Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Vacations

by Diane Burton

When I was a kid, we didn’t take very many vacations. Not enough money and Dad often worked two jobs so he didn’t have time off. During my high school years, Dad decided a great vacation would be to drive up into the wilds of Canada—way north of the Soo—and camp. Eight of us (the youngest was either not born yet or left with Gram) in a canvas tent and not even an outhouse nearby. At least the lake was clean enough to swim in and no poison ivy in the bushes. Even worse, we went back the next year.

I have to say camping was never high on my bucket list after that. When I was a Girl Scout leader, I had to suck it up, put on my this-will-be-fun face, and take my troop camping. I did enjoy those trips even though Hubs always said my idea of roughing it was no room service.

According to my kids when they were in middle and high school, we took “encyclopedia” vacations—Washington, DC, Gettysburg, Mount Rushmore, Pikes Peak. I would research the places and share that info during the long car rides. With no handheld games, no video screens, no iPods (you know, back in the Dark Ages), they had to listen. Though they groaned and complained, some of it did sink in. As adults, they now say they appreciated the trips.

When they were little, one vacation was everyone’s favorite. A 4-hour drive to a cottage on a lake where Hubs (a very early riser) would go out fishing while the kiddies and I slept. We were just getting up when he returned and we all had breakfast. Then we went exploring. While I sat in the shade and read, he taught the kiddies how to fish on the dock—often grabbing the line as daughter got so excited when she got a nibble she let go of the pole. While she and I have never been avid fishermen (fisherwomen?), Hubs and Son are. This past March, they fished in Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix. They didn’t keep what they caught. The relaxation of a day on the water had more appeal. That and some father-son bonding.

I got a mani-pedi.

I blog here on the 8th and 30th of each month and Mondays on my own blogsite

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August is the Month for Hot Stuff at Yard Sales!

By Glenys O'Connell, @GlenysOConnell

I have to confess that I’m an addict – there’s no such thing as a garage or yard sale where I can’t hunt down something that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it there….
 August, frankly, is yard sale addict heaven. Lots of people buy homes with the idea of moving in for September, before the weather turns bad or in time for the start of the school year. And moving, for most people, means shucking off all the junk and unused or unloved items that have accumulated since the last move.

That means fine pickings that for people like me, who have Magpie somewhere in their genetic history.
Unfortunately, the let’s-sell-it-rather-than-move-it logic doesn’t apply to us yard sale addicts. Picking up treasures (sometimes highly questionable ones) is fine, but when it comes to parting with them…well, you can hear our screams for miles around.

How do you recognise a yard sale being held at a yard sale addict’s home? Watch her play tug of war with would-be customers over those cracked dishes, or weep as that odd looking piece of machinery or kitchen gadget (she never did know what it was intended for) is carried away triumphantly, probably by another addict.
I have had some great finds – the set of Captain’s Chairs that I refinished and sold for six times what I paid for them – oh, did I ever feel self-righteous about that! Pity that I then took the money and – you’ve guessed it – went yard sale-ing again…

Then there’s this lovely antique nursing rocker that I got for so little I felt guilty about it. Good finds, yes?

But this made-in-Kashmir brass and enamelled Item – not only does it not fit in with anything else in the house, but I haven’t got a clue what it was intended to be used as. Let me know if you have any ideas!

And the quilts – oh, I love hand stitched quilts. I guess it would be more ethical to make my own, but why bother when someone else is willing to part with their family heirlooms for just a few dollars?

Yard sales are also great places to stock up on books – yeah, 5 for $1! Who can just take five? Of course, some writers say it’s wrong to buy second-hand books because the authors don’t get a royalty. Well, I can honestly say that I’ve found some great authors I might never have read if it hadn’t been for a cheap yard sale pick up – and I’ve gone on to buy their all their back lists and new releases, so book-buying at yard sales is guilt free!
I’ve donated a few of my own treasures (yes, it hurt to part with them!) to the upcoming annual auction and yard sale fundraiser at our church. I heard a rumour the other day that they’ve a nice little sideline fundraiser on bets as to how many of my donations I’ll try to buy back…..

Oh, the shame of it…..

Glenys O'Connell is planning to finish her next romantic suspense novel, Dark Revenge, just as soon as she can find her laptop among the latest yard sale clutter..... You can read first chapters of her other books at



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hot August Nights are Great For Research by Sandra Leesmith

Please welcome today's guest blogger, Sandra Leesmith, to The Roses of Prose.

