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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Interview of Author Sandy Loyd

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Sandy Loyd.

Latest Book: A Matter of Trust
Buy Links: Amazon:
Barnes & Noble:

For those who don’t know me, my name is Sandy Loyd. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City and consider myself a Western girl through and through. I love the west, but I didn’t stay there as long as I would have liked. My job in sales meant extensive traveling and relocating. I’ve worked and lived in some of the most fabulous places in the US, including South Florida. I now call the blue grass state of Kentucky home, where I write full time. I will admit that as much as I love Louisville, I miss the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and need to go back to my roots to get my mountain fix at least once a year. It helps refresh my muse and keeps me writing.

To date, I’ve published eight books with several in the works. The first four are contemporary romances set in the Bay Area of San Francisco or the Florida Keys. I’ve also published four Romantic Suspense novels. A Matter of Trust is my latest and one that I loved writing.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: For me dialogue is the easiest to write. I’ve always had little conversations with myself and I just imagine if I were that person, what would he or she say in this situation? It usually turns into a decent conversation because I’ve had lots of practice talking to myself. When I get older, I’ll probably be one of those who hold conversations with invisible people and others will just assume I’m a little nutty.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: Conflict. I guess it’s because I don’t like conflict in real life. I had a lot when I was growing up and I like order. My parents were divorced back before it was common and they didn’t get along. That’s tough for a kid to go through.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Josh Buchannan is my favorite character. He’s funny, smart, and good looking, yet he has a vulnerable side that he covers up. He’s an ex CIA agent who feels his efforts did nothing to stop the threat of terrorists. They just kept killing. And while he was off trying to save the world his grandmother, the one person he felt closest to and was always there for him, developed Alzheimer’s. By the time he could spend time with her she no longer knew who he was. He wasn’t there for her when she needed him most and he doesn’t believe he can be what Cat needs either. He’s an easy character to fall in love with.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing?
A: I have a love for popcorn. I don’t know if it helps my muse or not, but I can’t write in the afternoons unless I’ve had a bowl. It doesn’t inspire me, but while eating it I have plenty of time to think of what I need to write. And like most writers, my biggest comfort food is chocolate. I love dark chocolate and I’ll never pass up a Rollo.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: I have a ton of favorites, but only one that I’ve read probably 100 times. Shauna by Kathleen Woodiwiss will always be my favorite. I loved the hero. I loved the adventure. I loved the romance. No one did it better than Woodiwiss back in the day.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I like Facebook the best. I do Twitter, but it’s not the same as Facebook. I can keep in touch with my friends and read what’s going on in the world. I love the jokes and pictures that come through. You can tailor it anyway you want. I have a fan page that is slowly gaining likes. It’s an easy way to keep in touch with readers who like what you do. The only negative is that it can be a huge time waster. I play on it when I should be writing.

Tell us where to find you:

Tired of living in fear of an abusive ex-husband, Cat Tyler is taking charge of her life by learning to fly. Unfortunately, she discovers what true fear really is when her cross-country flight ends in a forced landing. Now she’s trapped in the Montana wilderness with her flight instructor, Josh Buchannan—a jerk who’s been riding her butt since she first stepped into the cockpit. She definitely doesn’t like the attraction that has sprung up between them. Worse, someone is trying to kill them.

Josh doesn’t wait to find out why they’ve become a target—or who’s behind it. Instinct takes over and Josh spirits Cat away to safety. Yet, while on the run, he discovers that an incident from his past, one he’s tried to forget, connects him to Cat. He was in charge of a failed mission in which her parents lost their lives. Is this her twisted way of getting revenge? Josh can’t trust Cat, but he protects her as they narrowly escape fiery graves, not once but twice.

Unwittingly, the two are fighting more than trust or attraction. An unknown terrorist cell has unleashed its secret weapon—a human Trojan horse—which gives a new meaning to terror.

