Monday, December 22, 2014

The Joy of Family History by Heidi Wessman Kneale

In my novella FOR RICHER, FOR POORER, our heroine Beatrice Nottham love family history. In fact, she'd love to get as much of it done before she moves off-world. She was able to go back more than a thousand years on many of her lines.

Family History, sometimes called genealogy, gives you a sense of who you are and where you've come from. Your own family history is full of facts and figures, interesting stories and quite a few mysteries. Family History is the fastest growing hobby in the world.

Have you considered doing your family history? Here's how you can get started.

1. Living History. The best information comes from those who are still alive. Are your parents still living? Your grandparents, great-grandparents? As you spend time with your family this Holiday season, take some time to ask about the stories your living relatives know. Write them down. Ask about birthdays, marriages, and more. Ask for funny stories, war stories, ask what they remember about their grandparents.

These stories are valuable and need to be saved. Alas, when a person dies, they will take their stories with them, unless they have been written down and preserved.

2. Hatches, Matches and Dispatches. Some of the easiest-to-find information about your ancestors is their dates of birth, marriage and death. This makes filling out a genealogy chart so much easier. Often newspaper archives will contain records of birth, engagement/marriage and death announcements, sometimes with pictures.

3. Finding info. Family members are usually the best for remembering this kind of information, but sometimes you need outside help. Governments maintain a registry of births, deaths and marriages. For a small fee (ie a few dollars), they will provide you with legal certificates showing this information.

If you've gone back three or four generations, you may be able to find additional records through a paid genealogy site such as or FindMyPast. Many public libraries have a subscription to these sites, giving free access to their patrons.

Also, Family History Centers dot the world. You can research your family history there for free (Google "Family History Center" or "Centre" if you're British to find your nearest location). They'll give you access to census data, microfiche records and more--information that may not be readily available on the Internet. Their friendly consultants will help you if you get stuck.

4. Stuck? Go sideways. It happens to every family historian--you hit a dead end. No matter how hard you look, you simply can't find any parental info for Fergus MacIntosh, your ninth-great grandfather. Perhaps the church records of his birth were destroyed in a church fire, or maybe he was an escaped criminal who changed his name? Whatever the reason, do not give up on your family history simply because you encounter a dead end.

You've set up your branches on your family tree. Now go fill in the side twigs. Research brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. Family history doesn't have to be only your direct line of descent. In some cases, this side research can uncover information that may solve your dead end mystery.

5. Record your own stories. Remember, you're a link in your family history too. By writing down your stories, you will be able to share them with your children and grandchildren. Your life is fascinating to them.

In FOR RICHER, FOR POORER, Beatrice was able to trace her genealogy back a thousand years because she was able to tap into a line of nobility. They were very good record-keepers. Her research into Phillipe Deveraux and Gytha of Wessex is the basis of the whole story. Because someone had thought to write their stories down, Beatrice was able to discover something that would bless her and her descendants for the rest of her life.

Heidi Kneale

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Some of my favourite Vonnie Hughes

...and why they are my favourites
by Vonnie Hughes

Lee Child (Thrillers)

Who doesn’t like Jack Reacher? Improbable thrillers about an always victorious man who is rarely injured and always prethinks a situation with accuracy. Loved by a disparate bunch of people.

Anne Gracie (Regencies)

Australian Regency author with the bedroom door closed. Sweet, often totally misunderstood heroines with grit – real grit, not the trumped up stuff e.g. Gallant Waif is still my favourite because the protagonists had so much to lose; the sign of an author who understands conflict. Without conflict there is no book.

Lisa Gardner (Often lumped in as Romantic Suspense author but she really should simply be called a Suspense author because nobody can do Suspense like Lisa Gardner)

Look, if you don’t set out intentionally to write a romance, then I don’t think it should be termed a romance.

She gives acknowledgments at the end of each book, and boy, does she spend hours doing research. Her books are convoluted and the police personnel and investigators in them are very flawed.

My favourites are Live to Tell and The Survivors’ Club.

James McGee (Historical Suspense)

Writes about an investigator called Hawkwood – Regency/Victorian. Book titles: The Ratcatcher and The Resurrectionist. “You don’t send a gentleman to catch vermin. You send Hawkwood.” Love it. Want to see more of the same.

Georgette Heyer (Regency)

If you are a history buff, make sure you read An Infamous Army which is “fiction” about the British and its allies at Waterloo. Until very recently it was still used as a reference book to discuss tactics and alliances at the Sandhurst Military Academy in England. No ordinary “romance” writer. She is the rock on which the Regency genre was founded.

Amanda Quick (Regency, and Regency and Victorian/paranormal)
Jayne Ann Krentz Contemporary
Jayne Castle Paranormal

For pure enjoyment, not-so-convoluted plots but with brilliant characterisation, I quite simply adore JAK’s writing. Quirky characters with peculiar hang-ups – love ‘em.

J.D. Robb

Her futuristic series involving a tough but fragile woman cop hits all the high spots. The world building is impressive because it’s constructed by deft brushstrokes, not laid on with a trowel as in so many speculative fiction otherworlds.

Lisa Jackson (Suspense)

Creepy perpetrators in creepy circumstances. A disused asylum comes to mind.

Karen Rose (Romantic Suspense) Her research is brilliant, and you can expect a not-always-easy read from Ms Rose. Her murderers are definitely not the sort you want to meet.

Gayle Wilson (Romantic Suspense) Lighter than some, but still with hidden depths, I enjoy Ms Wilson’s southern settings such as New Orleans and  Mississippi.

Dick Francis (Can anyone tell me how you’d classify DF?) Readable, clear conflict. Heroes are misunderstood, likeable but by no means perfect. When he died, we lost a thoroughly decent, well-researched author.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Anachronistically Speaking by Judy Nickles

My parents came out of World War I, lived much of their formative years during the Great Depression, and married just before World War II. These times shaped them and, ultimately, shaped me as well. Is it any wonder I love writing “vintage” books?
Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? actually began as a thinly-veiled re-telling of a tragic family story which I found out about totally by accident. I never told my mother I
knew about it, but I made several surreptitious trips to her hometown to do some research. I found nothing. The event had happened, but records had either been sanitized or not kept at all.
So the book went through many, many re-writes before it finally found its way to The Wild Rose Press and ultimately to editor Nan Swanson’s desk. The story was supposed to end with the final page, but almost as soon as edits began, I found myself creating a second volume—the rest of the story so to speak—with Finding Papa’s Shining Star.
When I look back at them now, I understand how limited their audience truly is. In a way, I’m an anachronism in today’s writing world. The dialogue, the muted passion, the all-important behavioral etiquette which is anything but important today. So while one might say, “It’s a good story,”, it’s definitely not a best-seller.
One reviewer proclaimed indignantly, “There are no sex scenes!” Where did she miss the desire, the passion, the teeming emotions so difficult to keep in control, the necessity to survive in spite of everything? Human nature was then what it is today and will, I suspect, always be.
Still, The Shining Star Books resonate with me and others of my “ilk”. In many ways they portray a kinder, gentler time soon to be forgotten—or perhaps it already is. It’s true there’s nothing new under the sun, and the books’ characters find themselves embroiled in situations still happening today. Perhaps it’s their creator’s approach to these situations which doesn’t ring true in contemporary literature.
Nevertheless, it’s possible to fall in love with Alan and Lenore and later with Annie and David; to grieve their losses and applaud their triumphs; to believe in spite of everything they’ll find their HEA.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A wealthy businessman, blinded in World War I, falls in love with the woman he hires as his personal assistant during the Depression—and finds her secrets may destroy their chance at happiness.

