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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tarot Cards & Writing

First off let me apologize.I'm a bit late today. Call me forgetful...Even with a Desk Calendar. I think my next post will be setting reminders for the reminders already in place...kind of like the paperless systems at corporations that generate more paper to back up the paperless system. I digress......

Basic Tarot Story

Passage Taken from-

Recovering from feelings of loss at last, the Fool begins to wonder if he will finally find the new spirituality he's after. It occurs to him that so far, he's been dealing with opposites: the two opposing sides of the scales (Justice), the material and spiritual (which he hung between as the Hanged man), death and birth (the one leading into the other in the Death card). Does one always have to be surrendered to get the other? he wonders.

It is at this point that he comes upon a winged figure standing with one foot in a brook, the other on a rock. The radiant creature pours something from one flask into another. Drawing closer, the Fool sees that what is being poured from one flask is fire, while water flows from the other. The two are being blended together into a completely different substance!

"How can you mix fire and water?" the Fool finally whispers. Never pausing the Angel answers, "You must have the right vessels and use the right proportions."

The Fool watches with wonder. "Can this be done with all opposites?" he asks. "Indeed," the Angel replies, "Any oppositions, fire and water, man and woman, thesis and anti-thesis, can be made into a unified third. It is only a lack of will and a disbelief in the possibility that keeps opposites, opposite." And that is when the Fool begins to understand that he is the one who is keeping his universe in twain, holding life/death, material world and spiritual world separate. In him the two could merge. All it takes, the Fool realizes, is the right proportions, the right vessel and enough faith that the two can be unified.

My Part :)

I'm a bit zany and or ecclectic. My thinking is entirely all over the place and that works for me. When eXtasybooks had the in house calling for the cards, I was excited. I like thinking different and combining different meanings together to find a great story.
This being said with the Tarot Cards you're able to dip into the spiritual meaning of the card and manipulate it to fit your own purpose. I love the cards because each hold a specific pattern or life lesson. Courting Disaster is my third card and I will do more simply because they're fun and it's easy to relate a hero and heroine to the varied perceptions.

Courting DisasterA Tarot Card Read

Coming July 1st from eXtasybooks

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Sorcha Channing is determined to achieve a positive outcome in her craft. The daunting task she undertakes lands her in over her head. With the help of her familiar Esmie—just maybe she can fix what's gone wrong.

Macsen Steele is tired of rescuing young witches from the boiling cauldron. With his enhanced and manipulated DNA, he’s only there to do his job, not fall for the beauty he's assigned to but can never have.

Temperance Card Meaning: Moderation. Unity, two separate parts merging together to make one whole entity better than the separate pieces.

Alchemy- Fire and water don't mix. Will the two opposites be able to avert politics aiming to separate them? Or can passion and respect burn hot enough to cause a complete melt down.


Heat from the sun’s rays departed and the fiery star dipped below the horizon. Sorcha flitted through Macsen’s mind. Irritated by the troublesome witch, he shrugged her image away as the decaying stench of evil permeated the air. He rose to follow the dark scent that tickled his nose. Stone cracked and crumbled down his naked body much like water sluiced off wet skin.

Under his feet, the roof creaked. Small pebbles pinged from his body while larger rock turned to ash, billowed in the air around him and then disappeared into the night sky. What he needed was a Red Bull to wake up properly. With stiff steps, he moved up the slope onto the highest peak and scrutinized the land below him.

Traversing one lifetime to the next, with a new coven for each stop, he paid a penance for his sinning parent whose choice damned him for eternity. His assignment to look after the ascending leader’s children, a keeper…a protector until recalled to a new location. Six young women drove him to distraction nightly. One aggravating temptation in particular refused to leave him in peace. From her hypnotic blue eyes, perfect body, to her moon spun silk hair, damn she had him waxing poetic. He snorted and let the sounds of the night give him the clues he needed. Yeah, she was up to no good. Her nervousness washed through him.

“Where are you, Sorcha?”

Oh shit. He heard her voice ring loud and clear, the soft sound of her cursing brought a laugh to his lips. He opened the link between them and found her staring—

With a guttural roar, he took flight, cloaking is form in invisibility. Weeding through the panic of six females meant ciphering which squeals were in actual terror and which were in moderate fear. The city below faded away. Enhanced vision showed him their magical trail, one he followed past the parks and out of the city. Macsen sniffed and let out a huff of hot air. Incensed, he headed toward the outskirts of the cemetery.

Wings splayed, he flapped above the quivering girls, trying to remain within their protective circle—upturned earth on one side of them, the thin veil sealing demons from entering earth on the other ripped open. Like a tug of war, the low-level demons edged closer in an attempt to draw them out. His gaze fell on Sorcha’s white knuckled grip on the grimoire and the summoned corpse trying to wrestle it from her hands. What in the hell had she gotten into this time?

He had half a mind to stand back to see what they were made of. When Ekho, the youngest of sisters, let out a wallop of a scream…loud enough to bring in local law enforcement, his decision was made for him. Macsen swooped down into the fray, opened his mouth, spewing acid fire in the demons’ direction, propelling them to scurry for cover. In a raspy dialect, he repeated his words, commanding their obedience in returning to their levels.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Read Fiction?

Good Morning,

First of all, I must admit I've used this blog before, but I think it's a topic worth discussing again.

 Why read fiction . . . it has no redeeming value.  It has no basis in truth.  So why read something that never happened?

Fiction is considered imaginary and made-up whereas non-fiction is supposed to be factual and indisputable.  I am a writer of fiction.  The ideas for my stories come from real life, so that element has to be realistic. 

For example, my story, ADDICTION, is made of truth and fiction.  The heroine is being stalked by a serial killer, she has low self-esteem and is an alcoholic.  All of these things are real, they happen.  The difference is in how they play out, but even in real life the heroine can survive the killer and gain self-esteem.  She would always be an alcoholic but she can conquer the disease by staying away from those beverages.

All authors write stories about life even if they are other genres such as sci-fi, paranormal, westerns, fantasy, etc.  Even comic books have had some of greatest ideas that eventually came to life. 

The hero in ADDICTION is handsome, Irish and a FBI agent.  He understands women because he has younger sisters, and he wants to protect the heroine.  Do you think this is stretching the truth?  Maybe, but haven't you known men like him?  I have.

Many people like to escape real life and others want to see life turn out differently from the one they live.  It's all the matter of the choices we make and this holds true of the hero and heroine in my story.

I think people who only read non-fiction tried a couple of fiction books, they would be pleasantly surprised.  I have read both and enjoy both. 

I'm posting a blurb and a excerpt from ADDICTION below. 

Blurb for Addiction

Two men are after the same woman but for very different reasons.

