Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve!

I hate to be predictable, but a post on New Year’s Eve just has to be about resolutions, doesn’t it?

Five of My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions:
  1. Talk less, act more. I talk about doing stuff – learn to play the guitar, write something different, go ziplining, raise dwarf goats. I think 2016 needs to be the year to do instead of just talk about doing.
  2. Get involved in animal welfare. I often read about people who volunteer/work at animal sanctuaries. I find the work fascinating and want to get involved more than cutting and mailing a donation check. I’d love to spend some time at a big cat rescue or a wolf sanctuary. This might be the year to make more solid plans in this area.
  3. Write, write, write. I put this on my list every year as a reminder to keep at it. Writing doesn’t always offer huge rewards, but I generally feel good about doing it. As long as that is true, I won’t give up telling tales.
  4. Move. I’m fairly certain it’s time for a location change. I’ve done the suburban thing for the past forty-one years and it’s getting a little suffocating. I’d like to give the woods thing a go. I’d like to not see any neighbors for miles. I’d like to become a hermit. Being in nature always makes me feel great.  
  5. Have fun. I’m super task oriented. I whizz around knocking things off my To Do List, but I would really love to have a To Have Fun List. It’s about time I let myself slow down enough to enjoy my family, my friends, and new activities. I don’t need to always be watching the time and making every damn minute productive. I could sit back now and then, with a glass of wine, and really take a time out instead of guzzling it because I’m too worried about what I have to get done. Things will get done when they get done, and that’s okay.  

So naturally there’s about four billion other things on my list…because I love a To Do List as you’ve already read, but these are a good sample. I hope to make some headway on them in 2016 and start living more completely in the now.

The past is done. The future isn’t a guarantee. Now is where living happens.

How will you live in 2016?


The Maple Leaf Series – More Than Pancakes, Book One is always FREE!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Roses and Readers, welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers, Rachel Brimble.

Writing a series of books set in a small town is a dream come true––something I’ve wanted to do ever since I discovered Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series when I was nine or ten. The idea of having recurring characters appeals to me in both my writing and reading choices.

Obviously, I’ve moved on from Enid Blyton, but my shelves now groan with the weight of the books I collect and refuse to part with. The downside of loving a particular series is I have to buy the entire backlist (if I’ve come in past book 1) or keep buying each book the author releases.

To name a few favourites, any series or trilogy by Nora Roberts, The Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis and The Virgin River series by Robyn Carr – each of them has influenced some small aspect of my Harlequin Superromance series set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove.

Until the fourth book, CHRISTMAS AT THE COVE, Templeton has more often than not basked in the summer months due to the sea, the beach and everything a typical British seaside town encapsulates. Yet, when my editor suggested I might like to try a Christmas themed novel, I was thrilled! One, because I had never written a Christmas story before and two, it would be fun to paint the canvas of the Cove a different colour for book number four.

The series consists of a mix of romantic suspense and mainstream contemporary romance stories, but I decided quite early on I didn’t want to taint the joy of Christmas with a grisly murder, abduction or threat of some sort…so mainstream contemporary it was!

Christmas At The Cove is a reunion story between long-term Templeton resident, Scott Walker and the return of his brief but passionate lover, Carrie Jameson. Carrie has news for Scott - the decision is his what happens next…

Do you like series romances? Favorite settings? Favorite series/author?’

Let’s talk series!

Happy Reading!

Blurb & Buy Links:

More family for Christmas? 

Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news. 

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

Templeton Cove Trailer


Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more. She also has three Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical with a fourth due for release in March 2016.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When Writers Go Bad by Betsy Ashton

Writers can go bad. Some should have a "use-by" date on them. Others should be prevented from writing from time to time. To that end, a group of eleven writers in Lake Writers, a subchapter of The Virginia Writers Club, and the literary arts group of Smith Mountain Arts Council, set out last year to write the worst book ever. Think Bulwer-Lytton and "It was a dark and stormy night" on steroids.

This group of wickedly funny writers laid down certain rules. The main character, Lorelei Leigh Lakewurst, has long, flowing auburn tresses which she constantly tosses and emerald green eyes that flash at the blink of an eye. Stories have to take place on, in, under or around Smith Mountain Lake. There was no such thing as too many adjectives strung together, too many adverbs modifying too many dialog tags.