She didn’t appear for breakfast, but she was waiting by the door at the appointed time for leaving. “You’ve had no breakfast,” he said.
“I wasn’t hungry.”
“I see.” He opened the door and let her precede him to the car under the porte cochere.
They’d driven several blocks in silence when she said, “Mr. Ashley, I really should make other living arrangements.”
He knew why, but he asked anyway, adding, “I thought we’d settled all that. I find it convenient for you to live in and don’t wish to make a change.”
“Mr. Ashley, it’s not…”
“We’re both adults, Miss Seldon. I am a man, and you are a woman. We shared a brief kiss in the spirit of the moment.”
“It shouldn’t have happened.”
“Was it so repulsive to you?”
“No, but it shouldn’t have happened.”
“Actually, it was quite nice,” he interrupted. “It might even happen again.”
“It can’t.”
“Why not?”
“I’m not Elise Mayhew.”
“No, thank God. Can’t we put that behind us? She’s gone off again to who knows where, according to Sam. I won’t mention where he said he hoped she’d gone to.”
“I mean you can’t play with me as you might have played with her.”
“Played with her? If you mean were we intimate, no, we weren’t, though I’m sure she considered it more than once. I might have considered it, too.”
“Mr. Ashley, please.”
“I keep forgetting you don’t think in those terms.”
“The arrangement was questionable from the beginning.”

Judy Nickles also writing as Gwyneth Greer
"Get hooked on a good clean read!"

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Grateful Writer By Robin Weaver, Author of The Christmas Tree Wars

The Grateful Writer
By Robin Weaver, Author of The Christmas Tree Wars

You’ve just received a rejection—the third one this month. You click the trashcan icon and go back to your story, only your heroine has turned into a Kardashian-sized butt, the middle of the tale is sagging like Honey Boo-Boo’s belly, and your hero has become so whiny, you want to go Lizzy Borden on the dude. Your neck hurts, your fingers throb, and the ache in your head is threatening to make you sick to your stomach. You kick your desk, not only making your toe throb more than your fingers, but you also chip the polish from the pedicure you just got. Disgusted, you pick up your snail mail, only to discover you lost last month’s Visa bill and have received a $50 late fee.

Chocolate. The only thing that can help is gooey, chewy chocolate. Too bad you ate the last of your stash when you noticed the crack in your kitchen tile floor—fortunately, you found an errant M&M at the same time. You put on your least stained sweats, don a baseball cap to cover your three-days-overdue-for-a-wash-ponytail, and cover your face with the biggest sunglasses you have. Doesn’t matter the dims are the glaucoma glasses your father left when he insisted on fixing that “knocking” sound in your dryer—the same repair that cost you a trip to the appliance store when the machine quit working completely.

On the way to the grocery store, a dump truck, sans mud-flaps, shoots a half-inch pebble your way creating a three-foot crack in your windshield. Then, when you finally get to the grocery store, the security guard—the hunky one you suspect is really some undercover detective—waves because he recognizes you from your last incident at the grocery story—when you backed into the fire hydrant. He walks up to your car, not to remove that cart that’s in the only slot within a block of the entrance, but to tell you your windshield’s cracked. Then he looks at his reflection in your sunglasses and you realize he thinks you’re on drugs.
What possible reason could you have to be grateful?

You better find one. Recent studies suggest gratitude may be uniquely important to well-being and mental health. I won’t bore you by spouting my research sources, but trust me, my theory is well supported. According to these studies, grateful people are less stressed and less depressed. They cope with life better and are—get this—more satisfied.

For the writer, gratitude might be particularly important. As we get more and more sour from those rejections, deadlines, required edits, bad reviews, etc., etc., we can become—dare I say it—bitter. Your mood reflects in your writing.

So what’s a writer to do when life is throwing rotten lemons at you faster than a rock flying at your windshield? According to those same studies mentioned above, tough times are especially “good” times to be grateful. Gratitude helps you see the situation in a way that makes coping easier and allows you to derive creative solutions. In other words, being grateful might just help with everything from writer’s block to correcting plot holes.

Easier said than done, right? After all, people aren’t hardwired to be grateful. According to Dr. Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, there are three steps:
1. Recognize what you have to be grateful for (i.e., that pedicure, a dad who wants to help, etc.).
2. Acknowledge it.
3. Appreciate it.

Having trouble recognizing your literary gifts? Consider this: a recent study cited 81% of Americans think they have a novel in them (especially pompous when another recent study said 28% of Americans didn’t read a single book in 2013). Despite the large number of “I could” people, only 0.1% (that’s one person in one thousand) actually do write a novel.

So be grateful you can write. Be grateful you do. Focus on the process, the fun of creating other worlds, snarky characters and crazy plots. Appreciate the insistent creativity that keeps you going to the keyboard again and again.

So let’s go back to the grocery store parking lot…
You take a quick glance at the fire hydrant to ensure you missed it this time. You breathe easier when it’s relatively undented. Then, you take off your dad’s glasses so Mr. Hunky can see your pupils aren’t pinpoints (or is it dilated? …I can never get that right).

Hunky says, “Wow, you have beautiful eyes.” Without even glancing at your cleavage, he offers to get you a shopping cart.

A—you don’t need a cart for a bag of candy, and B—you can’t get a jumbo bag of KitKats if Mr. Hunky is following you. You reply, “Thanks, but I just came for a cup of coffee,” grateful for your quick thinking. Then you say a little prayer because some ever-so-brilliant developer put a Starbucks in the complex. (See, you’re already getting the hang of this gratitude thing).

Hunky offers you a stick of Big Red, looks at his watch and says, “It’s about time for my morning break. Would you mind if I join you?”

