Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring - A Time of New Beginnings by Katherine Grey

Please join me in welcoming Katherine Grey as she welcomes spring!

Living in upstate NY, I’m always eager to say goodbye to the mountains of snow, wind, and icy drives to work. What I look forward to most about spring isn’t the change in the weather, though it is nice to drive to work on dry pavement rather than ice covered roads and through blinding snowstorms.  I love the new beginning that spring heralds.

While spring isn’t my favorite season (yes, it’s summer), I look forward to it every year. I eagerly watch the skies for the geese flying back from their winter homes, the birds collecting twigs and string to make nests, and of course that sure sign of spring – Robins.

To me, it’s a time of starting over or starting fresh. The flowers poke their heads through the soil and grow into beautiful blossoms, the trees begin to bud and soon the street where I live is shaded by a canopy of leaves, and every now and then I spot a fawn following its mother across the field. 

I use this time of year to evaluate where I am in meeting the goals I’ve set for myself at the beginning of the year both writing related and not writing related. Some years I’m doing really well with staying on track. Other years, well, I haven’t done so well so I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start fresh. Sometimes I make changes to the goal or eliminate it if it’s beyond my reach for that year.  It has to be pretty serious for me to eliminate a goal. For example, the year I had my knee rebuilt, I had set a goal of walking a mile every day five days a week. Due to complications, I used a walker and then crutches for five months before I was able to graduate to a cane. Needless to say there was no way I could walk a mile every day during that time.

I also use this time of year to learn or do something new or that I haven’t done in a long time. Last year I learned how to play craps so that I could write about the game of Hazard with some authority. Hazard is very similar to the game of craps. This year I’m going to try to learn how to paint using watercolors.

An Unexpected Gift
Known only as Lazarus to the band of cutthroats and thieves he leads, William Prescott will do anything to find his missing sister, even blackmail a fragile young woman into helping him. But he never plans to fall in love with this mysterious woman with a troubled past.
Haunted by the memories of war, Olivia St. Germaine wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But when her brother, a doctor, suddenly leaves town without a word, she is forced to use her medical knowledge to help an injured man who puts her life in danger. Can she keep herself safe as she tends Lazarus, or is her heart more vulnerable than she realizes?

Olivia moved away from his touch and pulled the book back between them. She turned the page only to have a pair of dice drop onto the book.
“How about we take a break, and I teach you how to play Hazard? Unless you already know how?”
“No, I don’t, and I’m really in no mood to play games.” She set the dice aside.
“Then that is the perfect time to play. Nothing puts a body in a good mood like winning money.” Finch picked up the dice and set them in front of her.
She moved the cubes back in front of him. “I am not gambling with you.”
He looked around the room, then hopped up from his chair and began collecting various curios from around the room. He brought everything back to the table and pushed half of the items toward Olivia. “In place of blunt,” he said by way of explanation.
“You certainly are determined,” she said, feeling the corners of her mouth quirk upward.
“No more than you when I am trying to distract you from that blasted book.”
“Which is what you are trying to do now.”
He smiled at her. “Exactly. Now call a number between five and nine.”

You can find An Unexpected Gift at:
The Wild Rose Press:
Barnes & Noble:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sometimes Possibilities Require Defined Priorities by Vonnie Davis

The last time I blogged, I'd shared my agent was "shopping out" a Christmas short story to Carina. I was hoping I could move to a larger publisher. Well folks, it won't be Carina. They passed. It happens. Right?

Agent Lady swiftly jumped onto Plan B. In fact she had the story emailed to our list of previously agreed upon publishers before I had a chance to say, "Maybe I better work on it some more." She claimed she moved so swiftly because she knew I would do exactly that.

But rejection brings changes, not just by switching to plan B, but also to the way we perceive our accomplishments and abilities. Self-doubt comes knocking at our doors. This time the pointy-headed sprite brought along a three-piece set of luggage when she rang our doorbell. I should have kicked her to the curb...but I didn't.

As a result I've been asking a question many authors ask themselves from time-to-time: Why am I writing?

.I've worked through the Pity Party for One. Moved onto step-two and questioned my writing abilities, all the while repeating the question. Why am I writing? Do I do it for the money? No. Do I do it to make a name for myself? Well, being known as a good writer would be nice. That's why I enter contests and pay close attention to my reviews. Perhaps I write to please my readers, then? To a degree, yes. Or, do I write to fulfil a deeper need? 
Then again, perhaps I'm asking the wrong question. Perhaps the question needs to be how would I survive if I didn't write?
Frankly I think my soul would dry-up. My brain would sour with a type of madness. And my heart would turn brittle and break. Simply put, I need to write. And I need to do it for me. This is my priority. Before I can comprehend all the possibilities, I must embrace my own priorities, my dreams. I leave you with a quote by the poet, Langston Hughes: "Hold fast to dreams. For if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly."
What are your priorities?
Vonnie Davis writes most sub-genres of romance. Her characters reveal themselves to her and demand to be heard. Visit Vonnie at .