Dark-haired beauty, Jolene Dubois has a serious problem, and it's not just battling alcoholism.  Late at night, she receives whispered calls.  "Jolene, I want you.  I'm coming for you."  Shivers climb up her spine and ice flows in her veins.  What does he want?  Who is it?  She must figure it out before she trusts the wrong person.

Jake Farrell, the handsome rogue is an operator with women, but is he hiding something dark and sinister under his cheery facade.  The detective, Andy Martin, who investigated her father's murder, continues to ask her out.  Les Voodré, an alcoholic she met at AA follows her everywhere, and Ron Keisler, her AA sponsor is always there when she needs him.  Could her caller be one of these men?

To further complicate her life, she fights a host of addictions, alcoholism, smoking, gambling and sex.  Jolene is determined to beat the alcohol and to stay out of the clutches of the fiend who phones her.


Ring. Ring.
        Her heart pounded frantically. Jolene pushed her covers off and jumped out of bed, her gaze on the clock. Four o’clock in the morning. She had a caller. Horror pulsed through her veins, and then she grabbed her purse.
        It can’t possibly be him.
      Come on, Jolene, answer it.
      Her hands shaking, she dug in her purse pulling out the cell phone and flipping it open. “Hello.” He’d blocked the caller ID.
      “What took you so long, Jolene?” a muffled voice asked.
     She tightened her grip on the cell. No. How did he get this number?
    “Come on, speak to me. I know you’re there,” the whisperer said in a low raspy voice. “Don’t make me come in there.”
     “What do you want?” He knew where she was. How could he? “How did you get this number?” she demanded, rubbing her palm on the pale floral bed cover. Was he outside? She wanted to hang up, but that never worked. He’d call all night then.
    “Jolene, I’m disappointed in you. You were around too many people tonight for me to get to you.”
    She rose and walked to the window, feeling cold in spite of her olive green cotton pajamas. If only he’d talk in a normal tone, she might recognize the voice. “Why are you harassing me?” she asked, sliding the light green curtain aside so she could peek out. There weren’t any new cars parked on the street, but he could’ve parked anywhere and be outside the house.
    “I thought we were friends. Don’t you like it when I tell you all the things I’m going to do to you?” He cackled loud and long.
     His maniacal laughter sent shivers up her body, and she wrapped her free arm around her waist. Did she know this person? Surely, she didn’t know anyone like this except for Les. That guy was just downright crazy. Quiet.
     She held her breath and listened. Was he still there? No sound. He must’ve hung up. Softly, she started to close her cell.
     “Don’t hang up on me, Jolene.”
     Startled, the phone slipped out of her grasp, but she scrambled to catch it. The darn thing hit the thick beige carpeted floor. Down on her knees, she grabbed the cell, putting it to her ear.
     “Hello.” The buzzing told her she’d lost him. What would he do now? Call her back. She stared at the phone, her shoulders hunched, and the tendons in her neck tightening.
     After a few moments, she rose, went to her bed and climbed in pulling the covers around her. She knew she wouldn’t sleep, but she didn’t want to wake her sister or call her brother to talk to him. This was her problem to take care of. She would call the police later this morning and make a report.
    Ring. Ring.
    Jolene grabbed the phone; she knew it was him again. She’d made him mad by hanging up on him even though it had happened accidentally. Without saying anything, she listened, hoping it wasn’t him.
     “Don’t ever do that again.”
    The loud click told her he was finally gone. Her hand shook so badly she could hardly reach the oak end table to lay her cell on it. She’d never sleep the rest of the night. She had to figure out who this person could be.
     The only person she knew this crazy was Les, but she didn’t know how he could’ve gotten her numbers. She’d never met him before tonight.
     Pulling the covers over her head, she burrowed deeper into the bed. She’d always been afraid of the boogie man, and now he was really after her.
   You can find all of my books at Eirelander Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Coffee Time Romance book store. 

I'll be waiting eagerly to hear why you read or don't read fiction. 

See you next month.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author of the
Odyssey Mysteries Trilogy, The Catalyst,
Addiction and The Deceived
Anthology - Fool Me Twice

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interview of Kay Springsteen!

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Kay Springsteen.

Latest Book: Elusive Echoes
Buy Link: See below for the top three buy links.

NOTE: Kay has one PDF copy of Elusive Echoes to give away. Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win. Random Number Generator site will be used to determine the winner!

Kay Springsteen was born and raised in Michigan, the daughter of James and Audrey Springsteen. Her parents were soul mates, who taught her the meaning of love and happily ever after. When her mom read her Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Kay was hooked on fiction. She still believes in magic and real-life fairy tales, and the romance of life. At about age 10, after she'd read all the interesting books she could find in the library, Kay decided to write the kinds of stories she enjoyed.

After leaving Michigan, Kay spent several years living in Annapolis, Maryland, before settling in Virginia. She currently lives in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her seven adopted rescue dogs, and several of her children live nearby. When she's not cuddled up with a good romantic read, or writing one of her own, she enjoys photography—and often the subjects she sees through her camera’s eye are none other than some of her favorite things: Her family, her garden, the mountains, and her pups. Find Kay at her blog and on Facebook.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The beginning and the end are the easiest parts for me to write. I plan what I write but allow for detours along the way. So I always know where I’m going. Usually a story idea occurs to me and after a few days it will play like a movie in my head.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: There’s this place about 20-30,000 words into a full length novel where I sometimes have to take a break and step back because I might write a page in two hours (normal pace is much faster) and it’s like the proverbial pulling teeth. A fellow author, J. Gunnar Grey, who is also my crit partner, has referred to this as “the muddle in the middle.” It’s where we get to a sort of point of no return and we kind of wander around in the desert, going in circles and spinning our wheels, making sure of the direction we want to go. When I finally move past that, the ending comes very quickly.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: In the Echoes series (Lifeline Echoes 3/2011, and Elusive Echoes, 6/2011), even though the stories are about two brothers and their ladies, my favorite character (and one who repeats in future books) is their dad, Justin McGee. He’s probably one of the biggest secondary characters ever. He raised his boys on his own from the time they were very young and he has an answer for everything. His philosophy (which I borrowed from my dad) is “There’s a right way to do something and a wrong way.” But even when his sons do things the wrong way, he stands by them. He’s kind of a cross between Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: When I’m not writing (or reading), I enjoy photography, gardening, hiking, and playing with my dogs.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I’ve been told it’s the emotion I pour into my characters. People have said my books make the cry or laugh, depending on what part they’re reading at the time.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: Hmmm, I’d probably go looking for “Jacob” and the “Man in Black” to get the REAL story about the mysterious properties of the island (yeah, I was a Lostie).

