Saturday, February 28, 2015

TIME OUT by Melinda Dozier

Please join me in welcoming our guest, Melinda Dozier to the Roses.

If you’re like me, taking a time out is an indulgence. It’s silly really. When children are little, as a consequence of negative behavior, we give them a “time out.” Now, I would do anything for those silent moments in the corner. As a mom of three boys, a wife, a full-time teacher and a writer, time out is a luxury. Now I only dream of getting a time out!

In my book, Time Out, Valentine, the main characters, Grant and Lexi work for Time Out Magazine. They are forced to take a “time out” with each other to find Valentine’s dates around their city of Portland, Oregon. These two have a lot of fun moments together –at a rose garden, a night club, zip-lining and more. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?

My top five Time Out dreams include:
  • New York City vacation with my hubby. This has been a dream, to see Broadway shows, dine on exotic food and enjoy the lights.
  • A quiet trip to a white-sand beach. It doesn’t matter where, as long as I hear the waves crashing on the shore and have nothing but a beach hat, a towel and a great book.
  •  A weekend holed up in a fancy hotel room – alone! I know this sounds crazy, but I would love to have a huge king-sized bed to myself, with a balcony and view (preferably the ocean or some mountains), order room service and be served all day long. Nothing but rest!
Now, it’s your turn to share. What would you want to do for a time out? Share in the comments below, and thank you for TAKING THE TIME to read my post. I hope you check out Time Out, Valentine. 

Lexi’s life is one big dump. Or so she thinks. To keep her mind off her latest breakup, she stays busy with work. It’s no big deal, since writing for Time Out Portland Magazine is a blast…except for the one small snag – Grant Reeds. Grant, a shy but sexy computer geek, is new to Time Out, working as the Networking Director for the online magazine. Even though Lexi thinks he doesn’t notice her, he sure as hell does. The owners have a plan for their upcoming Valentine’s Special, pairing up the two to explore romantic date ideas around the city. Soon, Lexi and Grant learn that the old adage, “Opposites Attract,” can ring true.


Grant sipped his beer and surveyed the room around them—anywhere but at the siren next to him, with her fancy drink, an umbrella hanging off the side. Overhead lights strobed the room, gleaming in all directions. The DJ announced a new song and a new crowd rushed to the dance floor, leaving them more alone in the back of the room. Thank God.

It was stifling hot. He tugged his collar from his neck and rolled the sleeves of his white button-up. His glasses slid down his nose, forcing him to take them off and put them in his shirt pocket.

Luckily in that part of the room, the music wasn’t so loud that they had to scream to converse. He only raised his voice a fraction to ask her the question he’d been wondering since they set foot in the place. “So, you think this is romantic enough for a Valentine's date?"

She batted her long lashes in his direction and smirked. “There’s low lights.”

“Yeah and loud music, people all around.” To help prove his point, someone bumped him in the back, pushing him closer to Lexi. His hand circled her waist and rested on her hip.

She sipped the drink, moving the umbrella with her other hand, then licked her lips. “It’sthe place to be. All trendy couples find their way here.” She cocked her head. “What would make it more romantic? Kissing?”

A slow smile formed and he faced her. Not a bad idea. “Actually, yeah.” He placed his bottle on the table behind them, cracked his knuckles and stretched his neck.

She laughed nervously, putting her weight on another sexy as hell foot. “What? You’re gonna kiss me? For real?”

“We need romance.” He grabbed her cup and put it next to his bottle. His gaze dropped to her mouth.

“You kissing me won’t.”

He placed his thumb on her lips. “Shhh. Stop talking so we can be romantic.”

Melinda is a multi-published contemporary romance author with books from Crimson Romance, Swoon Romance and The Wild Rose Press represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She lives in Guatemala, Central America with her husband/college sweetheart who brings "mucho amor" to her life. Melinda enjoys being the queen of her household and dreams of being pampered fully by her three boys once they are grown. Melinda's guilty pleasures include reality t.v., traveling, blogging and playing Zynga games.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Loving Too Many Things By Betsy Ashton

The way to know life is to love many things ~ Van Gogh

I don't know what Van Gogh referenced in his comment about loving many things. I doubt he meant the mess my husband and I made over the last two weeks.

