Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Holiday Season by Diane Burton

It’s official. The holiday season is upon us. Every year, I promise to start my Christmas shopping earlier. Then I get involved in a project—like finishing the darn book—and my promise goes the way of the Dodo bird. I did dog-ear catalogs that came in the mail this year. Found perfect gifts for some family members. Have I ordered them yet? Of course not. <groan>

My mother-in-law shopped all year round. She wrapped the gift in a plastic grocery bag and taped the name of the recipient to the bag so she would remember who she bought it for. When she passed, we found many gifts under her bed or on the shelf in a closet. Some even had dates (several years past) written along with the names. Hubs and I doled out the gifts, saddened that MIL never got to see the enjoyment the recipients expressed.

The PTO at the grandkiddies’ school had two bookfairs this year. I went to both when Daughter was working so she could tell me which books the kids would like and which ones they had, along with suggestions for the little one out in AZ. So I am sort of ahead on the gift purchasing. Sort of being the operative phrase.

As we get older, Hubs and I are at a loss as to get the other. He used to be easy to buy for. Power tools and woodworking machines were always a good bet. But now he has more than he needs. Gift cards to a hardware store sufficed for a while. Now I tell him to buy what he wants. He’ll ask what I want. My usual response is “I don’t know.” Real helpful, huh? Sometimes I’ll see something I like, buy it, and tell him he can give it to me. LOL Hey, it works.

I have more fun watching the kiddies open gifts than opening my own. Their delight fills me with warmth. Tossing gifts of clothing over their shoulders accompanied by rolling eyes makes me think of my favorite movie, The Christmas Story” aka “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Decorating the house is becoming more of a challenge. The decorations are kept in big tubs in the basement. Carrying those tubs upstairs is too much for Hubs now. So he’ll make several trips over many days carrying the decorations upstairs. Not good. Maybe this weekend we can “borrow” the kiddies to do the running. One thing is a must, no matter how limited the decorations. The ceramic nativity set my mother.

Cards and the Christmas letter. Ever since our first move away from family (1981) Hubs has written a letter chronicling our year. Then he gives it to me to “clean up.” His spelling is, shall we say “original” and he must have slept through grammar classes. Since content outweighs mistakes, I try to keep the flavor of his words. Some in our family tell us they really enjoy our news. Nowadays so many are on Facebook, they already know everything we’ve done. Well, almost everything. LOL Getting a family picture from family and friends is my favorite thing. I love the letters, too, but seeing the little kids I used to know growing into adults is always fascinating. We have a great family picture I’ll be including this year.

As the end of the year approaches, I start making lists of what I want to accomplish the next year. Career-wise, I’ve made the same goal for the past three years: publish two full-length novels plus a novella. For two years, I managed the novels. This year, only the novella. Don’t know why I slowed down. Life, I guess. Lack of focus, maybe? For 2017, I’ll repeat my goal. Maybe this time I’ll get it right. If I don’t, oh well. I have other things to stress over.

Stress. An ugly word. For me, stress came when I tried to do too much. I had to make cookies. I had to buy the perfect gift. I had to clean. I had to decorate. Everything had to be just so. Letting go of those “had to do’s” made me calm and helped me enjoy the season. Now I do what I can and forget the rest. Makes life easier. Why is it that wisdom comes as we grow older?

Each December, we Roses have a tradition. Strictly voluntary, no have-to’s. LOL Our gift to you, our readers, is a collection of serialized short stories. Each story begins with the same first sentence. This year it’s “This was the absolute last time she kissed anyone under the mistletoe.” I am so looking forward to read what each Rose has written. My story will run from December 26 to the 28th. It picks up where last year’s story ended and was a lot of fun to write.

Come back tomorrow for Margo Hoornstra’s “A Sing-ular Tradition.” I can’t wait.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Is There Anything Like a First Kiss? by Mackenzie Crowne

There are many firsts in life; that first thrilling, solo ride on a bicycle, or that breathtaking view of the ocean, and the nerve wracking experience of sitting behind the wheel of a car. But of all the memorable firsts in one’s life, who can forget their first kiss? Whether a heart pounding realization of a dream with that boy you've been crushing on for weeks or the lousy ending to an interminable blind date your girlfriend set up, there is nothing like a first kiss.