One thing about the month of August is it is a great month to travel on vacation. Traveling is a wonderful opportunity to do research for writing that next novel swirling around in my head.

In fact it was during a trip in Monument Valley, Arizona that I began writing novels. That summer, my university professor at Arizona State University assigned us to write a novel.  We were training for a program designed to improve student-writing skills and as teachers were told if we were going to teach writing—we better know writing. When we asked what we should write about the professor said, “Write what you know.”

So here I was in “color country” surrounded by Native American culture, history and ruins. It was a great opportunity to research my first novel. Writing that romantic suspense novel was so much fun, I proceeded to write several more and eventually became published. DREAM SONG was my first book written, but my third published.  (I had to do a lot of revising-chuckle) In fact I plan to republish that book since I have the rights back from Warner Publishers, but I have more revisions to make.  Writing styles have changed a lot  
since the nineties.

Other books I’ve written involved research while traveling as well.  My husband and I won a trip to New Orleans and while there we took a ten-day cruise up the Mississippi on a river steamboat. Being a writer, I just had to interview the crew.  And that is how I came up with the information for CURRENT OF LOVE. Readers tell me that they felt like they had been on the cruise after reading this light and sweet romance.

Every August in the early eighties, the Coors Classic bicycle race would pass by my mother’s house at Lake Tahoe. Watching the racers pedal past stirred my storytelling juices and PRICE OF VICTORY evolved.  My husband joined a bicycle club that raced so I could get in on all the pre-racing action. I met several women cyclists who helped me authenticate the facts in this fun and sweet romance.

My next traveling adventure will happen this October. I know it won’t include a hot August night, but Southern Spain can be like warm in October. I am going specifically to research the latest novel swirling around.  My characters are from Spain and are insisting I go there and see what their childhoods were like.  Can’t refuse an offer like that. 

So let me know what August vacations have inspired you to do and your name will be put in for a drawing to Amazon. I also write children’s books using my maiden name Sandy Wardman. You can choose one of those instead. Find the titles on 
win a signed copy of one of my novels. You can read about them on Amazon (link is:

Bio: Sandra Leesmith writes romance designed to warm the heart and make you smile. She has published with Harlequin, Warner, Avalon and currently with Montlake Romance of Amazon Publishing. Sandra loves to hike, read, bicycle and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs, a Labrador retriever and a toy poodle. During the hot summers she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome where she enjoys
the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project. Her latest release: LOVE’S MIRACLES is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Visit Sandra on her website

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hot August Knights - A Different View

By Betsy Ashton

While driving back from a terrific writers conference recently, I thought about how to pull together my second blog for this month. I kicked around dozens of ideas during my windshield time. I didn't have a spark of inspiration until I got home and checked e-mail. Staring me in the face was a world of opportunities. All I had to do was point and click.

Somewhere along the line, dating sites got on to me. Daily I get invites to join and find the man of my dreams, my knight in shining armor. Forget the fact that I wake up with the man of my dreams every day. These sites don't want to know from reality. They offer fantasy. On one day here were my choices.

Christian Mingle said I should join and find Christ, the man of my dreams and a life of worship and religion, all for joining a social networking site. Hmm. A couple of things are wrong with this. First, I'm happily married, so cheating seems a violation of the Christian Mingle guidelines. Still, there is the invitation. I have another bit of a problem with this invitation. I'm a Buddhist. 'Nuff said.

J-Date thought I should hook up with a nice Jewish boy. Again, guidelines suggested it would help if I were Jewish, but it isn't necessary. Singlehood is, however. Don't think I'm going to divorce my husband in hopes of finding a nice Jewish boy. I married one of them once. 'Nuff said.

I had my choice of hot Asian singles, hot black studs, Indian men and hot, horny marrieds in my area who wanted a casual hook up. In my area?  Most of the people are retired in my area. I'm not sure there's much spark left, but it has promise. For someone else.

I was laughing so hard when I opened a couple of these sites that my husband had to provide mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. And it wasn't even night, but it was kinda hot. I thought about looking on Craig's List (yes, there was an entry for men looking for love in all the wrong places), but I was bored.

I thought about all the hot August nights I've enjoyed with my husband in California, New York, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Austin, Houston -- you get the idea. The more I thought about my good luck in meeting my Mr. Wonderful in a bar in Tokyo thirty years ago, the more I decided not to answer any of the ads in my inbox. I moved them into the spam folder and emptied it.