Tell us where to find you: - Publisher - weekly on Mondays - news, releases, blog tours, etc. - writing tips/connect with other writers - for friends/family & those that want to be friends - for news of Astraea Press and other AP authors, including release dates, contests, submission calls, and more

BLURB: PG rated novel (mild violence and mature themes but no graphic cursing or sexual encounters)

They’re two people caught between friendship and something more; they can’t move forward, and they can’t let go.

Drawn together from early childhood, Sean McGee and Melanie Mitchell seemed destined for each other. But at age thirteen, Melanie was wrenched from the people she loved and forced onto a path she loathed. Sean was no stranger to people leaving, but losing Melanie devastated him. When she suddenly reappeared in Orson’s Folly, Sean was overjoyed. The Melanie who came home, though, wasn’t the same girl. She’s got a harder edge and she’s obviously hiding something, but Sean no longer knows how to reach her.

Returning to Orson's Folly as an adult, all Melanie wanted to do was forget the years she spent away. But she soon learned that going home didn’t mean she could return to her old life—or her childhood sweetheart, Sean. Even their mutual attraction to one another hasn’t rebuilt the bond of trust and closeness they once shared. It’s been seven years since she returned and now everything Melanie wants to forget has broadsided her. She must confront her demons and relive her past in an unexpected way or risk losing the only man she’s ever loved. But even if she succeeds, Sean might be lost to her anyway.

EXCERPT: Twenty-two years earlier
Sean sat on a big gray rock overlooking the camp. For days, he’d watched the cattle being rounded up and the calves driven into chutes where the hot irons would brand them with marks that told who they belonged to. Everyone said it didn’t really hurt them but they always cried. And one time when he looked at his mom she had tears in her eyes, too. It also stunk when the brand was burned into the hide and the smell made him sick at his stomach.

His Aunt Alice told him that was just ranch life and he’d best get used to it because he’d be doing it soon enough. He didn’t like Aunt Alice. She was creepy. But his mom wanted him to be polite so he listened when Aunt Alice talked to him and never gave her any backtalk.

He could ride a horse. He’d been riding since before he could remember. But his dad had told him that he had to wait another year, when he would be eight, before he could help round up the cattle. So Sean just sat and watched.

The rounding up and branding had stopped suddenly yesterday afternoon, though, with a lot of yelling and scurrying, when his brother, Ryan, had returned to the camp calling for their dad. Then everyone with a horse had ridden off into the hills really fast. They’d been gone a long time. Sean had sat on the rock and waited because that’s what his mom had told him to do just before she rode off to find some lost cows. The back of his neck had tickled like ants were crawling there and he hadn’t liked that.

It had been dark when his father came for him, but Sean had never considered moving from the rock where his mom had left him. His daddy’s face had been very sad as he’d told Sean that his mother wasn’t coming home. There had been an accident and the river had taken her away. Sean had asked if she would be back the next day instead and his dad had hugged him hard, and then said his mom was in Heaven and couldn’t come home ever again.

Later, Ryan had brought him a hotdog and some beans. He’d even cut the hotdog into pieces and mixed it in with the beans the way Mom had always done it. Ryan had sat with Sean for a long time. He hadn’t cried but he was sad. He’d said that their mom was dead, but she’d wanted Sean to know she loved him.

Ry had helped Sean get his sleeping bag ready for the night, and then he’d lain next to him talking about the stars the way their mom always did. Sean hadn’t fallen asleep and he didn’t think his brother did, either.

After he ate the oatmeal Ryan made him for breakfast, Sean had climbed back on the big gray rock because that’s where his mom had put him.

The branding was still stopped. The people riding out were sad and when they came back to the camp, they didn’t bring any cattle.

“What do you think’s happening?” The little girl with hair the color of sunshine climbed onto the rock next to him and sat down, swinging her legs to dangle over the edge.

“Ry says they’re looking for my mom because she fell in the river.” Sean turned to look at the girl.

He’d seen her several times sitting in front of her father, Mr. Mitchell, on his horse. Her hair was really bright yellow, kind of like his. But his skin was dark and hers was very white. Her big blue eyes made Sean think of the sky. She was little and delicate like the china doll his mom had on her dresser at home.

Sean couldn’t stop looking at her.

“My name’s Melanie.” She kicked her feet back and forth. “Do you think they’ll find your mama soon?”

Sean lifted one shoulder. “I don’t know. Ry says she’s dead.”

“Oh.” Melanie looked at him. “When my cat was dead, we put her in a box and buried her in Mama’s rose garden.”

“I saw a dead calf once.” Sean stared out over the prairie. “It was just layin’ there. Its nose was blue and it looked kind of flat, like an old balloon. Dad called Mr. Tom and he put it on a truck and took it away.”

“Oh.” She picked up a stick and threw it off the rock into some prairie grass. “What do you think they’ll do with your mama?”

Sean shrugged again. “Dunno. I just wish—wish she could come home again.” His chin quivered and his eyes filled with tears, and he clenched his jaw tight. He didn’t want to cry in front of Melanie.

She moved closer to him and put one of her thin arms over his shoulders. They sat like that for a while. She felt warm and he didn’t feel so alone with her there.

“Look!” Melanie pointed excitedly toward a bluff not far away.

A big bay horse stood looking at them, head up, ears pricked forward. The light breeze stirred his mane and tail, but otherwise the horse was completely still.

Sean thought he’d never seen anything so powerful. The horse snorted and tossed his head, then wheeled around and left the bluff.

Melanie’s innocent smile lit her pale blue eyes from the inside. “I want to ride a horse like that someday. I bet it’d be fun going real fast on his back.”

That was when Sean decided he liked Melanie with the sunshiny hair even more than he liked horses.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you very much for hosting me here. And I’d love to give one commenter a chance to win a copy of Elusive Echoes via a drawing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Real" Name vs. Pen Names

So, who am I? What name should I use when penning my novels? Should I use my "real" name or a pen name? Pros and cons involved? How do you decide what your author name will be?

I thought long and hard about this in 1999 when I sold my first book, a nonfiction ebook to Online Originals. The book is a ghostwritten autobiography of a speaker for a women's shelter and almost all the names in the book have been changed to protect my subject.

What about me? Did I need to protect myself? After considering some factors involved using my own name, I chose to use a pen name. Protecting myself, along with the subject of my book, seemed the wiser course to take.

My "real" last name is an Italian name and usually mispronounced and/or not spelled correctly. People seem to add extra letters/accent the wrong letters all the time, even if I've pronounced it for them. So, eliminating any confusion about my last name also appeared to be a smart career move.

Marianne Stephens has served me well, both as the name for nonfiction works and mainstream romance books. One's kinda long to put on promotional items, email address, website, business cards, etc. And, one thing I noticed at book signings. Authors are seated alphabetically. At one big book signing I went to, I was in the second row from the back of the room. That meant people started at the "A's" and some never got to the last few rows before their arms were already full of books.

