All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Water of Love

By Sharon Hamilton

I'm writing a novella to be included in a duet called the Trident Legacy with sister author Kathryn Leveque. We both have characters who are the sons of Poseidon, immortal half-breeds from the union of their powerful but bad boy father and one of his many liaisons over the centuries. Both our characters are, of course, Navy SEALs, and they are nearly as old as the oceans themselves that spawned them.

This is my first venture into the paranormal SEAL genre, something I've longed to do, but until now, hadn't found the right vehicle. Kathryn and I have been brainstorming and bouncing things off each other. It has been a fun collaboration.

So as I was getting into the feel and texture of the story, I came up with an image I call "The Water Of Love." Of course, I recalled the Dire Straits song Water of Love. This haunting melody and the words that match are what I'm listening to nearly 24/7 as I write this beautiful story.

I plan on a big sex scene between the hero and his heroine, who is a mortal woman and may not survive the mating. And yes, it will be water born. As in any truly beautiful love scene, the exchange of hearts and passions can be dangerous, but it is forever altering and life-changing, leaving the couple transformed by their union. I love the idea that he is part God, but grounded by a mother long dead. His heroine becomes part of the missing piece in his life.

I found these images that I've printed and hang all around my computer to inspire me, along with the music. Here's a blurb and our gorgeous cover. What do you think? Do you want to read about an underwater mating scene, a Water of Love story where both parties are forever changed, through the power of their love?

Order The Trident Legacy

We are brothers, the Sons of Poseidon, though our mothers have gone many eons ago. Given special powers, we are required to protect humanity from the dark forces of the universe that coalesce and then plunge back into the inky pit of evil only to rise up again to be defeated. 

My task is to blend in as a normal, common man. But I am not a common man. I bear the mark, and I have worn it proudly, although sometimes I find that calling more difficult than others. However, I’ve never run away from it nor deny the obligation of my birthright.

Oceans and worlds are fully accessible to me. There is only one thing that I am denied: a true love partner. I’ve loved many times, but never for evermore, only for the here and now.

It would be a lonely journey, without mother or family of my own, were it not for my brothers. But the preservation of mankind is a worthy calling, and one I shall do until the end of time, or the end of my time.

I have chosen for these next few years to live as a Navy SEAL, an elite warrior with an elite team of brothers not unlike the Sons of Poseidon. 

This is my story.

Our new venture releases 3/28/17. Can't wait for you to read it. Don't you think love and water mix nicely? 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I'm late posting today, but it happens to be my birthday and I've had a busy, happy day. No, I won't tell you how old I am. Google says 108, and you believe Google, don't you? I'm lucky to be surrounded by friends and my children and to have wonderful memories of my husband. I feel constantly surrounded by love.

Here's an excerpt from Guilty Secrets. Adam is the one with secrets, and although he has rescued Corry from a cruel father he doesn't quite let down his guard. Corry knows their marriage cannot mean what she wants, unless Adam confides in her.

Here's a love scene between two people who still have to learn to trust each other and their love.

"He slipped into bed beside her, and taking one of her hands, placed it on his arousal and held it there.
“No matter how much I want you, I’ll not rush you tonight. I want you to get acquainted with how my body feels and differs from yours.”
He knew instantly he’d picked the right tactic for a girl of Corry’s intelligence and curiosity. She ran her hand over every bit of his thoroughly aroused member, while he clamped his lips together lest he groan and frighten her. It seemed so right to have her hands on him. He felt as if all his life he’d been waiting for this girl and her innocent exploration that was just the beginning of where he vowed to take her. Her touch was light, thanks be to God, or he’d have jerked her hand away and rolled her under him. Then she moved to his lower stomach, felt the hard flatness there, and traveled upward. When she reached his chest, she danced her fingers through the pelt of hair on his chest, lingering on his skin once or twice. When she began to explore his nipples, he knew he could stand no more.
“Enough, sweetheart, let me love you for a while.”
He flipped her on her back and rising over her, began his own explorations. Concentrating on what would give her the most pleasure, he caressed her breasts and kissed them at the same time. Her nipples peaked, and when he moved to them, kissing and sucking on them, he heard with welcome her small gasps of pleasure. If he could only stay the course, he was sure he’d reach his goal.
If, if, if...He wasn’t entirely sure he could go as slowly as he should.
Gradually, he moved his lips down her body, kissing her stomach and finally the thick curls between her legs. She put out a hand as if to stop him when he concentrated on that precious vee, but he gently put her hand aside. Feeling the moisture already gathered, he heaved his body upward and placed his engorged member at her entrance. This time there was no hesitation on her part, and he triumphantly inched into her welcoming warmth.
The whirlpool he’d been staving off caught him, and he began to move within her. At first she seemed hesitant. Then she caught the rhythm and moved with him, answering his thrusts with some of her own. With a deep sigh of satisfaction, he knew she would soon begin to feel the rapture he already felt. The power of their lovemaking was more turbulent that he’d expected, and it quickly pulled them both down. He put his hand between them to caress her and increase her pleasure, and it was not long until she gave a little cry and dissolved in a limp heap in his arms. With deep gratitude, he let himself climax.
He held her tightly until she stopped shuddering.
“Did you like that, my lady?” he could not resist murmuring as he kissed her hair.
“You know I did,” she sighed. “That was absolutely astonishing.”
“It was indeed,” he said, softly and solemnly."