Hollywood is obsessed with them, both in TV and movies, and thank God they are. Audiences waited with bated breath while Sam and Diane (of Cheers fame) circled each other in a lustful dance for an entire season. The episode when they finally locked lips was one of the funniest TV moments I can remember.

The first kiss was taken to a whole new level in 50 First Dates. Because of Lucy's short term memory loss from a head injury, Henry spends each day wooing the woman he loves back into his arms. If you've never seen Lucy and Henry's hilarious romance, you're missing out.

And has there ever been a better movie moment than Rhett and Scarlett's first embrace in Gone With the Wind? As a girl I thought my heart would burst in my chest as Scarlett hung in Rhett's arms, their lips a breath apart. *Sigh* That moment birthed the romance writer in me.

As a reader of romance, the first kiss is all important to whether or not a book remains in my heart or gets tossed into the 'what a waste of time' pile. The moment sets the tone of the characters' ultimate happily ever after, at least for me. A first kiss can be dramatic, lustful, or even funny, but whether the author offers a shy brushing of lips, a shocking, melt your bones devouring, or a nose-bumping calamity, if that first kiss doesn't grab me, chances are the rest of the book won't either.

I write romantic fiction and that first kiss is always a struggle for me. I'd love to say I draw on the memory of my own for inspiration, but I'd be lying. A game of spin the bottle granted me my first lip lock, and while the memory makes me smile, it wasn't exactly the stuff of fantasies.

I’ve included an excerpt below from TO WIN HER BACK, book 4 of my Players series releasing in January 2017. V and Sam’s story is a second chance romance, so their kiss isn’t technically the first. It is, however the first after eighteen years and a bit contentious.

Enjoy and then tell us…How important is the first kiss in the books you read, and what's the story behind your own?

“There was a time you included me in the list of things you wanted.”
The claim hit V like a physical blow and it took all her concentration not to flinch. Denying she’d wanted him wasn’t something she could do with any conviction and they both knew it. Running her gaze down his big body, she hid her dismay beneath pure bluster. “You’re a fine-looking man, Sam. Wanting you was never the problem.”
“I’m glad to hear you still feel that way. That’ll make things easier.”
The fine hair on the back of her neck prickled when he suddenly dropped his hands to his sides and stalked toward her. “Wait. What are talking about?”
“It’s simple.” He closed the distance and she stumbled backward. Stiff-arming him did no good. He gripped both her arms and held her there when she would have scooted clear of him. “You claim you walked away from me to get what you wanted. If that’s true, as far as I’m concerned, I dodged a bullet fifteen years ago. I’m perfectly happy to let that be the end of it.”
Some of the tension eased from her clenched muscles. He may have his doubts but, thankfully, he wasn’t going to press her on them.
“But, it appears providence has other plans.” Her tension returned tenfold as he released one of her arms to slip his hand around her waist. Calculation darkened the blue of his eyes. “Because of our past, my position with the Marauders is shaky when it shouldn’t be.” He slid his hand down her spine and tugged her against him until her breasts smashed flat against the solid muscle of his chest. “Caroline made it clear she expects us to put our personal differences behind us. What better way to convince her we have than to return to Manhattan as a couple?”
She opened her mouth to blast him with a shocked denial, but only succeeded in aiding him as he lowered his head and crushed his mouth to hers. His tongue slid into her mouth with practiced ease. Familiar and irresistible, his woodsy scent and spicy flavor wrapped around her, seeping into her taste buds and absorbing into her skin like a well-remembered balm.
Her knees went loose and, though she struggled to keep her feet beneath her, it was no use. She hung in his embrace, off balance and unable to care, and curled into him as if returning home. His guttural groan was a rumbling vibration against her breasts and she reveled in the knowledge she wasn’t alone in her madness.
He shifted his head, taking the kiss deeper, and time retreated. Mistakes, secrets, and years of regret vanished until only pleasure and heat existed. Desperate for more, she fought her arms free to slide her hands up over his chest and neck, and plunged her fingers into the thick pelt of his hair. She was rewarded by the quick thrust of his hips and cried out at the delicious friction of his erection pressed against her lower belly and mound.  