Life is good.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tyler Montgomery on being a lawyer by Laura Freeman

In Impending Love & War by Laura Freeman, published by The Wild Rose Press, Tyler Montgomery is a Harvard lawyer looking for a runaway slave. Abolitionists Cory Beecher accidentally shoots him and is forced to care for him.

“Do you think you’re a better lawyer than Mr. Lincoln because you went to Harvard?”

He didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

“You certainly have a high opinion of yourself.”

“I didn’t go to Harvard to be a worse lawyer.”

She challenged him. “Don’t you have to be a man of high moral character to be a lawyer?”

“I’m only twenty-five. I haven’t had time to do anything immoral, yet.” He added the last word with a glint in his eye.

The sight of Tyler’s nakedness had stirred an erotic response she’d never experienced. But how did a scholar acquire sculptured muscles that rippled with power at every movement? She wouldn’t obtain the answer through silent pondering. “How did a Harvard lawyer become so strong? Carrying books around?” She hoped her witty remark camouflaged her embarrassment. How could she ask such a personal question? She turned away and lit a lantern on a peg by the door with her candle.

Tyler grabbed the lamp and whispered in her ear. “They were very big books.”

Cory opened her mouth to argue but had a feeling she wouldn’t uncover the truth. She looked around.
“Do you think I should take Hiram’s gun?” It was in the parlor but needed to be reloaded.

“Haven’t you shot enough men tonight?”

“What if there’s an intruder? He could be dangerous.”

“I think I can handle him.”

“Are you going to quote him the law?” She followed him into the dark yard.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November Musings by Annalisa Russo

I take the back roads to work. In the Midwest, back roads wind lazily through extensive corn fields, and at this time of year, are reminiscent of Children of the Corn—solid walls of corn on either side of a two lane country road. Spooky. Then the next day—POOF! A muscular machine sits in the middle of a shorn field, and you can see so far the curvature of the earth is evident.

Such is the day today as I travel to work wearing my wool coat for the first time and watching gray clouds hang heavy overhead – snow, maybe?

I think over the weekend I’ll complete the task that most Midwesterners perform this time of year— switch their closets from breezy, summer wear and replace it with winter clothing. I’ll turn back my clock on Saturday for Daylight Saving time. I don’t exactly know why it’s still necessary to change the clocks back an hour, though driving to work in the daylight will be a nice change until 4:30 rolls around, and it is already getting dark.

I think about the effect these seasonal changes have in my life and realize I am anticipating something, like the promise of spring after a brutal winter, or the soothing temperatures of fall after a sizzling summer. And now, as the Bradford pear trees stand proudly in front of my house in an amazing burnt red and the sugar maple next door compliments it with a brilliant yellow, I think of the holidays that are soon to follow—only twenty-seven days to be exact, until Thanksgiving with Christmas just around the corner.

For a period of five years, I lived on the gulf side of Florida. I remember driving over a bridge one day and noticing a sign pinned to it announcing the Thanksgiving Day parade, only four days away! It snuck up while I was looking the other way. How did that happen?

Not so in the Midwest as nature always signals the alarm—the bounty of autumn gardens, cooling temperatures, and bare trees. The chill in the air that stirs an innate Midwestern hunger for comfort food in thick stews, creamy soups, fresh baked bread, and fragrant casseroles bubbling over in the oven. Time to drag out traditional Thanksgiving recipes and make my grocery list—turkey with Nonna’s bread stuffing, Aunt Gloria’s pumpkin pies, my grandfather’s roasted chestnuts, myriad
vegetables, and always two versions of potatoes, mashed and sweet, all eaten, if we are lucky, overlooking a yard with a fresh blanket of snow to carry us through Christmas.

So, as I write this blog, I make a note to remember these things when it is time to write about the Cavelli family’s Thanksgiving feast and celebration. I take a moment to remember my own life’s bounty.

Annalisa Russo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Book Risen from the Rubble by Judy Nickles

One of the last batch of “war babies” (that’s WW II for all you youngsters out there), I grew up in a West Texas town full of reminders of the terrible price exacted by that conflict. San Angelo was an old town with “military” roots—springing up across the Concho River from Ft. Concho, one of many frontier fortresses established to protect settlers from Indians who obviously (and rightly!) objected to encroachment on their lands.

World War II had touched the entire town. Scanning the list of county KIAs, I recognize the names of too many: the father of a high school classmate, the son of a mayor, two brothers who were sons of a man my father knew well. One of them received the Medal of Honor posthumously.

The airport which is still used today housed a bombardier training school. The Air Force base still in existence took its name from a San Angeloan who died in the First World War. In November, vets stood on downtown street corners selling poppies which we wore with pride on Armistice Day (now Veterans Day since President Eisenhower effected the change in 1954).

Progress in the form of modern architecture and a dying downtown killed by the new mall and strip shopping centers in the newer part of town hadn’t yet changed the landscape of my childhood. So, when I think of my hometown, I think of it the way it used to be. And that’s the way I wrote it in Dancing with Velvet.

The book centers around the St. Angelus Hotel, now gone, where generations of young people danced to the music of live bands in the Roof Garden. With a shadowy memory of that grand place and my parents—who used to talk about it with mysterious smiles—gone for years, I found myself scrambling for information which would authenticate the setting of the story I wanted to tell. My last resort was an email to Rick Smith, a newspaper columnist who learned his craft from the same journalism teacher who taught me mine. If anyone could dig up information, Rick could—or Ed Cole would haunt him forever!

And he did. He put out a call in one of his columns, and people I thought gone like my parents came out of the woodwork. He cobbled together three more columns full of trivia about the St. Angelus. Together we breathed life into the book I call a love song to the town which nurtured me.

Dancing with Velvet
In the waning days of the Great Depression, Celeste Riley wonders if life will always be the same: going to work and coming home to keep house for her widowed father who ignores her. She clings to her married sister, Coralee, and the recurring dream of a blue velvet curtain and a faceless lover who beckons her beyond it. Then a blue velvet dress in the window of a local department store seems to promise the change in her life she so desperately longs for. When she dances in the arms of Kent Goddard at the Roof Garden, she is sure she has found the man of her dreams and is crushed when he disappears from her life. Soon after Pearl Harbor propels the United States into war, he returns in uniform as a student at the new bombardier training school. Inevitably, a wartime separation threatens their deepening relationship. Then Celeste realizes that what she doesn’t know about the man of her dreams may become her worst nightmare.

With Kent overseas, Celeste fights her own war with pride, self-deprecation, and the need to forgive. Before he comes home…if he comes home…she knows she has to win.

Judy Nickles

To Read more

Monday, November 17, 2014

A timeline for the publication process by Laura Freeman

Impending Love and War is my first novel and is available at It is a historical romance with a suspense subplot published by The Wild Rose Press. For authors who wonder how long it takes for a novel to go from submission to publication, I’ve created a timeline. Every book is different but the steps are similar.