Hmm. Having a last name towards the end of the alphabet didn't work well for me.

When I started writing erotic romance books, I decided to use a different pen name. Separating my mainstream romance books from my erotic romance books seemed to be a positive way to keep readers interested. Some people don't like erotic books so would have a choice of visiting my two websites for my two names.

The pen name, April Ash, didn't take long to formulate. I wanted a short last name at the beginning of the I'd be in that front row at major book signings and Ash works for that. April, a shorter first name, compliments the last name. And, this name is a lot easier to put on those promotional items, etc., I mentioned above!

That's who I am. Me, myself, and I. All three names suit my purposes and lifestyle.

If you're an author, what name do you use and why?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nail-Biting Tension

You know what’s it like. You’re reading a book on the edge of your seat. No bathroom break, no sir and you hope you don’t have to call for a catheter. Whatever happens, people better get ready to take care of it, because no way are you leaving this story. The tension in your shoulders is so tight, you can feel your muscles throb. Yet you turn the pages. Oh, my word, what will happen? How can the hero escape? How can he stay alive? Tension like that, my friends, is what you want to read. And it is, most assuredly, what you want to write. But how?

For me, it’s all in knowing how to crank it up. Here is a list to help:

The law of three-I find this very useful when writing suspense. To me, it means two separate things.

First, when writing a suspense or thriller (or any fiction, really) raise the stakes three times. You take a bad situation and make it worse. Then, just when you think how much worse could it be, kick it up one more notch. But it can’t happen all at the same time. That’s where pacing comes into play (stay tuned). For example (from Coming to Climax, releasing September 5th): Margaret is going back to Climax for the first time in twenty-plus years to resolve her argument with her niece. She doesn’t know how she’ll ever face Blue, who married her sister on the rebound all those years ago. Margaret worries and frets, even orders three little bottles of Scotch on the plane. Can she pull it off and save face (the stakes)? Their meeting will be tense. But what if…you then find out Blue’s adopted daughter is really Margaret’s child? Will Blue forgive her and will she alienate Caroline forever? The stakes are raised again. But what if…the crimes in the town have something to do with those she loves and may lead to her death, or worse, Blue and Carolina getting killed? The stakes are raised again. Now you’re ready to feed in the tension by hitting the hot buttons, her stakes. Each time, the tension escalates.

Now thanks to Margie Lawson, think of the repetition of three items. By repeating words or phrases in a work, it brings emphasis or punch to the segment. That will be demonstrated at the end of this article.

Pacing and sentence structure – Don’t use long flowery sentences when in the middle of a tense scene. Think in shorthand and see the scene through the eyes of the person who has the POV. You’re seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting in snippets of sensation. Actions are choppy and hurried.

Reappearing images, phrases and sentences - One technique that pulls your book together and gives you a gotcha moment is to introduce something early in the text and then repeat it later with a twist. This could be a scene in a calm location, such as a thinking place or the security of one’s home. Later the same scene is colored with the ominous presence of the villain who seeks to kill the hero. Like Chef Emeril says, “kick it up a notch.” Similarly you can use a phrase or object that was used in an early violent or tense-filled scene and reintroduce it much later in another such scene, but this time involving a main character or the hero himself. For instance, in Nick of Time, the sequel to Coming to Climax, the book opens with two evil characters trapping a woman in a net they set up to capture her deep in the forest. One of the characters says. “Easier than trapping the Easter bunny.” Much later in the book, a prominent secondary character is trying to get away, and is also caught in a net. The same evil character says. ““Easy trapping, but you ain’t no Easter Bunny.” See? Gotcha’!

Atmosphere and Setting-I talked about this earlier when I explained about the calm scene becoming the violent one later. That’s setting. Use everything, the weather, the lighting, the location. For instance, my really threatening scenes in the Climax books normally take place in the deep forest with low lighting and obstacles to running, in abandoned buildings, even around a graveyard. Take time to describe the scenery. Paint a word picture so the reader can feel the dark mood and the somber tone.

Now, see if you can spot some of my techniques in this snippet (now unedited) from Nick of Time, coming in January 2012:

The guy vaulted at him, grabbing his shirt. Luke jerked loose, the fabric ripping. He lunged for the door. The man’s hands, talons, grabbed his shirt. Exerting unearthed power, Luke wrenched free and ran.
Ran from the trailer, primed for evasion. Ran down the path, terrified of capture. Ran like the hunted, straining to survive.
He darted into the woods, his breath coming in ragged gulps, his mind racing like an over-wound toy. The shadowed forest of a slowly setting sun dotted his view with dark patches of hopelessness. Run for escape. Run to the dark. The man won’t see me there.
Hiding behind a dense thatch of trees, he heard nothing. Maybe I lost him. He stayed silent, trying to calm his heaving chest. Maybe he left. His heart whammed against his ribcage, pounding anger at his foolishness. Where did he come from? His mind slapped him, laughing at his ignorance. He should have known.
I hope my insights will help someone on her quest to writing success. And for the reader, now you understand a bit about what goes into that novel.
Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction. The Marriage Murders, the sequel to Buried in Briny Bay, is slated for release on July 4th. Bobbye and Linda Campbell, writing as Terry Campbell, also have a new cozy mystery short story collection, Slam Sisters of Serendipity. Kenada, a “Ladies of the Chronicles” novelette in the Cash Chronicles series releases in just a few weeks.  For more about Bobbye, visit her at,  and

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Guest Blog: Cathryn Cade: How Reading Romance Novels Can Save Your Sanity...and Your Marriage!

I'm married. Happily. But after beaucoup years with the same hunk of manliness, sometimes … I just need to get away. I need the perfect man. There, I said it. And the ceiling of my office in our Victorian house didn't fall in on me.

Don't get me wrong--I wouldn't dream of being unfaithful to my husband.

That is, except between the pages of a great romance novel. I've fallen in lust and love so many times over the years with rough, tough alpha males, I just can't count them all. Along with the heroines of their stories, I've saved mad, bad and dangerous rogues with the power of my love (and, as the incomparable Jen Crusie put it, "my sparkly hoo-hah".

And when the muse strikes, I invent my own heroes. Yes, I confess! I'm in love with every one of my heroes--Tygers, Dragolins, space ship captains and Indigons.

Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght is currently rocking Amazon as a Free Read—check it out!

Bio: Cathryn Cade is a busy wife and mother of two tall, incredibly handsome sons. By day she is an elementary school librarian, by night she cruises imaginary worlds with a paranormal twist. She is a Montanan who is now lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest. She is currently working to bring more new heroes to readers.

