Thursday, August 31, 2017

Use What You Know by Sylvie Grayson

Roses and Readers, please join my in welcoming Sylvie Grayson to The Roses of Prose!

I’m a strong believer in using what I know when writing my books. I’ve been surprised many times by authors who write about business or sports or other pursuits but don’t seem to have the background knowledge needed to make the scenes convincing or even accurate.
When I was a child, my family moved to the North Peace River area of British Columbia. We lived on a homestead, which meant a small hand-built log cabin with no power or running water. The school in the village went to grade eight, so after that it was home schooling. I was thirteen and my younger sister nine, when I was designated to walk her the mile and a half to the bus stop to get her to class, and meet her again in the afternoon.
One morning, I had seen her onto the school bus, and turned to walk home. Our dog, Captain, was a wayward beast and had come with us, but soon ran off chasing rabbits, yipping through the trees on a fruitless quest. Walking down the road, I called him. Soon, I heard him coming, his cries getting louder as he approached. He bounded up the snowbank on the side of the road, and down onto the roadway. But he didn’t stop, running flat out across the road and up the bank on the other side, out of sight through the trees.
I soon saw why. Two large timber wolves leaped out of the bush to the top of the snowbank and paused when they saw me. I froze. We stared at each other. I thought—I’m going to die now. I ran at them, waving my arms wide to appear as large and intimidating as possible, yelling as loud as I could. They jumped down the bank, loped across the road, up the other bank and into the forest after Captain.
I truly believed we’d never see our dog again. He had been running flat out, yet these wild creatures did a leisurely lope that was at least as fast. Our dog returned home around noon. He was exhausted and slept in front of the stove for the rest of the day.
When writing False Confession, I had a real urge to include scenes from those days. It isn’t often I write about the Canadian north, the blizzards and days of snow and cold. But here was my chance. So although the book is set in Victoria, British Columbia, the characters take a trip to the northern part of the province. Here is an excerpt—
False Confession excerpt --
Surprisingly the wind was dying down but the snow continued to fall in a dense curtain all around him. After tying an orange warning tag to the truck bumper, he headed back down the road.
When he got to the driveway turn off, he spied a set of prints in the snow superimposed over his own. They looked like impressions made by a very large dog, which seemed unlikely. Dogs didn’t roam far from home in this type of weather, and these paw marks were remarkably far apart, indicating a long reach.
His gaze sharpened as he peered through the thick fall of snow. The tracks led straight down the drive toward the cabin. As he got closer, he saw movement ahead of him and stopped where he stood as his gut clenched. A tall, mottled grey shape paced sinuously past the front door of the cabin and turned toward the woodpile. A thick ruff around its neck and nose to the ground, the wolf moved with purpose as it explored their tracks in the snow.
Alex froze. What should he do now? Was he in danger? Was the animal hungry enough to consider him dinner? He waited, anxious, as the wolf changed direction and patrolled back toward the front door. Glory had better not choose that moment to open the door and look out, because who knew what her reaction would be, or what would happen then.
He moved forward a dozen feet, heart hammering in his chest, as the wolf raised its head and stared directly at him. They both remained immobile. Then the wolf turned and trotted noiselessly behind the woodpile and into the woods.
Alex ploughed his way steadily toward the cabin door through the heavy snowfall, keeping an eye on the spot where the wolf had disappeared. The light was dull as night approached, and he needed to get inside.
Lungs labouring, he reached the door and stepped through, slamming it behind him and throwing the latch. He paused to catch his breath and allow his heart rate to slow.
Better not tell Glory about that encounter. She was already nervous as hell about their precarious situation.
Back blurb—False Confession
Did Glory fall for the wrong man, or is someone lying?
Music teacher Glory has given up on men, with good reason. Then she meets the handsome lead guitar player in the band she has just joined.
Alex, body builder and construction foreman, is determinedly single because he’s given up on women. But that’s before he meets the keyboard player who just joined his brother’s rock band. Suddenly his interest is revived and he goes on a crusade to gain Glory’s attention.
But when Alex disappears and the police claim they have a confession giving damning evidence against him, Glory has to make a decision. Can she trust the man she’s fallen for, or has she been fooled into believing a lie?
Buy link for Amazon -

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

End of Summer by Diane Burton

First, my heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Texas ravaged by Harvey and it's aftermath. I can't fathom what you're going through.


