Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cold Hearted Vampire

An icy she-vamp and a red-hot human detective make for an explosive combination.

The fourth book and climatic ending of the Blautsauger's of Amber Heights Series is coming out soon. To lead up to the actual release date (still to be determined) I thought I'd start by sharing a few teasers.

Dr. Michaela Blautsauger, a Nosferatu vampire, is considered an expert in her field of work. However, her skills when it comes to dealing with others and showing emotion is almost non-existent. When Detective Seth Whitehead barges into her lab, she discovers the human is just as interesting as the blood formula she is working on.
Seth's tenacity to find who is committing crimes in Amber Heights pits him against vampire aristocracy as well as Toltec vamps who are nasty to say the least. When the she-vamp he is falling heart over fangs for leaves the country to find the blood plant she needs, he follows and discovers his cold hearted vamp truly has a heart.

When they both fall into Toltec hands, Seth knows he will do anything he has to do to keep Michaela from suffering harm. But will he be able to keep his own life in the process?

Bonus for reading my books. Win some swag.
Correctly answer the question below, and it will put your name into a drawing. The prize is a set of 4 coffee mugs featuring the cover art from all the books in the Blautsauger's of Amber Height Series.

Why did Andris Blautsauger name his four children
Gabe, Michaela, Metta, and Rafe?
A) they were named after Priests at the seminary he attended
B) they were named for the angels of prayer
C) he hoped giving his children religious names would save his soul.
D) to spite their mother for turning him into a vampire without his consent.

Answer this next question for a set of coasters featuring my book covers:

What does it mean to be stunted?

A) have a practical joke played on you
B) the runt of a litter
C) left partially turned from human to vampire
D) vampire born without normal vampire traits such as speed, strength, acute vision and hearing

The last question is for a tote bag featuring the cover art from the soon to be released Cold Hearted Vampire.

What kind of vampire is Vincent Sabriento?
A) Toltec vampire
B) Nosferatu vampire
C) Sol Vampire
D) Ch'ich pak' vampire

Put your answers and e-mail in the comment section. I'll draw 3 names on the 6/25. That gives everyone 5 days to join the fun.
Best of luck
author of vampire/romance
Connect with me or find buy links for my books at

Monday, June 05, 2017

Romantic Landscape

Although this charcoal pastel I created is a snowscape, the moonlight gives it a warm, romantic feeling. While I create with pastels my mind wanders. Perhaps there is a couple inside the cabin having a romantic weekend. Perhaps they have strolled along the stream. My newest written creation is Give Love a Chance, a romantic suspense. Kim finds herself pregnant after being enticed into Evan's bed. Evan is vying for a state senate seat and an illegitimate child would ruin his chances of winning the race. Yet when a secret admirer's advances turn into dangerous threats, he has to protect Kim. Will her pride and his senate race prevail over their unspoken love or will they give love a chance?

Author of Give Love A Chance
Darla Jones

Monday, May 29, 2017

Review: Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

When Gilda Greco invests in an up and coming Greek restaurant, she expects the food to be delicious and the restaurant to be a success. What she doesn't expect is a murder involving the restaurant owners right before the big opening.

Gilda Greco ( A Season for Killing Blondes) returns in Ms. Guidoccio's latest mystery involving the Canadian lottery winner. After investing in David and Susan Korba's restaurant, Gilda is excited to be a silent partner in a venture that she thinks will be a huge success. When David invites a local photographer to a soft opening though, an opening that’s filled with many of Gilda's closest female friends, what promises to be an evening filled with good food turns into an acrimonious disaster with the photographer - a glorious wretch who slept with half the women at the dinner - being murdered.
The suspect pool Gilda's on again/off again lover, Det. Carlo Fantini has to choose from comprise all the women present at the dinner, the wait staff and even the chef.

Once again, Joanne Guidoccio has given her readers a plumb good mystery. I can usually figure out who the killer is in most mysteries, but this one had me guessing and guessing again until the killer was revealed. I love that! I love that an author could stump me. Kudos and Brava!
Oh, and did I mention the food? Gilda is every Italian mother's dream child - complete with aunts, cousins, and a mother who loves nothing more than to cook for her. As a wonderful added gift, there are several recipes from Joanne's and Gilda's recipe files at the back of the book that I will be making for sure!
I highly recommend this good book. 5 well deserved stars from me!
 Peggy Jaeger Writing about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can't live without them.PeggyJaeger.com

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Magical and Mysterious Cenotes

What is a cenote?

First things first, let’s learn how to pronounce it correctly. The word Cenote is pronounced “say-no-tay.” It is not pronounced “see-note.” It is a flowing three syllable word, much like the wonder of nature it describes.

Okay now that we know how to pronounce it, do you know what a cenote is?

Cenote’s are magical underground caves that exist in the Yucatán Peninsula… Deep holes under the earth filled with crystal clear fresh water containing minerals found nowhere else in the world. A beautiful sinkhole. The Maya discovered them centuries ago, calling them “dzonot,” translated by the Spaniards to the word “cenote” meaning in Spanish “a deep thing.”

When one steps up to this hole in the ground, it might appear surreal. Gazing at the iridescent clear blue water, one might think, they discovered a secret water hole in a fantasy novel. That's what happened to me when I first discovered cenotes in the Riviera Maya in Mexico. You can swim in them, snorkel and dive, although most are on private land and off limits to tourists.

My first thought: why have I never heard of them? I lived in Northern Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, for two years in a small charming seaside town, called Puerto Penasco (nicknamed Rocky Point ) where there are no cenotes. But, no one ever mentioned these wonders of nature to me before.

Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula does not have many streams or rivers on the surface. But, underneath this flat land are the three longest underground water systems in the world. Thousands of these fresh underwater caves exist in the Yucatan, some not even mapped as of 2017. They are underground, and some Maya thought they were the entrance to the underworld.

Go Pro has an excellent YouTube video series called “Place of Fear: Searching the Maya Underworld." Go Pro writes this description on YouTube, "On their mission to discover the world's biggest cave, veteran cave explorer Robbie Schmittner and his partner Toddy Waelde pledge to protect this Mecca of diving beneath the Yucatan. Robbie warns against the destructive forces affecting this area. Toddy discovers an unbroken Maya pot that could be thousands of years old." The video was posted on November 29, 2016, and has three parts. I hope there are many more to come-- the filming is amazing.

My debut suspense novel, A Deep Thing, was born in the Yucatan jungle. The setting of A Deep Thing, will lead you underwater to cenotes in the Yucatan and through the woods of Camp David. It is a suspense novel that will take you on a journey.

If you want to see it, feel it and touch it, get scuba certified (I recommend cave or cavern certification) and plan a vacation to Tulum or Playa Del Carmen. Schedule an epic cave dive in a cenote (my choice Dos Ojos) and contact one of the many dive shops. On my cave dive, I used Diving Cenotes Tulum, Paulo is the owner and was my guide.

