Sunday, June 30, 2013

Intro and Weddings by Diane Burton

When you read this, I will be recovering from my niece’s wedding. Recovering, you say? Not what you think. It will be from an overdose of relatives. I’m from a large family. My dad was the oldest of seven. I have twenty-one cousins, I think. No idea how many if I include their children and spouses. And I’m the oldest of seven. Add in spouses, children and grandchildren. . . well, my math skills aren’t that good. I’m a writer not a mathematician. Needless to say, with such a large extended family the only times we all get together is funerals and weddings. Too many of the former lately and not enough weddings. I love my family dearly but all of them, at the same time? Overdose.

Back to my niece whose wedding we celebrated yesterday. She is such a sweetheart. A hard-working career woman who deserves the happiness she’s found in her new husband. Not only did they work together to prepare her house for sale, he’s her “assistant” in her sideline business, making pies. They must love each other very much if they can work together and not be tempted to kill each other. (I learned the hard way that Hubs and I can’t wallpaper together.)

No matter how many weddings Hubs and I attend, I’m always reminded of our wedding and the vows we made that day over forty years ago. I remember being so full of wonder, happiness, and optimism for our future. Like most people who’ve lived together for many years, we’ve had our good times and difficult ones. We made it through the difficult times because of that hopeful optimism that things would get better. I wanted to tell my niece to be prepared—that all wouldn’t be sunshine and roses. But who wants a Debbie Downer (Diane Downer?) on such a happy occasion? Besides, she’ll figure it out just like the rest of us.

Diane Burton
OMG, I just plunged into this post like you know who I am. Talk about doing things backwards. As one of the newbies, I am honored to join the fabulous authors on this blog. Many of them told you they wrote their first story as children. I didn’t. I was in high school when my BFF and I wrote fan fiction (though we didn’t know that’s what it was) where we wrote ourselves into made-up plots for our favorite TV shows. Of course, we were the heroines for whom the stars fell. I'm such a romantic. Fast forward many, many years, I began writing as a career. Published authors offered this advice: don’t quit your day job. Boy, were they ever right!

Other advice was write what you know. So what do I write? Space adventures. When Star Wars first came out, I discovered how much fun sci-fi could be. Then came the original Star Trek movies. More fun. My favorite? The Voyage Home. Now I’m amazed and thrilled with J.J. Abrams’ rework of the franchise. So I take the best elements—action, humor, romance—of the movies I love (can’t forget Serenity), the camaraderie of the characters in TV shows like Firefly, Castle, and NCIS, add in the ideas and characters in my head, some research, throw all of that into a blender and, voila, out come my books. Don’t I wish it was that easy! LOL

Like my wedding, I went into writing full of hope and optimism. Like my marriage, my writing career takes lots of work and perseverance. What keeps me writing? I love it.

Congratulations, Christine and Ross, and all brides and grooms. May you always remember the happiness of your special day.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weird Behavior? Moi? I Hide Plants....

By @GlenysOConnell

I hide plants.
There, I've confessed. 

While everyone else is out there nurturing their pretty green garden plants and jewel-toned flowers, I’m hiding houseplants. It's not like this is some dark secret  vice or anything - like talking to dead people or collecting booze bottles or having a mad crush on Justin Bieber  (if I was blah-blah years younger, maybe…)

No, I hide plants for their own good. Ever since a certain young lady came to visit for a while, brought by one of my sons, there hasn't been a safe place for plants anywhere in my house.
Her name's Miss Kitteh and she eats house plants. Now there's a dark secret vice if ever there was one.

It all started when the aforementioned son decided he was changing jobs and couldn’t keep his beloved cat with him until he had got settled in his new apartment. I sighed a bit (we already have two cats) but agreed. Of course, it was only going to be for a week or two.
That was three months ago.

And in that time, Ms. Kitteh has cut a swathe of devastation through my pride-and-joy house plants. Even worse, she's got the other cats chewing on them as well.
So I have plants hidden on a high shelf in the bathroom. And two on the guestroom window sill - a forbidden spot for cats but unfortunately, one where the plants get forgotten at watering time. Then there's in the window behind my desk, and another - one of my favourites - hidden on a filing cabinet behind my office door. And that door is kept tightly shut.