When Mac isn’t dreaming of that perfect first kiss, she spends her time weaving HEAs for her characters, like V and Sam. Their second chance love story, TO WIN HER BACK, book 4 in Mac’s Players series from Kensington Books, releases in January 2017 and is currently available on NetGalley for those of you who are members.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Writing Holidays by Erin Bevan

Let's welcome Erin Bevan to The Roses of Prose.
Two years ago this Christmas I read a Christmas book. We tend to do that around Christmas time, don’t we? 

I can’t remember the title, or the author sadly, but I do remember it was a book about a girl who was related to Santa. And really, I can’t remember much else about the book. I remember I liked it, so props to the unmentioned author, but reading this book got my wheels to spinning. 

What if I wrote my own Christmas book? What would it be about? And of course, in related to all things Christmas I thought about Santa, elves, toys, Santa’s workshop, and then I thought what if the unthinkable happened? The workshop goes up in flames…close to Christmas. How would the elves deal? How would this effect my own heroine or hero, and slowly but surely, the story was born. I thought of some of my favorite recent stories, Twilight, The Selection, and a favorite Christmas movie, The Santa Claus. I jumbled ideas from all and came up with my own plot twists, and what I hope you think of as a little bit of humor. Because after all, who wants to read a book when they don’t get a good chuckle or two? 

Now, I have a Valentine’s short story, and a Christmas novel. What’s next? St. Patrick’s day maybe. I can just see a good-looking man with an Irish brogue behind a bar. In fact, I’ve even gone so far as to write a scene with him… perhaps he will be one of my next projects. 

Merry Christmas everyone! 


Princess Jenny Claus has thirty suitors to choose from to take on the role of Santa and her husband, and only three weeks to do it. When an outsider crashes into and destroys the toy factory, her Gala and the prospect of Christmas for children everywhere are ruined. 

Logan Moss awakens from his plane crash, suffering from partial amnesia. Surrounded by a world he always considered make believe, he has a hard time accepting his new surroundings. Except for one snow princess who he’s deeply fascinated with. And when Logan realizes she only has three weeks to pick a husband, he begins to feel compelled to be that man. Problem is, he can’t remember if he has a wife.  

With Christmas getting closer, Jenny has to make the hardest decision of her life...duty or love. 

The Wild Rose Press: 

Barnes and Noble:  

My links:

Twitter: @ErinBevan 


Erin Bevan was born and raised in Southwest Arkansas. She spent her teenage years working for her aunt at the local gas station, flipping burgers and making milkshakes, dreaming of the day when something better would come her way. 

Fast forward ten years later, she found herself stuck inside an apartment in South Korea, while her daughter went to preschool and her husband went to work. Alone and unable to speak the local language, she turned to books for a friend. After reading several in such a short time, she decided to try her hand at writing one. 

That first one sucked, but by the fifth and sixth book, Erin started to get the hang of this writing thing. Getting the first contract in her inbox was a dream come true. Now, with three babies at home, she squeezes in stories one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one day at a time.  She’s a full time mom, a full time wife, with a little writer sprinkled in whenever she can get the chance.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Toad, Part 3 -- A Short Story by Betsy Ashton

The third and final episode in the story of Toad and the spacemen.

Today, Toad decided he knew better than his father. Some rare and wondrous adventure lay over the low rise, across the dry wash and up onto the higher plateau. He approached the rim; the new thing, the spaceship, was on the other side.

“Whaddya think, Shorty? Should we cross?”

Shorty lowered her head, shook her ears and snorted. Rex barked and bounded down the trail, tail wagging, nose scenting the air. He stopped at the bottom, looked up at Toad and Shorty and barked again.


Toad checked north, saw no clouds, and led Shorty down one side of the wash, across the deep sandy bottom, and up the rocky far side. His heart thumped by the time he climbed out. Rex led the way, until he took off after a jack rabbit and disappeared behind a clump of Joshua trees.

“We won’t tell anyone where we went. Okay?”

Shorty blew warm breath on his face. By the time he reached the rim of the wash, he was thirsty and stopped to rest. He threw himself on the ground.

“We must have come at least a hundred miles,” he said to his animals.

He took a swig of warm water from the canteen, thought about the peanut butter sandwich squished in his pocket, and decided to save it. Shorty rested her head on Toad’s shoulder and nuzzled his shirt pocket for another treat.