Watch this YouTube video before you read the suspense novel, A Deep Thing. (If you can, view it on your television or the largest screen possible!)

If you've never heard of a cenote, this one's for you.

A Deep Thing by A. K Smith:

Dive into A Deep Thing
A Deep Thing by A.K. Smith is a high concept thriller--think The Da Vinci Code of the deep--that grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go. A roller coaster ride of romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, this page-turner surprises at every turn and offers a stunning ending you'll never suspect. M. Baron- Author of Stumble Stones: A novel

What was her husband hiding in the jungles of Mexico?
Take the trip--Join the journey. A Deep Thing, a debut suspense thriller by A. K. Smith is available in print and e-book from The Wild Rose Press. Available on Amazon. Readers Favorite 5-star Review.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Interview with John Anniscote, Duke of Guysbridge

Q: Today we’re speaking with the new Duke of Guysbridge. Congratulations on your recent elevation, your grace. How did you feel when you received the news of your brother’s death?
A. I confess ‘twas a surprise, though it should not have been, considering his habits.

Q. What are your plans for the future, sir?
A. I hardly know. I must undo years of neglect of the family properties and I suppose I must marry and beget an heir.

Q. Do you have any young lady in mind?
A. My dear fellow, until my brother broke his neck, no hostess in England would introduce me to any unmarried lady.

Q. And yet the ladies are fascinated by you, though your dress is almost Puritan in its simplicity. You seldom wear an embroidered or brocade waistcoat, your coats are of the plainest and always in dark colors—
A. (Laughs somewhat derisively) When I was 18, my dear papa gave me a living allowance of £25 per quarter. He intended to buy me a commission—probably in a line regiment, that being less costly than cavalry—and thought to starve me into accepting. Try living in London on that amount, with lodgings at £7 the quarter, and silk stockings at 17 shillings. Dark fabric shows wear less than light colors.

Q How could you possibly live like a gentleman on such a pittance, your grace?
A I had clothing and I was careful with it. When I needed a garment I bought it from a Monmouth Street bow-wow shop—a seller of used clothing. Valets and maids, you know, are often given their employers’ castoffs, and sell them to dealers. I avoided expensive entertainments. And I supplemented my income by gambling, for I played cards with my grandsire as a boy, and learned to be very good at it.

Q: Do you have any advice for young people, sir?
A. Study. Read. Always behave with perfect courtesy—unless you intend to be rude. Learn to dance. For boys, I recommend fencing lessons.

Q. But not for girls?
A. Ah … I believe a lady’s hoop and profusion of petticoats would prove a bar to fencing. However, a dainty pocket pistol, of no more than seven inches or so in length, can be carried in her muff. A stout hairpin is also useful in discouraging unwanted attentions. Now if you will excuse me, I am due to meet with my second to arrange an affair of honor.

Kathleen Buckley

Friday, May 19, 2017

Is Anyone Safe from Crazy People?

When they said "Write what you know" I took it to heart and wrote a book about an internationally-loved rock singer with a deadly stalker.

Okay, I took some poetic license to embellish what I know. I created a stunningly gorgeous, rock goddess with heart, beloved and supremely talented as a singer/songwriter/dancer, but in my younger life, I sang with a rock band. That part I knew. Years later, as a singer in a show on Maui, I did have what is now called a stalker. I was one of the lucky stalker victims in the world in that he didn't follow me. Instead, I was pursued by letters and threats that got more twisted and threatening as the weeks passed until finally he wrote a letter to the producer of a show he'd seen me in to say we'd had inappropriate relations in the parking lot while I was still in costume and I'd promised him inappropriate things. My stalker suggested I be fired. The producer was like a big brother to me and knew none of this would be true. All this happened because I sang to him as part of the evening's entertainment, in character.
Picture a warm Hawaiian evening with the scent of plumeria in the air as the lights go up at the historically charming Lahaina Towne hotel, The Pioneer Inn. The Thursday show in the private courtyard was called The Whaling Party, a dinner and two hours of entertainment re-enacting the days when Lahaina was a stop over for raunchy whalers. The show involved a lively group of actors playing whalers, Can Can dancers, missionaries, a pirate-style MC and musicians. The band dressed as pirate/whalers and the singer dressed in a colorful, ruffled floor-length skirt, slit to her thigh and a lingerie-style bodice decorated in ribbons and feathers.
I was the singer.
Every Thursday was the same show. Every week, when I went into the audience to sing to one lucky man at a front table, I would twirl his hair in my fingers, sing provocatively to him with the spotlight highlighting the tongue-in-cheek, amusingly embarrassing moment for my victim. It was always met with giggles from the audience.
One such night, we were doing a special performance for a group who arrived in handicap-worthy vans and I chose a sixty-ish, grey-haired gentleman in a wheelchair in the front row. He was a good sport and as a seasoned performer and actress, I thought nothing more than usual about the evening's performance.
Then the letters began to arrive at the Pioneer Inn, addressed to Over the Rainbow, the singer in the Whaling Show. He didn't know my real name, but said when I sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, it was a heavenly moment for him. Then he went on to describe how heavenly, using lewd descriptions of his pleasure in remembering me. Let's just say, the experience of receiving these letters was surreal. In my performing career, I'd had men ask for my autograph, a date, a moment to talk, but I'd never had threatening fan letters. In the first one, he wrote me a love poem, telling me that he was smitten. I didn't contact him. For one reason, I wasn't interested and it would be extremely weird (and unprofessional). Also, I was married, something I'm sure he didn't know. Another thing he didn't take into account as he mailed letters that became increasingly threatening, was that I was playing a part in that Whaling Party show. As an actress, I wore a designated costume that happened to be flouncy and sexy, and I was following a script that told me to go into the audience, find a man to sing to and flirt with him.
I still have the letters, although I haven't read them in twenty-five years, but I remember how horrifying it was to know that someone out there was fantasizing about me and imagining doing things to me. I felt lucky in some ways that my stalker was confined to a wheel chair. The last letter was to my friend, the producer asking that I be fired for taking advantage of a man in a wheelchair in the parking lot. The producer wrote him back, telling him that he was glad my fan enjoyed the show but if he persisted in writing these letters, he'd report the man to the police.
Only one other time in my singing career did I encounter a threat that left me frightened for my safety and this man was angry at my husband. He threatened to cut out my tongue with a broken Coke bottle so I would never sing again, in retaliation to my husband firing him. That got him on the RCMP watch list. (We lived in Canada at the time.) They reported that he moved to Arizona after that.
Being stalked is a feeling of horrifying helplessness, reducing someone to a fear that dogs them every waking moment. Are they watching me now, waiting to attack? What did I ever do to them to make them target me?
It was with those memories that I wrote my novel Necessary Detour, the story of a world-famous rock star very familiar with adoring fans and even stalkers. But when the threatening letters get increasingly more heinous, she escapes to her remote lake house in northern Washington to hide. The story is part Bodyguard (the movie with Whitney Houston) and part Rear Window (Hitchcock's movie about spying on neighbors.) For Goldy, staying safe in the lonely forest of Louisa Lake is two-fold. She's just found that she's pregnant.