Guilty Secrets is in print now, and be purchased at all the usual places. Amazon, Kobo, MuseItUp, etc.  Until next month, when I'll try to post a little sooner.....Jean

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cheap and #FreeBooks from Suz deMello

It's no mystery that writers, especially indie writers, are constantly creating new ways to find readers and convert them into fans of their books. One favorite way is to discount books for a short period of time, or maybe even offer a story or two or three for free.

This tactic works especially well with books or stories that are the first in a series. 

Viking in Tartan is the first in my six story Highland Vampires series. Three are short stories and three are full-length novels. Best if they're read in order, but each is a fine standalone.

Here's what the series is about:

Rumors have followed the chieftains of Clan Kilburn for centuries. Said to be descended from the Viking Berserkers, they were ferocious in battle, known for tearing off the heads of their enemies and drinking their blood.

The gossip is frightening, but the reality is even darker.

From the elegant mansions of Mayfair to the mist-shrouded Highlands, the Kilburn vampires hunt, swive and kill. None are immune to their dangerous allure.

Who are the women who would dare to love them?

About Viking in Tartan:

Medieval romance from the Highland Vampires series.

Scotland, Yule Eve, 1260. A Viking raider with mysterious powers brings change to little Clan Kilbirnie, especially to the chieftain’s daughter Rhona.

Find it here: 

I also offer two more short stories as freebies. 

Here they are:

Agent Kathie Belmont has long lusted after her boss, Ross Guerrero, but has never even flirted with him. Could he be the strong but tender Master she craves?

Ross wants Kathie in his life—on her knees. But the constraints of their jobs with an ultra-secret US security agency have come between them. Will their undercover roles as a sex slave and her Master bring them together...forever?

Get it here for free: 

This next story is a complete departure. It's the first story I wrote and my first (and only, alas) #1 bestseller on Amazon. When it came out, it was #1 in free parody and satire  :)

Here's what it's about:

Suz deMello flips the traditional Regency romance upside down and sideways in this gentle satire in which Marlene, the Earl of Maybegood, roughly woos gentleboy Georgie Longjohn on the eve of his first Season.

Find it here for free:

Hope you enjoy these stories and that you become a fan of my work!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Quiz - Can You Answer These? by Marianne Stephens

In honor of Valentine's Day...a day of love and's a quiz for you! See how many you can answer! Answers are at bottom! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
1. Who sent the oldest known Valentine around 1415?
Nicholas, Czar of Russia
Charles, Duke of Orleans
Napoleon, Emperor of France
2. St. Valentine is indeed the patron saint of love, but he has many other duties. He is also the patron saint of:
Bee keepers
Vinegar makers
3. Who sold the first mass-produced valentines in the US?
Esther Howland
Julia Chauncy
Mary Joy

4. Before it became fashionable to give chocolates and flowers, what was the traditional gift given by a man to a woman on St. Valentine's Day?
A pair of gloves
A piece of jewelry
A hair ribbon
5. How many Valentines Day cards are sold each year?
50 million
500 million
1 billion
6. Which shape have Necco Sweetheart Conversation Hearts never been made in?
 7. Who is Cupid?
In Roman mythology, he is the son of Venus
In Greek mythology, he is the child of love
In Norse mythology, he is a winged child of Zeus
In Roman mythology, he is the king of other gods and goddesses

8. Where is Valentines Day not celebrated?
United Kingdom
United States

9. When were the first commercial Valentines Day cards sold?

10. Who created the first box of Valentines Day candy?
Richard Cadbury, 1868
George Hershey, 1910
Martha and Melvin Mars, 1945
Phil Snickers, 1880

Quiz answers:
1. Charles
2. Bee keeper
3. Esther Howland
4. Gloves
5. 1 billion
6. Star
7. Roman Mythology, son of Venus
8. Sweden
9. 1840
10. Richard Cadbury

Photos: Flickr: Suchitra prints1, David Prior, toephotos, and mamjodh's photostreams.