“Is food all you think about? It’s no wonder you’re so round.”

Toad pulled her gray ears, patted her fuzzy forehead and surrendered a treat. Rex loped back, panting, to flop in Shorty’s shade. Once again, the jack rabbit was safe. Toad watched a tarantula make its awkward way across a small patch of scree. Unusual for it to be out in the daylight, he assumed something strange had disrupted its normal hunting patterns. The spider didn’t rear up in a threatening manner, but Toad knew better than to provoke it. He’d been bitten the first week at the compound. The bite hurt less than a bee sting, but it had left a red lump for a couple of days. He reached out and touched a hairy leg.

“If you walked on me, I bet you’d tickle.” He wasn’t afraid of spiders like Jimmy was. He was too old for such nonsense.

He shifted sand between his fingers and put a bit of green bottle glass and a couple of rose quartz rocks into his pocket. Not the one with the peanut butter sandwich, the one on the other side.

“I wish I could fly.”

Lying on the warm sand, Toad watched contrails loop, spread and fade in the jet stream.

“Way above that cloud into the sky.”

He pointed to a puffy cotton ball, which appeared out of nowhere. Rex and Shorty ignored him. Rex put his head on his paws and snoozed; Shorty rested her weight on three hooves, eyes half-closed, ears flicking to keep flies from landing.

More contrails crisscrossed the bright blue sky. He dreamed of riding one to a distant land where wonders not yet imagined awaited. Could a contrail take him to the moon or even beyond? Could they be supply ships traveling between a large spaceship and the city spacemen were building? He dozed in the heat of the midday sun and dreamed of flying away.

Toad woke when Shorty nudged his nose and Rex licked his sweaty face. If he was going to finish his big adventure before his parents came home from work, he had to get moving. He ate the melted sandwich, not even noticing that the bread was soggy and the peanut butter slick. He remembered to save a bit of the crust for the chipmunks.

He brushed sand from the seat of his pants and picked up Shorty’s lead. Even though she wouldn’t stray, he felt responsible for her. Once more, Rex bounded away, nose to the ground, tail parallel and wagging. For another half hour, Toad neither saw nor heard anything out of the ordinary. The wind moaned softly, but otherwise the land was so silent and empty he might have been the only little boy on earth. Nothing stirred on the ground since he left the tarantula.

“I wonder where all the animals are. Could they be hiding from something?”

He’d never come this far before. He tried not to be afraid, but deep inside his chest, his heart thumped.

Toad stooped and picked up a piece of lava. “Cool. Another one for my collection.” Then he found a black snake skin, coiled it up and wrapped it in the waxed paper that once covered his sandwich. He put the skin into his pocket too. This side of the wash was loaded with treasures.

Finally, Toad heard a low rumble, the same noise almost every day for two weeks, a noise made by no one and nothing. He squinted against the glare.

“It’s just gotta be spacemen.”

Shorty’s head shot up, and she yanked back on the lead, which shipped through his fingers. Rex whined and clamped his tail between his legs.

The rumble got louder. The spaceship was headed right toward him.

Whoosh! The noise knocked Toad on his butt, his chest too tight to breathe. Shorty brayed and took off for home, followed by a yipping Rex. Toad couldn’t move. More whooshes. Then, a silver-gray jet roared thirty feet above Toad’s head. Upside down.

Toad sat and stared. Other jets followed. Some soared upward and disappeared, leaving only contrails behind. Four flew wingtip to wingtip. Then all disappeared, leaving behind little more than the normal mid afternoon wind, which lifted columns of sand skyward, dust devils replacing clouds of sand from the low-flying jets.

Toad still couldn’t move. He sat and grinned and grinned and grinned.

Later, when it was obvious neither the jets nor his four-legged friends would return, Toad picked his way to the edge of the wash, down the rocky trail and up the other side. An hour of steady marching brought him to the gate where Rex and Shorty waited as if nothing unusual had happened. Shorty flicked her tail and shook her head; Rex lay in the dust and panted.

“Hey, you’re the ‘fraidy cats. You ran off and left me behind. Remember?” He petted each of his best friends.