Writing about the fear of the unknown is a theme that speaks to me and I hope you find Goldy's quest for safety and normalcy after the life of a rock goddess, an interesting and chilling reminder that no one is completely safe from the crazy people out there. Especially rock goddesses in skimpy clothing singing about hot love on stage.

NECESSARY DETOUR has enjoyed great success, including being ranked #1 in Romantic Suspense on Amazon

Happy Reading!
Kim Hornsby
Bestselling Romantic Suspense Author

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Finding Magic and Myths in Scotland

Thistles and heather. Kilts. Castles. Ruins. Craggy mountains. Rain. Sheep.

Magic. Mystery.

My trip to Scotland fulfilled a bucket list goal and fed my imagination for writing about this windswept, mystical place. When I finally made it there in 2008 (after living in the fictional world of Scotland courtesy of my favorite authors), Scotland upheld its reputation. It rained. A lot. Many of our supposedly breathtaking sights were shrouded in a gray cloud of heavy precipitation. Aside from our mishaps, Scotland fulfilled my preconceived notions, with my own Scottish knight by my side to escort me through the perils of winding highland roads, haunting castle ruins, and dark alleyways.

Lone sheep wandered down the middle of a meandering country road. Windswept moors, heather fields, and green rolling hills flanked our drives. Wild rocky trails and impressive mountains greeted us on our hikes. Blue lochs were aplenty (yes, Loch Ness is a deep beautiful loch and no, we didn’t see Nessie – but we did see the ghostly remains of Urquhart castle) on our two-week trip in this geological gem of a country. I think I gasped on the tarmac when I emerged from the plane in Glasgow.

My husband and I jam-packed our itinerary because when we go tramping, we set the bar high and want to soak in all the sites! What can a couple do in less than two weeks? Well…

• Visit a dozen castles and palaces (Threave castle required a rowboat across an overflowed River Dee)
• Kayak on the astutely named Loch Awe to the ruins of Kilchurn Castle
• Hike through Highlands and mountains
• Watch a Highland game
• Partake in culinary delights such as haggis and fish and chips
• Carry on conversations with locals (about the upcoming American presidential election)
• Drive over sketchy bridges to reach Rua Reidh, a lighthouse hostel on the North Minch of Wester Ross (no, not the Westeros of Game of Thrones fame, but I saw the striking similarities)
• Expand our navigation skills on double-roundabouts (like a figure 8), one lane roads, and left-side driving
• Meander through abbey and church ruins
• Take a moment of reflection at the remains of Culloden battlefield
• Stay at the haunted 14th century tower keep Borthwick Castle

Oh, certainly there were lows…blowing out a car tire on a rock, getting a manual car instead of an automatic, while driving on the opposite side of the road (it is the UK, after all) – oops!, castles closing before we got there, getting lost on city roads, not finding our hostel while plodding trough the deluging rain), and hiking a washed out trail through Glencoe, while hundreds of midges made a home in my hair…. Nonetheless, I left Scotland feeling rejuvenated and inspired and ready to take on the next big novel!

The setting in A Hundred Kisses takes my hero and heroine on a journey across Skye and to the isles. Their journey begins at a signature castle, Eilean Donan, and remarkably, we were gifted with sunshine and a rainbow during our visit! This castle is as resplendent and utterly romantic as all the pictures portray. Loch Ness (another sunny day) was unfathomable and mystical. Walks among ruined castles and abbeys, reflective and inspiring.

So, thistles and heather – check! Kilts, castles, ruins, craggy mountains, lots of rain, sheep – check!

Magic. Mystery.


Jean M. Grant

Author of A Hundred Kisses
Writing where my heart takes me…from castles to craters to crags of all kinds

Monday, May 15, 2017

Six Essential Elements Every Love Story Needs

What's your favourite romance novel? Now think of your favourite scene from that novel. Is it the ending when, despite the obstacles, both leads get their happily ever after? Or is it the first kiss...or the first fight?

Regardless, there are more players on stage and circumstances that helped create the tension/opportunity/obstacle that led to your favourite scene.

Here are a few handy tips for making sure your own romance story has the right support system for those unforgettable scenes!

Six Essential Elements Your Romance Novel Needs

1. The Rival

There needs to be a rival for the protagonist’s romantic intentions, but this doesn't necessarily mean a love triangle. This could be someone who takes time away from the romantic interest as well.

In my upcoming contemporary romance, The Right Fit, Antony is desperate to reconnect with Maxine, but his brother Marc is a controller and feels it's his responsibility to shape Antony into a successful pro-hockey player, regardless of what Antony truly desires.

2. Helpers vs Harmers

As you can guess, helpers are characters who assist in enabling the relationship grow while harmers are motivated to keep the couple apart. It should be noted that a helper can sometimes unwittingly become a harmer. It's common in romantic comedies to have a character who is truly invested in the couple's happiness, but ends up becoming bad luck by always doing or saying the wrong thing at the worst time, thereby taking the role of harmer.

In my novel, Maxine has enthusiastic support from her younger sister. However, in the end it's her own self doubt that is the most destructive harmer to her relationship with Antony.

3. External Need

This mechanism acts as a motivation that brings the two characters together.

As an example, Antony is certain his new found luck on the ice is entirely due to his one night with Maxine. Desperate to stay in the professional hockey league to pay his brother's medical bills and support them both, Antony pursues Maxine at all costs, including keeping his true identity a secret. As a result Maxine is overwhelmed by his attention and begins to believe she can love again after having her heart broken by her ex-fiancé.

4. Secrets

One or both leads are keeping something from the other. The motivation for not telling the truth must be greater than the risk to the relationship.

In The Right Fit, Antony is not only keeping his true identity a secret, but also the fact that he considers Maxine his good luck charm and is using her to keep his hockey career on course. Meanwhile, Maxine considers Antony a rebound, as a way of getting her confidence back and helping her forget about her ex.

However, it's important to acknowledge that characters often lie to themselves to justify their actions/decisions.

5. Rituals

These are the cute little idiosyncrasies a couple naturally develops with each other, those shared intimacies that only they know about.

It's most effective to use when the couple is apart and something triggers the memory for one of the leads. This can motivate a change of heart at the realization that they truly need that person in their life. *cue the rush to the airport to stop their true love from leaving forever*

As a result of mistaken identity, Maxine assumes Antony's name is Ace. This leads to a nickname which creates a moment like the one described above as the name 'Ace' pops up when Maxine least expects it. 
Maxine rolled her eyes and instead told her to pick out a nail color for them both. It was a bright ruby shade and when Maxine looked at the name on the bottom of the bottle, her heart filled and then slowly deflated—Ace of Hearts.