As Cat and Josh struggle to stay alive, their trust in each other is threatened at every turn. Josh senses Cat’s somehow involved in this mess and works doubly hard to keep his attraction to her under control. Still, he craves her belief in his innocence, impossible once she discovers the truth about his involvement in her parents’ deaths.

As they work together to uncover the plot that threatens western civilization, they must come to grips with the past in order to create a relationship built on mutual trust in the future.

“What were you thinking just then?” Cat asked, clearing the dishes away when they got up from the island.

“Shit,” Josh muttered under his breath, reaching for his wineglass. “Why do you ask?”

Standing by the sink, Cat eyed him intently, but he wouldn’t meet her gaze, his attention absorbed with taking a sip.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“Something wrong?” Josh eyed his wine and cleared his throat. “That’s a silly question.”

“Call me silly, but your expression changed all of a sudden.” For one fleeting moment he’d had this ravenous, intense look about him, like he could eat her alive and then, in a flash, the look turned cold and unyielding. Now he was being weird. Wouldn’t meet her eyes again. Was acting awfully suspicious, as if he was hiding something.

Damn, she thought. She’d done or said something stupid. She just knew it. Up until a few minutes ago she’d begun to think he was as attracted to her as she was to him. But that obviously wasn’t the case, so she had to make things right again. “Look, I’m sorry if I said or did something to upset you.”

Her apology got his attention and he finally looked at her, searching her face for what seemed like forever.

Then he flashed his sexy, disarming grin before erupting into uncontrollable laughter.

Great! Now he was laughing at her.

Cat turned and stormed out of the room, only she didn’t get very far. He’d followed on her heels and now gripped her arm, stopping her.

“What? Am I amusing you?” she yelled, fighting to keep from crying. She would not cry. Not in front of him.

“As a matter of fact, you are.”

“Jerk,” she cried. “You’ve made your point, so let go of me.”

“Oh, no. I haven’t begun to make my point.” He pulled her closer. The next second his lips were consuming hers, kissing her as if he couldn’t get enough. His tongue invaded her mouth while he inhaled her, not letting her back off, demanding a response. And then she felt his hands roaming over her body, gripping her, making her come alive with want and need. His lips broke from hers, and he trailed kisses across her face, causing even more sensations to course through her.

“You feel that, Cat?”

He licked her ear and nibbled on her lobe, eliciting a moan she couldn’t contain. It felt so decadent. So wonderful.

“That’s called an adrenaline rush. That’s what I’m fighting. Have been fighting since yesterday when my plane blew up.”

When he moved into her, pressing against her so she could feel the heat from his full arousal, Cat almost erupted into flames as hot lava flooded her system with more pleasure.

“The attraction’s an illusion. It’s not uncommon for someone in our situation. We’ve been riding on the edge of fear and I’m dying to have you,” he whispered urgently in her ear, exacting another moan.

“I want you so damn bad I can barely hang on. Do you understand what I’m saying?” He hesitated a heartbeat. “Your attraction is caused by a surge of hormones designed to keep you alive in times of crisis. It’s not real.”

Once the words were out, his mouth covered hers. Only this time, his lips and hands gentled while he kissed her for what seemed like forever. All of her senses came alive and she succumbed to his mouth’s demands. She could taste the wine on his tongue, could smell the faint scents of deodorant and soap.

His soft lips were still thorough, still invading, still not letting her back away.

When she moaned into his mouth, totally absorbed in his kiss, he finally pulled away, breathing heavily as if he’d run a five-minute mile. “You’d better stop now. This is all I can take without finishing. You want this. Fine. You don’t. Fine. The choice is yours. But make the decision now and make it knowing where the emotions are coming from.”

This can’t be happening, she thought, searching his earnest gaze. His eyes were like liquid fire, causing her to flinch from their intensity. Oh God. He was leaving the choice up to her and at the same time, he was telling her it meant nothing. If it was nothing more than elevated adrenaline, then why did she feel as if she would die if she backed away?

Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to thank Romancebooks4us for hosting me today.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Using Conflict in Your Stories

Most of us don't have a lot of discord (there are exceptions and those people could write books about themselves) in our lives, but to write a story without conflict would be boring.  Author's who write page turners add a lot of tension.  Conflict can raise the stakes in any story.  There are many ways to do this. I write romantic suspense, so I always have the element of danger in my stories.

Danger can come from many sources such as a serial killer, an avalanche, a tsunami, earthquake, a fight, war, stalker, etc.  Running for your life can definitely add tension.  I have named a few, but there are many more too numerous to mention.

Another way to add conflict is to have your hero and heroine work against each other.  An example:  Hero is a contractor who is determined to build apartments near a housing district, and the heroine is head of the neighborhood watch in the same area.  She gets a petition started against the building because she believes it will bring in the wrong element to their community.

Another example:  The hero is a fisherman on the Gulf Coast, and the heroine is the spokesperson for an oil company defending them after an oil spill in the gulf.  Just think of all the tension you can build in these scenarios.

Another type of conflict is inner conflict.  This is when a hero/heroine fights against the attraction they feel for one another.  This is inner conflict.  One or the other, or both may feel they shouldn't get together because they don't trust the other, or they may have insecurities they're fighting against. There are numerous reasons why they aren't able to get together, especially, when they are at odds like in the examples above.   

Secondary characters can add conflict: for instance an ex can come into the picture and cause all kinds of problems, or it can be a pet, a child, a job, a hobby, etc.  There are all kinds of ways to add tension to your story, so readers can't lay your book down until they finish reading the last page.

You can use multiple conflicts in your story, but you shouldn't overload your book with so much that your reader gets tired from running all over the place.  The tension in your book has to be realistic, or your reader will be pulled out of the story and think the author is crazy.  In other words, life doesn't always make sense, but your book better be logical, or you've lost your reader.

I have touched on a few ways to ratchet your story up, but there are many more. 

Good luck to all the writers out there, and thank you for reading my post. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Interview of Author Alisa Anderson

Today I'd like to present an interview of romance author Alisa Anderson.

Latest Book: Give & Receive
Buy Links:

BIO:(transposed to the third person to appear more mature *grins cheerfully*)
well...alisa did stuff and is still doing stuff. only now she has two boys crazy enuff to want her as their mommy. hey, at least she tried to warn them, so her job is done. she doesn’t like to capitalize, partially because she likes how lower case letters look visually, but mostly out of laziness. please don't judge. it could be you. and she would say, hey. you're alright, buddy. you're ok in my book. now c'mere for a hug. the hug might be pushing it. air kiss? you are strangers, after all, with only a mutual love of poor grammar.

she lives for a world full of controllable anatomically correct, android men programmed to meet her specific feminine needs (wink, wink, nudge, nudge with a big waggle of the eyebrows). who look like the rock. and ian somerhalder. and idris elba. and that's it she promises. variety. gotta have variety, right?

but alas...apparently that exists only in johanna lindsey's genius mind. so until then, she enjoys her incredibly warped sense of humor. she reads tons of erotica and romantic, drippy goo that makes her heart go pitter patter. then she thought, hey. what, she said to herself. (softly, of course, so no one finds out she is indeed, 2 nuts short of a fruitcake) maybe you should write this stuff too. maybe someone will like it and maybe buy it. so she said, huh, you think? then she said, well...yeah, i wouldn't have suggested it...(inserts sarcastic tone) and then she was like lose the attitude, ok? then she was all, would you just shut up and write, already? sheesh! and she did. :)

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: You know…I think I was in such a state of shock I just can’t remember. I think I “SQUEEED” a bit, lol. Then blinked rapidly for the first few minutes, like, this is it. This is truly the beginning of the rest of my life. I am finally doing the thing I have loved since I was a little girl. It was such a long time coming, I think a part of me didn’t think it would ever get here. But get here it did, and time has been flying ever since.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I love writing snappy dialogue. I hear conversations all the time so they just seem to come easy for me. Usually quirky, or sometimes utter nonsense, mixed with genuine emotion, but one thing is certain. You WILL feel emotion for sure.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: Believe it or not, it’s the sex scenes. You want them to be just right, believable, sexy and never repetitive. No one wants to read the same cheesy scene, over and over again. Especially if it’s a bad scene to begin with. Do you realize how hard that is to do???? Yikes. It makes me almost swear off writing erotic romance. Almost. *grins*