Friday, April 26, 2013

Springing ahead on my writing

I've managed to break through the writer's block I've been experiencing and I feel as though I'm brimming with new ideas.

I returned to some old tricks I learned long ago about breaking writer's block. I wasn't truly BLOCKED, but I sure wasn't making fast progress.

On my one WIP (a mystery story), I set a definite goal: I want it 80% done by July 4. That's 75 days from the day I set my goal. So I wrote 75, 74, 73, etc., on a piece of paper, have it by my computer, and every day, I cross off a day. Seeing those numbers marching down the page have given me incentive to sit down every day and at least TRY to write. Since I started, I'm on chapter 3. Whee!

On my other multi-book series, I was struggling to recapture the essence of one character. I have a LOT of characters in this series, both current and future, and I switch back and forth between 8 major characters as I follow their lives.

I came up with Character Traits. I decided on 6 one-word traits to describe each major character and each minor (not REAL minor, but not major) characters. That's about 20 people, and I sat down one night and really thought through each one and found a list of traits somewhere, and added them to the wiki page I have for each character.

Now when I put a character in a situation, I can go back there and say, "Well, Catherine wouldn't have done that" and realize that the scene is "out of character" for her.

This has helped me enormously, because I had some scenes that I thought were great but they didn't feel right. Now I know why. It's being initiated or experienced by the WRONG CHARACTER.

I am so delighted by these simple techniques to help me get back on track. I look forward every day to crossing off that number, knowing that I'm this much closer to a goal, or checking that character sketch and knowing just what that character should be doing.

Sometimes it's just a matter of thinking about what you want and figuring the best way to do it. It really comes down to finding what works for you -- and once you do, the possibilities are there!

Yay, me!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fairy Tales and Romance by Naomi Stone

Please join me in welcoming Naomi Stone to The Roses of Prose.

Thanks so much for having me here with the Roses of Prose today. I thought I'd talk about a lifelong interest of mine: Fairy Tales.

I’ve read a lot of fairy tales in my time. The complete collection of Lang’s colorful fairy books (‘The Red Fairy Book,’ ‘Blue Fairy Book,’ etc., through a spectrum of twelve colors) more than once. I've read  'The Thousand Nights and a Night,' both abridged and in the complete Burton translation, the Grimm Brothers collection, Hans Anderson and many lesser-known folklore collections from cultures as diverse as Gypsies and Polynesians. I’ve read modern retellings of the old tales, from Disney to Tanith Lee and read the articles of folklorists such as Terri Windling, Jane Yolen and.Jack Zipes.
Based on all this reading, I could enumerate countless examples (but will spare you) of fairy tales all leading to a happy ending in which the happy ending is thanks to the poor but good-hearted (simpleton, youngest son, shepherd, wood-cutter, etc.) winning the hand in marriage of the beautiful princess -- or the beautiful, good-hearted (goose girl, orphan, youngest daughter of a peasant or merchant) winning the love and hand in marriage of a handsome prince.
The sheer prevalence of this trope tells me that there is a deep-seated longing in human hearts for an ideal match – for a mate combining physical attraction with social success (position, wealth and power). In days of old, fairy tales expressed and offered vicarious fulfillment for this longing – just as romance novels do today.
Fairy tales are the age-old root of modern romance. Fairy tales address a deep-seated human longing that still exists today. Fairy tales offered blatant, unapologetic wish-fulfillment in a world where life was harder than we can even imagine who live in a world with modern plumbing, electronics and health care.
But, in the evolution of fairy tales, a time came when fantasy and romance grew apart.
Romance eschewed magic for more realistic settings, with rational modern day men and women for heroes and heroines. Romance grew in its comprehension of what constitutes a happy ending. It taught us that there's more to a hero than a princedom. That actual individuals are involved in marriages and their individual personalities and feelings offer challenges as mysterious as any found in a fairy tale quest.
Romance moved away from the realm of the fantastic and vice-versa. And while her followers might do so, Jane Austen did not write of zombies or eldritch monsters. If Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker did, well 'Frankenstein' and 'Dracula' were not romances. During the Age of Reason and for long since, Fantasy set aside Romance, pulled on its Grown Up Pants, embraced the machine age and gave birth to Science Fiction.
Both genres have grown and matured through the time they spent apart, but they have been coming back together in recent decades.  At first, when romance and the fantastic met in modern times, romantic fantasy sneaks back in its horror-tinged vampire fangs and howls at the moon. Coolly logical SF often dismisses the happiness of two little people as not amounting to a hill of beans in this world with its larger, world-spanning concerns. Yet, story-telling has room for more than our limited genre-expectations can imagine, and all the old fairy tales are with us still, reminders of a natural affinity between romance and far-flung fantasies of magic and adventure.
Increasingly, modern writers such as myself seek to bring the best of both worlds together again. I've been pleased with reviews telling me that the romance in my stories doesn't get in the way of readers coming from the world of science fiction, and that the science fiction elements don't prevent romance readers from finding the fulfillment of a satisfying love story.
I'd like to ask your readers today to tell me about their favorite fairy tales as children, and whether they can still find something meaningful in the tale.