6. Moral Weight

In essence, the moral weight is how the lovers changed for the better over the course of the novel. It's always satisfying for the reader if the ending scene is a mirror opposite to the beginning where their flaws were highlighted.

At the beginning of The Right Fit, Maxine was still trying to find a way back into her ex-fiancé's arms convinced he was the only man she could have a life with. And Antony was carrying a secret guilt fueled by the belief he didn't deserve to be loved. By the end of the story, Maxine realizes she's beautiful and desirable enough for any man and Antony's past sins didn't preclude him from happiness.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this useful! Happy writing! THE RIGHT FIT is available now at the Wild Rose Press and all major online retailers

Daphne Dubois writes steamy contemporary romance and loves putting her characters in awkward situations. She believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sugary sands and stories in my head.

Clear blue water. Sugary sands. Salty air. Those are just a few of the things I fell in love with July 2010 in Orange Beach, AL. If you remember, that was right after the horrible oil spill that tainted the waters and the beaches. A devastating event. Even so, my family had a wonderful vacation. And the wheels in my head began spinning.

While walking along the shore, I kept envisioning a beach bar owned by a hot alpha male. Of course he would have a dangerous past that left him injured and betrayed. Running the bar was his new life. He was done with danger… and women. So, what kind of woman would tempt this man and twist his heart like no one ever had? A strong New Orleans lady, of course. A woman who witnessed a horrific murder and drug deal. Strong willed, but she would still need protection.

The ideas ran rampant in my head. I just knew a beach setting would have readers lost in soaking up the sun, squishing sand between their toes, and tasting the salty air. It sucked me in. Hard. So in order to share a little piece of paradise that I experienced that summer (and several since then), I set out with Abby and Graeme’s story in Smoke and Mirrors.

I am such a summer, beach person. Where else would I have my hero’s and heroine’s stories take place?

Taylor Anne

Thursday, May 11, 2017

7 Elements Every Scene Should Have

Imagine your novel as a storyboard; a series of graphic organizers (sticky notes on the wall above your writing desk) displayed in sequence for the purpose of visualizing your story.

Each sticky note represents a scene with a brief description or illustration detailing what happens.

Now, pick one sticky note.

Is this scene essential to moving the plot forward?

Could it be more effective at another point in the story or should it be pulled off the wall and out of your novel completely?

If you're not sure, go down this check list and see if your scene has what it takes to keep the reader interested.

Using THE RIGHT FIT as an example, I'll be taking excerpts from Chapter three, the scene where Maxine and Antony meet for the first time.

1. Setting 

Ground the reader in place and time, but instead of saying it was a hot morning, describe how your protagonist is already sweating in their shorts and flip flops at the breakfast table.

Chapter three of THE RIGHT FIT is from Maxine's point of view and it's obvious from the beginning she's uncomfortable with this setting.

       Maxine was already lonesome for her bed and laptop as Crosby pulled her through the crowd. A line had been snaking along the sidewalk when they’d pulled up in the cab, but Crosby knew the doorman—she always knew the doorman. Maxine cringed under the glare from the other patrons still waiting outside in the frigid late February night as they were swept inside.
      “Is it always like this?” Maxine asked, shouting above the music.
      “Of course,” Crosby said, smiling widely. “Uniun is the hottest dance club in Toronto.”

2. Tension

What's at stake for the protagonist? What is preventing them from reaching their story goal? There should be some kind of conflict in every scene.

Too embarrassed to tell them that she was stood up, Maxine lies to her friends about her botched blind date, but then the guy shows up!

       "A mojito with extra mint leaves for the cougar,” Stuart teased. Then he nodded toward a group of guys even younger than he and Westley. “Crosby tells me you’re in the market for meaningless sex. I think delta-gamma-go-all-night over there is a good start. Might as well go for the sure thing.” He squinted across the room, then added, “Or sure things if you’re feeling adventurous.”
       Over Stuart’s shoulder, Maxine saw a slim man with a crewcut walking through the crowd, a pint of beer in one hand. “Oh God!” She panicked. It was the divorced high school teacher with a phobia for dentists.
     She spied the neon sign for the washrooms, then grabbed her clutch, and quickly left the table. Stuart called out something, but the music was so loud it drowned out his words.

3. Emotions

Show how your characters are feeling. Describe body language. Connect the reader to the POV's emotional state. Don't forget about senses.

Ah! Their first kiss...

“Hide me!” Maxine blurted out.
        He frowned back at her, not understanding.
        The crew cut was about to pass them, he was only seconds away from seeing Maxine in her stained dress, her breasts covered in food.
        She panicked. What would Alexis Colby do?
        “Est-ce que—”
        Maxine never heard the rest of his question. His words disappeared against her lips as she grabbed him by the t-shirt and pulled him to her, pressing them both against the wall.
      She breathed in a spicy scent, and his stubble grazed her chin. Shocked by her own actions, Maxine stayed locked in the embrace. The kiss was chaste, but as the seconds passed with neither one moving from the other, the moment changed, becoming heavier, more charged.
     She was all too aware of the warmth of his lips, the pressure of his mouth against hers. Then he leaned back. His surprised expression matched her sputtering pulse. “Merci, Ms. Dior,” he said.     
      Maxine blinked a few times, her footing felt wrong, like the floor was tipping. “I…uh,” she started. “Sorry about that. I must have slipped.”

4. Dialogue

Employ key phrases for characters, but be careful of repetition. Nail the voice. Does it move the plot forward or is it just chit chat?

Since Antony is French, their first conversation in a loud dance club gets construed, but his assumption that her name is Ms. Dior is quickly established as her nickname and is played out as a cute quirk between the two of them as the novel progresses.

 “Est-ce que ça va?” he asked, bending down closer to her ear.
       “Excuse me?”
        His look of concern melted into a wide-eyed stare. “Belle rousse?” he said.
       “Bathrooms?” Maxine shouted up at him. “They’re down the hall.”
        He gave her a mischievous grin. “Are you okay?” His gaze wandered her face, then lowered and fixated on her chest.
       She looked down and saw her green dress was stained, and the extra mint leaves from her drink had settled in between her ample breasts like some kind of cleavage dam. A wave of mortified embarrassment collapsed over her. And in addition to everything else, the outfit was ruined. Carmine would be so upset. “It’s vintage Dior,” she said, her voice crumbling a bit.
       A complicated series of frowns played across his features. “I can pay for dry cleaning,” he offered. There was a pause, then he added, “Ms. Dior.”

5. Action

Action can be as simple as your protagonist finally calling up her secret crush, or as complex as a car chase through road blocks and marching bands.