I'll stay with the best man I ever met. And I didn't even have to advertise on the web to find him. Enjoy your fantasies and realities of love in the month of August. He's my knight, no matter that he doesn't have armor. No better time to be in love, unless it's the other eleven months of the year.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Truly HOT fun

My home town is a blip on a map and my state is a blip on the map for many (Iowa. Flyover Land.)

But one thing my home town has is the world's biggest fireworks show. Yep, the state's Pyrotechnic Association has its annual convention in Vinton, Iowa, my home town. And they set off a fireworks show that's free to the public (okay. $5 to sit in the grandstand. Not free, but damn close).

For almost 2 hours there is music, lights, heat, flame, noise, and FIREWORKS. It's hard to describe unless you've been there. I have never in my life seen fireworks like these. The grand champion winners of the association's show set off their best and their brightest. Friends of mine come from hundreds of miles away, stay at my house and we all go together. It truly is awesome.

If you're ever in Flyover Land at the end of August, make sure to pencil this in on your calendar. It's well worth the drive!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Native American Passion by Melinda Elmore

Please welcome Melinda Elmore, our guest on The Roses of Prose today.

I would like to thank you for allowing me here today. It is truly an honor. I love the Roses of Prose and all its wonderful authors. I would like to take a moment to introduce myself.
About Melinda... 

Melinda has several books published and has been married to her wonderful husband, Tom for nearly 25 years when unexpectedly she lost her precious husband in Oct 2011. She has two remarkable children, Shaelee and Erik. She calls the state of Arizona her home. She discovered wealth is not measured in how much money she has but in how much love she shares. She worked for The Apache Messenger on the San Carlos Apache Reservation as a reporter and sales rep; currently she is a 911 dispatcher with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office in Payson, AZ. She also loves to write her stories that she hopes entices every reader.
As a young child, she loved reading and writing. Many nights she would wrap up in a blanket, daydream, while she turned the exciting pages of a book. The books would take her too many places. She loved the idea of going from the normal world in which she lived, then instantly be taken to a place far away. To her surprise, she started writing and creating her own world; a place where she could go and lose herself with just a pen and paper. She grew up with the fascination of the American Indian. Her love for them grew by leaps and bounds as she read about them from her history book. She wanted to show, in her writings, of the proud people the American Indians truly are. They show honor and respect for all living things. If she can capture just a small portion of that in her own writings then that would be an added bonus for her. Native American mysteries are her passion. She hopes to reveal in her books the uniqueness of the American Indian. The love of her family and the love for the American Indian have become focal points in her stories. She sincerely prays readers enjoy the characters she brings to life on each turning page!!!!

Again thanks for letting me visit you today. The Roses of Prose is the best bunch of authors around. I hope to visit again real soon. If you would like to learn more about me please visit my website, and my blog,
Walk in harmony,

DeShay gazed toward skan, sky, and cetan, hawk circled overhead. She closed her eyes when a feather brushed her hand. The feather of a hawk or eagle is sacred to the Lakota.
Slowly opening her eyes glancing down at the feather. It had faded quite a bit and parts were missing, as if they had been pulled off in a struggle. She shrugged at the thought of why the feather had been damaged but then disregarded her feelings and placed the feather in her pocket.
When she turned to set up her site, something else grabbed her attention. The distinctive odor of death. Uneasiness crept inside her but she couldn't ignore the object sparkling in with the sun's rays.  Studying a mound of dirt that held the object, understanding suddenly registered – a dead body.
Cautiously approaching the unknown mound, her heart beat faster, her stomach clenched, and her mouth went dry. She covered her nose and mouth with her sleeve, trying to keep the order from gagging her. A cry of anguish escaped DeShay's lips when she realized the remains were human.
The young woman lay supine, clasping something in her hand. As DeShay came closer, she identified the object as a medicine wheel, hand painted, with an arrow in the center pointing southwest. The cause of death was not evident, at least not to DeShay.
Her mind raced, then she turned and ran toward her Jeep, heart pounding, as she leaped over the gate. She had to get her cell phone. Why hadn't she taken it with her?
Finally, her Jeep came into view. In her haste she tripped over a rock as she made her way over the bumpy ground, then jumped to her feet and ran as fast as fast as she could. Approaching her vehicle, she reached inside, grabbed the phone, and frantically dialed 9-1-1.

