Saturday, August 30, 2014

Feeling Lost by Diane Burton

From the previous posts, the “Roses” like telling stories about getting lost. I’m the navigator whenever we go anywhere. Give me a map and the Garmin and I can get us anywhere. Except for that one time in the late 1980s when I told Hubs to take the wrong exit off the Beltway in D.C. No Garmin and he wouldn’t let me turn on the overhead light to read the map because the area had deteriorated. Our kids have never let me forget that. Never mind I haven’t gotten us lost again.

You see, I’m a bit of a control freak. (Bet you didn’t know that. LOL) I get very anxious if I don’t know exactly where we are. Hubs likes to go for drives. Since he has a better sense of direction than I do (plus a compass on the dash) it doesn’t bother him to wander. Not me. I know I should trust him. But... I could say I’m from Missouri and you have to Show Me. My mom was. Does that count?

When I began my writing career, I knew exactly where my manuscripts were—which editor or agent had which one, their responses, dates, etc. I even made up a spreadsheet, one for each manuscript, for the information. That all ended when I got an agent. It was a difficult time back then when I was working full time and our mothers were in ill health an hour and a half away. I didn’t have the time and energy to handle the submitting (or writing, for that matter). So I was glad someone else was taking care of that. Or so I thought. When I asked her where the manuscripts I’d sent her were, she evaded, though because she talked so much I didn’t realize until later that she never really answered my questions. Eventually, I ended our relationship. I was fortunate that nothing really bad happened, except stalling my career for four years. I felt totally lost, anxious, and depressed.

When I began writing again and took back handling my career, the anxiety left. I knew where I was. Unfortunately the landscape had changed dramatically. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, blogs and blog hops. I didn’t know what they were, let alone how to use them. Manuscripts weren’t printed out and mailed anymore. Email was the norm. I was always computer literate, ever since Hubs brought home that TRS-80. But now I felt lost again. Thanks to generous people, this old dog learned the new tricks.

Then a writer friend mentioned self-publishing. Wow. I could handle my entire career. Not only did I know where my books were (I’d put them there), I knew exactly how many were sold at any given moment. That’s not to say I'm one of those indie writers who makes tons of money and hit the best seller lists. I'm satisfied to know that I'm in control. I'm lost anymore.

In my latest science fiction romance, my heroine wants to shed her previous life. When given the chance, she’s faced with a dilemma. Getting the career she wants versus doing what is right. Talk about being lost!

Socialite Jileena Winslott has perfected the image of the spoiled, rich, bubble-headed daughter of an industrial magnate. In reality, she’s a smart, savvy aide to her father in social situations where she is his eyes and ears. She yearns to be her true self and run the family business. When her father sends her on a covert mission to the Outer Rim, she has the chance to prove herself. Big problem. He insists she take along a fake fiancĂ©—the man she’s secretly loved for years.

Security Officer Laning Servary has better things to do than babysit a spoiled rich girl on a tour of the Frontier. If he refuses, he can kiss his career good-by. Then Jileena’s father sweetens the pot. If Laning keeps her safe, his family will receive the land they share-crop. He can’t refuse.

In the close quarters of her ship, Laning and Jileena discover they aren’t who they seem. Pirates, weather, and her recklessness threaten to derail the mission. As Laning and Jileena revise their impressions of each other, they’ll have to make hard choices about their goals. Can their budding love survive?

The Chameleon is available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Are Rebels Really Romantic?

