Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Demon in the Newspaper by Karilyn Bentley

Please welcome Karilyn Bentley to The Roses of Prose. Take it away, Karilyn!
News stories are great sources of ideas for authors. Often a true story lends itself to being changed into a fictitious one, especially if the true story is somewhat of a mystery. By mystery, I mean the motivation for the crime is unknown. That's when my overactive imagination steps in, especially when plotting for my Demon Huntress series. How so, you ask? My series is an urban fantasy starring Gin Crawford, the world's latest demon huntress, and her adventures to solve crimes committed by demons and their minions.

Okay, you say, but how does that relate to newspapers?

One day I was flipping through the newspaper when I came across several stories about normal people who, suddenly for no apparent reason, went crazy and tried (or in some cases succeeded) to kill others before killing themselves. Their families were left wondering what happened since the behavior was out of the norm for their loved one. There was a string of these types of crimes in my local newspaper over a short period of time and my little writing brain went, ah-ha! What would happen if all those crimes were due to demonic influence? And what would happen if a down-on-her-luck ER nurse had to discover the real reason for the crimes? From that idea the Demon Huntress series was born!

Have you ever had a brainchild from reading the paper? What was it? Read on for my brainchild, aka the blurb and excerpt for the second book in the Demon Huntress series, Demon Kissed.

Gin Crawford, the world's latest demon huntress, has no time to mourn her dead lover as she's called in to determine why a demon attack occurred at the local medical school. And not just any demon, but the one demon that gives her demon-killing bracelet the shivers. A dead professor, a lab full of missing anthrax, and a demon who turns good people into minions complicate her life. Can Gin and her mentor Aidan Smythe solve the mystery of the missing anthrax and the identity of the demon before someone else dies?

     The scent of sulfur hangs in the air like a demonic stink bomb. I want to slap a hand over my nose, but no one else seems affected by the stench. Must be a demon huntress thing.
     Justitian,” Smythe mutters. “Not demon huntress.”
     “If you don’t like my new title, then stay out of my mind.”
     He glares. I swallow. Cross my arms. Refuse to take a step back. I’m learning not to be intimidated by his anger. Go me.
     My justitia vibrates, throwing me out of my internal battle, pulling me back to the land of death and minions. The blob of colors pulsates, a glowing reminder of a moment of terror. The moment the demon appeared to the grad student.
     Granted, I’m still taking Demons 101, but I thought demons formed minions in private.  Usually after the human committed a crime, not before. A tryout, so to speak. And maybe that happened, but it sure seems to me like the black blob of demon force appeared to the grad student smack in the middle of the hallway.
     Or maybe that always happens, and I just now noticed it.
     The justitia’s vibration grows stronger, trembling my arm, my veins. Not its normal excited tremor upon seeing a minion or demon. A rush of images spikes through my mind, scenes of terror coupled with blood and death, memories of the justitia’s former wearers captured in time by the entity in the bracelet.
     I’m not the only one freaked out by the colored blob. How bad was this demon to scare a justitia?

Links for Demon Kissed:

Karilyn's Bio
Karilyn Bentley's love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, a crazy dog nicknamed The Kraken, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.

Where to find Karilyn
Website:          www.karilynbentley.com
Twitter:            http://www.twitter.com/karilynbentley1
Blog:                http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com
Pinterest:         http://www.pinterest.com/karilynbentley
Newsletter:      http://eepurl.com/ba_0Rf

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day - 2016 by Diane Burton

Sometimes we take federal holidays for granted or only think about how great it is to have a day off work. We forget the reason behind designating a particular day a holiday. Memorial Day's origin goes back to 1868. The purpose was for the nation to decorate the graves of those soldiers who died in the Civil War. Since, it’s expanded to include all service people who died defending us.

This picture, originally posted on Facebook, really touched me. It’s a vivid reminder of the families who have suffered a loss that only those who have suffered a similar loss can fully understand. I haven’t, but my heart hurts for those who have. Spouses, parents, children of our fallen heroes gave a sacrifice as great as the soldier who died. Maybe greater. They live with the heartache every day while the soldier has gone to his/her reward.

My dad and his brothers fought in WWII, one of my grandfathers in WWI, a great-great grandfather in the Civil War, and a multi-great grandfather in the Revolutionary War. An uncle and a good friend were police officers. Their service ensured that we are still a country of freedoms. Freedoms we often take for granted, forgetting that many people in this world don't have them.