OMG where did it go? Our electric bill shows we had summer. Hot, sticky, muggy Michigan weather with nary a break. This was the summer of family events. A wedding shower for my niece kicked off the season, followed by a baby shower for another niece, and after that was the wedding--outdoors, 90° with 90% humidity. Right now, we're eagerly awaiting word on the niece who's pregnant. That baby is coming any day. My sister's first grandchild. I'm almost as excited for her as I am for our son's twins coming in November. Or October. Or . . .

Although the Great American Total Solar Eclipse passed south of us, we got our special glasses and watched from our deck. I don't remember ever seeing even a partial eclipse before. Considering their cost, I'm saving those glasses for the next eclipse in seven years.

my first selfie
I can’t believe it’s been two months since the no-longer-Arizona family moved in with us. Yesterday they officially moved into their new home. Son and Hubs spent several days building stuff for the new house. Daughter and Daughter-in-law cleaned and painted. The movers brought everything from storage. Tonight, they’ll sleep in their own beds.

While I’m happy they (and we) will have their own space again, I’m a tiny bit sad. Toddler Girl and I have bonded this summer. Snuggles and kisses and storytime with her curled up on my lap. We’ve watched too many episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I can sing the theme songs. So can she. 
With Labor Day around the corner, kids are getting ready for school. (In Michigan, most schools don’t start until the day after Labor Day.) My other grandchildren (going into 2nd & 5th grades) are excited, now that they know who their teachers are. When they weren’t at camp this summer, they hung out here a lot. Sometimes overnight, sometimes for a couple of hours. They’ve had fun playing with their little cousin. 

I love having them all here. Sure, it’s tiring. I feel my age more when they’re around. But I’m building memories for them. Good memories, I hope, that will stay with them long after I’m gone. Now that all the grandkiddies are close, I’m taking advantage of any time I can get with them.

Between Scouts, flag football, dance, karate, more dance, I think the older kids are booked almost every night—and Saturdays. It tires me out just thinking about their parents running them to all their activities. When my two were young, we wanted them to have a variety of experiences. So I understand why their parents are offering the kids different opportunities. What it also means is we don’t see them too often. Maybe a Friday overnight so the parents can have “date night.” In school, a couple of years ago, our granddaughter had to write a persuasive paragraph. So she wrote one encouraging her parents to have date night more often so they could have an overnight at Nana and Papa’s. Boy, did that ever make my day.

Toddler Girl isn’t ready for all those activities. Yet. With both parents working, we agreed to help out by taking care of her one day a week. Looks like I’ll still get those snuggles and kisses. 😊 Just not as often.

We haven’t seen the end of summer. We’ll have hot days and those that hit a high of 60°. Beach days will be few, and most of the tourists will leave—except for weekends. I always feel a bit sad when summer comes to an end. As much as I love Fall, I know what’s right behind it. Winter.

Maybe I should just enjoy each day as it comes. Captain Sundae's is still open. We'll get to enjoy a few more visits before they close for the winter.

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mysteries. She blogs here on the 30th of each month, on Paranormal Romantics on the 13th, and on her own blog on Mondays.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Julie, Julia and Me by Mackenzie Crowne

I’ve got a short but heartfelt post this month since I’m in Manhattan with family and there is a lot going on around me and, well, I don’t want to miss anything. So, last week, I found the movie Julie and Julia on the listing and settled down with an adult beverage and some popcorn to watch. I’d seen it before, years ago, before I was published, and enjoyed it. At the time, I considered it a movie about cooking, but watching it again, I was surprised to discover the publishing industry is a main theme…and how much Julia Child and I have in common. We both cook. Oh, wait. That's wrong. I don't cook. But I do drink, and so too did Julia, apparently. :-)     via GIPHY

Like me, Julia was a published author and it took a while for that to happen. Unlike me, however, Julia found major success, by industry standards, that is. But, back to the movie.