It all started with a simple statement: "We never finished the doors in the downstairs bedroom." That was me in a moment of weakness. We hired a local man to remove the doors from three closets, the bedroom and the laundry room to finish them in his workshop. So far, so good.

Left staring at the clutter in the closets, my husband said, "We should probably sort through what's here and see if we need to keep it all." Innocent enough statement. Because we had to move furniture and remove everything from said closets, we dragged items we hadn't used in like forty forevers into the office den and onto the twin beds.

I know it doesn't look like much when piled on beds, but one of those twin beds held no fewer than seven pair of ski pants, one of which still fit. The rest went into bags for Goodwill. Same held true for my clothes. I had way too many that I don't wear or don't fit. Bags found their way to my Explorer, ready for transport.

In the two weeks it took to get the doors back, delays due to snowy or icy roads, we continued to weed through accumulated stuff. Fifteen (!) backpacks and computer bags are now two, one each. More stuff in the Explorer, so much so that the first trip to Goodwill couldn't wait.

Then it was on to the photo albums, books that hid in one closet, vinyl records waiting for transfer to digital format. From three milk cartons of records, we are down to one with music I actually want to listen to. You guessed it, Explorer and Goodwill.

When all was said and done, we'd reduced the "things we loved" by fifty percent. Another purge would probably rid us of even more stuff. With the last things stored away and the basement cleaned, Mocha the kitty took a stroll through the empty space. You can almost see her heading for the door.

My husband looked at me, love in his eyes, dust on his hands. "I think we should do the same thing with the closet in our bedroom, don't you?" He's still alive. Barely.

And when March rolls in, we will continue spring cleaning from 2012!


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, which is no available for pre-launch e-book orders at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I'm not sure I agree with VVG

The way to know life is to love many things ~ Van Gogh

I'm not sure I agree with this sentiment. I don't think love makes the world go around. Call me crazy, but I think it takes a whole lot more than love to know life. 

Yes, I do have romance in my books, but my books have "romance surprise" as in: what the hell is he doing interested in me and do I want that at this point in my life? Because we have a choice about whether to love or not. And sometimes my heroes and heroines are poised on the brink of "okay maybe not." 

I think the way to know life is to live life. So many people, though, seem to think that they'll live life at some point in the future. For example, I have a friend who is a procrastinator. "Once I get X done, I'll get to remodeling that room" and "When garden season is over..." 

She lives in a charming little house that is full of junk that she just can't quite find time to organize. The stress around her is almost palpable. Every day the stacks grow higher and every day she says "I wish I could..." 

She isn't living her life. She's existing in it and not really enjoying it. Her days are full of worry and stress. I've given up volunteering to help, or mentioning ways to organize or really offering at all. She doesn't want the solution, which is to go through what she has and make the decision about what to throw out. She can't face that. I don't understand it that way of thinking so after listening to this for 8 years, now I just keep my mouth shut. 

As another friend used to say: Some people don't really want a solution; they just want to talk about the problem. 

I think the way to know life is to embrace it and live it. There are good and bad spots, and embrace them all. It's all part of who we are. You don't have to love many things. Love a few select people or things with energy and acceptance. The rest will fall into place. 

Remember: This is life. It's not a rehearsal. 

J L Wilson
Mystery with a touch of romance
Romance with a touch of gray

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

All Scar Cast by Marian Perera

 Please welcome our guest, Marian Perera, to The Roses of Prose.

Why are so many romance heroes scarred?
Scars look sexy.