Naomi Stone
Latest release: 'Spirited' from Champagne Books,
Amelia Swenson's plans for the weekend didn't include a sexy djinni or saving the world from demons, but plans change.
NaomiStone0RWA (on Twitter)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't Give Me You Have No Choice! by Brenda Whiteside

There's barely a week left of April and the possibility showering is heading toward a trickle - from us anyway. You can keep on looking for your own possibilities. Which means what? Choices. That's where my mind wandered. There are always possibilities...there are always choices.

Have you ever said "I have no choice?" This is one of my most hated phrases. There is always a choice, or even choices. Many, many years ago my father-in-law was explaining to me why he did something he hated doing. It's been so long ago, I can't remember what, but I think it might have been what he did for a living. He told me sometimes in life, you have to keep doing what you hate. I was very young, about twenty, and I suppose he thought he was tasked with imparting some deep wisdom. Being the uninhibited person I was (am?), I said, but why? For instance, if you hate pancakes, why would you get up everyday and eat pancakes? It sounded smarter at the time, but you can see my youthful idealism.

I still abide by it. Never settle. You always have a choice in life, no matter the circumstance. Granted, your choices may be bad and worse, but you can't always determine that until after the fact. Afraid to make a choice? What's the worst that can happen? You chuck it aside and try something else.

There's a saying I love that is credited to Lucille Ball:
"I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done." 

So go for it, whatever it is. Make the choice and own it! 

Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at
She blogs about prairie life and writing at

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ah, The Possibilities From ‘No More’ to ‘For Now’ and Beyond By Margo Hoornstra

A few days ago, I finally, FINALLY finished my latest writing effort. Well, not exactly finished, finished in the strictest sense. The manuscript is now in the able hands, eyes and expertise of my critique partner, fellow Roser Jannine.

There is no doubt in my mind her suggestions are flying onto Track Changes as we speak. I also have no doubt my work will be cut out for me—pun intended—when she is finished with it.

Still, getting that final page clean typed and released from my computer was a huge relief.

Only If You Dare is my second effort for the Dearly Beloved series of The Wild Rose Press, Last Rose of Summer line. Albeit a yet to be contracted effort, this one had been a struggle from day one. First of all, I totally discarded the original proposal I sent to my editor, then a few completed chapters, characterizations and story arcs that just didn’t work in the final product were also axed.

No more of that to have to deal with.

No more days of five, six hours or more re-writing, editing and the like. No more carrying the zippered case containing the manuscript and a blank spiral notebook everywhere I went just in case I had the slightest opportunity to work on it. No more turning on the light on my nightstand and picking up the pen and paper I keep there because plot points, dialogue and other minutia that had eluded me all day suddenly crashed and tumbled into my brain the moment my head hit the pillow that night. No more half listening to what someone in my family was relating to me (sorry, guys) because a small part of the story was taking up a major part of my mind. No more stressing out because I missed, yet again, a self-imposed deadline.

No more of my husband making dinner (bless his heart) because I’m busy working. Whoa! Wait a minute. Forget I said that as we move on.

For now, my life is full with or without more writing—isn’t everyone’s? For now, I’m enjoying not feeling compelled to get to that manuscript no matter what else is going on. For now, I’m taking time to simply read without having to edit and or write a review. With apologies to my writer friends, a real luxury for me. For now, I can allow myself to spend time mindlessly watching television without feeling guilty about it. For now, I’m catching up on some long neglected housework.

Whoa! Wait again. I said some. No sense going crazy overboard there either.

You know what though? I’m starting to feel somewhat lost, at loose ends. Bored, even.

So what’s next for you? Jannine asked that in the e-mail acknowledging she’d received the manuscript.

What? I don’t know.

Are you going to start something new or rework an old manuscript?

Lord knows I have plenty of those. Still, I’m sure which way I want to go just now.

That was when it dawned on me. Ah, the possibilities. Which project do I want to tackle next? Ah, the possibilities. Limited only by the confines of my imagination and yours.

Ah, it’s great to be a writer.
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Is This Possible? Six Inches of Snow on April 19?

Laura Breck
My husband took this picture from his office window. Two days ago, there were about 40 robins on the lawn.

Yes, it's beautiful, but where is Spring?