For example, the first time Lorelei attends a Lake Writers meeting, she meets Myown Poveratti, or POV. A plastic surgeon, he focuses on her heaving bosom. As Lorelei begins to get serious about writing, she says candidly, "I'd decided to write about an alluring s-x goddess who swims naked in the lake every month of the year. Why naked, you ask? Because I am allergic to spandex, that's why. And I intended to write what I know--just like I learned from my author buddies at Lake Writers. How else would I KNOW what it feels like to swim nated in February?" You get the idea.

Not only is the writing, um, odd, so is the production of the book itself. Fonts change from chapter to chapter or within a chapter. Line spacing flips from single spaced to double. An editor address "O Gentle Reader" directly to explain what has just happened, in case the reader is too, um, feeble-minded to understand for him/herself.

The back of the book warns: DON'T BUY THIS BOOK! in red. DON'T READ THIS BOOK! in red. And it comes with a warning: "if you persist in reading this dreadful book, the members of Lake Writers take no responsibility for any damage to your intellect or sensibilities. You have been warned."

In true writer/disclaimer fashion, none of my words are in this novel, although my copy has numerous coffee splurts.

Nekked Came the Swimmer is a project to raise money for scholarships given out by the Smith Mountain Arts Council. A mere $10 spent on Amazon  will give you minutes of laughter. It's such a small amount of money that I know you can afford to own one of your own. Believe me, you will regret it.

So, how about helping me raise a bit of money for scholarships. Follow the link above. I'll be forever grateful, wildly happy, bosom heaving with emotion. Or some such rot.


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

LOST IN AIX (Part 3 of 3) by Rolynn Anderson

Lost in Aix
By Rolynn Anderson
Part 3

The story of the cowgirl and the external drive thrilled his grand-mère on Christmas Day, as Paul knew it would.  But he was surprised when she said, “Now you will find her.”  The wrinkles on her face deepened with her determined look and she shook her stubby index finger in the air when she spoke.  Hoisting herself off her chair, she grabbed an apron and tied it around her ample waist.  Her brown eyes, clear and piercing as a thirty year-old’s, demanded action from Beau.  She got busy in the kitchen and served the big meal early, determined he should catch the five o’clock train to Aix.  Paul considered attaching the data drive to his computer, to find out more about its owner, but rejected the idea.  If it’s not hers, I’ll turn it in to the train company.

Together, speaking English, although Grand-mère peppered hers with French, the two hopeful romantics debated ways for Paul to find the woman with the hat.

Elle est belle.  She is beautiful,” she said, hands clasped.

“I think so, Grand-mère.”

“What kind of an answer is that?  Of course she is or your eyes would not have caught hers.”

“Her blonde hair goes to her shoulders.  Green eyes, I think.  Pretty, bright eyes.  Nice smile.  Good posture.  Slim, but not too.  Traveling light.  Maybe from America.  California or the Southwest.”  He sighed.  “These last are guesses.”

Parfait!” Grand-mère said, squeezing Paul’s hand.  “But how will you find her?”

“I know tourists,” he said, finally feeling on solid ground.

“She is lucky you of all people took her seat and found her lost records.”

“I have helped at least a dozen clients take action after they left something on the train.”

“How many hours must she take to fix the problems?”

“Talking to people, changing passwords, filing a lost item report, and all the worry and thinking that goes along.  Maybe four hours of work and distress.”

“She will be upset, our girl with the hat, no?” At the thought, Grand-mère moaned. 

Paul pinched the skin on his forehead.  “That’s the issue.  She may be the type to sit and fret in a hotel room and there are too many hotels in Aix for me to check.”  He waved a hand in frustration.  “Imagine me going to every hotel reception desk asking for the blond girl in the cowboy hat.  They’d laugh me out each door.”

“Our girl is not the kind that draws into herself,” Grand-mère said with certainty.

Paul shook his head.  “For dinner, she’ll order food and a bottle of wine to be sent to her room because she’s unhappy.  This way she denies herself the pleasure of others’ company, or any sense of enjoyment.”