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Without a doubt it has to be Tyler Malone. He is such a scamp. Which is saying it nicely. Ty is rotten to the core, but knows what he wants and goes after it without hesitation. He has always been single minded in his interest in Lena, and doesn’t mind going to nefarious means to try and get her, and I love that about him.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I love singing, songwriting as well as writing poetry. I actually am releasing a soundtrack of my own songs, inspired by the give and receive series, as well as a poetry book called “Erotic Edibles,” inspired by the series too. I also love to dance. Hang out with my 2 pups, my cat. Maybe my two heathen boys, when they aren’t plotting world domination. I don’t just mean the boys. I suspect Bella the cat is the criminal mastermind behind it all.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I think I have a unique point of view that most have not seen before. One thing I love is combining humor with erotic romance, but for it to have some dark, intensity to it as well. I think that can be hard to find.

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

Tyler Malone: Life as a rock star is anything but boring. Money, power and fame is an addictive drug I crave that gets me off...every time. Millions of adoring fans, willing to do anything just for me to glance their way. What's not to love? All I ever wanted was the one who wouldn't. She's the one person I crave more than the life, more than the money and power. More than anything...

Danny Blake: Some smart-assed reporter nicknamed me the "The Dark Prince," because I shun the limelight. I prefer being behind the scenes, always have. Fame is now a choke hold around my neck, a dark, lonely road that never seems to end. The one light in my life is her. The person who matters above everything else. At one time I thought we could be happy together, but I lost that chance when I married someone else...

Lena Roman: Owner of the infamously notorious nightclub, head of a massive PR empire; nothing "Queen Midas" touches doesn't turn to gold. Fiercely passionate, loyal and headstrong, she is the woman who loves them both, with a fiery heat that's all consuming. Choosing between her best friend and the one she stupidly allowed at one time to claim her heart wasn't going to be easy...but she had to, right? You can't love two people at once...

Book one of the scorching hot new series, "Give & Receive".

Danny started to give Lena a kiss on the cheek and she backed away slightly, instinctively into Ty’s chest. Ty’s veined, sinewy hands surrounded her hips without thinking, almost protective in stance. Possessive even.

The action was duly noted.

He stared at those hands, his hands, for what seemed like an eternity. Then he raised his eyes to lock with Ty’s, as something silent and unspoken passed between them.

He’d be a complete idiot not to see the currents of electricity that existed between her and Ty, even if she didn’t. Or wouldn’t.

Ty knew the same thing about Danny. He had known for years the way Lena felt about Danny, even when she didn’t know it herself.

She never seemed interested in bringing it to the sharing circle, which was odd for two people who talked extensively about everything else.

But she never offered. And he never pressed. Considering his own secrets, even he didn’t have that kind of nerve.

Life went on.

Lena didn’t notice any of this. She was busy watching Danny, who was still close enough to touch. She looked at his cheekbones, shadowed by the dark hair falling forward. She smelled his scent, masculine and uninhibited, speaking of forbidden promise and a hundred different taboo fantasies brought to life in her mind.

Like a gazelle being stalked by a large, hungry cat, her instincts told her she was in danger. She needed to run. Now. From the feelings he made her feel, from the chaotic madness she struggled to maintain when he was near, from the way her heart almost exploded in her chest, whenever she so much as tasted his name on her tongue.

Only then did she realize she was trapped between both men and it was useless to even try and get away. Only then did she comprehend where Ty’s hands were and had been for some time. Only then was she aware of him rubbing her thigh carelessly and she felt a warm flush heat her face.