The latest of my heroes to meet readers is Daron Navos. Deep Indigo is the culmination of The Orion Series.
BLURB: Deep Indigo
When icy control meets loose laser cannon, the rules go up in flames.

Commander Daron Navos. Renowned Indigon intuit, respected leader…a man running from half of himself. He can control the mind of any creature in the galaxy, even lock his dark, human sexual needs behind a wall of icy self control. Until he meets a woman who tempts him into using his powers for seduction—the lovely, innocent Nelah Cobalt.

As Nelah’s star rose with her burgeoning Indigon powers at university, she leapt at the chance to intern under Navos. But the hero of her fantasies fears her human half is too volatile to be trusted with the coveted position.

When they are forced to combine powers to stop a sabotage attempt, their incredibly intimate mind-meld turns a simple case of post-battle attraction into a night of passion neither thought possible. And, as Navos teaches her to use her powers to heighten sensual pleasure, he finds she isn’t the only Indigon with much to learn.

Except it’s clear someone is remotely using psychic powers to endanger the ship. Nelah may be the key, and Navos faces his greatest challenge ever—loving the woman who may have to sacrifice herself to save The Orion.

Product Warnings: Spock-like hero who gives into temptation and uses intuitive powers for sexual satisfaction, heroine who is more than happy to submit to his sensual control, and ship full of space voyagers enjoying the waves of passion emanating from the powerful couple. Voyeurism shockingly included.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Let Me Introduce Myself


Cara Marsi

I’m a new member author and this is my first post. I want to thank Marianne for inviting me to be a member author, and I look forward to getting to know everyone. Marianne suggested I introduce myself, so here’s a little about me. My name is Carolyn Matkowsky, but I write under Cara Marsi.

It took ten long years of writing and rejections before I sold my first book. That book, “A Catered Affair,” a sweet, traditional romance, was published by Avalon Books under my real name. Avalon publishes in hardback, and they sell directly to libraries. I didn’t want a pen name because I always wanted to write under my real name. I figured I’d worked hard enough to sell a book and I wanted people to know I’d made it. However, I soon found out readers had a hard time spelling and pronouncing Matkowsky. When I was nominated in 2003 as an up and coming author in a romance magazine’s readers’ poll, my name was horribly misspelled. That decided me to take a pen name that was easy to say and spell. I’ve been Cara Marsi ever since.

I thought once I sold a book I was well on my way to being multi-published. Was I wrong. It took me four more years to sell another one. In 2007 I contracted with The Wild Rose Press for my romantic suspense, “Logan’s Redemption.” Despite glowing reviews, my sales were disappointing. In 2010 I got my rights back and published “Logan’s Redemption” myself on Kindle. The sales have been great, and I couldn’t be happier. I gave new life to a book I love, and thousands of people have now read it.

I’m a slow writer. While I struggled to complete a paranormal romance, my first attempt at that genre, I became discouraged and considered giving up writing altogether. Then I discovered short story writing. I sold my first short story to New Love Stories Magazine (now defunct) in early 2009. Since then, I’ve sold ten short romance stories to the Trues (True Love, True Romance, True Story, True Experience). Sadly, of all those, only True Story remains. The magazines are owned by Dorchester, and we all know about their troubles. I hope and pray that Dorchester continues to publish True Story and its sister magazine, True Confessions. I love writing for the Trues, and I’ve sold every story I submitted to them. Writing short stories kept me in the game when I had doubts about my ability to publish again.

In late 2009, I put aside the paranormal and began writing a novella for the romantic suspense series, Jewels of the Night, from The Wild Rose Press. I finished that novella in four months, a record for me. The Wild Rose Press offered a contract, and “Murder, Mi Amore,” set almost entirely in Rome, Italy, was released December 15, 2010. I completed my paranormal romance, “Cursed Mates,” and Noble Romance Publishing offered a contract. “Cursed Mates” was released December 13, 2010. After a dry spell of no books, I had two releases within two days of each other.

I’ve just sold another short story to True Story magazine, for their August issue, and I’ve completed a sweet romance novella, “Wedding Dreams,” which I plan to publish myself. I’ve had it professionally edited by a wonderful and talented editor. I wouldn’t put a book up without it being edited.

On a personal note, I live on the East Coast with my husband and a fat black cat named Killer. She’s a sweetheart. My husband can be a sweetheart too, sometimes. We have one son who lives in Las Vegas. I miss him and wish I lived closer to him. If I could convince my husband to move to the Phoenix area of Arizona, I’d be in heaven.

When I’m not writing, I’m hitting the gym (five days a week), reading, watching TV (I’m a TV junkie), and planning our next vacation. I love to travel. I set my stories either in places we’ve visited or places close to home. As I mentioned, “Murder, Mi Amore” is set almost entirely in Rome, Italy. The last chapter is set in Las Vegas. We visited Italy in 2006, and we’ve been to Vegas many times. “Cursed Mates” is set in Maine, a place we’ve also visited and loved. My book with Avalon is set in Wilmington, Delaware; “Logan’s Redemption” takes place in Philadelphia, a city close to us. All my short stories are set in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

I grew up in the corporate world. I like to say I’m a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller. I worked for the local phone company, now called Verizon, for over two decades, then worked for an insurance company. I was downsized from my job in 2008, and am now realizing my dream of writing all day if I want.

So there you have it – my life, such as it is.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2nd Annual "Christmas in July" Event is Coming!

Get's almost time for our next "Christmas in July" Event here at Romance Books R Us!

To get you in the mood, I'm posting some yummy hunks to entice you into the holiday spirit.

Information for our TWO contests is posted on the left sidebar...but remember, the contests don't start until 1 July! We're still setting up our 20 websites for Contest #1 and need until 1 July to have everything in place.

Enjoy the guys and HO-HO-HO!

Photos: Rockshots.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

But where is the romance?