 As is the case with most movies involving writers, both Julia and Julie found their successful HEA’s in the publishing industry. Which brings me to the point of my short post. I’m here with a gentle warning to those would-be writers out there. You know who you are, the ones with stars in your eyes. And here it is: If fame, fortune, and fawning is the reason behind your writing mojo, you are probably going to be disappointed. Sad, but there it is.

That's not to say major success is out of reach. If it weren't attainable, there wouldn't be a NYT Best Seller list, would there? But, the space between publishing and that list may as well be a cavern. Many dream of spanning it - few achieve the crossing. The cold hard truth is, most of us hit somewhere much lower on the success scale than Julie or Julia achieved, but if you’re like me, and writing is compulsory, seeing your stories shared with others is, in itself, success. My most heartfelt advice for you is to write for the sheer joy of it. Write for yourself because there WILL be those out there who will not support your efforts. And lastly, write for the love of writing and you'll never go wrong.

When Mac isn’t in Manhattan having fun with her family, she keeps herself busy doing what she loves. Writing sensually romantic stories with a side of sass like To Win Her Smile, the latest in her Players Series from Kensington Publishing.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

It Started With A Dare by Betsy Ashton

No, I didn't dare someone to act. A dear friend of mine dared me to act. Her challenge: bet you can't write a dark, psychological suspense story. That sounded logical enough, since I have been writing the Mad Max mystery series for a while now. Mad Max is anything but dark, although dark things happen to and around her. Still, me? Write a dark, psychological suspense? Especially when I was playing around with a romance that wasn't going anywhere fast.

I declined the dare. Until she made it a double-dog dare. Well, I'd show her.

I paced the house with my head flooded with ideas. What could I do that was dark? I understood digging into the psyche. After all, Max tells her stories and, to be truthful, she has to go into the dark places in her soul sometimes. No, a Max-like character wouldn't satisfy the dare. I thought about assassins. Nah. I hate kill shots from long distance. No pink mist for me. I thought about delving into the life of a drug dealer. Not interesting enough. Been done too many times.

When I thought about a serial killer, I had the same reaction as I did about drug dealers. Been done too many times. But what if I could find a twist, a different way of presenting a warped human being, a psychopath with a unique moral code, a personal rule book, if you will. But what would that uniqueness be?

I puzzled on this for weeks until I had an epiphany of sorts. First person singular from the point of view of the killer. Other than some television shows where the killer is the focus (think Dexter, which I have never seen), I hadn't read any books with the killer telling the story. Probably hundreds out there, but I hadn't read them. Think looking at the world through the lens of a hunter. Think moving in for a kill with calmness and total concentration.

Think: A woman! A female serial killer is as rare as a, well, female serial killer.

Would she be an Avenging Angel? A Vigilante? A Black Widow? Or would she be herself.

Once I knew I wanted to see if I could write from the point of view of a broken psyche, I was off to the races. Words fairly flew onto the page. I found so many different ways to kill people merely by reading my local newspaper. I tested different methods, just as my killer did. I gave her the ability to laugh at the world, especially the world of law enforcement. I gave her a chameleon's talent for blending into the crowd, for hiding in plain sight. I balanced the dark with light, so that the book wouldn't be a tutorial on killing. I gave her a few redeeming social characteristics. I gave her a cat.

And now that the unnamed, totally unreliable narrator is about to see print, I'm ready to kick the b*tch out of my head. Maybe I'll return to the romance. Maybe I'll go to something sunny. I know what when Eyes Without A Face debuts, I'm not going to write her sequel.

Have you ever taken a dare like this one?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Readers Rule (Part 2)

As Brenda said, we're attending the same conference this fall -- and I can't put my hands right now on the clever image they made for me (argh!)

It's been a couple of years since I've been to a conference and like Brenda, I'm somewhat ... I don't know, anxious or hesitant about it. I am *not* a dress-up person so the idea of a gala is foreign to me. I don't do costumes -- okay, I used to do costumes, and if they ever have a Back to the Fifties, I'm in. Medieval? Um, no. Of course, some of my clothing is old, so maybe that counts? I'll be there to support Brenda as we wait, with bated breath, for contest results. Send a few positive vibes our way, okay?

I'm looking forward, though, to connecting with other authors and readers, of course. I enjoy chatting with readers about what they like, don't like, in books and trends and buying. They don't know the ins and outs of publishing like authors do, so they come at it from a different perspective and it's always good to be reminded of that.