Danny wanted to rip his hands off of her, but knew it shouldn’t make one crap load of difference to him what they did or didn’t do.

After all…he was a happily married man.

It was just that every so often…the lie he lived every day of his life became almost impossible to stomach.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for having me here today! Please be sure to check my site for the release of Give & Take, book 2 in the Give & Receive erotic romance novella series!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writting Matters by Janice Seagraves

Writing Matters 
by Janice Seagraves 

When we write, everything matters. From sentence structure to what our characters are eating and drinking.

It has to happen in the proper order or it won’t make sense. And if it doesn’t make sense then it won’t make sense to your readers.

I was watching Malibu Country with Reba McEntire (I love anything Reba is in). In a scene where she talked to her Mamma, I started watching what Reba was doing. Reba picked up a mug and added a tea bag. I could see that little square that hung over the edge of her mug. She added hot water. Walked around. Took a sip, then another. Talked some more, and drank more tea. Half her cup seemed to be empty, before she walked back to the counter and added sugar.

Do you see what was wrong here? Reba did something out of order. She’s such a pro that this struck me as odd.

One of the things I check for in the final read through of my writing, is what my characters are doing. Is it logical? Does it make sense? Is it in the right order? Are they adding the milk to the cereal, or cereal to the milk?

One of my daughter’s old PBS cartoons she used to watch had been really bad about doing things that defied logic. Characters would talk with a fork still in their mouths. Really? Wouldn’t that break their teeth?

Have you ever noticed something that happened in a book, movie or your child's cartoon that didn't make sense?

Windswept Shores is back, and better than ever with a replaced missing scene. 

Blurb: The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas. Then she finds a nearly-drowned man. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skill between them, will they survive these windswept shores and can they find love?

 For the first time available as a trade paperback: 

And for the Kindle: 

Janice Seagraves's website:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finding Roots

Recently, I began to consider my heritage and was researching on when I came across a photograph of a family member that I had never seen. It was linked to a family tree for my mother’s family and after asking permission from the owner, who was my mother’s great-niece, I found a wealth of knowledge about my grandmother’s family, extending back to the late 900s, and portraits back as far as the 1400s. I knew that some of my mother's family were members of the UDC and DAR, but I never knew this information, and it filled me with awe.

Most people want to know that they come from strong, deep roots, and when they don’t know about their heritage, they are constantly seeking to find out more about it. I believe they seek the security of feeling like they belong.

That same search and need are certainly important to Carolina Moon in my book Coming to Climax. Carolina has to obtain a birth certificate to obtain a passport and to her shock, she discovers that she was adopted by her father Blue Moon and her now dead mother, Patty. She also finds out she wasn’t born in North Carolina like Blue and Patty told her, but, instead, hailed from New York City. Making matters worse, Carolina also discovers her Aunt Margaret, whom she primarily has lived with since her mother died, knew about the adoption a long time ago.

Margaret Palmer has her own feelings of inadequacy. Divorced decades before from an abusive man, Margaret has lived the life of a recluse in a Manhattan apartment with little contact except from Carolina, the residents in her apartment complex and a few strangers she knows through various charities. She was once in love with Carolina’s adopted father, Blue Moon, but hasn’t seen him in many years. When Carolina leaves New York, determined to confront her “adopted” father with the information she uncovered, Margaret follows, not ready to lose the one constant person in her miserable existence.

Will both of them find the true family they seek in Climax, Virginia?

This is one of the photos I found on My mother is the one on the right who is crouching down.

Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction. A Murder in Every Port, the 4th book in the Buried in Briny Bay series, was just released by Turquoise Morning Press. For more about Bobbye, visit her at and

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interview of Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Please Welcome NYT Best Selling Author Susan Elizabeth Phillips to RB4U.

Q. We’d love a chance to get to know you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to your writing career?
A. It's a fairly long story, which I've posted on my web site, but here's the
mini version. When my sons were small, I began writing a historical romance with a friend. We were doing it just for fun and couldn't have been more shocked when the first publisher we sent the manuscript to bought it.