I occasionally wake up in a sweat (yeah, it's an age thing) wondering if I remembered to close that office door. Of course, I then elbow DH awake to ask him if he noticed it was closed. It's a good thing he's pretty patient. Or maybe just too tired to care.
Of course, I've read that some house plants are dangerous to cats if they chew them. That may be so, but nothing seems to upset Miss Kitteh's digestion.

What worries me is how I'm going to retrain the other two to stop chewing, once Miss Kitteh goes back to her rightful slave. I mean, owner.
She's a former stray with sharp claws, sharp fangs and an even sharper temper. But you know something? We'll miss her when she goes to her new home.

Like, really.

Glenys O'Connell, a card carrying member of the Crazy Cat Lady Club, can often be seen waving her arms to stop traffic while she rescues turtles, frogs, snakes, chipmunks and other assorted creatures on busy highways. Friends predict that one day she'll be smucked by a fast moving transport. But until that day, she plans to keep right on writing - right now working on Never Kiss Another Frog - a romance writer's guide to dating for women who no longer believe in fairy tales! Visit her at Romance Can Be Murder! or on Twitter at @GlenysOConnell

Friday, June 28, 2013

What I Write by Melissa Fox

Please join me in welcoming Melissa Fox to the Roses of Prose.
I love romance. I love to read, write, and experience the whole gamut of emotion, from plummeting angst to soaring highs. I enjoy talking about books I’ve read, the stories I write, and escaping into those worlds even if only for an hour or two. I love sharing my interest and enthusiasm and hearing others in return, so much, in fact, most times the thought doesn’t occur to me others might not feel the same.
“Oh. You mean you write (insert derogatory term).”
That reaction sets me back every time, even though I’ve learned to tell people “I write romance” with a bit more expectation of varying degrees of derisive or dismissiveness. I remember an introduction by a close friend to a new acquaintance and being asked the typical question in those situations, “What do you do?” followed by “Oh, really? What do you write?”
“Romance,” I responded.
“Don’t tell her that,” hissed my friend—who up to that point had never seemed anything other than supportive of my work—with a sushy, hand-across-the-throat gesture.
I blinked at this response and blurted, “Why? I’m not ashamed of what I do.”
My friend rolled her eyes, but the new acquaintance responded with enthusiasm. “You shouldn’t be. That’s great! Hey, have you ever read…”
And we spent the next hour or so discussing our favorite romance authors and stories.
I hear a lot of  “You write that trashy stuff,” and my typical response is “Only if you consider falling in love trashy.” I mean, really. People can judge only if they’ve never wanted to fall in love and experience all the wonderful ways humans are capable of expressing that driving, basic emotion. Yep. Even the sex part. And guess what, all you smirky, eye-rolling males out there, a lot of women actually like sex. I have some ideas as to why that seems to be so scary, even as it baffles me, but that’s a topic for another day.
I’m sure all lovers of the romance genre have come across The Reaction at some point, whether they are readers, writers, or both. Let’s hear your stories and how you handle those situations!

WRAITH ENCHANTED, Wraith series, Book #2:

Celia Brian is a witch—and that's not the worst of her problems. She's been in love with spell-catching Wraith warrior Jonas Grey her entire life. Sparring partner, friend, confidante—that's all she expects from Jonas. Beautiful golden gods aren't meant for mere mortals, even if she does entertain fantasies every once in a while.
After demons murder his wife, the only focus Jonas has is killing his enemies. He lost his Amorta, his soul mate, and doesn't deserve to be interested in another woman, especially not his good friend and boss's daughter.
When Celia unearths an ancient riddle that triggers a series of attempts on her life, Jonas's protective instincts are roused. Bound by a prophecy that could grant their deepest desires or take their lives, Jonas and Celia engage in the age-old battle between good and evil, life and death, and male and female.