My timeline for Impending Love and War:

Dec. 8, 2013: I submitted my manuscript to The Wild Rose Press.

Dec. 20, 2013: My manuscript was returned with edits for the first three chapters, and I was given the option to correct the errors throughout the manuscript and resubmit it. This was the first time an editor wrote more than a couple lines about my manuscript, and I was thrilled to make the changes.

Feb. 8, 2014: I resubmitted the corrected manuscript and hoped for the best.

April 6, 2104: I signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press.

April 6, 2014 – I began making edits my editor suggested to my manuscript using the edit option. Correspondence was done through email. This was the time for any serious rewrites. We went back and forth four times before all major edits were completed in June.

April 29, 2014: I submitted a blurb, which is the paragraph on the back of the book that introduces the characters, plot, and problem to be solved to entice a reader to buy the book. I also submitted a biography for the book and chose the most alluring scene of 100 words for the front of the book. It’s the passage people read to decide if they like your writing style.

May 5, 2014: The official blurb for my book is finalized after being reviewed by a committee.

May 5, 2014: I sent cover art suggestions on a form asking for descriptions of the characters, setting, clothing, etc. I also chose an artist to design the cover and a list of several book covers I liked so she would know my preference.

June 2, 2104: The cover art was sent to me for review and approval.

June 8, 2014 – Galleys were sent to me for editing minor changes using editing

sheets instead of directly on the manuscript, which is now in a different format. This continued five times.
Jun 25, 2014 – I sent approval for the manuscript to go to production.

July 23, 2014 – A copy of the final manuscript was emailed to me.

Sept. 2, 2014 – I sent marketing suggestions for Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Oct. 1, 2014 – My book was ready for pre-order and sent to reviewers.

Oct. 8, 2014 – My official release date of publication.

Laura Freeman
@LauraFreeman_RP (Twitter) or

To Read more

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cory Beecher on marriage by Laura Freeman

In Impending Love & War published by The Wild Rose Press, Cory Beecher is hoping for a proposal of marriage from Douglas Raymond, who is leaving after calling on her.

Cory followed him into the hallway. She had placed the flowers he had brought in a vase on the sideboard. “The flowers are lovely. Thank you.” She handed him his hat. “I’ll see you at the celebration on the square on Wednesday.” She stepped outside onto the porch and led the way toward his horse, swishing her wide skirt side to side. For a few minutes, they would be alone.

She had worn her best-looking frock, an emerald and blue plaid made with a gathered skirt, wide shoulder straps and a tightly cinched waist to create an hour-glass figure. The bodice was altered for evening wear and cut perilously low in the front. Adelaide had threatened to tell her mother if she didn’t sew some modest lace inserts above the bodice, but she had postponed the work until after Douglas called. Now it appeared to have been a futile attempt to attract his attention.

She stood by his horse, anticipating a declaration of love or a gesture of affection, but after securing his hat, he awkwardly mounted the horse he had borrowed from the college stable.
Cory leaned against the elm tree as he rode off. Her ingĂ©nue attempts of seduction had failed. Most men spoke words of admiration when they called. Some held her hand. A few had the nerve to kiss her. And those advances were at home with her mother, father, and her pesky younger sisters all gathered around them. Here, she was practically alone, and Douglas hadn’t even given her a warm smile. He was all prim and proper. Perhaps his position as an instructor required it. As a school teacher, she was expected to adhere to higher standards, but they were alone. Couldn’t he have let his guard down a little?

She waved when he turned onto the road in case he looked back. Not even a glance. A sigh escaped her as the wooden heels of her leather shoes clicked against the slate. The visit should have been more successful with a delicious dessert, a daring outfit, and flattering conversation. What did a girl have to do to get married?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Join us Oct 28 for a Special Chat - Flash Fiction

Romance Flash is invention of Rachel Green and Kat de Falla who love short stories and romance and finding no flash fiction sites dealing with only romantic flash fiction, decided to create one. Their first story was posted in July 2010 and the rest is history.
They receive submissions from all over the world and publish one free read a month giving the author a token payment and great publicity. The website was mentioned in the recent article on flash fiction by Jule Duffy:
Romance Flash is listed on Duotrope here:
If you don't know much about flash fiction or what great exposure it can be for an author, you'll love this chat and find a fresh way to reach readers.
About Kat:
Author Kat de Falla was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she learned to roller-skate, ride a banana seat bike, and love Shakespeare thanks to her high school English teacher. Four years at the UW-Madison wasn’t enough, so she returned to her beloved college town for her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is happily employed as a retail pharmacist where she fills prescriptions and chats with her patients. She is married to her soulmate, classical guitarist, Lee de Falla and raising four kids together ala the Brady Bunch.

Kat de Falla is the author of The Seer’s Lover, a dark fantasy released by The Wild Rose Press and First Contact w/a Kat Green released by Crescent Moon Press.

About Rachel:
Born in St. Charles, Illinois, RA Green has wanted to be an author since sixth grade when her English teacher told her she should consider writing as a career after reading a poem she’d written entitled “The Day My Head Exploded.” RA attended Carroll College (now Carroll University) in Waukesha, Wisconsin where she majored in English and History while minoring in French, merci beaucoup. She is a cancer survivor, a Brewers fan and a Disney Dork who is always in the middle of planning her next Disney vacation. At the moment she is an in-home daycare provider where she spends her days singing, dancing, and doing projects that cover her house in glitter.

Rachel currently lives in Wisconsin with her wrestling coach husband and two children who are the three greatest blessings in her life. First Contact is her debut novel co-written with Kat de Falla. She is repped by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary Agency.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Haunted Garden:Believe it or Not

Well, here we are again. On October 31st children and playful adults across the U.S. and the western world will don their pointy hats and broomsticks, plastic teeth, zombie masks, white sheets and do comic terror across their towns. Funs, game and occult mythology… right? Maybe and maybe not.

My family has always had a certain fascination with the occult. It began with my mother who despite a conservative upbringing always held a certain fascination for spiritualism, astrology, and things that go bump in the night. That’s why I wrote my first novel as a paranormal. My 2012 Rite of Passage was a 2013 RomCon Reader’s Crown finalist and was based on long study about witchcraft and utilized much of what I had read about as a young man.

As an early teen I’d read The World Within and the classic Many Mansions. Books that detailed the author’s belief in reincarnation. Why do some people have the ability to see into the future? Why do we have the feeling we’ve done or said things before? And why are some people more attuned to their fellow man, nature and everything around them… according to Gina Cerminara, who wrote those books, the answer is because we’ve traveled this way before. Heady and intriguing stuff.