I could end this post right now, but I do love talking about scarred fictional men, so here goes. Actually, the one who came to mind right away isn’t in a romance novel—he’s Lieutenant Pullings, from Master and Commander : The Far Side of the World. He’s got a scar which cuts right across his cheek and the bridge of his nose, it is the most eye-catching saber cut ever, and you can bet I hit the pause button every time there was a close-up of him.

Scars hint at a person who can take care of themselves.

My favorite fictional hero ever, Rhett Butler, once displayed a scar that was a souvenir of a knife fight in California. And being the awesomeness that is Rhett Butler, he only showed this scar so his stepson would believe he’d fought in the war and would be proud of him. As opposed to being made fun of by other kids because Rhett didn’t enlist right away and made money off blockade running instead.

Whether they’re gunshot marks or eyepatches (Elle Driver, anyone?), scars say : I’ve been in a fight for my life, and I’m still here.

Scars can mean a lot of angst.

Many romances I read in the 80s had heroes with scars—but these marks always made them look more rugged. They were never disfiguring, let alone impairing.

These days? Wow. Mary Balogh is great at this—one of her heroes was an artist who fought in a war and lost his right arm. That was the end of his painting. One of my keepers is her novel The Secret Pearl, where the hero’s facial scars are ugly to the point of repulsing his wife and even the heroine, at first.

But I think it’s rarer to find a heroine with nasty scars. Especially ones on her face.

I read Vonda N. McIntyre’s science fiction novel Dreamsnake a long time ago, but I always remembered a little redheaded girl called Melissa who meets the heroine—because Melissa, who works in a stable, has third-degree burns across half her face. She tried to rescue the horses when a fire broke out.

I liked her—and hated the way people treated her, as if her scars were contagious. So I wanted to write a heroine like her, and that’s Captain Lera Vanze, in my romance The Highest Tide. Lera’s also a redhead with a third-degree burn. Very pretty if you look at her from one angle. From another? The Hound from Game of Thrones.

The scar tends to keep people at arm’s length and Lera doesn’t trust anyone easily. So when she feels lonely, she goes to a high-class brothel, since enough silver will make anyone do what she wants without asking questions.

But the first man who sees her there isn’t an employee. Jason Remerley is a public health inspector who’s just conducted a routine check, and the moment he sees her, he wants her.

So when she asks if he works there, he plays along and takes her to a private room. If the madam of the brothel discovers them, it won’t go well for him. But he’s never met a woman who fascinates him so much. If their initial encounter has to be on her terms, in the brothel, he’ll take it—and do his damnedest not to give himself away.

I’d love to hear more from readers about this topic! Who are your favorite scarred characters?

Blurb :

One touch, and the tide isn’t all that’s rising.

When brothel health inspector Jason Remerley finds a uniformed woman waiting impatiently in the Velvet Court parlor, wanting to hire a man’s services, he’s struck by lightning. His intense, immediate attraction compels him to pretend his way into her arms.

Enough silver, and most men forget about Captain Lera Vanze’s half-burned face. She senses something off about the handsome, ill-dressed prostitute who sells himself so cheaply. But with his first touch, goose bumps turn to shivers of desire—right before the truth drives them in opposite directions.

Her fury is still simmering when they face each other in a more “official” capacity. She’s joined a warship to stop a terrorist only Jason can identify. Though trust is scarce, they’re swept away in a tidal wave of murderous plots and an explosive attraction that could leave them marooned in an emotional—and very real—minefield.

Warning: She knows how to wield her sword, he knows just how, when, and where to apply his…mind. Contains deception in a brothel, sex in a cave, a shark with a bad habit, and one very large wave.