Okay, I’m on my soapbox. Call me  crazy but where ahs the romance gone in television? The good feeling? The “Oh, I love this show” feeling? I don’t know about everyone else but when I watch a television series and a couple has really great chemistry I want them together and I want them happy. I want to feel the love!!!  In an ensemble series with a large cast and the story line basically about the lives of the people involved, I want one couple that’s the anchor. One couple that is sold despite everything. That you can always depend on no matter what.
I’m a romance writer right? So I want the romance! However small it might be.
Yet television seems to have this wild notion that if you don’t constantly break people up you’re not creating “conflict.” Maybe that’s because they don’t know how to write “conflict.” Or maybe it’s because they think the only way to keep the viewers coming back is to give them a weekly dose of angst.
Now I’m not saying every show ahs to have a romance. Some, like the police procedurals, aren’t even built around romance. But if they introduce couples and their private lives are only peripheral to the show, then why can’t they be happy? In love?
Oh, yeah, I know, I know,  couples fight in real life and they deal with problems. That’s okay if it’s not too intrusive. But if you want to watch “real life” then tune into lone of he gazillion reality shows. Or take a look at life around you. Lord knows there’s enough angst and “conflict” to go around.
When I watch television I wan t escapist entertainment. I want to feel good. I want a break from the trash I deal with every day.
And what’s the argument when shows get complaints about splitting up key couples or not putting them together when the chemistry between them is son strong is about ignites the screen? The Moonlighting Curse. When David and Maddie got together the show tanked. Jumped the shark. Well, hell. Moonlighting was a long, long time ago and I’d like to think writers have learned a lot since then about how to do it right. How to make it work.
I must have every book written by the Dell Shannon, the queen of police procedurals. The story of the crime and the police department was primary but she skillfully wove in the personal stories of the detectives. And guess what? They didn’t break up, or if they did it was instantly resolved. They didn’t do things to hurt each other. Although I’m sure she didn’t think of it this way, her books had “strong romantic elements”.
Just like many of today’s shows, like Grey’s Anatomy. I watch shows like  Flashpoint, where poor Ed has to decide between his job and his family. Why? It’s not even close to being primary to the show. Or Hawaii 5-0, where Danny and Rachel are finally getting back together and she’s pregnant with his child and he ditches her at the airport. Why? It’s not germane to the story line.
So if this bothers you like it bothers me, let me know. Let the producers know. Maybe they’ll take pity on me.

And speaking of happy couples, here’s an introduction to Faith Wilding and Mark Halloran, the heroine and hero of Jungle Inferno, Book 1: The Phoenix Agency, now available at all online bookstore. He’s a prisoner of terrorists. She’s a romance writer with a strong determination to save her man, once she knows he’s in trouble.

Excerpt: Warning: ADULT
The sun was a globe of fire creeping up in the sky, turning everything below it into an oven. It was barely nine o’clock in the morning yet Mark Halloran was sure the temperature was already close to triple digits. The humidity was as thick as a rainfall. The roar and grunt of the howler monkeys was already splitting the air as they leaped from tree to tree feasting on the canopy leaves.
How the hell did people live in places like this?
Or work in them.
And this appeared to be a permanent camp, with tents, lean-tos and crude buildings. It also boasted a campfire pit and other amenities they wouldn’t have taken the time for in a transitory situation, unlike the temporary setup where the meeting had taken place. Where they’d been told the Wolf was going to meet with Escobedo’s group. A friend of a former Special Ops soldier Rick Latrobe’s, deep undercover with Escobedo’s group, had risked his life to get the message out that the Wolf was going to make a personal appearance. Unusual for him but this shipment was so large and involved so much money, Escobedo insisted.
Not at his camp, however. Not even the Wolf would be privy to its location. A meeting place not far away was set up. For the Wolf it would be in and out. Just like that. He would arrive with the shipment, Escobedo would bring the money. As soon as both parties were satisfied with the goods, the transaction would take place and that would be that.
Mark had gone to his commanding office, Major John Gregorio, with the information. The major had passed it up the chain and the word had come down to act. The United States government had waited a very long time for a chance at the Wolf. To make it a two-fer upped the ante.
A simple mission. Get in. Take out the bad guys. Get out. One less group of Al Qaeda plotters to worry about. And the arms dealer meeting with them. That was the key. That’s what he and his men had been told. It was a chance to clean out a viper’s nest and take out a key arms player at the same time.
With the weakening of the Tupac Amaru terrorist group and the decline of Shining Path, Al Qaeda had been recruiting heavily and spending big money to rebuild Peru’s terrorist structure. Another foothold in South America for the promised Islamic world.
But someone had leaked the mission, Escobedo’s group was waiting for them and now most of his men were dead. After burning the bodies of Mark’s men they’d cleaned up every trace of what had taken place and moved, all of them including the Wolf, what Mark reckoned was about ten miles away.
He grunted, trying to shift to a more comfortable position. The tent gave him little protection him from the ruthless sun and having his ankle chained to a stake barely two feet away severely restricted his movements. For maybe the thousandth time he wondered what had gone wrong and landed him in this abominable mess.
God, what a mess it had been. One minute they were finding their positions to take their shots, carefully hidden, the target painted. The next they were the targets instead. The noise of the AK47s still echoed in his ears, along with the stench of the blood of his dying men. They’d even gotten the comm guy they’d left at the insertion and extraction point with their gear.
He’d forced himself to look when they dragged the bodies into the center of the camp, piled them together and set them on fire. They stood watching with arrogant, evil grins on their faces, then opened bottles of whiskey to celebrate. Mark was sure it was a sight he’d never forget.
He knew what they wanted—the name of the man who had betrayed them. They could kill him and very well might but the source had to be protected at all costs.
Yet as much as they tortured him, for sport and pleasure as well as information, there were things he hung onto that kept his sanity intact. For one thing, despite his wounds he kept himself alert and counted the bodies. One was missing, Joey Latrobe. The kid. The sniper. Rick’s brother, who’d brought them the information. Mark was convinced he wasn’t dead or they’d have found him. No, badly wounded or not, he’d found a way to hide from them. Now if Mark could only be sure he got away.
Of course he had no idea what shape Joey was in, or even if he could give his rescuers, if there were any, information about the camp.
But what gave him real strength was his connection to Faith. God. Beautiful Faith. The woman of his dreams. How stupid was he to walk away from what they could have to play soldier? No, not that. To defend his country. His sense of honor and patriotism was stronger than almost anything. But now, if he died here in this godforsaken hellhole, the only memory he’d have would be that long weekend they’d shared before he was deployed the first time.
And the erotic dreams that came to wipe away the pain.
When he closed his eyes she was in his arms again, her lush body naked against his, her breasts pressing against his chest. His hands coasted over her satiny skin, fingertips exploring every dip and hollow.
“It’s a good thing you aren’t around when I’m planning a mission,” he murmured, his lips against her throat. “I just look at you and my cock gets so big I’m afraid my pants won’t contain it.”
Her laugh was throaty and musical, and her fingers drifted down to close around his thick erection. “Good. That’s the way I like it.”
She moved her hand in a slow pumping motion and he groaned at the heat that rushed through him. Lowering his head he closed his lips over one taut nipple, pulling it into his mouth. It hardened even more at his touch and when he dragged his teeth over it lightly her grip on his cock tightened.
“Easy.” He released the nipple and lapped around the edge of it. “We don’t want the dance to end when the music has just begun.”
“Ah, but we can always dance again,” she reminded him.
He tasted the skin in the valley between her breasts, doing his best to take control of the situation even as her fingers continued to stroke the hard, thick length of his cock. Light movements that teased him and heated his blood.
But then just being near her did that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interview of Cher Green

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Cher Green.