Post-apocalyptic movies and books show us what happens when society breaks down. Law and order is gone. Chaos reigns. Those with the power and weapons rule. Might makes right. Heaven help the rest. While I love movies and books, those that show the disintegration of civilization make me so uncomfortable I can’t watch or read them. The reality is too horrifying to contemplate.

While we enjoy our three-day weekend, have our picnics, kick off the beginning of summer, maybe we can take a moment and thank those who died protecting our freedoms.

Diane Burton writes romantic suspense, mysteries, and science fiction romance. She blogs here on the 30th of the month, on Paranormal Romantics on the 13th, and on her own blog on Mondays.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover - Or a Heroine by Her Shoes by Mackenzie Crowne

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab life by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” ~ Maya Angelou

Like so many writers, my inspiration often comes from bits and pieces of real life. As part of my research, I’m a voracious people watcher. Which hasn’t always been a comfortable thing. For example, I used to be intimidated by those women I’d see out in the world who seem to have it all together – all the time.

© Adobe Stock
You know who they are, the well-dressed babes floating into the upscale stores at the mall, while you share a corn dog with your kids on a bench, spitting on a Kleenex to wipe the mustard off the four-year-old’s chin and barking at the eight-year-old to get out of the fountain before security arrives. You sit there in your discount store garb, looking with longing at those modern day princesses, and suffer the sting of inferiority over their utter confidence, stylishly streaked hair, model thin bodies, and perfectly made up faces belonging on magazine covers...

And you hiss with jealousy…or is that just me?

Okay, I’m taking artistic license here. These days, I’m actually a grandmother — a really young one 
— and no longer easily intimidated. My kids are grown and life has calmed down somewhat since those days at the mall. I admit, I clean up nicely when I take the time, but I lived the corn dog existence I just described, and those years weren’t pretty, believe me. They were, however, instructive and liberating. Somehow through the chaos of raising my little family, my fascination for perfection became less important as I discovered life is messy and learning to cope in the world of not-so-perfect not only builds character, it makes you strong.

My epiphany came in the middle of a women’s clothing department as I stood witness to the horror of two women. Both had lost track of their child. Can you say nightmare? If this has ever happened to you, you know how scary it can be. My oldest turned 30 last month and I’m still mad at him for hiding in that rack of robes when he was four. The little $#*%!

© Adobe Stock
Anyway, one of the women that day looked a lot like me. Her t-shirt didn’t have a designer label and she wore jeans frayed at the cuffs and faded from too many washings. She wore flip flops instead of Jimmy Choos and her air was piled in a messy knot at the top of her head, her makeup, non-existent. Alternately, the second woman, a modern day princess in linen, could have held office in the hallowed halls of Washington DC. She reeked of confident power and sexy strength, looking as if she’d stepped off the pages of Vogue — until she turned my way and revealed the mascara blackening her eyes and marking the pathway of her frantic tears.

After freezing like a deer in the headlights, the princess fell apart, racing through the department and pleading for help at the top of her lungs. In contrast, Miss Jeans calmly hushed the toddler on her hip and opened her mouth. “Marco!” she called out. For a second there, I thought she might be having a mental breakdown, until, from the other side of the department a child’s voice called back, “Polo!”

It was a thing of beauty, I tell you, and I still chuckle at the memory.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all Princesses are helpless in an emergency, any more than all Plain Jane’s are a force to be reckoned with, but at that moment, I made two startling realizations. First, that whole, don’t judge a book by its cover thing is good advice. And second, strength is sexy, no matter the package it comes in.

Mac writes contemporary romance with a side of sass. You can find her strong heroines and larger-than-life-heroes where ever books are sold or at her home on the web at

Friday, May 27, 2016

Look in the Mirror by Betsy Ashton

Some days we need to look in the mirror and see what we want to see, not what is really there. We are all writers here, so we understand the ups and downs of the writing and publishing world.

We type until our finger tips are raw, pouring the perfect sentences into our computers, only the find the next morning we've written crap. What happened to our pearls of wisdom? Did they turn into turds overnight? Did an alchemist sneak into our hard drives and wave magic garbage dust over everything?

What do we do then? I don't know about you, but I curse, then rise from my writing ball, and assume the Wonder Woman pose. I really do. I learned about that at Roanoke Regional Writers Conference a couple of years ago when the wonderfully dynamic Sarah Beth Jones had all the women in the audience stand up, put our hands on our hips, and be sassy. Then she had the men rise and take the Rocky pose. You know the one. Top of the stairs, arms raised in triumph. I originally thought it was a bunch of hooey, but I know it works.