He let them in, fed and watered both and ran a brush across Shorty’s rough coat. He returned to the platform and threw himself on a ratty sofa, which should have long ago made its way to the town dump. Too restless to take a nap and forbidden to watch television during the day, he searched for a spare tablet and began to write his first short story: “The Day My World Changed Forever.”

Maybe, just maybe, Toad thought, he hadn’t heard a spaceship after all. Maybe, just maybe, they were jet planes. If he couldn’t fly like the pilots he’d seen, he could write a story about them. Maybe, just maybe, his mother was right.
This time, anyway.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My last post of the year

Yep, for me, it is. I don't participate in the December story, so November is my final blog post.

This has been a pretty lousy year, I think. I am ready to turn the page, that's for sure. We lost too many good musicians, elected a lousy politician, and we saw a lot of family and friends in a light we really didn't want to see. The good thing, of course, is that it's energized a lot of people to be more active in politics and organizations. As to the bad thing ... well, that remains to be seen, I guess.

Here's hoping you enjoy the December of story-telling here. Enjoy your holiday season, however you celebrate it, and here's to 2017 -- bigger and better than ever!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Football and Books by D. Dominik Wickles

Please welcome Diane Wickles to The Roses of Prose!
Although summer is my favorite, fall is a beautiful season with the changing leaves, pumpkins and a nip in the air. The super bowl is barely over and my husband begins talking about the next football season. I root for the Steelers, and now the Panthers since we’ve moved to NC, but what I associate with football are a pot roast or chili perfuming the house with tantalizing odors, a well-loved afghan and a good book.

While my husband “arm-chair quarterbacks” on the game, I snuggle beside him with my current read. I will admit that when the Steelers play, I can’t snuggle as close because he tends to fidget and jump up with either elation or frustration, depending on how the game is going. But with some games I can even close my eyes and snooze a bit if the mood hits me.

Even though fall represents different things to my husband and me, it is a season of togetherness, warmth and relaxation.

What does fall represent to you?
Book Blurb : Hong Kong Treasure by D. Dominik Wickles
Deshi Han, a martial arts actor and director, thinks a serious relationship would hamper his career. On a charity trip to the typhoon ravaged Philippines he agrees to take a young American woman back to Hong Kong to rest and regain her memory.
            Once back in Hong Kong, Deshi reluctantly allows the woman he names Annie, to accompany him on the movie sets and on his trips across China. Despite his attempts to remain aloof with Annie, a romance develops between them.
            Meanwhile, Annie is troubled by nightmares which allude to a danger lurking from her past and someone on Deshi’s crew is trying to sabotage their budding romance. As Deshi is forced repeatedly to disrupt his work schedule to protect Annie, it serves to confirm his belief that careers and relationships don’t mix.
            But when it looks like Deshi will lose Annie, and he risks everything to save her, will it be too late? 
Book Excerpt:
Leyte Province in the Philippines. Her running steps echoed from the walls. Would he catch her? It meant white slavery if he did. Slamming open the kitchen door, she burst out of the hotel despite the typhoon ravaging the eastern coast. The destructive winds and rains were buffered in the alleyway behind the hotel, but she still had to fight for each step away from the man she knew was just behind her.
             Without warning, massive walls of water rushed into the alley from both ends. The sixteen-foot wave scooped her up and battered her against the buildings. When the storm surge receded, she lay bruised and unconscious beneath a mass of water-logged debris.
            “I’m told there are eleven buildings, besides this church, serving as shelters,” Father Donovan said. “I haven’t left here since the typhoon hit four days ago. Is the damage extensive?”
“Yes. Very. Many people with no homes, no food,” Deshi Han replied.
Father Donovan put his hand on Deshi’s shoulder. “You brought much-needed food and supplies. Your movies are loved but your charity work is well-known here in the Philippines. I thank you. You are truly doing God’s work, my son.”
Deshi watched as a volunteer passed out the blankets he had brought, which would help to cushion the pews they were using for beds. He shook his head. “I wish I do more.”
“Perhaps there is something …” Father Donovan began.
“What, Father?” He followed the priest to a courtyard. A young woman sat beside a storm-crushed rose bed. Deshi guessed her to be American, in her early twenties. “Who she, Father?”
“No one knows, not even her.” Father Donovan tilted his head to the side and sighed. “She has no memory of anything before the typhoon. One of the doctors informed me that she just needs rest to regain her memory.”
Deshi watched the girl slowly gather the broken branches from around the few unharmed plants. A child about five years old ran up and tapped her on the shoulder. The young woman’s solemn face broke into a smile as the child led her away toward another section of the church.
Father Donovan turned to Deshi. “But she won’t get that rest here. She has nightmares and cries for the orphaned and injured children. I’ve prayed for someone to claim her and take her away from here.”
“We delivered the supplies to the kitchen.” Jun Chew, Deshi’s assistant, spoke in Cantonese as she approached them.
Deshi turned away from the doorway, nodded at Jun then called to his business manager, “Where the next shelter, Paul?”
Paul Wu shook his head then responded in English. “We have distributed all the supplies we brought, Deshi. That is all we can do today.”
“Besides,” Jun continued in Cantonese, “we have to get back or you will be late for the senior citizen center opening.”
The supplies had gone so fast. They had only been to six of the eleven shelters and there were so many people still in need. “Maybe one more thing I can do today,” Deshi said with a sigh. “Father?”
The priest’s right hand clutched the large cross at his neck and he smiled. “Yes, my son?”
“I will take her.”
Buy Links:
D. Dominik Wickles is the pseudonym for Romance author, Diane T. Wickles. Diane has always been overly curious and loves to try new things. Some of her interests have included studying martial arts, getting her degree in Criminal Justice, ice skating, traveling and of course, writing stories. Her career path has taken her from bank teller to probation officer to computer instructor to library clerk to author.
She has explored many genres including horror, humor and mystery publishing several short pieces on various online magazines. Diane’s books always have a happy ending but the road to that point is rife with mystery and danger. She is a member of Pennwriters and is active in two local writing groups.
At her home in northwestern Pennsylvania, she talks to her cat, reads 2-3 books at a time, constantly searches for new vegan recipes and creates her characters. In her spare time, she loves camping and building dollhouses.
Contact her at: ddominikwicklesATgmailDotcom
Social Media Links:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Dirty Rotten Politics and...Love by Brenda Whiteside