       Standing against the wall in a daze, Maxine watched his broad for cut a path through the crowded bar. What the hell had she just done? Maybe he was going to tell a bouncer about her. She could imagine the conversation. “There’s a large woman in an old tight dress grabbing guys by the bathroom.”
       “No problem, sir, we’ll have her contained immediately. Grab the tranquilizer gun!”
        Snickering to her left snapped her back to attention. Two girls who looked barely old enough to drink were standing in skintight dresses with their heads together laughing behind manicured nails, cutting glances across the way. Maxine stood wearing her stained vintage Dior that now seemed musty and antique.
        Expecting to be tossed for violating hot lumberjacks, Maxine rushed to the closest exit, not even bothering to get her coat. The sharp winter air almost took her breath away. 

6. Internalization

Internalization is what the character is thinking, it takes the general and makes it personal. It's a great tool for handling infodumps, just make sure to keep it in their voice (let them internalize and judge what they’re thinking about) then it comes across more naturally.

Maxine opened her clutch and looked at her phone. She’d actually gone fifty-five minutes without thinking about him. That was a record. But now, of course he was all she could think about. Did he think about her? Did he miss having coffee in bed on Sunday mornings while she read the comics and he did the crossword—he always used a pen, never a pencil. She loved that confidence about him. In fact, she still had the last puzzle he’d done.
      The familiar stone lodged itself in her heart. She loved Johnny. She still loved Johnny. They had been together for four years.
      Four years!
      Four years of sharing and dreaming. Four years of walking through Umbra making imaginary purchases for their future home. Four years of waiting in the arrivals at the airport every time he came home—she was always there to meet him.
     And four years of walks in the park when they would make spontaneous plans, like the time they decided to adopt a rescue dog…except neither one of them filled out the forms.
      Four years.
     The burden of all that time was too much for Maxine to ignore. She simply refused to accept all that time, all that work with Johnny was for nothing.

7. Hook

A development the reader wasn't expecting that throws more conflict toward the protagonist, and keeps the reader invested and turning the pages.

       The cabbie beeped his horn and swore at the traffic, unable to pull into the lane.
       “I have no place I need to be,” Maxine said, picturing her bed and laptop. She thought back to the kiss with the stranger and how foolish she must have seemed to him. “Alexis Colby never looks like a fool,” she whispered to herself. “She would have kissed him again—no that’s not right. She would have slapped him first, then kissed him back hard, and then left him wanting more.”
        The cab driver narrowed his gaze at her in the rearview mirror.
       “Wouldn’t it be great if life was like 80’s TV?” Maxine asked him. “Everyone was in shoulder pads and size double zero didn’t exist.”
       He shrugged then turned up the radio.
       Maxine hugged her elbows. The traffic lights reflected off her fingernails.
       A sharp blast of frigid air ripped through the backseat. A massive upper body wrapped in a thin cortex jacket jumped in the backseat. Before the cabbie could protest, Maxine turned and was face to face with an ACE Towing ball.

THE RIGHT FIT is available now!

So, how does your scene measure up?

What are some of your favorite scenes from novels?

The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois

Daphne Dubois writes steamy contemporary romance and loves putting her characters in awkward situations. She believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ghost Walk by Pamela Woods-Jackson

Last night I accompanied a couple of friends on a local ghost walk. It was great fun, but that's not why I'm writing this. My newest book TEENAGE PSYCHIC ON CAMPUS just came out on Friday April 28, and it's all about psychics, spirits, ghosts, and a haunted house. I happened to have a bookmark in my purse, and at an opportune moment I gave it to the tour guide, who is also the author of nonfiction true-haunting books. She seemed pleasantly surprised and promised to mention my book in future walks.

Since we're always looking for ways to promote our books, I thought I'd pass along what I learned last night: Make use of local groups that are in your field of expertise. Women's book groups, ghost hunters, paranormal fans, Bible study, whatever it is, reach out. Your book may be a perfect fit for their next meeting!

Teenage Psychic on Campus by Pamela Woods-Jackson


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Heartfelt by Carol Owen

As soon as my first novel, Heartfelt, was published by WRP, April 2016, I started a second romance, titled Love X 2. The idea for it came from something I heard many years ago. I asked a woman how she met her husband, and she said they met at their parents' wedding. I never forgot that, and it became the premise of Love X 2. I finished it recently, and it's now in the hands of my editor. I'm looking forward to her comments.
Meanwhile, I've started book # 3, tentatively titled 6 Steps to Forever.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Trouble Cove, Available Now

Trouble Cove
by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Adventure and romance clash in this fast-paced novel set in the Canadian Maritimes.

I stood back, hands folded politely, and
waited for my betters to be seated. The glittery light of
the chandelier, the perfectly appointed dining table, the
ladies in their finery, the white flowers a staff person
must have brought back from Ingonish while I was out
struggling with the wind and the waves all brought a
sense of the surreal.

Far from the all the action of World War I, in a charming tourist’s spot on Cape Breton Island, Elizabeth Eames has stumbled into the most wonderful man in the world. She’s landed herself in a world where wealth reigns supreme; where any eligible bachelor would meet her mother’s aspirations. Yet something, some terrible thing, is not quite right at the grand resort 'Oceanside.' A patriot, she cannot turn a blind eye... Trouble Cove by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier; available today!

To Purchase click here

Thursday, April 27, 2017

You Can’t Go Home Again…Unless You’re in a Romance Novel

I grew up in a small town, where the average temperature in the Summer is one-hundred-seven degrees. It’s hot, you guys. HOT.

Yeah, I spent most of my high school years, planning my escape from the heat. When the time came, I left for college and eventually moved on to cooler pastures (hey, Chicago). Then I proceeded to spent the next twenty years trying to get home. No matter where I am, I’m always planning a trip to Arizona. What can I say? I miss the heat.

So when I sat down to plot LOVE OVER LATTES (coming soon from The Wild Rose Press), the setting and theme for it were a very organic choice for me. I went back to the place I called home for four years, Tucson (Go Cats!). NANOWRIMO Day One came and I only knew two things about my story; I wanted it set in the Sonoran Desert and I wanted it to be about going home.

LOVE OVER LATTES is about a young mom who wants to make a home for her son. At first, she doesn’t really understand what that means, and in her obsession to give her son this one thing she believes is important, she goes through a series of less than ideal choices. Like accepting the help of a stranger, an intimidating-as-hell entrepreneur, who’s given up on the whole idea of home and family.

Since this is a get-to-know-the-author blog, I figured I should include some fun facts about me (*waves*):

Three things I’ve done in the name of book research:
1. Jumped off a 50-foot waterfall
2. Watched a lot of porn
3. Drank cases and cases of champagne

Three things I’m obsessed with (because I’m on a roll):
1. Customizable life planners
2. Romance
3. Netflix

Hey, you made it all the way to the bottom of the page. Thank you!

Your turn: Where’s the place you call home? Let me know in the comments below.

For your efforts, we’re giving away (4) $5 Amazon gift cards. Just click on the Facebook Rafflecopter link below and do the widgets in the thingy. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 8th, on my Facebook page before I email the Amazon claim codes. I put a lot of thought into this giveaway, guys. So, do the thing.