And on two occasions as a child I had experiences that gave me goose bumps. The first when I was ten, alone in our house. My parents had gone to visit. Suddenly, I heard a strange sound and turned to see what looked like a figure in armor carrying chains coming at me from our living room. I was terrified and ran the few hundred yards in tears to find my parents. Suffice it to say that I slept with one eye open and the light on for some time afterward.

The second occurrence was not so immediately frightening but left a lasting impression. We spent summers at my grandmother’s house on an island in Maine. One morning I awakened very early and sneaked out of bed. Tiptoeing down stairs I found my way to the an old couch in the living room. Looking out the front windows I caught sight of a sight I can still see… in the mist sat a large sailing ship circa 1800’s. At the time I thought nothing of it till I mentioned it to my dad and he looked at me rather oddly, later explaining that a large ship had gone aground in the mid 19th Century on the reef that guarded our small inlet. All but one crewman was lost. But I had never heard the story before.

As I sit writing this I still get a funny feeling because I can close my eyes and see both these visions as if they were happening today.

When I began to write Rite of Passage I had decided to use witchcraft as the paranormal vehicle to propel my story because witches occupy that mystical place between reality and fantasy and I wanted something that held a grain of truth. I’ve always prided myself on doing my “homework” so after having consumed a wealth of written material I decided to consult a local woman who was reputed to be a witch. If I expected something out of TV sitcom I was in for a surprise. The woman I met was polite, poised, and very professional. She told me she was a Wiccan High Priestess. She showed me how astrology, reincarnation, psychic ability, and many other things fit together. By the time we were done I was a believer.

Other things have surfaced that helped reinforce my belief in what might be called the supernatural. One of my friends who is a psychologist and ghost hunter of some repute tells me that while 99.5% of all she sees is sham or has a logical explanation there remains a tiny percentage that defies explanation.

The same can be said of a well-known author friend who spent years researching NDEs, near death experiences. Again the white lights, tunnels, and visions may be explainable. But… what no one can explain is out of body experiences where the person seems to float above their body and can recall things they could have no way to know.

So, in summary can I guarantee that the occult and the paranormal exist. No. But at this point in my life and with the research and experiences I’ve had I remain very much in the “it’s possible” column.

Have a nice Halloween!

Kevin V. Symmons

Kevin Symmons is a successful author, college faculty member, and president of one of the Northeast's most respected writing organizations. His paranormal novel, "Rite of Passage", was a 2013 RomCon Reader's Crown Award finalist and has been an Amazon Best Seller. "Out of the Storm", a contemporary romantic thriller set on Cape Cod, is already gathering 5 star reviews and will keep you turning pages late into the night. His novel "Solo", a sweeping women's fiction work that exposes the tragedy of domestic violence in America, is also available now. Kevin has collaborated with award-winning Boston screenwriter and playwright Barry Brodsky in adapting one of his story ideas for the screen. He is a sought after public speaker who has appeared across New England. Visit Kevin and like his FB Author Page, @KevinSymmons on Twitter, at Goodreads, Amazon, and at his website,

Haunted Garden:The Black Cats of Blue Lake

The Black Cats of Blue Lake
By Cynthia Harrison

                They met under the old oak in Town Square at the stroke of twelve on Devil’s Night. Each of the all female feline squad gave their crime reports.
                “Foiled a firecracker in my butt attempt.”
                “Walked under a ladder on purpose.”
                “Crossed the path of the grumpy guy living under the boardwalk.”
                The Grumpy Guy was new. He wasn’t a tourist, because that season had passed. He wasn’t townsfolk either; he was a stranger, an outsider. And the cats didn’t trust him.
                “Saw lights in Kiwi cottage,” Thomasina, the eldest cat, said. “Upped to window. It was him. Grumpy Guy.”
                “No!” Kiwi Cottage was one of the six quaint lakeside vacation homes known collectively as Blue Heaven. Thomasina’s people owned the cottages. And now someone, a Stranger, had busted into one of the town’s beloved old treasures.
                “Yes. And he had guns. Three of them. A pistol, a shotgun, and a rifle. Also a butter knife with a strange sharp tip.”
                “Strange how?” Athena, next in seniority asked.
                One of the youngsters licked her paw nervously. The others sat in anticipation. There would have to be a plan. It would not be easy. Humans weren’t great communicators and, despite their many feline skills, they’d need at least one, probably two, humans for this mission.
                “We’ll rouse Daniel,” Thomasina said.
                “We’ll have to crowd him down to Blue Heaven.” Crowding was a technique the cat clan had recently perfected. You circled the human and slowly moved them in the correct direction.
                “But time is crucial,” Athena pointed out. “He’ll need his car. And his phone.”
                “He always has his phone. I think he keeps it in his pajama pocket while he naps.”
                Twelve eyes, six gold, six green, glowed with glee. An adventure, perhaps even a dangerous mission. They lifted their tails and in a straight line headed to Thomasina’s house. Thomasina let herself in her private door while the others waited on the front porch. Like a streak, she was up the stairs, on the bed, biting Daniel’s leg.
                “Oww.” He swatted her. She deflected and bit him again, pulling the meat of his skin. Urgent!
                “Okay, okay.” Daniel got up, left his sleeping wife, and followed Thomasina downstairs. He started for the kitchen but she stopped him with a walk across his path and a loud meow. He followed her to the front door and stared out at the other five cats.
                “Oh boy. What now?”
                Thomasina jumped onto the table in the foyer that held a bowl where Daniel kept his keys. She nudged them with her nose.
                And so, a few moments later, a man drove slowly behind six cats trotting at a good clip toward Blue Heaven and Kiwi Cottage. Thomasina hoped when he saw the light he’d phone the police. Athena prayed they weren’t too late for whatever damage this Stranger wished to inflict on some person or persons in their town.
                “Not on our watch,” Thomasina said.
                Nobody had reported roaming teenagers, so they felt confident they could stop the Stranger before he pulled his bloody prank. Where had he come by guns? What did he intend to do with them? And, most important, when?
                All would have been well if Daniel had called the police instead of getting out of his car and walking toward Kiwi himself. His motor and the flashlight alerted the Stranger who came to the door of the cottage with the pistol in his hand, pointed straight at Daniel. Pistols, the cats knew, were much more accurate and deadly than the other kinds of guns. Not good.
                Daniel immediately raised his hands. “Hey, slow down, I own this place.”
                “I know who you are. Daniel Bryman, town benefactor and all-around big shot.”
                “And you are? If you need a place to stay, I’m happy to lend you the use of the cottage.”
                “Oh I bet you are. But I’ll be wanting more than a cottage.” The Stranger had his eyes trained on Daniel and didn’t notice the cats as they moved into position. “I’ll be wanting those keys to your house. After I kill you, I intend to pay your wife a visit. She’s already in bed? Just where I want her.” The Stranger leered and Thomasina read his filthy thoughts. If only she had this power for more than one night a year she would have known months ago the Stranger had developed an obsession with Eva, Thomasina’s other person. He wanted her, and the gold coins, jewels, and paper money in the Bryman safe, too. He didn’t care that he had to kill Daniel for his prize.
                Clearly, there was no time for police. Clearly, action had to be taken immediately. Thomasina howled, her teeth gleaming in the moonlight, sharp as razors. She lunged upward toward the gun arm of the Stranger. Startled and hurt as she bit down hard, he dropped the gun.
                “Shit.” The Stranger clutched his arm, looking for his attacker, but Thomasina had already dissolved into the night.
Daniel was phoning 911 instead of trying to get the gun so as the Stranger, still clutching his injured arm, went for it, Athena pounced on him with the weight of six tons. She held him pinned as the four youngsters used their many skills, eyes burned holes like cigarette scars into the Stranger’s trigger finger. Tails whipped like barbed wire across his face and eyes. Poisonous claws clamped onto his neck.