Latest Book: Escape to Love

Buy Link: - novella will be available at the end of June. Sign up for my newsletter to receive updates on the release, or follow my blog where there will be an announcement.

Cher Green writes in many genres, spanning from horror to romance. Her work has appeared in various magazines, and her romance novella, “Escape to Love,” is scheduled to debut at the end of June. For more information on this author visit:

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I find the beginning the easiest, because it’s usually already written in my head before I sit down.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: I’d say the middle, because this is where you really get into the technique of writing, when and where to situate your scenes, plant your conflict, and foreshadow upcoming doom.

When writing, I begin at the beginning and work my way to the end, jotting notes for scenes and reminders for things that need to be added are changed in earlier text. So, the real work doesn’t happen until my second draft.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Esmeralda, a minor character, would be my favorite. I believe there’s a lot more to her than appears in the story, due to limited word count. She is definitely someone I’d like to explore further into. Perhaps, she’ll find her way into the main role of another story.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Each new character appears vividly in my head. I try not to over describe them in the text, but my characters are individuals with very distinct appearances. Of course, it’s the same when I read published books. I prefer to create my own image, and hope the reader of my work is able to do the same.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I’ve dipped into just about every genre except sci-fi. I want to give it a try eventually. I believe it would be fun creating a new world from the ground up and filling it with interesting/perhaps bizarre characters.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I love my blogs. I have one on writing and one on tarot. Why? They give me the freedom to share, without waiting on an acceptance from an editor/publisher. I also enjoy the interactions with the blog viewers.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!

Constance Spenser is no ordinary woman, and neither are her problems. Unhappy in her life, she seeks knowledge of the spiritual side of life, but what she finds is another world, a world where she has no place. She must gain the council’s trust and discover a way home, but in her attempt she finds herself falling for the enemy. Can she survive long enough to discover her destiny?

Lawrence Wilder, a member of an evil council, wants to break free, but one doesn’t walk away from the council alive. When a witch falls from the sky, hope returns to his life, and to his surprise love. In his world, together they cannot survive. Can he save them both, or will one have to be sacrifice for the other to live?

Four white candles in each corner, a small dish of water, a pinch of salt, and a bag of sage completed Constance Spenser’s ritual stage. She pulled the lilac scrunchie from her thick black hair. Heaving a breath, she tried to push aside her melancholy.

Her recent breakup and move hadn’t improved her dismal outlook. Wading through each day, she tried to see the positive, to find a fresh beginning. She fingered the pentacle necklace, wondering if she’d ever see results.

Her Persian, Angelica, brushed against her bare leg before jumping into her lap. Constance smiled as she ran a hand over the cat’s soft fur. “I know baby. You love me no matter how big of a failure I turn out to be.” The cat stretched toward her, placing a paw kiss upon her chin, like a friend’s kind hug.

Careful not to disturb the lounging pet, she shifted away from the table and withdrew a box of matches from the table’s drawer. Striking one, her voice eased over the darkness with each lit each candle. “I give my body to the earth, my breath to the air, my tears to the water, my desire to the fire.” The heat from the match singed her thumb, and she dropped it into the water dish. “I call upon the spirit world for guidance. Reveal to me my path; set me on a journey.”

A soft breeze stirred the curtains and fed the candle flames. The tick-tock of the old grandfather clock magnified, building to a roar. Then, the room fell silent, voiding Constance’s moment of anticipation. Dropping her shoulders, she blew out the candles and shuffled toward the kitchen.

Angelica hissed, and Constance spun. The curtains whipped in the strong wind tearing through her house. Through the sheer drapery, moonlight pulsed, trespassing into her small living room. Hair on end, teeth bared, her cat arched. Constance’s heart echoed in her ears - it worked, her incantation had been a success.

Thunder rumbled, shaking the house, ravaging her senses. Soft rain fell, lulling her into a calm state. The smell of soil and wet grass filled the room, like a peaceful cemetery burial. Lightning darted through the darkened clouds, slithered through the darkness, and forked across the purple sky. A haze settled as the soft rain turned into a full-fledged downpour.

Tiny goose bumps popped up all over her bare skin. She crossed her arms, but it didn’t do much for the chill rambling through her body. The thin fabric of her nightie did nothing to stop the icy grip of the storm on her flesh. She started toward the bedroom to grab a robe, but a high pitched cry bounced off the walls, stopping in her tracks. “What did I do?”

Constance rushed through the living room, onto the porch. She glanced back at the doorway, then to the raging storm. A tear ran down her cheek. She cringed at the thought of the possible dangers she’d brought upon them. Her poor cat hissed from the safety of the doorway. “It’s okay,” she whispered, though who she sought to console was unclear. The cat looked less than impressed, recoiling from her outstretched hand. Lightning shattered the sky. Constance jumped and her cat bolted from the doorway. “Ooh, what have I done?”

The storm raged, venting its impressive force only to stop as suddenly as it began. The sky cleared, the room fell silent, leaving her to struggle with her racing heart. She eased back to the doorway, coaxed Angelica back into the opening. “See. Told ya. Everything’s fine. ” Angelica’s fur remained on end, the cat stared past her, hissing and growling furiously.

Excitement and dread flowed like blood through her veins. Constance turned to acknowledge the source of her cat’s interest. Apprehension tightened around her throat, shrouding the flares of joy at her success.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to share a little time with you and your followers. I hope you find my novella enjoyable and continue to follow my writings for years to come.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview of Model/Actor/Dancer Christopher Howell!

Today it’s my pleasure to present an interview of multi-talented Christopher Howell. His resume lists a variety of items to include acting in videos, modeling, professional dancer, etc. Definitely a man of many talents!

Where to find information about Christopher Howell:

Q: With everything you’ve accomplished, is there one job you’ve thought about trying but haven’t attempted?
A: Since you asked. I've always wanted to be shot into outer space! There are many things that I want to accomplish but haven't attempted due to currency. Currency is unfortunately used to limit your actions in an attempt to control your behavior(s).

Q: You were a featured model for “Support Nature Project”. Tell us about that and your thoughts on our environment.
A: I enjoyed doing the shoot and the support the nature theme. Our planet goes through many changes and is well equipped to take care of itself. People become wrapped up in the process of saving it because it is a money making scheme like the health industry. We need to focus on how to save ourselves not the environment. At any given moment our planet can cleanse itself of all of us and start over as if nothing happened.

Q: You’ve participated in some Romantic Times “Mr. Romance” Contests. Tell us what that was like and what you enjoyed the most.
A: I enjoyed taking my time and getting to know people who have been writing their whole life or new to the industry. I love to be the character that people want to be depicted onto their books or someone to look up to.