And a bonus for this trip is that I'll see not only Brenda and Rolynn, but other writer friends as well in Phoenix and in California, as well as family out in California. So it's a big Win Win for me.

Before then, though, I have another trip to endure, er, enjoy. Road trip, a long one, out East to see the in-laws at a wedding. I'll do all the driving, and really, it should be fun. As my father used to say, any time you get out of your zip code it's an adventure, right?


I'm not going to think that far ahead right now. For now, it's all about Labor Day weekend coming up and a chance to kick back and relax.

And maybe go through my closet and see if any of those party clothes still fit ...


Friday, August 25, 2017

Setting a Story in Another Culture by Judy Meadows

Don't you just love exotic when it comes to romance? Our guest today has that for you. Read on..
I’m often asked if it’s hard to write a story set in a foreign culture.

The answer is yes, there are challenges—I’ve detailed some of them below—but it’s very interesting too. You know—like traveling in a foreign country is interesting and reading about a foreign culture is interesting. Writing about life in the Middle East takes me there—or, I should say, it takes me back there. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Middle East and have studied Farsi.

My stories take place in the fictional country of Behruz, which I located between Iran and Afghanistan. Even though the country is fictional, I wanted to be true to the realities of the region. Since I can’t claim to be an expert on the culture, I wrote from a point of view I am an expert on – the experience of an American woman living there.

The heroine of Book 1 is an American who lived much of her life in Behruz. The heroines of Books 2 and 3 are “mostly American.” (They’re daughters of a Behruzi father and an American mom, raised primarily in San Francisco.) I know what it’s like to be an American woman living in that area. I travelled (with my husband, brother, and sister-in-law, Dana) by Land Rover across the region in 1969 and 1970, choosing backroads and small towns, camping and hiking and interacting with locals, including nomads. Then, eight years later, my husband and I lived in Iran for a year, working as computer engineers on a project that was supposed to extend phone service to the entire country. (The project was interrupted by the Iranian revolution.) I gave birth to my first child in an Iranian hospital.

So, I know what it’s like to be a foreign woman in that world. During the Land Rover trip, I covered myself with a chador, not all the time, but occasionally, when I wanted respite from being “different.” My heroines do the same. People were curious and hospitable and generous; I was curious and open and grateful for their hospitality. I kept a diary during the first year-long trip, one that spans seven volumes. Those volumes were a great source of details that bring life to my stories. For example, both the heroine and I traveled with Lhasa Apso puppies. (I got mine in Nepal; she got hers from some hippies who’d been to Nepal.) Both my puppy and hers became ill with round worms. My diaries reminded me of quirks and characteristics of the people who were part of my life when I was there. I used those memories to create realistic characters.

Readers may expect more sexism than they’ll find in my books. It’s a big and important subject, but one that is, I think, beyond the scope of my writing. It was realistic to have my American heroines navigate that world without serious restrictions, because Western women are granted a unique status with more freedom than women of the region. I always felt safe traveling in the Middle East. The female Moslem secondary characters in my stories do have less freedom and less overt power than their husbands, but they have rich lives and covert power that they wield with finesse.

The only sexism Dana and I experienced during the first trip was something that occurred a few times in rural areas of Turkey and Afghanistan. We’d be walking along on a crowded sidewalk without a chador, and a man would casually, accidentally, bump his hand against our bottom and kind of cup it. We called this the “accidental bottom bonk.” (Don’t forget, bottom pinching was common in Italy at the time. For all I know, it still is.) The stereotypes Hollywood had exported to other countries about the sexual mores of American women were probably responsible for these incidents. (The Hollywood of that era was pretty sexist itself.) I didn’t experience bottom-bonking (accidental or otherwise) in Tehran when I was working there eight years later, and I never wore a chador in Tehran.