Monday, February 13, 2017

You've Got to be Carefully Taught

Here's a flashback post from 5 years ago that seemed--particularly relevant today:

You’ve got to be taught
Before it’s too late,
Before you are six,
Or seven or eight,
To hate all the people
Your relatives hate.
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

From South Pacific. Possibly the single finest piece of wisdom to ever come from a Broadway musical.  Don’t know why I’m in such a snit today about prejudice, but there you go.  Oh wait. Might have something to do with the political brouhaha currently happening here in the US. (NOTE: This bit wasn't added recently and is part of the 2012 original essay) Blech. Politics. Full of things I get cranky about. Lying, self-aggrandizing demagogues, and money. All of my favorites. Frankly I don’t think any of ‘em are people I’d want to live next door to.  But if one moved in, I’d make the time to find out before I built the ten-foot fence. That’s the whole point of  being a rational adult.  Learning the facts before you make up your mind.  Not suiting up in bullet-proof vests and trying to shoot a person just because he’s running for office and you don’t like the color of his skin.

Of course, the political arena isn’t the only one where racial prejudice comes into play. Sad to say it’s alive and well, along with sexism, religious intolerance, homophobia, and other such bullshit.  I come from a very blue-collar suburban Detroit background. I’ve seen first hand prejudice going both ways. I remember, though just barely, the 1967 race riots. I remember my brother being shot at in the 70’s for being a non-union trucker.  I’ve been the first female in a particular job. I’ve faced enormous amounts of prejudice as a short, plus-sized woman. And just to make it fun, I live in a town where the KKK is alive and well, and the Michigan Militia (another group of supremacist nutjobs) keep all the bigots very well armed. Anyway you look at it, it’s all just stupid.

As a parent, I've to get these messages through to my (now-grown) kids.  Mostly, I think they get it.  My youngest did ask permission to miss a class once to attend the GLBT tolerance rally at his school.  And I let him. Just because I happen to live a very traditional lifestyle doesn’t mean I think everyone should. Everyone should live the life that fucking works for them. As long as it’s not directly harmful to others. Shooting people is harmful. Having a relationship with another consenting adult, or even multiple consenting adults is not. Neither is choosing to live alone.  And neither is practicing a religion—for the most part. Pray, chant, meditate, or contemplate your navel and it’s all fine with me. I draw the line when religion crosses over into abuse, as sevaeral of them sometimes do. Then I believe in freedom FROM religion as well.

As a writer this comes into play because I try to make my work reflect a variety of people and situations. Though most (yep—most, not all) of my stories are about monogamous heterosexual couples, their worlds are filled with folks of all shapes, colors, and persuasions. This is true even in my steampunk. Despite the fact that homosexuality was illegal in England in the 1850s, that doesn’t mean gay people didn’t exist. Therefore, there are some in the Gaslight Chronicles, loved and protected by their families or not. There are people of different races and religions, and yes, I’ve gotten flak because the women don’t always act like proper Victorian ladies should. Oh well, that’s the PUNK in steampunk.

People are people. In any group, you have the good, the bad, the clever and the ignorant.  I find it very odd that in a paranormal romance, where nobody thinks twice about whether a vampire and a werewolf can find love, they have to argue about the melanin content of someone’s skin, or what entity their parents prayed to.  Fortunately, my publishers don’t, and I think most of my readers are savvy enough to get past it as well. So I’ll continue on my merry way, coming up with new and different characters as I go.  And in real life, I’ll continue to encourage everyone I know to look at people as people, instead of seeing just the labels.

After all, you’ve got to be carefully taught.

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released almost sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance.

Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her family and three spoiled dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.

Newsletter group:  

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Some of the Best Romantic Novels and Movies of All Time

 Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and many people are wondering what to give their lover or romantic partner as a gift. 

Some gifts will be flamboyant and expensive, like jewelry, exotic cars and exclusive getaways. 

For most of us, a romantic evening at home with a special meal, including aphrodisiacs like oysters, some fine wine, and a classic romance movie to watch is more likely to happen. And, it can be sexy and memorable. 

To help you get in the mood, check out one of these classic romantic reads, then see if a movie on the second list appeals to you to share with your love.

There are tons of lists online, so I’ve gone with two pretty reputable lists. 