Happy Reading!

Diana Hicks

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Am I in Your Book?

When was the last time someone asked you, “Am I in your book?” It’s a reasonable question. Writers often use real people as models for characters in a novel. It’s a pretty good way to get back at the ex. The person who asks you the question might be excited about the possibility of being in the book, or she might be a little scared about how you describe the character modeled on her. It’s scary to think that you might be recognizable as the bitchy neighbor or the gossip down the street.

For the setting of my mystery/thriller novel Sacrificial Lam, I used the small college campus where I taught for many years. Word soon got out to my old colleagues—faculty and administration—and to the many alumni to whom I am connected on line. The question began to appear in my inbox—“Am I in your book?”
One morning I stopped by my favorite coffee shop, Pour Jon’s, and as I waited for my vanilla latte, inhaling the rich odor of dark beans being ground, I noticed the college chaplain sitting in a booth by the stairs. He waved and smiled. “I heard about your book,” he said. “Does it have an evil chaplain in it?” The book does not, in fact, have a chaplain in it at all, but I thought that’s an idea. So I said, “No, but he may show up in the next book in the series.” I couldn’t tell whether he was disappointed or gratified.
A couple of days later, the college choral director and chair of the Music Department responded to my Facebook promotion with, “Is there a creepy choral director in your book?” Again, the book does not, in fact, have a choral director at all, but again I thought not a bad idea. So I said, “No, but he may show up in the next book in the series.” I happen to know this choral director pretty well. We used to play golf together once a week. In his case I was pretty certain that he was both disappointed that he wasn’t in the novel and gratified that I would surely put him in the next one.

I did put a few of my old colleagues in the novel, not particularly well disguised, just for fun. One of them, a psychologist, read parts of an early draft to check its validity and give me ideas for types of disorders. But after talking to the chaplain and the choral director, I started imagining how I would respond to certain people when they popped the question.

What would I say if the college president saw me at the local Thai café and said, “Is there a diabolical college president in your novel?” Since I’m retired now and don’t have to worry about my job, I could say, “No, I was afraid you would sue the pants off me for defamation of character.” He was a lawyer in a previous life, Harvard Law School, in fact.

What if the CFO, the Chief Financial Officer, saw me at the bank, standing in line to make a deposit, and said, “Is there a conniving CFO in your novel?” I could say, “No, but for a price I can make you the hero of the next book in the series.” A ludicrous attempt to solicit a bribe, you might say, but worth a try.

I’m beginning to see the real value of the question, “Am I in your novel?” It could become the wellspring of concepts for future books. Or it could become a vehicle for revenge. And if I’m really lucky, it could be the goose that lays the golden egg. I can live with that.

Gary Guinn
Writer: Sacrificial Lam

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Falling in love is a lot like icing the perfect cake

I love to bake and have since I graduated college and moved out, taking my mom’s old mixer with me. Growing up in an Italian household, everything was homemade. There wasn’t a boxed caked mix or slice and bake cookies in my house growing up. Ever. Over the past few months I’ve taken a few cake decorating classes with my teenage son, who aspires to own a bakery one day. I figured it would be fun for him to learn the correct way to do things, my kitchen wouldn’t get messy, and we’d get to eat the end product. A win-win for all involved!

So far, we’ve learned the perfect way to ice a cake (which involves lots of icing, practice, and patience), how to personalize party cakes, and piping techniques. In many ways, it’s a lot like learning how to be a writer and falling in love! There’s lots of trial and error. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!

Later this month we’re taking classes on cupcake decorating and how to decorate a cake (putting all the elements together). I’ve learned a few good tips, one of which is that bakers are perfectionists. I’ve also learned there’s a lot of improvising in baking, much like cooking. I’ve had to modify pretty much every baked good recipe since my son has multiple food allergies, one of which is to milk. Substituting soy or rice milk for cow’s milk can change the consistency of a recipe. Even using a dairy-free butter has its challenges. I’ve also been experimenting with vegan recipes with mixed results. But we’re having fun…and eating cake.

Taking these classes has given me a greater appreciation for what a full
-time baker goes through. I’ve bought more baking accessories the past few months than I’ve ever had. From multiple sized icing bags, to many icing tips, tip holder, couplers, turntable, cake circles, cake leveler (who knew?), proper icing colors, spatulas, and probably more.

What do you think?

The heroine from my contemporary romance, FOREVER IN MY HEART, is a pastry chef. Vicky owns a hot new bakery and café in Northeast Philadelphia and has cornered the market on baked goods. Now, I imagine if I baked hours a day six or seven days a week, it would all become super easy, but right now, it takes time to do things the right way. It was fun writing Vicky’s character because I got to channel my love of sweets into her bakery. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll open that bakery with my son. That would be my dream come true! I could bake in the early morning and then write. Now that I think about it, I better make sure we open a location near a gym!


She pulled at the same moment he did, which resulted in the top box flying off and landing with a plop on the concrete.
Time stood still, and he was about to let out a nervous laugh. That is, until he caught the shocked expression on her face quickly turning to pissed off and ready to boil over.
“Dammit. I told you I had them,” she yelled.
So much for trying to help.
After releasing his grasp, she stored the boxes in the trunk.
“I’m sorry. If you would have just let me—”
“Next time mind your own business,” she said, placing her hands on her hips.
When did she get those glorious hips? And how about the sexy gleam of anger in her eyes?
With the smartass comeback he’d been ready to fire back at her forgotten, he stopped to take in her attire. She’d curled her long brown hair, which ran down past her shoulders. The green sundress was cut low, revealing a magnificent pair of breasts. Clearly she hadn’t finished developing the summer before he enlisted. The dress hugged a slim waist, ending at the middle of her thigh.
Jamie’s heart thudded with lust. Disgusted by his pure male reaction to this gorgeous woman, he’d crossed his arms over his stomach and hoped he appeared cooler than he felt.
He reached down, picked up the fallen box, and handed it to her. “If I minded my own business, you’d be scraping up the contents of all these boxes off the cement instead of only one. So maybe you should show the teensiest bit of gratitude.”
She opened the lid to reveal cannolis, half of which were broken.
What was it with him and broken cannolis?

About Forever in My Heart:

Vicky DiFrancesco is ready to put the past behind her. After a humiliating divorce, she’s determined to make her new café a success. The last thing she needs is her first love around, reminding her of what they’d lost. But when her life is threatened, could he be the very man she needs?

Jamie DiSilva’s homecoming after retiring from the army isn’t the one he’d been hoping for. Now, he’s trying to start a home improvement business in a town settled on holding him accountable for the sins of his late brothers. Redeeming himself to the girl he never stopped loving and her family is difficult when his brothers’ secrets come back to haunt him.

Untangling themselves from the past means righting several wrongs and deciding if their love is meant to last forever.