Have you ever wondered why so many romance heroes are described as rebels? What is there about
Bad Boys that attracts so many woman?
Oh, I know in books they're always really good guys, just misunderstood a little. Or a lot. Rebels in books have always had a troubled past, clash with overbearing authority, or generally have hearts of gold hidden beneath all that angst.
Don't get me wrong - I love a moody Heathcliff type character as much as the next woman. Yep, all warm and tingly.
What is not good is when the idea of the dark, romantic rebel spills over into Real Life.
We've all met them. Those handsome, brooding characters who seem to need to challenge everything, who play the lone hero card all the time, who get in trouble without any good reason, thumb their noses at authority and generally create mayhem in our lives (and in our hearts, if we let them).
 They always need the love of a good woman to save them and bring out the hero, right? And isn't that the big attraction? We women need to nurture as much as these guys need to be nurtured.
But I think we've got it all wrong. Maybe the idea of 'saving' a rebellious hunk is a way of proving that we are so feminine, we can create miracles :-) We, alone, can rescue them.
Or maybe they don't need to be nurtured or rescued, they need to grow up!
Imagine a lifetime of living with all that moody angst, all that unreliability, all that simmering, thanks.
But in books and movies, it's just fine.
James Dean played the classic young, tortured rebel in Rebel Without a Cause - all that brooding sexiness would melt the heart of most of us. Put up your hand if you didn't want to save him - there, see, no show of hands at all :-)
I prefer to write about heroes who, although they may be a bit moody and maybe even commitment shy (there's a difference between being commitment shy and not being able to commit!)
In my newly published book, Another Man's Son, hero Ben Asher is more the sort of guy you'd like your daughter to meet: Born to an impoverished family, he joins the military to serve his country and because he wants to learn a trade to give the woman he loves 'everything a man wants to give to the woman he loves'.
When he believes she's chosen a rich husband over him, he's cut to the quick. The betrayal runs deep with a wound that never seems to heal - until he learns the truth about Kathryn Morgan, her son, and her shotgun, loveless marriage.


Kathryn drew in a sharp breath. How could she possibly explain all this to Ben? What words could she use to convey the nightmare her life had become, the sense of burning shame within her that she’d made this choice? There was no way she could bear to see the contempt in his eyes when he saw how trapped she was, like a fox in a leg trap. But, like that fox, she’d be capable of gnawing off her own leg for the sake of her son. If she had to, she’d bear the humiliation.

“What the hell is wrong with this family?” Ben exploded. “There’s a missing child whose parents are too busy fighting between themselves to co-operate with law enforcement in finding him. Dammit all, Kathryn, it seems neither of you can say for sure the boy is really missing!”

His anger sparked her own. “Don’t you dare talk to me like that, Ben Asher! Especially not now, not when…”

“Not when what, Kathryn?” His voice was gentler and he moved to stand beside her, close enough so she could smell the clean masculine scent of him that shone through the light citrus aftershave she remembered so well. She swallowed, then stood to face him. He didn’t step back, even though there were just inches between them.

She ran her tongue over her lips to moisten them, but even so her voice sounded cracked and dry to her own ears. “Not when I need you. Need your help.”

She needed more than that. She needed Ben to take her in his arms, to kiss her; to let her taste his mouth and find out if it was as magical as her heart remembered. But she was another man’s wife and the hard planes of his face told her without words that he would never forgive her betrayal. Kathryn sighed and began to turn away, but his next question stopped her.
Another Man's Son is now available as an ebook at most online retailers, including Amazon and the publisher's website, The Wild Rose Press

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Writing True Crime by JoAnne Myers

First you must pick an interesting crime. I specialize in homicides in my home state of Ohio.  Routinely reading newspapers will help the writer find murder cases. Find a homicide that has numerous good elements that will hold one’s interest. 
            Next you must start the investigation of your chosen crime. To find my information, I read newspaper reports of the homicide. I searched court documents for witness reports, and courtroom testimony. I interviewed witnesses. Persons that either were present when the crime occurred, or had after the fact information. Try to locate the victim’s family members, and see if they want their side of the story told. If the case goes to trial, the Defense’s job is to discredit the victim. To portray the deceased as the “bad guy.” This type of mud slinging does not sit well with loved ones of the victim. Give them a chance to speak for the deceased. Anyone that was involved with the case, will have something of interest to report. Don’t forget to locate the reports of the arresting officers and the homicide detectives. Try to locate the coroners report, any eyewitness, or person’s who reported hearing an altercation or gunshots.
            Keep abreast of updates, and read everything that was written about the case. Build a relationship with the law enforcement officials who are involved in the case. I personally live in a very small town, where most person’s know one another, and many have relatives or close friends that are involved with law enforcement. Attend the trial and speak to everyone you can about the criminal, the victim and prosecution and defense witness.
            Last but not least, sit down and write. Now it is time to tell the story of the crime. Hopefully you will find most of the information you need in your copious notes--if not go back and get the answers you need. Never throw away any notes or information concerning the case. Not even after the trial is over with, and the story is written. Most convicted felons apply for numerous appeals, which take years to dissolve. Some cases never seem to end; The Crime of the Century was such a case. When the accused was found guilty and sent to prison, he and his attorneys, who always believed him innocent, continued fighting for his freedom. That blessed event came after the convicted spent five years on death row. He was cleared with DNA, but it still took nearly thirty years to find the true killers. If you want your true crime novel to be believable, you can't fudge the facts.   