“What do you do to me?” he murmured almost to himself as he examined her face. Her blue eyes widened, unfocused, pupils blown. His narrowed. “You’re not conventionally beautiful. You’re not what usually attracts me, but I’m attracted anyway.”
“Great.” She struggled to steady her voice, but the breathless sound made him want to eat her up. “That’s flattering.”
“I don’t mean to flatter. I mean to figure out what it is you’re doing to me.”
“Doing to you?” Celia bit out in a dangerous tone, and her eyes cleared from the thrall of their kiss. “You think I’m doing something to you? I have to use my powers to make you want me?”
He bit back the snappish retort, the snarl brought out by base emotions, and forced his voice to be calm. Even. Forced himself not to grab and run, take and keep. He was going mad. “Who said I wanted you?”
She arched a brow in disbelief, and her gaze traveled down his body to focus below his waist. He twitched and instinctively fought back. It wasn’t in his nature to be bested at anything.
“You do have beautiful eyes.” They shot back to his and widened. He lowered his lids, smoldering her, moving his gaze to her mouth. “Such pretty skin. So soft and smooth. Touchable. Can I touch you, Celia?”
Her mouth parted on a gasp, and he took it for permission. One finger traced along her cheek from the corner of her eye to her mouth.
“Lovely. You’re blushing. Does my touch do that to you? And your mouth.” He lowered his head a fraction of an inch. “So wide and soft.”
His fingertip brushed her lower lip, and her breath hitched. “Made for kissing, isn’t it? Can I kiss you, Celia? Will you let me kiss your pretty mouth?”
“Oh,” she breathed, eyelids fluttering. The enthrallment was back. “Oh. Yes.”

Melissa is an unrepentant writer of romantic stories. Her debut paranormal romance, WRAITH REDEEMED, is available from The Wild Rose Press. The second book in the Wrath series, WRAITH ENCHANTED, is scheduled for release for Kindle July 1, 2013, with print and other eformats available October 2013. Come talk all things writing and reading at Fight For Your Write blog,, Twitter, and Facebook.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Global Warming

By Betsy Ashton

Courtesy: Daily Caller
Oh, dear, don't tell us she's going all political on us. This is supposed to be a blog where our readers enjoy what they find and feel better after reading it. Please tell us she's not going to natter on about carbon emissions, land fills, air pollution, floods and ocean levels. Please.

I can assure you I am not writing about that kind of global warming, although it's tempting because it's so darned scary. What I'm talking about it how each of us as writers and human beings can make the world a "warmer" place to inhabit.

How do we do that, you ask? Two ways. (Actually hundreds of ways, but two I want to focus on.) One is through our writing.

Most of us Roses write romance or mystery that entertains. We want people to read what we write, enjoy it and tell others. By sharing the pleasure of a well-written book with friends, we can raise the happiness temperature by several degrees. Doesn't take much. A nod to a friend in the super market or library. Pointing to a book in a book store. Adding a review on Goodreads, Amazon or Barnes and Noble (I always forget about B&N, so I need to be reminded. Just saying...) Buying and giving a copy to a friend. It takes such a little effort. We should all do more of it even with the insane schedule we writers maintain.

So that's one way to influence global warming. The other one is even easier. Smile.

Smile when someone is speaking to you. Nod in recognition of what they are saying. Smile to a stranger. Smile when you answer the phone. The person on the other end will hear the friendliness in your voice. If you get a smile in return, you can bet somewhere along the line others saw the smile. Shouldn't take long for it to go around the world, especially when we can also put one on Facebook or tweet it.

Let me give you two cases in point. I lived in three of the biggest cities in the world before moving to rural Virginia. And I worked in a fourth. I lived in Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York City. I worked in Washington, DC. Uniformly, Tokyo, NYC and DC were inhospitable places. Too many people being self-important, rushing around with their hair on fire, making no eye contact. You have to be anonymous to survive.

One day in Grand Central Station, a place notorious for rushing crowds and no interpersonal recognition, a friend and I ran an experiment. During evening rush hour, we positioned ourselves near two of the busiest computer gates. We smiled at everyone who entered. More than once, the smilee hesitated, missed a step, smiled back and went on. People behind the original smilee looked around to see what was happening and were attacked by the smile police. Before long, we had half a train full of people smiling like village idiots at total strangers.

LA's a whole different dynamic. We lived in our cars, safely protected from interpersonal contact. Although we raced at a grand ten miles an hour on rush-hour freeways, we never looked at drivers who crawled next to us. My girlfriend made it a practice to make eye contact. She'd wave her hands, wear a crazy hat, anything to get the guy in the car next to her to look over. And then what do you think she did?