When I have just written a pile of useless words, I do strike The Pose. It's become my "F*** the World" statement seen only by my husband in the safety of my home office. I then remember that the Delete key is my best friend.

On second thought, maybe I should write more frequently in public and strike The Pose. Wonder what people would think. Probably that I'm delusional and just a hair's-breadth away from being institutionalized.

When the words flow, the sentences take shape, and the characters become three-dimensional, I know Sarah Beth was right. I can be anything I want as long as I'm willing to maintain a positive attitude and stay on course practicing my craft every day.

Look at that little kitten who sees a lion staring back at him. I want to see the lion. Strong. Brave. Confident. I don't want to see wrinkles, warts, stretch marks. Okay, I don't mind the silver hair, because it's my signature brand, but the rest of the growing old junk can just go away. Shoo. Scat. Get the gone. Out, out, damn spot.

I don't buy the nonsense that we have to face reality all day every day. I became a writer so I wouldn't have to face reality all day every day. If I want to see a lion, I will. If I want to be Wonder Woman, I will.

Do you have a super hero? Who is it? Why did you select that one?


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

I'm really excited that the trade paper edition of Uncharted Territory was released this week. Please follow me on my website, on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

♪ On the road again ♪

As I write this, I am prepping for my road trip. As you read it, I am in the middle of it. Oh, the joys of scheduling posts.

We had a glitch with the planned road trip from Iowa to Colorado in a rented mini-van full of furniture and other memorabilia: my husband can't go. They had a major shake-up in his office, and he has to remain behind.

I'm fine traveling cross-country alone. Lord knows, I've done it enough times going to and fro, here and there. But as it turns out, we have a family friend (Marcia) whose late husband's cousin lives in Kansas. Said cousin (Pat) has named Marcia her next of kin (Pat is a single lady who taught botany for years and years and years and is now in her 70s and retired).

Marcia feels obligated to make a trek to Kansas now and again to visit Pat. But Marcia is in her mid-70s and to be honest, I don't want her on the highway in the middle of a strange metropolitan area (Kansas City) alone in her SUV.  The last time she visited Pat, I drove to KC to visit my sister, and we put Marcia on a shuttle to Manhattan to visit the cousin. But my sister is moving soon (to about 30 miles away from me), so those Kansas City trips will be much fewer and far between.

Long story short: Marcia will go with me and we'll swing by and visit Pat on the way home. It's a bit out of the way, but no biggie on a trip of this type (1500-2000 miles in 5 or 6 days). She'll pack the bourbon and I'll pack the wine, and we'll be just fine.

I'll report in if I can on how the trip is going -- unless you hear otherwise, assume we're having a good time, laughing and singing and meandering our way across country on our adventure.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Inspiration for Hidden Wings by Ana Raine

Please welcome Ana Raine, our guest blogger today!

I live in Michigan and there is a constant joke that there are only two seasons: construction season and wintry season. But for those of us who brave the construction and shut down roads, there are beautiful state parks and flowing ponds, lakes, and rivers.

It was on one of these adventures to my local Metro Park that I came up with the idea for Hidden Wings. There were two swans in the center of the path and a small group of people who hadn’t dared pass by even though there was nowhere else to go. Swans are often characterized as small, fragile and helpless, but in that moment, I saw the true strength that lies within those majestic creatures.

A few weeks later, I went back to the park, but this time there was only one lone swan floating in the pond. The fight had seemed to ebb away and there was a hollow look of sadness about the creature that made me think he had been abandoned. In the romance world, bear or wolf shifters are predominant because of their predatory, protective nature. But swans are not just graceful birds with slender necks, but creatures of beauty who fight for their mates and are broken when separated.

Further research into Irish mythology extended my knowledge of fairies. I created the idea of a Dryma Fairy whose soul is tied to a tree. It seemed only fitting that the protectors of these trees would be the strong swans who captivated me that fateful day.

Kanji is the last royal Kuro swan, an ancient race who once served the demonic Sidhee. The Kuro were betrayed and given as slaves to the Dryma fairies. When a Dryma is born, his soul attaches to a tree and to sustain their lives, the Dryma conscript the Kuro to protect their woods. In their servitude, the Kuro are languishing and dying off. Kanji is desperate to reunite his people with their stolen wings, but the task seems impossible.
When Kanji discovers a plan to unite the Sidhee and the Dryma, he tricks the Sidhee prince and attends a masked ball in disguise. There he meets Prince Tristan, who is nothing like the other fairies. Kind and compassionate, Tristan has a plan to free the Dryma from their dependence on the trees—and their need of the Kuro’s protection. It could mean freedom for Kanji’s people, but it might also mean choosing between them and the life of the fairy who is—impossibly—his mate.
When Tristan is wounded in battle and left for dead, his survival depends on the success of his experiments. Can Kanji dare to believe, or must he come to terms with the loss of his mate?