                By the time the police cruiser arrived, the Stranger had been well and truly subdued. And the cats were rewarded with cream, fresh tuna, and a splendid, well-deserved nap.

see other books by Cynthia 

Haunted Garden: My Obsession with Ghosts

When I was in second grade, my father brought home the usual weekly stack of chapter books the local librarian had recommended for me. Generally, the books revolved around horses, my main interest as an 8-year-old girl. But sometimes other subject matter found its way into the pile, and this time, there was a book entitled Jane-Emily, by Patricia Clapp. The tag line read “A ghost story…and a love story”. My first paranormal romance—I was hooked. I read that book over and over again throughout my childhood. I’ve read it to my children. When I see a looking glass ball in someone’s yard, the young ghost of the fictional Emily is still the first thing that jumps into my thoughts.

Since that book, the blend of romance and ghosts has always been my favorite. For me, a mysterious and spooky paranormal element combined with a tension-filled romantic relationship is the perfect recipe for an exciting read.
It’s no surprise, then, that both of my paranormal romance novels involve spirits in desperate need of help. Still, I’ve never actually seen a ghost. Not for lack of trying, however. I’ve been on ghost tours and visited rumored haunted locations. Nevertheless, I firmly believe the spirits of loved ones survive the body’s passing, mostly because of something that happened to me on December 25, 2011.

I had a particularly joyous Christmas that year, because I had just received my first publishing contract for Silver Lake. I was also in the midst of writing my second manuscript, Gull Harbor, which has a medium as a heroine. So when I heard there was a medium at a Christmas party I was attending, I was eager to speak with him.
As I asked him general questions pertaining to his talent, he looked distracted. Finally, he said, “There’s someone here to speak with you. Is that okay?”

With a nod and a gulp, I listened to what he had to say. It wasn’t exact sentences, but I immediately knew who it was—my mother, who died when I was 25. I had never met this man—in fact, I lived in a town 2 hours away. I didn’t pay him a dime. But he was hitting details of my life spot-on, including a recent trip I made with my kids to deliver Christmas presents to our local animal shelter (Mom and I shared a love of all animals).

There were so many things he said that sent shivers down my spine, but at one point he kept saying, “Wild Flowers? I’m getting wild flowers.” And then it clicked for me: my biggest dream had recently come true—I had sold my manuscript to The Wild Rose Press.

Seeing Silver Lake published after years of hard work is truly a dream come true. And I’m thankful that it seems on some level, my mother is looking down, sharing it with me. While I find that infinitely comforting, my writing will probably continue to feature a spookier kind of ghost: the kind that has to haunt the hero and heroine to get its message through. The kind that raises a few goose bumps on the reader’s arm. And hopefully, the kind that keeps the pages turning, well into the night.

Get ready for Halloween with Jason and Rain as they struggle to solve the mystery of their friend’s disappearance in SILVER LAKE. Along the way, they fight against the attraction that still exists between them. Will they eventually give in to their feelings?

Or visit Cape Cod’s GULL HARBOR, where medium Claire Linden must face the aggressive ghost haunting her client’s house and the ex-boyfriend who mysteriously abandoned her after graduation. Can Max protect Claire from a danger that extends beyond the paranormal?

Click Here to Purchase Kathryn Knight's Book

Monday, October 20, 2014

Haunted Garden: A Halloween Carving-Win a Book of your choice

Trick or Treat this Halloween with The Wild Rose Press

Amazon Best Seller Jess Russell, author of The Dressmaker's Duke carved these amazing pumpkins for our Haunted Garden.

Welcome to Lobster Cove

The these beautiful TWRP garden pumpkins!

To learn more about Jess Russell and the Dressmaker's Duke, click here.

Rhys Merrick, Duke of Roydan, is determined to be the antitheses of his depraved father, repressing his desires so severely he is dubbed "the Monk" by Society.  But when Olivia Weston turns up demanding payment for gowns ordered by his former mistress, Rhys is totally flummoxed and inexplicably smitten.  He pays her to remove her from his house, and mind.  But logic be damned, he must have this fiercely independent woman.

Olivia's greatest fear is becoming a kept woman.  She has escaped the role of mistress once and vows never to be owned by any man.  Rather than make money in the boudoir, she chooses to clothe the women who do.  But when a fire nearly kills her friend and business partner, Olivia's world goes up in smoke and she is forced to barter with the lofty duke.
As their lives weave together, Olivia unravels the man underneath the Monk, while Rhys desires to expose the lady hiding behind the dressmaker. Will his raw passion fan a long-buried ember of hope within her? Can this mismatched pair be the perfect fit?

Do you love to carve pumpkins? Have a fun haunted Halloween tradition? leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of book from the Wild Rose Press.

Haunted Garden: The Acolyte

A Halloween Story

The Acolyte

The tower clock struck midnight. Ravenwood tensed, glanced over her shoulder at the Sanctuary. No lights shone in the mullioned windows. The Masters mustn’t catch her out alone at night. Punishment would be rapid and severe. She might even be banished. Her reputation at the school had suffered for her sister’s sin.
She lit the torch, black smoke billowing from the flame. A darkling shiver crawled down her rigid spine. The voices that had roused her from sleep whispered a warning as she crept into the abandoned barn. A lonely owl hooted from the rafters, ruffling its feathers and blinking. Red light winked in the bird’s golden eyes. She swallowed hard, straining her ears for any sound. The eerie stillness chilled her soul.