Blurb for The Crime of the Century:

            The residents of Rolling Hills, a hamlet in southeastern Ohio, were horrified when the dismembered bodies of two missing teens were pulled from the local river. Multiply suspects surfaced, but only one was railroaded, Richard Allan Lloyd, a known nudist and hothead.
            What began as an evening stroll turned into what found only in horror films, and dubbed ‘the crime of the century’.  18 year old Babette, a voluptuous beauty contestant and horsewoman, and her 19 year old boyfriend Shane Shoemaker, a jealous and possessive unemployed printer, were last seen crossing a trestle bridge. Within fourteen days, their mutilated torsos and severed heads and limbs were unearthed, suggesting satanic cult activity.
            With an investigation smeared with contradicting statements, and a botched crime scene, investigators built a flimsy case against Richard Lloyd. The three-week trial was based on police corruption and ineptitude, fairytale theories, and forensic mishandling.
            This heinous crime shattered the sense of security for Rolling Hills, destroyed two families, and forever scarred the town. This story is a detailed account of finding justice for Babette and Shane, and of one man’s perseverance to gain his freedom from death row.

Excerpt: The Disappearance

            October 4, 1982, started out as an ordinary autumn evening, for this mined-out Appalachian region in southeastern Ohio. The sticky summer was gone. The ground was blanketed with gold and red leaves, and the last full moon before All Hallows’ Eve, was complete. A cosmic cycle said to stir passions in some, anger and rage in others.
“Beggars’ Night,” was just around the corner. Homes were elaborately decorated with Paper-Mache witches and goblins, as carved pumpkins of all sizes sat on porches and in yards, made even creepier with lit candles.
            Yes, it would have been an average evening, if not for two unnerving events. First, the arrival of the notorious motorcycle gang, The Devil's Disciples. The group frequented The Home Tavern, a sordid bar on the corner of Gallagher and Motherwell. According to police reports, having a thirst for alcohol, the bikers and their sweaty, leather-clad women produced numerous problems while in town. Calls from residents, concerning fistfights and disorderly conduct, flooded the police station. Locals reported spotting some members of the gang roaming the streets as the reports of vandalism kept the police busy.
            Originally the Depot Hotel, The Home Tavern, sat directly across the street from a twenty-five acre “infamous” cornfield. A common place for knife-fights, pot parties, and hanky panky from all ages. Running through the cornfield was the murky and meandering Hocking River.
            The second incident, involved sex, lies, lust, and murder as gunfire emanated from the opposite end of the cornfield. The sounds of shots echoing from the nearby cornfield was such a common sound that it caused them little concern.
            What shortly followed was a frantic search for two missing sweethearts, 19-year-old Shane Shoemaker, and 18-year-old Babette Lloyd. Chief White immediately posted an announcement in that day’s newspaper, stating the “public was invited” Lt. Phillipes was put in charge of that search party.
            The meeting sight was the old Kroger building on Round Street, near the home of Shane Shoemaker. At 4 pm., despite being a chilly and windy day, sixty to seventy people showed up for the search. Among the crowd, were Babette’s mother and stepfather, Nancy and Richard Lloyd, the local news team, deputy sheriffs, city police, and officers from the Masonville Vocational School.
             Attorney Jack Jones was also present. He now represented the Shoemaker family, who were out of town. He used this time to tighten the noose around the stepfather’s neck.
 What took place within a few hours became legendary for the close nit community.
            At 5:45 pm., Chief White used his walkie-talkie, to radio Lt. Phillipes, who stayed at the command post with Richard and Nancy. Only a few short words were needed.
“We found something, but we don’t know what it is,” said the chief.
            What searchers found . . . was unthinkable.
            Just 150 yards north of the railroad trestle spanning the Bottle Neck River, Sheriff Reynolds and one of his deputies reported “something entangled in debris,” near their small boat.
            The officers initially said they believed the object was an animal carcass. Once it was dislodged and floated down stream, they realized it was human. Both torsos were reportedly snagged against brush along the riverbank. Both torsos were nude and so badly decomposed, officers said they were unable to determine their sex.
            The remains were pulled to shore and coroner Rausch was summoned to the riverbank. Many searchers, upon leaving the crime scene, were overheard by reporters asking one another “Are the authorities looking for one killer or two?”
            After his initial examination of the bodies, the coroner said he was unable to rule on the cause of death. What he did say, was that if one man committed both murders, it was “during a great rage” and by someone with something “very personal” against one, or both, of the victims.
            The discovery of the bodies shocked and silenced the group of volunteers. Some remained silent, while others were seen conversing in hushed tones, telling reporters they “expected the search to turn up nothing.”
            When officers carried a body bag from the river, Lt. Phillipes approached Nancy and Richard, who he described as “the quiet couple.” He claimed Richard calmly asked, “Is it them?”
            Lt. Phillipes reluctantly admitted it was two individuals. He claimed Richard then asked, “Are they all chopped up?”
            Phillipes said he was shocked by that comment. He claimed when he asked Richard why he would ask such a thing, he said Richard claimed to be psychic. Phillipes said he was taken back by the man’s “strange statements and unemotional attitude” of the discovery of two murder victims. He said Richard then suggested officers should search the adjoining cornfield.