Buy Link:

Long ago, the Kuro Swans had been friends with the Sidhee and had offered their wings in service when the soul stealers needed to come to the human world. I tried to make sense of what Christophe was saying and stuttered a response, “Y-you, I mean, you can’t expect us to steal them a soul.”
            Christophe played with the buttons of his immaculately tidy shirt. “No, I do not. I simply expect you to deliver this,” he reached into his pocket and produced a white envelope sprinkled with colorful flowers. “They will be arriving the night before the party on the South side of the forest. You will meet them there and present them with this. Afterwards, you will escort them to the Castle De Mar. The envelope contains instructions so should they have questions, they will know who to consult with.”
            I swallowed, my lungs dying from a lack of oxygen. “May I ask why you are not meeting them yourselves?”
            Christophe stared at me for so long, I thought he was going to tell me to go to hell and reach for his whip looped through his belt. To my surprise, he said, “Ivan, Seth, why don’t you go downstairs and see if Nicolai needs some help. I’m sure Kanji won’t mind speaking to me…alone.”
            Zain tensed beside me, but I gave him a nod. Sensing they didn’t have much of a choice, Joel and Zain followed the two guards from the room, the door swinging shut with a soft click.
            The music floated up the stairs and the scent of fried food wafted through the floorboards. I rubbed my sweaty hands on my pants and waited for the assault to begin, just like it always did.
            “Did you know the Dryma fairies have a long history of deception and trickery?”
            My jaw clenched, “I can imagine so.”
            “So naturally, we would decide to host a masked ball to celebrate one of our great Prince’s birth.”
            “I suppose it does seem fitting.”
            “Your kind are not the only ones adverse to forming an alliance with the Sidhee. Having a masked ball where my kind can congregate without fear is the perfect way to introduce the Prince of the Sidhee into our community without opposition.” Christophe paused to pour himself another drink from the crystal pitcher before taking a step towards me. He took a swig of the drink and then set it down on the table. Circling me, I could smell his cologne mixed with the alcohol on his breath. “Sidhees can be ruthless and tend to regard all life as little more than wrongs of a ladder.”
            “So why unite with them?”
            Christophe parted my hair with his hand so my neck was exposed, my silky strands falling just above my shoulder. He trailed his hands down my back, resting on my shoulder blades and gently manipulating the muscle so a forced relief washed through me. “Kanji, you should know what it can take to survive.”
            I flinched as he snaked one of his hands around my stomach and pushed his cool fingers up underneath my shirt and jacket so he could touch my skin. “So you need the Sidhee now?”
            “Everything is changing,” Christophe whispered in my ear. “Your lives are tied to the trees just as surely as ours are. So why not stop pretending? I can feel your power in every breath you take. With every movement you make, you are trying to maintain control.”
            “That’s not true.”
            “You were born to be a Prince,” he said softly, stroking my abdomen and working his way up to my chest. “You’re father was tricked by the Sidhee and yet you bear the burden for him. You don’t even know what occurred.”
            “I don’t need to,” I spat. “The fact they betrayed us is enough.”
            Christophe made an indifferent noise before wrapping his other hand around my neck and tangling my hair in his fingers so I was trapped. “What do I have to do to get you to give in? I can provide for you, give you things that would make even Dryma fairies jealous. All you have to do is become mine.” 

Ana Raine writes because she loves to believe in magic, dragons, and that there is more to life than what human eyes can see. Ana lives in Michigan where when it’s not snowy and wet, there are beautiful state parks and lakes to visit. When she was eighteen, she married her best friend and they live with their two cats, Mason and Misaki. Ana has celiac disease, but that hasn’t stopped her from learning how to cook and bake so she can eat tasty treats. Fudge, enchiladas, and anything involving yucca/cassava are her absolute favorite.

            Ana has studied in Osaka, Japan where she learned about theater and drama. She would love to go back after she is sure her Japanese is efficient enough. Ana loves anything to do with foxes, especially Arctic foxes. One day, Ana will find a way to incorporate her love of foxes into a novel, but until then, she’ll stay focused on fairies, shape shifters, and mythology.

Feel free to stop by her blog for tasty recipes, freebies, and more.

Blog: anarainebooks.blogspot.com
Twitter: @AuthorAnaRaine
E-mail: anaraine@rocketmail.com