No, she didn't flash him. She didn't hold up a phone number. She smiled and blew him a kiss. Worked with women too. That small gesture almost always resulted in a smile and a shake of the head.

Now I'm not sure I'd do this in rural America where I might be shot, but I think I going to give the smile attack a try. If I can encourage one person a day to smile, I've had a positive impact on global warming.

What do you say? Are you with me?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A wild and wacky ride! 6 years in publishing!

My first book released in June of 2007. Since then, there have been 26 more books published and 3 are waiting to go. So this time of year, I always take a look back at where I've been.

Here are a few things I've learned:

After 30 books, I've finally figured out that I shouldn't panic when words don't flow off my fingertips via the keyboard onto the screen. There will be times when it's damn hard to get even a page written.

I work best with a deadline. Give me a date to shoot for, and I'll hit it every time. Don't put a bit of pressure on me, and I'll dither and dally all day long. Now I set a goal for each book: "finish by such-and-such a date" and that gives me something to aim for.

Let the story go where it will. I never plot it ahead of time. All I know is I want to get from Point A to Point B. I've learned I shouldn't try to jerk the story back to the spot I think it should go. Just let it go and follow along and see what happens. Sometimes I delete a bunch of stuff, but usually I go places I never guessed I go.

I need to write about something that interests me. So I always have my hero or heroine involved in something I need to research, something that intrigues me. I don't add a lot of that detail to the story, but it gives me a good background and insight into my hero or heroine and it makes me feel I'm learning as I go.

But maybe the biggest thing I've learned is that you can't predict success. I know so many authors who are great writers -- they tell a fabulous story, they've got great characters, and they write a nice, tight novel. And they're not financial successes. And I know of others who are raking in money with crappy stories and poorly written books.

It's not all about talent. There's luck, there's talent, there's perseverance, and more luck. That's why you have to define success for yourself because if you compare your career to somebody else's, you'll go crazy.

I always said I'd keep writing as long as I'm having fun. Every year, around this time, I reassess and see where I am.

Yep. I'm still having fun.

So I guess there's still a few more stories in me!

J L Wilson
30 books and counting!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

American Western Mythology by SS Hampton

The Roses of Prose would like to welcome today's guest blogger, SS Hampton, Sr.

            “Mythology: 2: a body of myths: as a: the myths dealing with the gods, demigods, and legendary heroes of a particular people”and “4: a popular belief or assumption that has grown up around someone or something” (
            Mythology, particularly Greek and Roman mythology, has been a rich source mined by generations of painters, writers, and moviemakers. For example, Proserpine, the Roman goddess who lived “in the underworld during Winter” as painted in 1874 by English artist Dante Gabriel Rosetti of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood ( William Shakespeare wrote Troilus and Cressida, set against the backdrop of the Trojan War: “Troilus, a brother of Paris, falls in love with Cressida. She loves him, too, but plays hard to get…” ( And of course, who can forget the story of the search for the Golden Fleece by Jason and the Argonauts (1963), produced by Charles H. Schneer and special effects maestro, associate producer Ray Harryhausen (
            Today, mythology is a thing of the past, relegated to cultures long gone. Even when one considers the various myths of a country’s indigenous population, they are not accorded the same status as those of Egypt, Greece, Rome, or even India.
            Thus, mythology is a thing of the distant past, right?
            Maybe, maybe not.
            The Alamo (February 23-March 6, 1836) probably comes close. With all due respect to those doomed defenders, there is another battle that may approach the category of an American Western Myth.
            The Battle of the Little Bighorn. June 25, 1876. George Armstrong Custer. The 7th Cavalry Regiment. Companies C, E, F, I, and L. Calhoun Hill. Last Stand Hill. Sitting Bull. Crazy Horse. Rain-in-the-Face. Until recently General Custer’s movements after dividing his command was an enduring mystery that can largely be traced to ignoring the eyewitness statements of victorious Native warriors who fought the cavalrymen.
            “Nearly 134 years after his last stand, a military debacle that cost the lives of all 210 men under his immediate command, George Armstrong Custer remains such an iconic figure in the American pageant that mere mention of his name evokes an entirely overromanticized era in the American West” (“The Last Stand by Nathaniel Pilbrick”, Bruce Barcott,
            To catalogue the various paintings, films, television programs, radio programs, fiction, and even music spawned by the Last Stand would be a near impossible task—a Herculean task.
            When I was a little kid I sometimes sat up at night and stared at a lithograph of a painting placed on the wall above my bed. In the moonlight that streamed through the window I counted the blue-clothed forms of cavalrymen and studied their faces; a few were fighting, most were dead or dying, and all were being overwhelmed by numberless warriors charging through dust clouds. Custer stood in the center in buckskins, reversed pistol in one hand, a saber in another. Fading into the distance behind him and a wall of mounted warriors riding toward him was a rolling plain with portions of a river visible.
            “Custer’s Last Fight” originally painted by Cassilly Adams in 1884, and “revised,” so to speak, by Otto Becker in 1896 and distributed by the Anheuser Busch Brewing Association ( was my first introduction to the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
            Many years later I visited the battlefield. And I returned…again, and again. Perhaps half a dozen times in all. Before the battlefield was closed, I walked down to Deep Ravine where the bodies of Company E troopers had been seen (for whatever reason, I always had a strong interest in Company E). Sometimes I walked along the road on Battle Ridge that looped around Calhoun Hill. Sometimes I stood by the fence and studied the cluster of gravestones that marked the Last Stand.
            As a photographer, I have photographed at the battlefield while working on a photographic autobiography (due to a family dispute, a number of years ago the entire mounted and framed exhibit ended up in the city dump except for one photograph—the person who found that photograph in a storage unit e-mailed me to verify that I was the photographer, and then she disappeared). As I writer I have touched on the Little Bighorn though none of the stories have been published yet.
            One thing stands out regarding my visits to the Little Bighorn.
            Whenever I visit the battlefield I always have a strong sense of inner peace. I don’t know why.