My newest release, The Power of Love and Murder, book four in the Love and Murder Series, held a double whammy of wicked fun to write. I have TWO villains in this novel. When the original idea came to me, the politics of late were not on my mind, yet I chose a crooked, evil politician as one of the villains.

In this year's election, we had a non-politician hell-bent on causing trouble, and a seasoned female politician who some said we couldn't trust this time around. My senator aiming at the presidency is neither, but wicked he is!

But the other villain, FBI Special Agent Vince Elams, was the most fun to put on paper. Vince is the villain you think twice about. He gives you moments of awww, that's why he's bad...should I feel sorry for him? Then he turns around and is rotten so you chide yourself for thinking any kind thoughts about him. Here's an intro to Vince, the first time we learn a little about him:

Vince rubbed his face, digging his thumb and finger into his eyes to reach a deep-seated fatigue. Finding dirt on opponents, uncovering weak spots on other equally ambitious politicians, greasing the pockets of dishonest corporate movers and shakers, and using his resources at the FBI for illegal purposes meant nothing. He considered the activities…a game he enjoyed.

Murder? Hadn’t mattered thirteen years ago. He touched the photo of his wife. “Sorry, Brita.” When she died, his life, any life, had lost all significance. Back then, he’d sold his soul to the devil in the body of CEO and someday Senator Clyde Westingly, and there was no absolution to be found. So be it. He’d done Westingly’s bidding without thinking, as if some other force drove his body, taking him along for the ride. So many years ago. Hell bound for sure, yet he just didn’t have the stomach for murder anymore.

I hope you'll enjoy reading about Vince and all my other characters as much as I enjoyed writing them. The Power of Love and Murder releases worldwide on December 21, although you can pre-order the eBook edition right now.

Buy Links:



Barnes and Noble:



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What A Difference A Week Makes by Margo Hoornstra

What a difference a week makes.

Last Monday, a routine medical test resulted in surgery scheduled for me in January. Not an emergency, not life threatening. Not that I'm exactly looking forward to it...but... Awaiting the test results was the worst. Thankfully, everything came back normal.