Ravenwood had come to say her last goodbye to her sister. Tonight, Mariana slept the peace of the dead in this old outbuilding. Tomorrow, she would be lowered into unhallowed ground. Then only god knew what the fate of a demon’s consort would be. Her breathing rasped loud, puffing white clouds in the October air. She inched deeper into the gloom, shoved the hood of her robe back. Shadows capered in her peripheral vision. A web caught in her hair, clung to her face. Another hard shudder coursed through her, and gooseflesh prickled her limbs. Nausea swirled in her stomach. Frantically, she swiped the crusty fly stuck in the web and the disgusting stickiness from her skin.

Blackness coiled along the rotted wood pile. A mouse squeaked, scurried out and scampered away. The shade loomed larger, distorted in the flickering light. She flinched back a step. With a shaking hand, she clutched the crucifix around her neck. The shadow crossed the pitchfork, fell on the coffin.

Darkness coalesced into the figure of a winged man. Two yellow orbs glowed in his leathery gray face. The wings were shiny, rubbery black with spines and points. A sweet smell rose from him, but she knew the fragrance was a glamour masking the reek of the Pit.

"Daakiel," she whispered.

"Well met, Ravenwood." A laugh rumbled from his broad chest. “Such pretty blonde hair and lovely ivory skin, but beneath your rose and gold beauty is a soul as dark as I am.”

As always, her sister’s lover was naked, his grotesque, swollen equipment proudly on display. She shuddered head to toe, glancing around quickly, studying her options.

There were none.

The creature with hellfire eyes stroked a hand with long, vicious claws over the pine coffin. From inside, came a soft scratching then the lid rattled, an urgent pounding echoing in the ruined barn.

Ravenwood's heart caught in her throat. A sudden silence crawled along her nerves. The owl hooted and took flight, a wingtip brushing her cheek. She flinched, clamped a hand to her mouth, but a little cry escaped. The demon flexed his wings, stirring a tornado of moldy straw.

A malicious grin split the monstrous face. "Come my pretty," and with the rasp of claws, he ripped the lid off the coffin.

Her dead sister sat bolt upright, empty fish eyes locking to Ravenwood's. A terrifying smile spread Mariana’s blue lips. Crimson pinpointed the black irises. Any innocence that might have remained in the once Acolyte had perished. Like a spider, elbows and knees arched at odd angles, she crawled from the casket. Grave clothes clung to her pale, withered body but her breasts were exposed and bloody. She was horrible.

Ravenwood wouldn’t give the monster the satisfaction of screaming. She bit her tongue hard enough to draw blood. The demon turned and stalked toward her, fangs dripping thick, green saliva. Horrified, she backed away, collided with a stack of old cans, sending them clattering to the ground.

"Dear sister." Mariana's corpse spread her arms in invitation. Sharp fangs dented the lower lip of her smile. "Raven, forsake your god. Join me."

Ravenwood ducked, grabbed the pitchfork and brandished the rusted prongs at the demon. Another unholy laugh rumbled from its throat.

"You cannot escape, Ravenwood. Your sister has paid her dues. She is mine. Tonight, Acolyte, you join me in Hell."

Playing for time, she flung the pitchfork at the demon and dropped the torch. Smoke billowed from dry straw. Flames sprang up, reaching for the cracked roof. Laughter boomed in the fire. Engulfed in the holocaust, her sister's horrified face branded the nightmare in memory. The demon's leering smile didn’t falter.
She whirled and fled, her legs pumping, her feet going nowhere. The school seemed hundreds of miles away and her feet leaden. If she reached the Sanctuary—
A claw sliced her shoulder. Pain scalded her arm. Blood oozed warmth down her back. She whirled, staring straight into the demon's burning eyes. Lethal pointed teeth lined the creature’s gaping maw.

A scream ripped the black velvet night, searing her throat. She stumbled a retreat, praying aloud.

“No answer?” Daarkiel cupped a hand to his pointed ear. “Pray to someone who will hear you.”

The ground beneath her feet rolled and tossed. She fell to her knees. Fear lodged in her dry throat, strangling her prayers.

“You have taken my lover from me. Burned her alive, you did.” The creature beckoned with a bloody claw. “You will replace her.”

An image of her sister’s living cadaver blinded her. She shook her head. “Never.”

The earth opened, swallowing her. Down she plunged into a loamy grave, the velocity of her fall sweeping her robe over her head. Her feet scraped something hard. Bones. She didn’t have time to scream. The hole closed over her head, burying her alive.

Insects slithered over her feet. Something crept down her back. She swallowed the horror and the bile burning her throat. The black dirt caressed her naked arms and legs and matted her hair. Trapped in the earth and in her robe, unable to claw for the surface, she held her breath until her lungs threatened to implode. Terror gripped her heart in an icy hand.

I’m going to suffocate.

A desperate gasp for breath sucked the fatal soil into her mouth and nose. Ravenwood whispered her final prayer. For forgiveness.

Linda Nightingale
Author of Black Swan
To Purchase

Haunted Garden: Interview With a Demon

With All Hallows Eve closing in on us, I thought it would be fun to chat with one of my more, shall we say, darker friends from Challenging Destiny. Lucky for us, Kira Rose was able to break away from her hellish duties to be here today.

Cherie: Hi Kira. Thanks for meeting with me.
Kira: My pleasure. Just don’t let me boss find out or he’ll send me back to the pit. I’m not exactly his favorite demon.

Cherie: Your secret is safe with us. So tell us, are there any advantages to being a demon?
Kira: Now that I’m on earth, yes. There’s very little I can’t have if I set my mind to it. Of course, it helps that I can bend peoples will to get my way. I’m starting over, you see, and I’m not going to let anyone get in my way.

Cherie: I think it would be good for all of us to heed that warning. How long have you been a resident of Hell?
Kira: Too long. **sigh** It’s going on three very long centuries, most of which were spent in the fiery underworld.

Cherie: Ouch! From what I understand, you made a deal with a demon that landed you in Hell in the first place. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time, would you still make the deal?
Kira: Things may not have worked out as I had planned, but I saved my brother from an eternity of damnation. That’s what counts. So, yeah, I would.

Cherie: You and your brother must have been close. Tell us, what’s your fondest memory of being human?
Kira: That’s easy. Every year, on the day after harvest, my parents would throw a huge celebration. Mom would make a big meal, bigger than any other day of the year. My brother and I would help however we could. Dad would play his grandfather’s fiddle. Our friends and family would come. Time with them is what I miss the most.

Cherie: It sounds wonderful. How about we lighten the mood with some fun questions? If Challenging Destiny were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
Kira: Emma Stone. Not just because she’s one of my favorite actresses, but Emma with her dark red hair and sultry gaze would do an amazing job of bringing out my fiery side.