Readers may wonder about the issue of religion when they read about an American or mostly-American woman falling in love with a Middle Eastern man, so I felt I had to deal with that. In order to dispense with it as summarily as possible, I gave my heroes mixed heritages. (Moslem dads, Christian moms.) There are actually a lot of Christians (also Jews, and Zoroastrians) living peacefully in Iran, which means, of course, intermarriages do sometimes occur. Couples in such marriages don’t normally face the persecution or problems we Westerners might expect. The people of the region respect piety, regardless of the religion. Since my characters are the offspring of couples who’ve already met the challenges of interfaith marriage, I had heroes and heroines well prepared to meld their histories. That was my way of avoiding the topic of religion.

One factor of writing about another culture has complicated marketing of my books. Most romance novels set in the Middle East are of the “Desert Sheik” sub-genre, but that’s not the kind of book I write. My books tell rich stories of sweet and spicy romance between people who happen to find themselves in an exotic setting. Unfortunately, this distinction is hard to convey in the cover material.  Readers who’ve already decided they don’t like stories about arrogant sheiks and vulnerable fair maidens probably won’t open my books.

I love my exotic setting and the drama of the events that unfold there. When I’m done writing about Behruz, I think I’ll write about another foreign country I know well, Mexico.

My three stories set in Behruz (all published by The Wild Rose Press) are: Escape from Behruz (April, 2017), Midwife in Behruz (coming soon), and Searching in Behruz (WIP, hopefully available in early 2018).

Escape from Behruz is available at Amazon
And also from itunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookstrand, and Google. See 


I grew up and went to college in Minnesota but now live in a small town in Oregon with my husband Jim. I love to travel, read, hang out at the beach, cook, and play with grandchildren. I’ve always loved cats, but sadly find myself catless at the moment. Our 19-year-old Simba and 17-year-old Tinker Bell both died last year.

My first career was as a systems engineer for IBM. My second career was growing apples and Asian pears in northern California. My third career was as a doula and childbirth educator.

And now I’m a writer!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

READERS RULE! by Brenda Whiteside

In October, I’m attending the InD’Scribe Conference in Burbank, California for the first time. I’m a touch…hmmm…nervous, no…anxious, no…I’m not sure what. Maybe a little of both. This is a conference to recognize and introduce authors who are published through small houses or self-published to readers. This should be a lot of fun. I love to meet readers. 

Okay, we’re all readers, yet readers who don’t write are the most fun to meet. Not that I don’t like meeting reader-authors, but someone who already writes isn’t mystified by the whole process. Readers give us a chance to talk about our creative process, brag about our stories, and introduce them to our characters who are real enough to us. I’m not an introvert so I enjoy the interaction. 

My trepidation comes with the hype on this conference, second only to the academy awards. There’s the award ceremony when the RONE Award winners will be announced (of which I am a finalist). Evening gowns are a welcomed mode of dress. (I don’t even own a dress…unless you count a couple of bridesmaid dresses that have hung in the back of my closet for a few years) One night, there is a costume ball and the theme is medieval. I am just not a dress-up kind of person. I don’t even do Halloween. Then there is a Rave Table Luncheon. This is an extra cost where an author buys a special table to host for their fans. I can only picture a disastrous ending…me at my table all alone. I’m not exactly Brenda Novak (who will be there) YET. 

I bought a long black skirt which I’ll wear with a T shirt type top and jewelry. That’s as dressy as I’ll get. I’m not dressing up for the costume night either. I’ll go as myself. And I’ll eat lunch with whoever I sit down with. In spite of my rebel ways, I plan to have fun. Fellow authors, Rolynn Anderson and J L Wilson will be there too, which will make it all the more fun. Haven’t seen either in years.

I encourage all and anyone to attend. It's going to be so much fun.

Oh, and wish me luck. The Power of Love and Murder is up for a RONE in the Romantic Suspense category. No, I don’t have a speech prepared to thank all the little people who helped me achieve my dream. I’ll wing it!

The Power of Love and Murder, RONE Award Finalist

For thirteen years, Penny Sparks has managed to hide from the political powers who murdered her family. When she unwittingly exposes her true identity, not only is she marked for death, but the people closest to her risk meeting the same fate.

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets his sister’s roommate, Jake believes Penny might be that someone who can help him find life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world.