Q: Modeling jobs. How do you prepare for a shoot?
A: I don't. I go on set and try to make every situation as fun as possible. If I feel my nerves at all, then I do something really embarrassing to take my mind off of the situation. Well, I guess you could say I somewhat mentally prepare myself.

Q: Do you have a daily exercise routine?
A: Yes. I'm not always consistent when it comes to a particular workout. I know what area I want to work out, but will always use different techniques to hit the area.

Q: Tell us about your acting experiences. Is there one in particular you enjoyed the most?
A: I wish. The few pilots that I played in fell short due to funding. The one in the future that I will enjoy the most will be the one that doesn't fall short.

Q: Stuntman? Tell us about those jobs and how you train to be a stuntman.
A: Stuntman training came while growing up in Georgia, I was able to do everything! As a young boy I would catch snakes, scorpions, spiders, frogs, giant lizards and would play with wild alligators. I would swim in treacherous waters where the current or marine life would kill you, climb and fall out of trees that were twenty plus feet. This was only the beginning!

Q: You’re a professional dancer. What type of dancing do you do?
A: Mostly hip hop now. I use to do formal training with my mother such as ballroom, merengue, cha cha. Whatever she could sign us up for.

Q: What will be added next to your list of accomplishments?
A: For you to remember me.

Q: Favorite food?
A: Anything edible

Q: Favorite drink?
A: Sweet tea, water.

Q: What would you consider to be the most romantic place in the world…just so we might get some travel ideas?
A: I have to go a few more places before answering this.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Don't give up on your dreams and from time to time dip your head down from the clouds and realize how much time has passed. Stay in touch with your family.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tribute To Fathers

Happy Father's Day!

In romance books, we authors tend to overlook the role of fatherhood, or in my case, give them the short end of the stick. In my first book Love is Sober (soon to be retitled Love On The Rocks), I was having an issue with a female neighbor and channeled my anger at her by creating a very dominating father....' When my dad read the book, he jokingly said to me, "Let's talk about this control-freak you created in Con Keller..." I was quick to reassure him he had NOT been the role model for the character!

In Love Finds A Way, the father is not thrilled with his daughter's choice of boyfriend. But when she shows her maturity and proves her plan will work, he is (reluctantly) supportive. And in my upcoming Forbidden Love, I have three fathers depicted: Mike, Keri's father, is thrilled to have a daughter following in his footsteps; Eric, Keri's step-father, who has a very good relationship with both step-children and is loving and supportive of their career choices; and Kyle, the love of Keri's life, who spends as much time with his young son as his vindictive ex-wife will let him.

As far as Kenzie's stories go, fathers are also depicted across the spectrum. In All She Ever Wanted, Clint Denton is Victor Newman personified. He schemes and manipulates his only son in order to run his life.

In Wild At Heart, I have the kind and loving Dad in both Neil Nichols and Gavin Granger. They keep an eye on Ethan and Emma, but only interfere when necessary.

And in my ever-upcoming Teacher's Pet, Tammy's deceased husband was not-so-nice, but thankfully Kevin Tayler proves to be step-father material.

As a tribute to the loving and caring fathers out there, here's my favorite scene from Wild At Heart, in which Gavin, who treats Emma like a daughter, invites the entire Nichols clan into his home. I hope you find this as humorous as I do:)

Feb- Decided to change my pen name on these so my younger audience wouldn't be shocked by any inapropriate language/situations. My new Pen Name is Kenzie Daniels. Both Wild at Heart and Head of the Class are geared more toward the 18+ age group.
Angela Clayborn has just discovered Steve Blumenthal, the man she sent to prison nearly two years before, has been granted an early release. Torn between wanting to see him and fearful if she does, sparks fly when Steve Blumenthal appears in her gift shop and later at her condo. Will Angie free her heart from its icy prison? Has Steve really turned his life around, or is it a hoax?
Meanwhile, in Colorado on business, Angie’s current boyfriend, Brad Morrison, is wrestling with his own call of the wild. He’s met unconventional, sexy Emma Nichols, who runs not only her own riding stable, but helps out with her family’s woodworking store in EstesPark. Emma resents Brad’s offer to help during a family crisis, but eventually discovers that Fate sometimes sends people down unexpected paths to love. Can Brad tame a wildcat? Or will Emma settle for the safe path?

Buy link:


"The rain’s here, and Ethan called. He’s going to be slightly late, but he’ll be here.”

“That’s good.” Gavin munched on celery stick. “Your mother brought rabbit food with her.”

“It’s good for you,” Janet Nichols retorted from the kitchen. “You said so yourself you’d had steak two days in a row. And probably not many vegetables.”

“I ate plenty at the ranch the other night,” Gavin grumbled. “Meddling women. Give me good Buffalo wings or fried onions? No…they’ve got to force me to eat this shit. That’s why I stay single. Remember that, Brad.”

“I didn’t observe Emma forcing any healthy food down your throat,” Brad joined him at the table, greeting Emma’s parents.

“She’s young enough to know better than to pull that on me.”

Emma joined her mother in the kitchen. “When you have your heart attack, I’ll be right there by your side, making you eat right…or I’ll have Nora do it.”

“I’m too ornery to have a heart attack.” Gavin stood up as Nora entered, carrying several pie containers. “Now there’s a sensible woman. Brings me pie.” He reached for the containers and got his hand slapped.

“They’re for after dinner,” she scolded, and joined Janet in the kitchen. “It’s starting to really pour out there. I hope Ethan and Lori make it.”

“Lori?” Neil raised his eyebrows.

“The therapist,” Gavin returned to the table. “I told her to come around four-thirty.”

“Good idea. Eat first, alienate Ethan second,” Emma said, helping herself to a beer and offering one to Brad. She joined the men at the table and munched on a carrot. “Need any help, Mom?”

“Now honey, I’ve told you. Stay out of my kitchen, and I’ll stay out of your stable,” Nora admonished.

Brad laughed. “I take it you don’t cook?”

“I can too…I do a very good microwave,” Emma said, reddening. “And I can make a few things.”

Neil coughed. “I don’t think hot dogs count as cooking, sweetheart.”

“I can also make a good meatloaf.”

“She and Hamburger Helper are good friends, Brad,” Nora winked at him.

“Ooh! I get no respect in this house!”

Gavin patted her hand. “Stick with me, kid. I like your meatloaf.”

“At least someone appreciates me.” Emma glared at Nora.

“She does a mean take-out, also,” Gavin added.

“Okay, ha ha. I get it,” Emma grabbed her beer and stormed over to the fireplace. “It’s pick on Emma day.”

“No, honey, it’s called warning the boyfriend that you can’t cook,” Gavin laughed. “See Brad? She and Nora are a package deal.”

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