Grand-mère made a noise of disgust.  “She will not punish herself; you would not, either.”

Paul wondered if she was right.  He’d spent the last two years allowing people to come to him; was he capable of searching out someone for himself?

“She will not be very hungry, because of all the stomach aching.”

“True.  Maybe a small meal and some wine.”

“Yes, although she is a moderate drinker.”  Grand-mère lifted Paul’s half full wine glass.  “Like you.”

“You’d think she’d eat downstairs in her hotel,” he said.  “But I’ll still have too many places to check.  Fifty hotels around the Cours, alone, Grand-mère.  And she wouldn’t wear her hat in a restaurant; how could I spot her without it?”

Grand-mère put on her feisty face.  “These are problems, but my bright grandson will solve them all because he understands these tourists.  Finish eating.  Aller!  You call me when you find her.”

Paul began his search at 6:00 p.m. west of the Place De Gaulle, the giant fountain at the foot of Cours Mirabeau.  He walked each side of Avenues Victor Hugo, Belges and Bonaparte, peeking into every hotel restaurant.  He constantly questioned his behavior, and feelings of foolishness overwhelmed him often, but his Grand-mère’s optimism pushed him on. 

Finally he remembered a few small hotels on the north side of the Cours.  Could she be staying in one of little ones without restaurants attached?  The idea and a quick glance at the time robbed him of energy and hope.  It’s nine o’clock.  She’s gone to bed, exhausted by her loss and jet lag.  I’ll never find her.

He came to a halt at the moss-covered fountain in the middle of the Cours Mirabeau, decorated with hundreds of tiny white lights.  He heard Jingle Bells playing which jogged his memory of his first view of the woman on the train.  In two years of guiding, I’ve never had a tourist wear a hat like that, which means I’ve pegged her incorrectly. 

Where would my girl go?  Where renegades go, like Cezanne, whose challenge to perspective upset the art world.

He turned a one-eighty, to Cezanne’s favorite, Les Deux Garçons, and looked straight into her wide eyes.

“Nice sweater,” she said.  “Rudolf, I presume.”

He pulled the hard drive out of his pocket and held it toward her, the cord dangling below his hand.  “Is this yours?”

Whipping the hat off her head, she stood, slapped it against her leg and yelled, “Yee haw!”

As she grasped the metal treasure to her heart and motioned for Paul to sit down, he pulled his phone out of his pocket.  “Your name?”

“Aline.  And you?”

“With a name like that, you definitely picked the right place to hang out.  My name is Paul.  Pardon me while I call my Grand-mère.”

Her green eyes opened wide again, but she gestured with the hard drive for him to go ahead.

“I found her.”  He paused, grinning at his grand-mère’s exclamations of joy.  “And you were right about her personality, her beauty, and her good taste.  The first words out of her mouth were to compliment the sweater you made for me.”

He punched the phone to end the call.  Aline’s smile gleamed along with her gold hatband and Paul swore he heard a chuckle coming from Cezanne’s favorite table.  Happiness bloomed in his chest so he couldn't speak; instead Paul reached for Aline's hand.  Warm, elegant, strong.  Cradling her hand between his, he said, “Merry Christmas to us.

Dear Readers: Thanks for reading my story and for supporting the work of our Roses of Prose authors.  We enjoy giving the gift of words every holiday; we hope we've warmed your hearts this season.  I'll e-mail the winner of my giveaway...thanks to all for participating.

I am pleased to announce my release of FAINT, third in the funeral planner suspense series, now out in all formats.  I can't wait for you to catch up on Jan, Roman, Trudy and Pete, and of course, Elly the little Scottie.  This group can't seem to keep out of trouble, can they?

Here's FAINT:
How did small-town boutique funeral planning morph into crime-solving?  Ask freelance embalmer Trudy Solomon, or Pete McDonald, a blind, forensic investigator.  They’re unearthing mysteries of the deceased for their pregnant boss, Jan Keller, while her journalist husband, Roman, is benched by a ten million dollar defamation suit.

A dead client goes missing, and investigating his disappearance forces Trudy and Pete to confront their fiercely independent styles.  When danger stalks them, will they blend brains, brawn and belief in one another to solve crimes and save themselves?