From now through April 21st, Forever in My Heart is on sale for only $1.99! You can pick it up at:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/15L7L3x
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1zs7kSU
The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/2nNZvJs
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1BmdBUc
iBookstore: http://bit.ly/1AGh4i6
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1xe0ZAH

Maria K. Alexander
Award-winning Contemporary Romance

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Discover Arnold Greenberg

My two Wild Rose ebooks, Max and Rosie and Taking Chances explore the emotional complexity of adultery. In Max and Rosie, his wife, the love of his life, is dying of Alzheimer's and no longer recognizes him, and though he is falling in love with Robin, their live in nurse, he remains faithful until she dies. In Taking Chances, Catherine loves her husband, Martin but is no longer in love and yearns for the intensity she experiences in the romance books she devours. She accidentally meets Tom and finds herself swept off her feet by his passion for life. Breaking her marriage vow is the hardest thing she has ever done. She feels she is living a lie and has to take a chance and follow her heart.
Their stories are about choices and integrity. Was Max being foolish honoring his marriage vows when Rosie doesn't even know he's her husband? Was Catherine wrong to take a chance and leave a loveless marriage, break her husband's heart and seek happiness?
To read more

Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Gentleman Refused to Move!

What beautiful aristocratic ward of the Duke of Althorn was seen in the company of Lord Claven, son of the viscount? The chandeliers in the ballroom flickered in waves on the decorated ceiling casting undulating shadows against the walls as he danced her through the French doors and on to the terrace. Out of sight, but not out of hearing, this reporter heard him say, “It’s such a crush in there. I thought you’d appreciate a breath of fresh air.”

Through my quizzing glass, I saw the gentleman, and I use the word lightly, place her back against the rock wall, and station himself in front of her, enclosing the woman in a vise-lock embrace. “You are breathtaking in candlelight.”

I overheard the lady in question protest in a loud voice. “What do you think you’re doing? Do you speak such words to every woman you lure away in the dark?” She pushed him back. Her sardonic laugh was one intended to insult, not inflame his untoward ardor.

“Most likely, it usually entices ladies to explore.”

“That’s probably the most honest admission you’ve made tonight. Don’t come closer. I warn you.”

Gentleman Bastard“Honesty only goes so far, when I want to do so much more. I know you have a fondness for that…bastard.” He hesitated.

“Don’t go there,” she cautioned the lord.

“We all know what Thorn is. He’s had the good fortune to have a high placed aristocrat accept him.”

Her words were loud and clear. “I warn you, Claven. I pack a wicked punch.”

“I know he’s trained you in horsemanship. Perhaps he has trained you in other areas too? Like kissing?”

I brought my monocle closer to see her face. Her lips moved quickly and apparently in anger. “I now prefer to return to the ball.” She attempted to move away.

“No,” he said. His voice was gruff to be sure.

“Kindly remove your body from my path.”

Horrors, the gentleman refused to move!

“You lured me here, my darling.” Now he pinned her against the wall.

I could see that she held her reticule between them.

“You have a vivid imagination.” She attempted to move again. “All right then,” and quicker than quick, she sent her fist to his cheek.

Caught unaware, he stumbled to the side, his hand upon his jaw.

gentlemanI then saw her walk by him with a grin. “Thank you.” The sound of her voice echoed a small triumph. “You can thank Thorn Wick, the duke’s son, for teaching me fisticuffs. Come near me again, and I’ll plaster your face against a wall.”

She exited in a rush and straightened her gown only to run into Mr. Wick. With a casual attitude, she said, “You did teach me the art of boxing. I merely employed that education to accomplish my purpose.”

And what did he answer?  “Indeed it appears you did. I’ll have to discipline him, I see.”

What has our Regency world come to when a lady is not safe with a lord?

Arthur Spectator, Senior reporter, Teatime Traveler

About the BookGentleman Bastard

After three years in England, Thorn Wick, the duke’s bastard son, perfectly flawed, still fights for acceptance in his father’s world as a renowned Argamak Turk  horse trainer. Just when he starts to believe in fairy tales, another obstacle looms to thwart his plans: on a dangerous mission to Barbados, Thorn is stunned when secrets are revealed about his mother. Will he exact revenge for the foul deed?

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the duke, is in love with Thorn. Strong willed and adventurous, she determines she can convince him to admit his feelings. But the reality of loving Thorn too much almost destroys her.

Can Alicia quell Thorn’s demons and prove love can pave the way to their happiness to fulfill their destiny?

A Regency Romance with an Element of Suspense

GentlemanAbout the Author

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, N.J. at the age of fourteen, Sandra Masters retired from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, and settled in the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park with her husband, Ron, and two dogs, Silky and Sophie. She traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency Era and never looked back.

She wrote her first book at the age of thirteen and since then she’s always traveled with pen and notebook for her writing experiences. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She deemed it a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.

Nothing she expected, but everything she desired. Her business card lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Why This Title?

Why did I write my latest book, SEX, LIES, & THE SPACETIME PINCH? If I let you in on my original title, “Hug a Tree,” it might give you a clue. When that phrase was first bandied about, it stuck in my mind. One of the concerns high on my list is protecting our environment, and I was pleased to find places where I could inveigle that idea into my story.

Also cooking on a back burner was a comment made by a psychologist friend. He believed that the majority of ills leading to aggression and wars came about through sexual guilt. I pondered that notion for some time and one night, when I couldn’t fall asleep and passed the time dreaming up plots, the two ideas came together. What if a fantastic planet existed where sex in all its various forms, and as thrilling as sex can be, was available for everyone, totally without guilt?

And what if this “paradise” was threatened?

One more important element: I wanted romance––and a happy ending. All the major plot points danced in my head as I dreamed up a feisty heroine, an alpha male handsome hero, and a trip to outer space (loved adding a smidgen of science fiction, with its allure of danger and wild imagination). One love story didn’t seem enough; I needed different personalities reacting to my guilt-free-sex planet, so three other couples were added in lesser roles.

There you have it. Utopian erotica. A brand new settlement and a brand new lifestyle. And did I mention robots? Every good story has some comic relief (ask Shakespeare).

I hope you’ll have as much titillating fun reading SEX, LIES, & THE SPACETIME PINCH as I had writing it.
--Vee Bentley

Thursday, April 06, 2017

BONDING by Sharon Ervin

On one overly warm Sunday afternoon, I phoned and invited Molly and Quincy, two teen-aged granddaughters––cousins to each other––to go “alley walking” with me. These girls are intense, and keep to tight schedules even in the summer. Puzzled by my invitation, they agreed.

No cell phones allowed, except mine, which was off.

As we ambled along, talking and seeing all the interesting stuff one sees in back yards, Molly asked me to tell her “my plan for this walk.”

“No plan,” I said. “We’ll walk until we get tired, then we’ll turn toward home.”

She scowled. “I mean, what’s our schedule?”

“No schedule. No structure. No plan,” I said. “We’re just going to walk and talk and see stuff.”