Readers Digest for the best books, and Vanity Fair for the best movies.

 According to Readers Digest, these are the 10 best romance novels of all time:

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough 1977

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte / Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 1847

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje 1992

True Believers by Nicholas Sparks 2005

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles 1969

Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts 2002

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro 1989

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 1877

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 1991

Follow the Stars Home by Luanne Rice 2000 

 According to Vanity Fair, 25 of the best love story movies of all time are below:

The Age of Innocence 1995

The Americanization of Emily 1964

Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight   1995 / 2004 / 2013

Brief Encounter 1945

Brokeback Mountain 2005

Carmen Jones 1954

Casablanca 1942

The English Patient 1996

Ghost 1990

Holiday 1938

I Know Where I’m Going! 1945

It Happened One Night 1934

Love Affair 1939

An Affair to Remember 1957

Love Story 1970

Notorious 1946

Now, Voyager 1942

An Officer and a Gentleman 1982

The Remains of the Day 1993

Roman Holiday 1953

Say Anything… 1989

Sense and Sensibility 1995

The Shop Around The Corner 1940

The Way We Were 1973

Working Girl 1988

What is your favorite romantic read and movie? 

The world needs love. Valentine’s Day reminds us to love one another.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all authors and readers!


An eternal matchmaker, Gemma gets great joy from creating love stories where two hearts end up beating as one. She has traveled the world and enjoys adding the extra spice of international settings to her stories, which are set in many genres.
Gemma lives with her true love in a cozy Texas cottage along with their teen son and a crafty dog who rules them all. Her muse is nourished with the finest creativity fuels – chocolate and coffee. 

Gemma loves to hear from readers! Connect with her at:

Friday, February 10, 2017


Posted by R. Ann Siracusa
While I was preparing a foreword to my contemporary murder mystery released in January [The Last Weekend In October], I felt the need to explain the literary license I'd taken with the timing of story. While most readers won't notice the discrepancy between the timing of events in reality and in the novel, those who do know would lose confidence that I know what I'm writing about.

The one thing I'm asking of the reader is to suspend disbelief regarding the timing.

That's true because there's a limit to what people will believe in fiction. Just because "it happened that way" in real life doesn't mean it's believable as fiction.

It comes down to suspension of disbelief. Readers will believe Superman can fly, but not that other people won't recognize him when he puts on his glasses. -- cynicalladWGA Screenwriter

This term, coined in 1817 by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, means a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe the unbelievable, sacrificing realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment. In short, it's buying into the premise of a story and believing that it could be possible.
When a reader picks up a science fiction or paranormal novel, it's clear that suspension of disbelief will be required to enjoy the adventure. If you read those genres, you expect that. However, with or without an element beyond the real world, all forms of storytelling require some suspension of disbelief, just because the story itself it not real. It's fiction. It didn't really happen, or happen this way.
The Media Used To Tell The Story
Most forms of entertainment that depend on story [movies, television, video games, plays, magic shows, and so on] require some suspension of disbelief.
A reader suspends disbelief when he/she connects with the characters, places, and situations in a book and allows them to become "real" in the reader's mind, even though the reader is looking at little black marks on two dimensional sheets of paper.
At the movies we know that we're looking at a big white surface, and that what we see isn't really happening in front of us, but that's no fun at all.
What we see on television doesn't happen in our living rooms. In addition, most of us realize, and accept, the fact that TV shows often compresses timing. When watching a crime show, there are many things we know to be unreal, like the time it takes to get reports regarding DNA and other forensic evidence. For the sake of the story, we suspend disbelief and accept that it can happen in one or two hours or days instead of weeks.
After getting past the media issues, what next?
●Establish Commonality
Writers need to convince readers the characters, places, and situations they write about are real by developing those reference points in detail, giving them characteristics which are typical of many.
In the case of characters, their physical looks, attitudes, emotions, goals and motivations need to be ones we all can understand and relate to – these are the thing in common with the reader. Once the reader connects with the characters by sharing things in common, then the author can give those characters, places, and situations attributes that make them individual, unique, or super-natural.
Regardless how fantastic your created world, it will seem more real if the writer uses familiar things as the basis for your fictional ones. Agent X, of Men With Pens, writes:"Stories like Tolkein's Lord of the Rings may appear fanciful and completely fictitious, but if you dig deeply, you notice that Tolkien pulled from many resources to breathe life into his works." He goes on to note that the Elven language is mostly derived from Welsh. "If something appears familiar enough, it tricks the mind into belief."
Agent X also points out that "A single scene at the beginning of the novel isn't sufficient. You must keep up the suspension of disbelief throughout the whole story."