Note: All names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty.

JoAnne’s books along with her original canvas paintings, can be found at:

Contact JoAnne:
Website: Books and Paintings by JoAnne

Order your copy of “The Crime of the Century” by JoAnne Myers here

Other books by JoAnne:

Murder Most Foul-a detective/mystery
Wicked Intentions-a paranormal/mystery anthology
Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between

Upcoming Releases:

Loves, Myths, and Monsters- a fantasy anthology available April 24
Twisted Love-a biography true crime anthology available in May
Flagitious-a detective/mystery novella anthology

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


First, you should know that my husband and I love motorcycles. We rode together for over 80,000 miles until my knees and hips hurt too much. I miss being on the back of our bike. I even miss the times we were lost.

I was always the navigator. I rode in back with a map tucked in the waistband of my jeans. We'd plot a day's course and I'd have to remember a minimum of three highway changes before it was time to stop and walk around to prevent our butts from becoming too numb. We loved the back roads and hated having to ride on the interstates. For us, the journey was the treat. The getting there was secondary.

Most of our riding, therefore, was on what Rand-McNally colors blue highways. These are secondary and tertiary roads in back country. One time, we made a wrong turn. We were riding with another couple who were in the lead. We missed our road and ended up deep in West Virginia on a road that quickly turned to dirt. Not where we wanted to be. We looked for signs for the nearest town. None. We searched for a county route number. None. Do we turn around and try to retrace our steps or continue deeper into the mountains? We'd all seen "Deliverance" and weren't sure if we'd every find our way back to civilization.

At a crossroads of two dirt roads, we stopped and pulled out the maps. None of us could remember the name of the last town we'd passed. The sun was low but it wasn't yet dark when a beaten down pickup climbed the hill from our left. Three weathered guys in the cab. We thought they'd run on past us but they stopped. My husband and his buddy walked over to the truck, map in hand. Much conversation ensued. Much turning of heads down the road the truck had just traveled. Much gesturing of what I guessed were turns.

The truck started up the hill, reversed itself and pointed its nose back the way it came. The universal gesture of follow us had us going downhill into the unknown. The truck made a series of turns, always heading downhill, us on its tail, dust billowing behind. After almost a half hour, although it seemed like a lifetime, we came upon a paved road. The truck pulled over and the passenger hopped out.

Our friend handed him the map. He put a work-hardened finger on a road. With a number. Going in our direction. He and his buddies had taken us through unmarked shortcuts to the road we wanted anyway. My guess is they cut out about 25 miles of dirt road just by knowing the back country. More waving and we were on our way.

The truck went back the way it came. Somewhere out there, I thought I heard "Duelin' Banjoes." Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe it wasn't. Let's leave this story with four people never being so happy to see a billboard for a Holiday Inn "Only 30 miles ahead".