Along the way, I pointed out the back of the large frame house where their great, great grandfather lived when he came to McAlester on horseback with one of his brothers. It was the beginning of the 20th Century.

“The house was called ‘The Batch,’” I said. “Joe Johnson was 21 years old, just a few years older than you are now. It was a rooming house for young, single men. He took his meals there. His brother John rode on, but your great, great granddaddy liked McAlester and decided to stay. With money his dad had given him, he began a wholesale grocery venture. He worked hard and did well. He married the daughter of a local doctor, and had a family. He was a Presbyterian. His wife had been the first infant baptized in the Episcopal church here. Joe was a mason, a charter member of the Elks club and the country club and several other civic and social organizations.”

The girls asked questions and drew mental pictures of their common ancestor and what his life was like, pictured him walking down this same alley behind this same house all those years ago.

An hour later, after we had marveled at swimming pools and bunny cages, even a bobcat in a coop, my son, Molly’s dad, stopped his car at an intersection. He had been looking for us.

“Anyone want a ride?” he asked, arching his eyebr

We were perspiring freely by then. None of the three of us responded. I was leaving it up to the girls.

“Actually, Dad,” Molly said finally, “I think I’ll stay with Nana, if you don’t mind.”

“How about if we all go have ice cream?” A tempting offer, indeed.

“Maybe later, Dad.”

Obviously taken aback, he looked at me. I shrugged.

“Dad, did you know about ‘The Batch’?” his daughter asked.

He nodded and grinned, enlightened, then regarded me again.
“You told them about their great, great grandfather, did you?”

It was my turn to grin. “Yes.”

He laughed remembering alley walking with his brother and sisters years before, and his dad, my husband, telling stories about generations of his family involved in the development of our hometown.

“I could leave the car here and go with you,” he offered.

Molly said sweetly, “No, thanks, Dad. We’ll catch up with you later.”

The girls and I walked a while longer before we turned toward home, sweating, relaxed, and closer than before. There were no electronics involved.

Read MEMORY, my newest romantic/suspense novel, in print or online at http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001jYBgN4_ak8cH5cCSYu8uj-


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

What’s a Mother To Do? Brit’s Eye View

The Civil War, the War between the States, what divided a nation? Principles surely but like most wars money figured into the equation
The principles are a worthier topic.

Map showing the Southern states and the order of secession.

The Northern States denied the right of secession, claiming that the union was a "federal" one and the attempt at separation was rebellion. The Southern States claimed that the Union was a "confederation" from which any member is entitled to separate itself. The British Government under Henry John Temple (3rd Viscount Palmerston) declined to judge between them.
Popular sentiment in England was passionately divided, not quite as much as in their former colonies, but a violent feeling against slavery met an equally vehement advocacy of the South for the right of self-government. Since the South fought against heavy odds, the sporting British people were drawn to the underdog (the Confederacy).

Palmerston’s government was determined to maintain a strict neutrality. This, to most intents and purposes, it succeeded in doing though their cotton industry suffered direly. The blockades of the Southern ports cut off supplies of raw cotton upon which the Lancashire cotton industry was dependent. The cotton famine deprived many Lancashire operatives of their means of livelihood, putting more pressure on the government to aid the South.

The Trent Affair increased sympathy with the South in England and very nearly involved Great Britain in the war. The Southerners dispatched two commissioners, one to England and one to France. The commissioners reached a neutral port and embarked on a British vessel, the Trent. A Union warship boarded The Trent and the commissioners were carried off. A declaration of war was only averted when President Lincoln gave way to the demands of the British Government and released the commissioners.

If Britain had entered the war on the side of the South, history might have been quite different, but the worthier topic of principles would not have been as well served perhaps.
The Union had its own cause for complaint against England. Ships built and fitted out in British docks, sailed from British ports apparently harmless intent, were employed by the Confederacy as cruisers. The most notorious instance was the Alabama. The British Government repudiated the Union’s charge that the English had not displayed due diligence in preventing such actions. When the war ended with the Union the victor, claims for damages were brought against the British for the Confederates’ use of the cruisers.

Her General in Gray was inspired by the Ghost & Mrs. Muir, not by the Civil War. Here is the blurb and a short excerpt. See what you think of this Confederate General.

BLURB: Autumn Hartley purchases Allen Hall at a steal, but the northern lass gets far more than a beautiful plantation in the South Carolina Low Country. The house comes complete with its own ghost, a handsome and charming Civil War General—for the Confederacy. The stage is set for another civil conflict.

John Sibley Allen died in battle from a wound in the back, the bullet fired by the turncoat, Beauregard Dudley. The traitor’s reincarnation is Autumn the Interloper’s first dinner guest. Sib bedevils her date and annoys her with fleeting, phantom touches, certain he can frighten her away as he did previous purchasers. As time marches on, her resident ghost becomes more appealing while her suitor, Beau, pales in comparison. Autumn finds her ability to love didn’t perish in the divorce that sent her south seeking a fresh start.

After over a century in the hereafter, Sib discovers he is falling for none other than the feisty Yankee girl, but what future could a modern woman and an old-fashioned ghost possibly hope for?


“You are not there.” Autumn dropped her book and leapt to her feet, shaking her fist at the apparition standing beside the fireplace.

The frolicking blaze shone through the whatever-he-was lounging by the hearth, his arm stretched along the mantel. A ceramic clock beside his hand chimed the hour—seven golden notes. Tall candles in brass candlesticks flickered in an eerie fire dance. He appeared to be a Civil War soldier of the South, his opaque uniform gray with a nasty red-stained hole near the heart. Double rows of gold buttons decorated the coat. Three gold stars and a wreath on the collar glittered in the firelight. No blood spilled from the apparition. Except for his wound, he looked perfectly healthy—for a dead man! He nodded and bowed elegantly...as much so as his lost society had been, regardless of the strong backs supporting that way of life.

“Oh, but I am, Miss Hartley.” He straightened, longish hair gently curling over his face.

A chill raced over her, but she suppressed the tremor of apprehension. Autumn swallowed hard and adjusted her white cotton blouse. “I don’t believe in ghosts. You’re not welcome here. I bought this house and am struggling to pay for it. Get your Halloween self out of my living room.”

He smiled. “It’s not Halloween, and we share this house. It was mine, you know, and still is. I’m willing to share it with you—even if you are a Yankee. After all, the conflict is over, and I’ll hold no grudge against the Northern aggressors. Even though the South will never surrender.”

“Northern aggressors?” She inhaled sharply, the vanilla scent of the candles on the dining room table drifting into the living room. Everything about Allen Hall was beautiful. She loved the house. But this conversation with an arrogant spirit solidified defiance. “And, for your information, the South did surrender.”

“A point of history.” He shrugged and gave her a condescending glance. “No more.”

Pre-order at http://a.co/3wEoU5A

Linda Nightingale - Author
Out of the Ordinary..Into Extraordinary Realms