I'm transcribing them once I figure out what they say. The writing is ornate in a few places and it makes it difficult to read. Emily must have used a pencil as her words are severely faded. She also did me the dishonor of writing very, very small. Nevertheless, with my hubby's excellent help. I'm able to read Emily's words. Steve rigged up a camera attached to a tripod sitting on the floor. It is attached to the big screen television. I place the diary, dimensions about the size of a credit card, under the camera and it is shown on the big screen. This, and a lighted magnifying glass, is allowing me to transcribe the tiny history of one woman in 1871.

Through clues from some of her entries, I've located Emily on the United States Census for 1880. She lived in Charlotte, Vermont and her husband's name was George D. Jackman. She was born in 1848. She is listed at white, American, and her occupation was "Keeping House". She had one son, Harrison, who was eight years old and another son, Earle who was two during the 1880 census. There would be two sons for Emily, a fact she knew nothing about as she wrote her diaries in 1871 and 1872.

I have to say that my father sent me a fascinating new hobby. I'm finding out who Emily Jackman was. Furthermore, I plan to locate some of her descendants and see if they would like to have her diaries back. I love a good mystery and this is only the beginning of a true life search into the past to reunite the diaries with Emily's family.

 Jena w/Grandma and Dee 

Emily has me thinking about my family history once more. There are so many things that I'd like to know about my family history but there is no one left to ask. Is this a great reason to keep a diary or a journal? I think it is. I believe everyone should keep some record of special events that later generations would like to know about or medical histories that future generations need to know. So many treasures are lost because no one thought to record it for the next generation.

I'm planning to start a project with my family through the email. I want each of my three siblings and multiple nieces and nephews to take part in asking and answering questions about each other and about memories of generations past. By having the emails, I can store them on computer and compile them into a logical "book" of memories and information for those to come. Who knows? Maybe I'll find out a few exciting facts about my family that only my older sister knows about. Do you have any suggestions that would help enrich this new form of family history recording?

Jena Galifany
ShadowsForge Series
Her Perfect Man
Shyanne's Secret
Love Lifted Me

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The History of Ice Cream by Alison Henderson

In Part 2 of my paean to ice cream, I thought I might share a bit of the history of America’s favorite dessert. The origins of this frosty treat are hidden in the mists of time, with numerous cultures claiming credit. The ancient Persians poured syrup on snow (more like a snow cone, really), and the Chinese developed a frozen mixture of milk and ice that may, or may not, have been brought to Europe by Marco Polo. Tenth century Arabs produced something closer to our modern dish using milk or cream, sometimes mixed with yogurt, and flavored with rosewater, dried fruits, and nuts.

Here’s a fascinating recipe from Mrs. Mary Eales’s Receipts, published in London in 1718, courtesy of Wikipedia.
To ice cream.
Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweeten’d, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and lay Ice and Salt between every Pot, that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be froze in four Hours, but it may stand longer; then take it out just as you use it; hold it in your Hand and it will slip out. When you wou’d freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Rasberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemmonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemmon-Juice sweeten’d; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.

Ice cream was reportedly brought to the U.S. by Quaker colonists and was sold commercially in shops in pre-Revolutionary America. One history states that Dolley Madison served it at her husband’s inaugural ball in 1813. In 1843, a Philadelphia woman received the first patent for a small hand-cranked ice cream freezer which used an ice and salt method similar to the recipe above but turned the mixture for much faster freezing. Americans’ love affair with ice cream was off and running.

Improvements in refrigeration technology and manufacturing methods have given us an almost endless supply of flavors and variations from sorbets to soft-serve, but our desire remains unslaked. After all, can you ever really have too much ice cream?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ice Cream Excerpts

July is Ice Cream Month. I don't know who decided that. It certainly wasn't me, because I worship ice cream for twelve months every year, but that's just me. I love it so much that ice cream often makes it into my stories. Here's two examples:

From ABRA CADAVER, available now. Holly is conducting experiments with Keane to see how much of his sense of taste has returned to him.

Holly wiped her finger on the towel
she’d brought from the bathroom. “Anything you
really would like to taste? Anything you crave?”
Good gods, yes.

He cleared his throat and focused on the words
necessary to compose an intelligent response to
Holly’s question. “That frozen stuff you eat
sometimes. Ice cream. You seem to really enjoy it.”

“I do.” She pulled him off the couch and dragged
him to the kitchen. Pointing to one of the kitchen
chairs, she said, “Sit.”

Keane did as he was told. Seeing the light in her
eyes, he would have done anything she asked.

Holly opened the freezer and scanned the two
shelves in there. “Cookie dough, maple walnut, or
mocha fudge swirl?”

“You have three kinds of ice cream?”

“I have six, but I’m only sharing a taste of one of
those three. A girl needs to be stingy about her
emergency ice cream rations.” She closed the freezer
door and hugged the refrigerator. She stepped back
and opened the freezer again. “What’ll it be, Keane?”

“Mocha fudge swirl, though I’m not sure I’ll
know what it’s supposed to taste like.”

“Excellent choice, and if it feels as if you need a
cigarette after tasting this ice cream, you’ll know
you’ve tasted it for real.”

Holly grabbed a spoon from a drawer and
scooped up a little mocha fudge swirl. Toting the
spoon, she walked to Keane at the kitchen table and
said, “Where do you want it?” She held her hands
out to either side of her as if offering her entire body
as a serving platter.

He had trouble swallowing, but he managed to
say, “I can choose anywhere?”

Holly nodded. “But hurry, or it’s going to melt.”

Buy at Amazon.


From Firefly Mountain, coming in October. Patrick has just cooked Gini a dinner so she wouldn't eat peanut butter crackers from her purse for supper.

Patrick took their salad plates to the sink when
they’d finished, and Gini liked how at home he
appeared in her kitchen.

He twirled spaghetti onto her dinner plate then
filled his own. The bright colors of tomato, broccoli,
carrot, and pepper fancied up the pasta, and he’d
drizzled a light pesto sauce over it all. When Gini
took a bite, she couldn’t stop the satisfied hum that
escaped her.
“One brat, thoroughly loving this meal,” she

“Better than crackers, yes?”

“Definitely.” Gini took a few more bites, wiped
her mouth, and looked up at Patrick. “Thank you.”

“No problem. It was easy to make.”

“Thank you for back at the hospital too.” Gini
focused her attention on the bottom of her glass as
she took a drink.

“Also no problem.” Patrick fiddled with the fork
in his hand. “It was easy to be hugged by you. And to
hug you.”

Gini gazed at him now and forgot all the rules as
she stared into his hazel eyes swirling brown and
green like running through a forest. He smiled and
dove back into his spaghetti. Gini resumed eating as
well and enjoyed the companionable silence that
hung between them, nothing but the sound of jazz on
a piano filling the kitchen.

When the food was gone and the dishes washed
and dried, Gini opened the freezer and took out a

“I’ve got dessert covered,” she said. “You’re not
allergic to walnuts, are you?”

Patrick shook his head and leaned against the
counter next to Gini to see what she had. “Ice

“Yep. Maple walnut. Made it myself.” She
dropped three rounded scoops into a bowl and
handed it to Patrick.

“Wow. Maybe you’re not the person I originally
thought you were either.”

“You mean maybe I’m not a brat?” Gini smirked
as she put the ice cream back into the freezer after
filling a bowl for herself.

“Oh no, you’re still a brat,” Patrick said, “but
you’re a skilled brat.”

For a great tune about ice cream, try Sarah McLachlan here.

That's got to be some serious love to be BETTER than ice cream! Come on! :)

What's your favorite kind of ice cream?