With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

RWA2017: Lesson One – Give Them What They Crave by Margo Hoornstra

In my August 11th appearance on this page, I talked about attending the 37th Annual Conference of Romance Writers of America. Despite some pro and con controversy about the value of membership in this organization, in my opinion, the group does strive to support romance authors in their craft and their career, from those just emerging and pre-published to multi-published masters. Many commenters on August 11th asked me to share what I learned in some of the many workshops.

So let’s begin….

In all the sessions on the craft of writing, the message was the same. Emotion is the takeaway readers seek, especially from a romance novel. They want to be invested, to feel or empathize with the characters. Maybe relive a treasured memory through the story.

The first workshop I attended was Seducing Your Readers in Chapter 1, presented by Michael Hauge.

The tease and bio go something like this…

Salvaging a novel with a weak opening is next to impossible. Never try to “grab” your reader at the beginning of your novel. You must seduce them, draw them into your world, create empathy for your heroine, set the tone for your story, introduce immediate conflict, lay the groundwork for your heroine’s arc, and foreshadow what lies ahead. This presentation will reveal how to compel your readers to keep turning the page.

Michael Hauge is a story consultant, author, and lecturer who has consulted on projects for every major Hollywood studio, including films starring Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Kirsten Dunst, Robert Downey Jr., and Morgan Freeman. He is the author of Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds, and has presented his lectures and workshops to more than 50,000 writers and filmmakers around the world.

My initial decision to sit in on this one was mainly prompted an author friend who exclaimed how attending a presentation of his a few years ago was so eye opening for her, it changed her writing life forever. You could say I bought into her enthusiasm, the emotion she projected.

Suffice it to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

One element of writing he shared, I’d heard before. In framing characters, a writer needs to begin with the wound. An event or ongoing painful situation she believes she’s over, that still determines her behavior.

The hero, of course, needs to come to understand this, and her.

According to Mr. Hauge, the primary reason a manuscript fails to resonate with editors, and therefore receives a rejection slip, is because the hero and heroine have no real reason to be together, except for the fact the writer wants them to be.

Kind of like – I love you because we are in this book together. Not very compelling, or interesting.

My main takeaway from the session is the core of the following paragraph.

The reason the hero is the heroine’s destiny is because he’s the only guy who sees her beneath her identity and connects with her at her essence. He sees her true self and connects to her on that level.

Did your heart beat a little faster? A contented sigh emerge? Me too!

The need for a deep and unique connection between two souls is a dynamic that has stayed with me, one that I’ll think about, and try to inject into my writing in every interaction between my hero and heroine.

Emotion. Deep, heartfelt emotion.

Hopefully, mission accomplished in my September 29, 2017 release On the Surface.

It’s available for pre-order here.

My days to blog at The Roses of Prose are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and my stories, please visit me at my website

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Anatomy of a Critique by Leah St. James

After an almost two-year “hiatus,” I’ve finally returned to work on a full-length fiction project. It’s the sequel to my debut novel ("Surrender to Sanctuary"), currently titled “Sanctuary’s Promise.” Before starting, I read through what I’d written and realized one reason why I’d stopped: I’d written myself into the weeds with a plot so convoluted, I couldn’t have hacked my way out with a machete!

To the rescue was my CP (a/k/a hubby). In my family we call him the “Plot Master” because he has this annoying ability to guess the plot of almost every movie and TV show (including twists and turns) within minutes. He spent about a month reading my draft and taking notes and giving me silent “What were you thinking?” head shakes. When he was done, he had filled a one-inch binder with notes and suggestions.

When I hefted the binder in my hands, my first instinct was to run back to my non-writing cave and lose myself in Facebook, but then I put on my big girl undies and went to work. After reading through his notes twice, I realized how right he was about much of it. Still, I didn’t agree with everything he suggested. In fact, our initial conversation went something like this:

Me: (Tosses binder on the couch and heads to the kitchen for a bracing cup of English breakfast tea.)

Him: (Shouting at my back) “I guess you don’t like my suggestions?”

Me: (Back in the living room) “I am NOT writing another how-to novel on erotic lifestyles! The sequel isn’t about that. It’s about the murder of (secret plot point) and the discovery of (another secret plot point)!"

Him: (Throws up hands) “Okay, fine. But what about the rest? You have the characters ALL WRONG.”

Me: “How the heck (word changed to protect this blog’s PG rating) would you know? They’re MY characters!”