Buy links :

Excerpt : (from
Her clothes were almost as intriguing as her appearance. In stark contrast to the rich colors and glamour of the room, she had on a well-worn white coat and brown breeches, so she looked crisply efficient as well as exotic. He’d never seen a woman in men’s garb before. A foreigner, obviously, but what was she doing there? One arm was bent, knuckles resting on her hip and holding her coat back enough for him to see the saber that hung from her belt.
Lightning, he realized, had just struck.
He had stopped when he saw her, and he didn’t think he was breathing, much less making a sound, but the woman turned from the window as if she sensed someone was there. And he saw the other half of her face.
A burn scar, he knew at once. Dark and thick as armor, except without the smoothness of steel or skin. The injury had missed her eye, thankfully, but it scorched all the way down to her jawline, and while there was nothing at all pretty about the scar, it made her look unusual and real, fiercely alive in the cold, poised surroundings of the Velvet Court. An old quote came to mind: the imperfection that enables perfection.
Her eyes narrowed a little in a way that suggested she was braced for shocked reactions when people saw the right side of her face. “Do you work here?”
Surely she couldn’t be there for that. But he didn’t see any other reason a foreigner might come to a brothel. “Yes,” he heard himself say.
The woman’s gaze swept down his body, swift and evaluating. Jason had a moment to feel grateful he didn’t have to wear any particular uniform or badge of office as a health inspector, before his startled better sense caught up with him. What in hell did he think he was doing?
“And does this establishment provide services to women?”
That was the kind of question only a foreigner would need to ask. Jason swallowed, pushing doubts and common sense alike away. When lightning struck, one had to react just as swiftly, seize the moment.
“Of course,” he said. “We wouldn’t turn away half our potential customers.”
“Good. How much do you charge?”
Damn. He had no idea, and even if he did, he would have said a lower figure. The woman saw his hesitation, but misinterpreted it.
“I have silver,” she said. “It’s Denalait money, but still silver.”
So she was from Denalay. That explained the slight accent yet the features which—apart from the scar—were indistinguishable from those of a Dagran woman’s. Except for being more beautiful.
“That will do.” He fell back on years of experience in keeping his voice calm and emotionless, his face as bland as if he were playing cards for high stakes—and no stakes could be higher than this. “Please come with me.”
He started up the steps, ears attuned to the soft thuds of her boots behind him, more attuned to any creaks from upstairs that would indicate a door being opened. Benevolent Ones, don’t let anyone come out of their rooms, he thought before he wondered if he had truly gone crazy. The Benevolent Ones were probably looking down at the unfolding spectacle with horrified eyes. He’d be fortunate if they didn’t strike him dead for his iniquity.
Walking as though he was in no hurry at all was an effort, but to his relief no one was in sight when he reached the landing. He went to the nearest open door and glanced in to make sure the room was empty before he stepped aside to let the woman enter.
He breathed in deeply as she walked past him—keeping a careful space between their bodies, he noticed. A crisp, salty scent clung to her clothes, the smell of sun-warmed wood and sea wind.
Of course, her people were seafarers and Sandcliff was a port city. He’d even figured out what she was doing in a foreign land, because he had heard of a recent race between Denalait ships and a Dagran vessel, a race which had ended at an island off the coast and had, naturally, been won by the Dagran ship. A thread of disappointment wove itself through an attraction stronger than anything he had felt before, because she wouldn’t be here for long, would she? Soon she would sail back to her homeland.
Brisk footsteps hurried up the stairs. Jason was inside the room in the next instant, closing the door behind him with a soft click, and to his relief there was a key in the lock. He turned it. If the worst came to the worst and Mary or the house guards started hammering on the door, he might try climbing out of the window. In all his life he had never done anything so unhinged, had never dreamed of putting his career at such risk.
But in all his life he had never met a woman like her, a woman he wanted so much.
It was almost a surprise to realize he still didn’t know her name

Bio : Marian Perera was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in the United Arab Emirates, studied in the United States, and lives in Canada. For now. Her sharkpunk romances The Deepest Ocean, The Farthest Shore and The Highest Tide were released by Samhain Publishing, and another fantasy romance set in Africa has been published by Loose Id. You can learn more about her and her books at her website, her blog and on Twitter (@MDPerera). She collects books and swords, grows tomatoes, loves writing and reads everything.