Cherie: She would be great in the role. What’s your favorite candy?
Kira: Peanut butter cups

Cherie: What are you going to be this Halloween?
Kira: An angel. I like the irony in that.

Cherie: Trick or treat?
Kira: Trick, of course. And remember, I don’t play fair and I always win.

Get to know Kira Rose from Challenging Destiny.
Kindle UK:
Barnes & Noble:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Interview with characters from Impending Love and War

Impending Love and War - Just released and available at online retailers.
To Purchase from Amazon, BN, or The Wild Rose Press

In my day job I am a journalist, and my column name is Freeman of the Press. I interviewed the two main characters of Impending Love and War, Cory Beecher and Tyler Montgomery which is available at The Wild Rose Press.

Press: This is Courtney Beecher, known to her family as Cory. She is the heroine in “Impending Love and War.” How old are you, Cory, and where are you from?
Cory: I’m twenty, and I live in Darrow Falls, Ohio.
Press: What is Darrow Falls like?
Cory: We have a downtown with shops surrounding a town square but most people live on farms. I’m staying with a widow, Adelaide Thomas, for the summer before I return to teaching.
Press: “The Beecher name goes back to early settlers in America. Tell us a little bit about the first Beecher in America.
Cory: John Beecher arrived in 1637 and traveled with a group of men to settle what is now New Haven, Connecticut. He died during the winter; the first white man to die in Connecticut.
Press: Another descendent of John Beecher is Harriet Beecher Stowe. Do you know her?
Cory: We’ve never met, but I’ve read her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s popular with abolitionists.
Press: Are you an abolitionist?
Cory: With a name like Beecher, I have no choice. I never had to defend my beliefs until now.
Press: Why is that?”
Cory: Miss Adelaide’s home, Glen Knolls, is a station on the Underground Railroad which helps slaves reach freedom in Canada.”
Press: What about Tyler Montgomery. I hear he’s a slave owner.
Cory: Yes, he came to Glen Knolls looking for a runaway named Noah.
Press: What happened?
Cory: I shot him.
Press: Did you kill him?
Cory: Oh, no. It was only a flesh wound, but I was obligated to care for him.
Press: Was that difficult?
Cory: My father is a doctor, and I’ve helped him with patients, but Tyler almost discovered Noah hiding in the barn.
Press: What did you do?
Cory: I kissed him. Only to distract him.
Press: Did it work?
Cory: He didn’t find the slave.

Press: You are Tyler Montgomery from Virginia.
Tyler: Yes, I’m a lawyer. I graduated from Harvard law school.
Press: What firm do you work for?
Tyler: Currently I’m unemployed.
Press: Is that why you were at the Glen Knolls farm?
Tyler: I was looking for a friend.
Press: That’s not what Cory Beecher said. You were looking for a runaway slave.
Tyler: Miss Beecher is mistaken.
Press: She said she had to shoot you.
Tyler: Did she claim it was accidental?
Press: You believe she shot you intentionally.
Tyler: She said she should have taken better aim. Does that sound accidental?
Press: No, it doesn’t. She said she kissed you in the barn. How did that make you feel?
Tyler: Feel? The kiss or the pitchfork she stuck in my midsection? The woman is looking for a husband. Douglas Raymond can have her.
Press: Who is Douglas?
Tyler: He’s a math instructor at Western Reserve College, a gentleman with good prospects. She doesn’t object to Douglas kissing her.
Press: That seems to make you angry.
Tyler: I have nothing to offer. If she wants to marry Douglas, who am I to stand in the way?

Follow Laura Freeman
on Twitter @LauraFreeman_RP

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Love is deaf by Lynn Kellan

Before I fell for my husband, I fell for his brother - a tower of muscle and sinew, with shoulders wide as a barn door, rugged features, and nearly completely deaf. He relied on a hearing aid to understand what was being said, and he managed so well that few people realized the severity of his hearing problems. His size and determination was a bit intimidating, but he melted whenever his wife was near. I loved witnessing the transformation. When he returned home from work, he'd have a raging headache from wearing the hearing aid. At those times, he was stoic and unapproachable…but when his wife appeared, the fatigue melted from his face. The instant they touched, a deep contentment radiated from him. She was all he needed to be happy.

His love for her fueled much of the motivation for the hero in Anything You Ask. I loved writing about a deaf man's daily struggles, but his tribulations eased in the presence of one woman. What a wonderful gift - to be loved so completely, just being close to one another is enough to someone with joy.

Anything You Ask is on sale now for .99 until Friday, October 17, 2014.

Lynn Kellan
Strong men who have a weakness for smart women.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

One trip, one book. Two trips...

One trip, one book. Two trips...
Judy Nickles writing as Gwyneth Greer

Branson, Missouri, is a great tourist town full of clean, family-friendly entertainment. Several years ago a long-time friend talked me into a trip. Though I went reluctantly, I came away with a smile on my face, a song in my heart—and a book to write.

We were leaving the showboat Branson Belle after a tasty dinner followed by a sparkling musical show, when I remarked, “This would be a good setting for a book. I think I’ll write The Showboat Murders.”

Properly horrified, my friend replied, “Oh, no! Write The Showboat Affair”.

So I did.

The story of Jean Kingston, dumped by her unfaithful husband after thirty years of marriage, fit with the guidelines for TWRP’s Last Rose of Summer line. My wonderful editor, Aly Ottomeier, held my feet to the fire as together we refined Jean’s journey to reinvent herself as an independent person with a career and finally with a second chance at love.
When the first edits came back, I remember my face flaming as I read the (only) strong love scene in the book—or in any other I’ve written for that matter! It wasn’t graphic by any stretch of the imagination and faded to black as is my custom. But I couldn’t believe it had actually come from my pen…um, computer keys!

I emailed Aly with my determination to rewrite it. She emailed back, in essence, “Don’t you dare.” So I didn’t, and in retrospect, she was absolutely right.

My only regret is putting the book out under a pseudonym, Gwyneth Greer. Growing up with an unimaginative name, I’d always envied several of my classmates who had lovely alliterative names. This was my chance, and I took it. If I could do it over, I’d use my own moniker.

The cover art by Tina Lynn Stout perfectly captured the essence of the story. She found just the right pictures and wove them together perfectly.

I went back to Branson in September, stopping for a couple of nights on my way home from a writing conference in Springfield. My focus this trip was more time at The Landing. All those shops were calling my name, just as they'd called to Nick Cameron, the male protagonist of The Showboat Affair. However, I decided at the last minute to take the train excursion again. For 90 minutes, in between listening to the intermittent narrative and watching the scenery, I stayed busy with pen and notebook.

So did I come home from this trip to Branson with a new novel?

Time will tell.

Judy Nickles writing as Gwyneth Greer