Him: “You’re right, Leah. It’s your book. Do what you want.” (Turns his attention to his tablet for another game of solitaire.)

After several moments of self-reflection during which I felt like an a** because he had put a lot of thought into his suggestions and much of his critiques were spot on (and yes, I know how lucky I am that my husband cares so much and can share in my process!), I convinced him to sit with me to review and discuss in depth. We spent the afternoon brainstorming (he actually liked some of my new ideas!), and now I have a pared-down, streamlined plot that has me enthused about the story and about writing again.

Since then I can’t say I’ve been burning up the page count stats, but I am writing again, and I am enjoying the process. I’m looking forward to sharing my progress in the weeks/months ahead!

For now, I’ve dropped the price on that first book, and my second , to 99 cents through the month of September. They’re available only on Kindle and are included in the Kindle Unlimited program so subscribers can read for free.

Romantic Suspense / Adult (Erotic Theme)

FBI agents Anna Parker and David Owens go undercover into a world of domination and submission to solve a murder at the Jersey Shore. Read more, including the story behind the story and an excerpt here.



Paranormal Romantic Suspense Novella
Finalist, 2012 International Digital Awards (short paranormal category)

When the body of an FBI recruit is discovered in the basement of FBI Headquarters, agent Jackson Yates teams up with paranormal psychologist Rachael Sullivan to find her killer. The ghost tags along to help. :-) More here.



Leah writes stories of crime and passion, mystery and suspense, and most of all love. She loves to chat with readers on Facebook and occasionally posts things on Pinterest (like recipes that look good that she’ll probably never make).

Monday, August 21, 2017

All the fun of an eclipse by Barbara Edwards

 No photos today.
I’m in Virginia, waiting to see the solar eclipse at two forty-five.
Its been strangely funny.
We didn’t get the special glasses before we left home because it seemed reasonable that they would be in good supply further South. Hah. They are gone. Sold out. We couldn’t even
get them online.
Okay. So we have the directions to make a solar box.
Get a box. Tape white paper on one inside side.
Poke a pinhole in the other side.
Hold the box so the sun is directly above it.
You can see the eclipse shadow move across the side.
I hope.
So my son bought a lens to take photos and I’m hoping to have a few to share.
Otherwise, like everyone else, I’ll be watching it on television. 
Are you lucky enough to get a good view?

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Sunday, August 20, 2017


Excerpt from Cold Hearted Vampire. Ebook is available for preorder now at Amazon:
Paperback and ebook availabe at all online book outlets  9/6/17

He’d just had sex, twice now, with a vampire.
Been inside the living undead. Even as the idea boggled his mind, he found he only wanted a chance to do it again. 

Because, vampire or not, he had feelings for the lovely and cool Dr. Michaela. From their first kiss, he’d known there was something about her. Something that drew him in. Not just animal magnetism, but the almost indiscernible vulnerability he’d glimpsed in her eyes. Anyone who thought her cold and unfeeling had obviously never looked below the surface—or had her in the sack. 

She was open in her lovemaking. Kept nothing hidden, and it made him wonder why she considered it so necessary to keep her passionate side hidden the rest of the time.
The front door suddenly slammed open. Hitting hard against Seth’s hip and almost knocking Michaela off of him. Their private time ended as three men clambered through the broken door. 

Seth instinctively reached for a weapon that wasn’t there. 

“Dad!” Michaela squealed and everything inside him froze solid as ice. Scrambling off Seth’s body, giving a flashing view of that lovely backside, she attempted to use his body as a shield. 

Even as he sat up straight, she was tugging at him and cowering behind his back.
Catching the look of pure venom in Andris Blautsauger’s eyes, Seth slapped a hand to his forehead and groaned. 

Things were about to get really ugly.      

Other Books by R E Mullins: 
  What happens when you pray for an angel and get a vampire instead? This night shift phlebotomist is going
to find out.

After a spell goes horribly wrong, Morgan locks her powers deep inside her.
Now she must learn to use
her magic to save the 
vampire she loves.

 He was both her hero and enemy.
She was his best student and biggest regret.
Can they leave the shadows long enough to
admit their feelings?
Check out what I'm working on now at