Now I'm looking forward to putting this behind me a moving on...


This Monday I received an e-mail from The Wild Rose Press with three contracts attached. About a month ago they contracted On the Surface, first in a planned four book romantic suspense series Brothers in Blue. Four heroes who met at the police academy to become life long friends. The drop out, the straight arrow, the movie star and the maverick. They all share a passion to serve and protect, each in their own unique way.

Now I can look forward to producing On the Force, On the Make, and On the Move.

What a difference a week makes.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and my stories, please visit my WEBSITE

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy to be a Leah St. James

As I sat on my couch, wondering what wonderful words of wisdom I could share with you this Thanksgiving week (ha!), an ad for came on the TV. You know – where you send them a sample of your DNA, they analyze it and  send you back your “real” heritage.

What a fun topic for Thanksgiving, I thought – the American holiday where we commemorate the English settlers’ survival in The New World back in 1600-something. Since then, our nation has become a true melting pot of many nationalities and backgrounds, which I think is one of its greatest strength.

In the commercial, the woman said she’s always thought she was 100 percent Hispanic, only to discover that she’s “everything.”  And that’s the point of the commercial – that you never really know exactly what your make-up is, unless you undergo DNA testing, of course.

Let’s take my son, as an example. He sent his spit off in a plastic vial a few years back, and he did get a few interesting results.

But first, some background:

My husband loves studying genealogy and has traced his ancestors’ roots to Germany (50 percent), Ireland (25 percent) and Wales (25 percent).  As an odd side note, he considers himself more Welsh than Irish, despite the identical percentages. And he’s an accountant. Go figure.

I, on the other hand, am a mutt. Or at least I think I am. My mother was adopted, although back then the records weren’t sealed. Her adoptive parents told her she was from the Prussian part of Germany – which I found quite romantic. I’m not German. I’m PRUSSIAN. The knowledge  spawned many fantasies of discovering myself to be long-lost royalty from some tiny Germanic principality. My father’s side isn’t much better. He left when I was about four, so we know little about his background, but Mom always said he was all German.  Years later, we found out his mother’s side was from Eastern Europe – either Poland or Lithuania...something like that. So I’m German, Prussian and some sort of Eastern European. I’ve always guestimated myself as 75 percent German and 25 percent Eastern European.

So if I do the math, my children would be:

12.5 percent Irish
12.5 percent Welsh
62.5 percent(ish) German
12.5 percent Eastern European

If there are mathematicians/statisticians out there, please don’t grade me on this. It’s been decades since I cracked a book on genetics, and I’m sure my methodology has a few holes in it. :-)

Anyway, take a look at the report my son got back

His heritage is  99 percent European. Makes sense. But if we drill down, we see that some of the percentages are a little off. More from Ireland than Great Britain? Interesting. One of those Welsh ancestors must have come from Ireland!

Thirty-two percent from Western Europe, 22 percent from Eastern – those I can buy. But 11 percent from the Iberian Peninsula?

According to, “People in this DNA ethnicity group may identify as: Spanish, Portuguese, Hispanic.” 

Now there’s a mystery!

This result prompted hubby to order his own spit kit from the company. Alas, even after two attempts, the samples he sent weren’t enough to generate results – very disappointing.

My sister, when she saw the report, implored me to send my own sample off for testing, figuring the “Iberians” must be from our side, and she didn’t feel like spitting in a cup. I promptly declined. I don’t want my DNA floating around out there, stored in some lab!  Some crook could get hold of it and do who-knows-what with it!

Although maybe I should, just in case some obscure Germanic principality is seeking descendants of its royal line....

Nah. In truth, I’m happy to be a mutt. I’m happy to be American. 

So as I celebrate Thanksgiving with my husband and two grown sons, I’ll thank the fates that landed me in this country of freedoms, in a family that hasn’t been rich in money but has been so rich in love.  I’ll give a prayer of thanks  for our collective health, for our jobs, for the joy of story-telling and for those who love reading. 

Wishing you and yours a joyous and safe Thanksgiving.

Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil and the power of love. She blogs here the 22nd of each month, but posts odds and ends, like pictures of her son's six-month-old kitten, on Facebook.She loves chatting on Twitter and occasionally blogs on her own website.