“The Ferryman.” Ed. Mel Jacob. Melange Books, Forthcoming July 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-61235-414-9

BLURB: Sometimes even a servant of the gods may become curious and intrigued by other possibilities beyond their assigned role, which threatens to upset everything. Charon the Ferryman witnessed an act of love when a little girl offered him a song bird to pay for her grandfather’s shade to be ferried across the Styx. And the shade of a barbarian woman taught him that there was more than the underworld…

EXCERPT: Strong sunlight faded to a pale shadow of itself as if drained of life to create deep shadows along the sloping floor and the uneven walls of the long cavern entrance. Long, narrow stalactites hung from the cavern roof and stalagmites of various heights and thicknesses angled upward from the floor, resembling the scattered, uneven teeth of a monstrous dragon’s mouth. Flowstone along the widening cavern walls had once oozed onto the cavern floor to form rolling stone waves that became a wide, sandy beach to disappear into the shadows.
            The cavern roof arched upward, lost to sight save for the pale tips of hanging stalactites. The scattered stalagmites marched into the rippling surface of dark waters. A thick gray mist coated the water that splashed onto the beach. The mist swirled into strange formations caused by a moaning, chilly wind that swept out of the darkness and up the long tunnel.
            From deep within the darkness of the gigantic cavern came the ghostly notes of pipes and the echoing steady rhythmic beat of a drum. Torches along the beach burst into flickering life as their flames danced to the ghostly rhythm of the pipes.
            The torchlight revealed pale shades, the spirits, of weeping men, women, and children, who shuffled through the sand along the edge of the waters of the River Styx. The river was one of the dark rivers of Hades, the underworld of the dead. The sunlight filtering into the cavern rippled with the shadows of weeping shades descending the length of the cavern entrance. A gilded figure with torch held high lit the way before them.
            The music grew louder. A dark shape, lighter than the darkness, appeared in the distance. The gathering shades milled at the water’s edge and waited as the bow of a boat fitted with a bronze beak sliced through the misty waters. A large red eye rimmed in black decorated each side of the polished wood bow. On both sides of the bow square wooden boxes dangled bronze anchors. Behind that lay a narrow platform from a tall, narrow, wooden walkway rose into the chill air. An angled black bow sail and a large black square sail behind it strained with the moaning wind…

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant, with prior service in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007); he has recently been told that he must retire from the Army National Guard on 1 July 2013. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing Author Page UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page