On a warmer topic, my Romance Writers of America chapter's fundraising anthology received a fabulous four-star review in Romantic Times Magazine.

by Various Authors
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Anthology
Sensuality: MILD

RT Rating
This anthology’s contributors boast that readers will indulge in 17 stories of “love, laughter and life,” and each author delivers on that promise. Although the novelettes are quite similar, the entire collection individually gives fans of romance a message of hope, a whisper of a kiss and just enough spice to keep it interesting. Additionally, all proceeds from the purchase of this book are going toward providing training and learning opportunities for writers.
Some of the collection’s standouts include Jana Otto’s “Coming Home,” where a young widow learns to love again. Her late husband’s best friend is on military leave and she invites him to a weekend getaway at the cabin in Lake Makawa. Who will be the first one to profess their love? In “Lake Dreams,” by Rosemary Heim, a childhood crush comes into fruition 10 years later. One single kiss and a steamy night together could turn into a lifetime of happiness — or anguish. And in, “Hooked” by Barbara Mills, a young woman who loves the outdoors takes her city-slicker boyfriend to her family’s cabin on the lake and teaches him a thing or two about fresh air and boatloads of loving. These and many more tales will jumpstart your heart! (MIDWESTFICTION.COM, Feb., 263 pp., $13.99 )

Thank you, Romantic Times, and thank you Mother Earth for providing us with moisture four our ground, even if it is in the form of April Snows instead of April Showers.

Has the weather been odd in your corner of the world, too?

Have a great weekend,
~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance
~Dancing in a Hurricane is available in digital formats at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble and in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace
~Love in the Land of Lakes is available in digital format at Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, and in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Publishing Possibilities - They Seem To Be Endless! by Jannine Gallant

When I graduated from college back in 1984 (Yep I'm aging myself people!) I decided to write a Harlequin Romance. Seemed easy enough, right? I was an English major, after all, and destined to be the next big star in the publishing world. But I was willing to start small (with a familiar market) and build from there before releasing my first bestseller. So, I wrote a typical Harlequin story long hand in a notebook. Then, I upgraded from my trusty typewriter to a word processor (with floppy discs to save your work), made a few edits, and voila! finished product. I mailed that baby off to Harlequin and waited a year... At this point, I'm sure you'll all be completely shocked to hear I actually got a fix and resubmit letter back. But, alas, they passed in the end. I found an agent, however, based on the fact that Harlequin gave me a second look. Still, no contracts were forthcoming...

This was the path most of us followed, way back when. You sent out your work, where it landed in a slush pile to sit for a year or more. Even with the agent (who I now realize had no real contacts with romance editors even though she was a very nice person), the publishing houses sat on my books for months and months before saying my stories weren't quite right for their line. After years of rejection, marriage, and then babies, my writing career (if you can call it that) fizzled and died.

Enter the new age in publishing. The age of possibilities... Those babies I had were in school, and I started writing again. We'll skip the year and a half I spent with a shyster agency that only wanted to be reimbursed for copying and mailing expenses... (I later found out the owner had been charged with fraud in a couple of states) and pick up my story after I drug myself out of that nightmare. When I finally woke up and smelled the coffee, I realized much to my surprise, I now had options. There was a whole world of small presses out there where you could submit without an agent. And, drum roll, the first one I sent my latest masterpiece to, contracted me. It wasn't a done deal straight off, mind you. I was told to fix all my POV errors. What the heck did that mean? I learned what it meant, and my writing improved by leaps and bounds.

I think this is where a lot of us are in our careers. We're competent (or better than competent) writers publishing great stories with small presses. Only to discover we aren't actually making any money. As we're looking around, scratching our heads, and wondering what to do next, the indie market has exploded around us. So, I jumped on board. This time I did my research and produced what I hoped the market was looking for - a series. The first two book in the Secrets of Ravenswood are now available, with the third to follow at the end of the month. I'm not exactly slaying those Amazon rankings, but I'm trying my best with free day promos and building connections through social media and blogging. Maybe in time, this avenue will pay off.

But, I haven't given up completely on that initial dream - the one where my books are actually on shelves in stores. So, I went out and found an agent. I'm sure you see the irony in this after my previous experiences, but I'm a lot smarter than I used to be. Dawn Dowdle is with the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She represents several of my author buddies, including our very own Vonnie Davis. All have nothing but praise for her work ethic - and I see her getting results. So, has my writing come full circle? I've explored all the many possibilities out there. I've had years to practice patience, and I'm hoping now's the time it will finally pay off!

Since you, too, have been incredibly patient - listening to me ramble on and on... LOL I'm rewarding you all with a free book. Lonely Road to You, one of my Class of '85 books with the Wild Rose Press, is FREE today only on Amazon. Download it here and enjoy!

For information on all my books and buy links, please visit my website.