A writer in the Writers Stack Exchange warns that "In fantasy and science fiction, direct reference to the real world can be very distracting even things that are similar can provoke this reaction.
You shouldn't name your fantasy princess Diana, even if Diana is a perfectly fine name and it makes perfect sense for there to be a Princess Diana in your world. The references to the real world, our world, throws the reader out of the story world."

● There Has To Be A Reason
If your novel is contemporary or historical [not science fiction, paranormal, or fantasy, all of which require world building], you can give a character an extraordinary skill or attribute, but you have to make that believable by establishing a background which makes the skill possible. For example, a city detective may have extraordinary accuracy with a rifle – he has never missed a shot, even in the most difficult circumstances, even at great distances.
Wow! Never is the operative word. That's pretty unbelievable, but that's okay ... if it doesn't come out of the blue. Our detective needs a background such as ten years experience as a top sniper in the military, or a gold medal winner in major rifle competitions.
After you let the reader in on his background and accuracy record, you can't have him miss a critical shot because he blinked or some noise disturbed him. That would be unacceptable to the reader even though, in reality, it might be possible or even probable.
If It Sounds Wrong…
My friend Sharan Newman writes 12th century mysteries, among many other types of fiction and non-fiction books. She does much of her research reading historical diaries from that era in their original languages.

When we were in the same critique group, sometimes she would use an expression or some other detail that sounded, to the rest of us, too modern for the 12th century. When we pointed those things out, she would explain why we were wrong, but usually changed the detail to something else.

Why? Because a phrase, description, or detail may be completely accurate, but if it sounds unbelievable [i.e. the reader doesn't accept it as accurate], it will pull the reader out of the story. That's bad enough, but if the reader loses confidence in the author's credibility, then it's over. Chances are, the reader won't finish the book or buy another book by that author.
● Set the Rules and Be Consistent
It's the writer's job to draw readers into created world and to convince them the people and places are real and the story is plausible.
External consistency -- The beginning of a novel, up to a certain point, establishes the setting and explains the world and the rules of the world the writer has created. This is true in any kind of novel, whether contemporary, historical, futuristic, paranormal, fantasy, and so on. What do the particular time and location of the setting, the social rules, and technology allow? What don't they allow?
If those rules are clearly established [e.g. Time travel is possible and here's how it works in this world], the reader will accept and suspend disbelief. Those elements not explained up front, even if explained later in the story, can cause the reader to feel the story is contrived.
Sometimes an author can get away with bending or even breaking the rules if there is adequate foreshadowing that the original rules may have loopholes or even be false.
Internal consistency – I consider internal consistency in relation to the characters, what they believe, how they act, what they say, their backgrounds and motivations. If, because of a character's background, she hates dark places, she would probably not spend her free time in movie theaters or walking in the woods at night.
If there is such an inconsistency, there has to be a reason, and it has to be explained. When and how are up to the author, but that information needs to come when the question arises in the reader's mind. Otherwise, it pulls the reader out of the story.
The Dreaded Coincidence
In real life coincidences happen [we can all attest to that], but fiction is not real life. An author can't base the plot of a novel on coincidences. Nonetheless, writers use them all the time and many novels seem contrived or manipulated because of it.
If you must have a major coincidence in your novel, make it part of the premise and put it up front – and then don't use more.
Today, in the Information Age, when almost any person can access any type of facts and data about any topic, the rules of suspension of disbelief may have changed a bit. Writers have to research more thoroughly and be more informed and detailed in the information they present because the reader is generally more informed.
For example, at earlier points in history, the general public didn't have the opportunity to travel a lot. An author could get away with a general description of Paris taken from a guide book. Today, that's no longer true. If you write about a real city and put a major river running through it, in reality it better have a major river running through it. You can't expect the reader to suspend disbelief about things like that.
THE LAST WORD [I promise]
Let me say one final thing about when you let the reader in on backstory details that explain actions, values, fears, etc. You have to give the information when the reader needs or wants to know, not in the next chapter. That's hard to do, and a mistake that beginning writers often make. Either everything under the sun is in a data dump at the beginning, or it's going to be explained later.
As author and teacher S. L. Stebel tells his students, "If it's good later, it's better now."

with a novel by Author R. Ann Siracusa
Facebook  Twitter  GooglePlus  Website  AmazonLink

The Last Weekend In October
Latest Murder Mystery by R. Ann Siracusa

Share buttons