* * * *

"Nine-One-One, what is your emergency?"
"I'm at Eagle Nest Canyon. I came to – to, um, there's a body! A dead girl. Please, please send someone right away. Hurry!"
"Calm down and tell me your name."
"DeShay. DeShay Graywater," she answered, still out of breath from running.
"Tell me exactly where you are, Miss Graywater."
DeShay took, a deep breath, trying to calm her racing heart. She blew out the breath and said, "I'm near Eagle Nest Canyon, on a gravel road, off Highway 44, just west of Wanblee."
"Officers are en route. Stay by your vehicle until they arrive."
"I will. But tell them to please hurry!"
"They will be there as soon as they can. Remain calm, ma'am. They are on the way."
"I'll try. Thank you."

* * * *

She opened a bottle of water and took a long drink. Although relieved she had called the authorities and someone would soon arrive on the scene, she couldn't get the picture of the dead woman out of her mind.
"Everything will be okay," she whispered and wiped the sweat from her brow with the back of her trembling hand. She ran her forearm over her forehead and wiped away the sweat and willed herself to stop trembling. Her dig for today would have to wait. For now, the poor woman was more important. The feather, medicine wheel, and dead body were all connected because all were at the scene of the crime and clutched in the victim's hand.

* * * *

Her cell phone rang, interrupting her thoughts. She glanced at the screen and noticed the incoming number – 9-1-1.
"Miss Graywater? This is the nine-one-one operator. I wanted to let you know officers have been alerted to the situation and should arrive soon."
"Okay, thank you."

DeShay paced around her vehicle trying to remain calm as the first
police officer arrived. She was glad to see somebody she knew. Detective T.J.
Hawke had been with the tribal police for many years, and now he was their
"Hey DeShay. What have you found?" Hawke asked.
She smiled. On the reservation everybody called him Hawke, and off the
rez, he was well known for his stubbornness. He was very handsome. Straight
shoulder-length black hair, held by a feather at the back of his neck, set his
features. Although he possessed a slender build, his muscles were obviously
toned. He was a handsome and proud Native, one that turned heads wherever
he went.
"I know it's a female body."
"Show me exactly where she is." He reached in his car for his crime
scene investigation kit.
DeShay walked beside Hawke eager to show him what she found. She
noticed his demeanor become intense, as they drew closer to the sacred butte.
Eagle Nest Canyon was a place used by their people in search of vision quests.
"Hawke, will you have to call in the feds?"
He spared her a glance. "Yes. They're on the way. I hope you have a
"Of course I do. Do you know of anyone missing from around here, other
than Abby Winters?"
Detective Hawke stopped and bent over to pick up a rock, examining it
as he spoke. She suspected this was his way of putting her at ease." Abby
Winters' mother reported her missing about a week ago but there was nothing
to lead us to believe foul play was involved. Her mother has been involved in
the fight to protect and preserve native lands and some burial sites, which are
sacred to the Lakota. We never found anything suspicious about her
disappearance, so we thought she ran away."
DeShay look stunned. "I remember the Winters family. They fought long
and hard for the sacred sites. I recall the fight over Mato Paha, Bear Mountain,
or Bear Butte. They went against a power of unknown proportions."
Detective Hawke smiled. "Where was this site located?"
"Bear Butte is just northeast of Sturgis. It's on the National Register of
Historic Places. A tourist trail was made leading all the way to the summit.
Now most of our people don't use it because there are so many tourists."
"So many places have been taken from us." He sighed and dropped the
stone. "Let's go."
* * * *
The sun beamed down upon the butte. The bag DeShay had with her lay
just steps away. She stopped and pointed.
"She's over there in the tall grass, Hawke"
As he approached the scene, he was careful not to disturb any evidence.
The young woman's body lay supine with one knee bent. She clasped something
in her right hand that appeared to be a medicine wheel key chain.
"DeShay, we must be careful. I want you to recall everything you saw
when you pulled up to the site."
DeShay pondered the moments prior to finding the body. "Everything
looked normal. I mean if you're wondering if there were any vehicles around,
there was nothing."
"So you didn't see anybody around, or leaving?" He crouched and focused
on the body.
"No, Hawke, there was nothing.
"Okay, DeShay. This appears to be a murder and I think it's Abby Winters.
Please stand over by the sunflowers and do not come any closer. We best wait
for the feds to show up." He removed his camera from the crime scene kit and
snapped several pictures of the body. Where he saw tire tracks, he jammed
small yellow flags on wire posts into the ground. "Let's head back to the main
road until they arrive."