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory, is due out in June 2015.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Getting lost in America

I love traveling, if I can do it by car and have plenty of time for "side tours". I probably developed this love of road trips from the trips my family used to take every summer. My father owned his own business, and he could take off when he wanted. He always took one week with Mom (and they went night-clubbing) and one or two weeks with the family, on road trips. Those "side tours" are what my father called all the times we got lost.

"Let's see what's there. It's a side tour," he'd say and we'd make a right turn, go down a bumpy road, and end up at Willy's Snake Emporium, or The World's Biggest Ball of Gum, or some other roadside oddity. Our trips were never in a straight line, but rather composed of wiggles here and there, as we went from A to B with side tours at C, D, and E.

Every night we would stop at a motel and that motel had to have 2 items: a swimming pool for the kids and a real restaurant for my parents. My parents would fix cocktails and sit by the pool, watching us swim. Then we'd all go eat, then the kids would swim some more before dropping into bed for the night. The next day: more driving and more side tours.

Give me a map, a good car, and a few weeks, and I'll have a lot of fun. In fact, I'll be doing that in a month or so. I'm sure I'll find some side tours along the way.

(new release out! Whee!)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Getting Lost by Katherine Grey

Please join me in welcoming Katherine Grey as our guest blogger today!
I have a terrible sense of direction so I get lost easily. As a driver I prefer directions that say turn left at the big yellow house or something similar instead of take Route 31 and go east, which would be great if I knew which way was east to start with. And as for Route 31 – I lived in my current town for years before I learned the main road which I know by the street name is actually also Route 31.

When I first started driving, I got lost in my own neighborhood. In my defense, let me say that at the time I lived in a city neighborhood with a lot of one way streets. As a pedestrian, I never paid any attention to those one way signs. But as a driver…well they became a lot more important. All those streets I was so use to walking down I couldn’t drive down because then I’d be driving in the wrong direction down a one way street. I did manage to find my way home and I was only fifteen minutes late. To this day, if I’m late arriving to a family gathering, someone will invariably ask if I had to drive down a one way street. (Let me say here, I hate being late to anything so it’s a rare thing when it happens.)

When I write it’s a whole different story, I like getting lost. I like allowing my hero and heroine to take the lead and go where they choose. That doesn’t mean I don’t meander down a few roads that lead to secondary characters and subplots that end up needing to be cut or that I don’t reach a dead end and have to back track a few pages to get back to the main substance of the story, I do. I’m certain it happens a lot more than it would if I wrote from an outline or synopsis.

I do write a one page summary of my hero and heroine and their goals, motivation, and conflicts and usually a one or two sentence outline of each chapter but that’s about it. I enjoy the journey of writing and not knowing exactly where I’m going and sometimes getting lost in the process.

But when I’m driving, nope, I hate getting lost. And detours in an unfamiliar area – they send me into full panic mode. For me, maps and written directions are as necessary as gas in the car. I always try to leave the house knowing where I’m going and leave getting lost for when I’m writing my books.


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?


“If you don’t leave, I shall have Jennings call the constable.” Olivia headed for the door.

“And how will you accomplish that?”

She halted in mid-step.

“Yes, I know there are no servants in residence.” Lazarus sauntered closer. “Did you play the benevolent mistress and give them the night off?”

Eager to keep him at a distance, she scooted around him and stood at the end of the bed. “What do you want?”

“What do you think I want?”

“Why don’t we dispense with the games, and you just tell me?”

Lazarus closed the space between them in two strides. He pushed her backward onto the bed. Olivia bounced against the soft mattress. She dug her elbows into the thick counterpane in an effort to scramble backward away from him.

Grabbing her ankles, he pulled her toward him in one quick jerk. He leaned over her. His hand closed over her hip, freezing her in place. The warmth of his hand burned through her clothes to her skin.

Feeling truly terrified for the first time since he’d announced his presence, she searched his gaze for some kind of sign this was all a great joke. No, it was no game. His eyes were as hard and cold as glass. “What do you want?” she repeated, her voice a near whisper.

“Stop asking questions about me. Forget you ever heard the name Lazarus.”

Buy Links & Contact Info:


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Twitter - @AuthorKayGrey
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