Q. The Great Escape is releasing in April 2013. How excited do you get for each release? Do you have a special ‘thing’ you do with family to celebrate?

A. I try to restrict myself to running around my office desk doing the happy dance!

Q. Are there any ice breaker games you play when getting into the skin of your characters?

A. Nothing like that. As I’m writing, I’m immersed in the thoughts and actions of each character, getting to know them from the inside out.

Q. Do you storyboard? How do you create these memorable characters that keep us on the edge and waiting anxiously for your next release?
A. I'm sorry, but I don't understand the question. Are you saying there are writers who actually plot their advance? My writing is not in an organized, efficient fashion. I get a glimmer of an idea, sit down, and write until I run down, which tends to happen much too quickly. Then I pull out my yellow legal pad, one of my special pens, and I start doodling away¾jotting down all kinds of stuff until I jot down something that makes sense. I then run back to my computer and write until I run down again. Then I start all over with the yellow pad. It’s a creaky, painful process, but it’s my process and I’ve made peace with it. Sort of.

I certainly draw on real emotions when giving life to my characters. My heroines tend to be women with good hearts who’ve made some mistakes, just like the rest of us. My heroes are intelligent and decent¾although they don’t always act that way because they tend to be very guarded emotionally.

Q. Do you keep any special health smart foods on hand to snack on when you’re plotting the next best-selling novel? How do you keep fit and in shape while pounding out your story?

A.  I’m sort of a nutrition nut. I also walk regularly and do yoga. Writing is such a sedentary job, and I know I can’t give my work my best effort if I’m not practicing good health habits.

Q. Who is your favorite author or do you have someone who inspired you to write?
A. I suppose I was most influenced by Gertrude Chandler Warner’s THE BOXCAR CHILDREN.  I was seven years old when I opened those magical pages for the first time and discovered the power of reading. Life has never been the same since. As a teen, I fell in love with the rich historical romances of Anya Seton and Norah Lofts. Then on to Victoria Holt.

As for favorite authors... Too many to count. I love Kristin Hannah's work, Patricia Gaffney, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jennifer Cruise, Sarah Bird, Ruth Reich, A.J. Jacobs, Rob Kurson. The Harry Potter series. I don’t read thrillers or anything gory. That said, I loved Suzanne Collins amazing Hunger Games trilogy. I'm thrilled that so many of today's wonderful Y.A. novels are finding an adult audience.

Q. Have you ever wanted to change or switch up your chosen genre? If so what would you love to write?

A. It’s what I do, and there can’t be anything more satisfying than knowing you’ve found the path in life you were meant to take. But there’s also something special about this genre. I believe life is too short to make a habit of reading depressing books, and life is definitely too short for me to write them.  I’m basically an optimist, which is what I love about popular fiction in general. In the romance, the lovers will find their happy ending, which means babies will be born and civilization will go on. The great romance novel affirms our core values as a society¾values we may believe are slipping away from us. We write about love and justice, trust and loyalty. About forming families and community. The lovers’ path will be treacherous¾and almost certainly paved with deliciously hot sex(!)¾but our hero and heroine will eventually find their way just as we hope we will find ours. What’s not to love about that?

Q. If you weren’t a writer…what other career path might you have taken? Or what might you choose to pick up later on in life?

A. Probably in my original career as a high school teacher. Or a rock star. I think I’d be good at that.

Q. How important is it for an author to have support of family and friends in this ever evolving craft/profession?

A. It’s difficult to write if your personal life is in turmoil. I’m blessed with my family and friends.

Q. Can you tell us what inspired The Great Escape?

A. Lucy Jorik is last seen at the end of chapter two of Call Me Irresistible as she fled her wedding to Ted Beaudine.  How could I resist telling her story? Most of us can identify with the idea of trying to be all things to all people¾especially to those we owe the greatest debt. This is Lucy’s dilemma. But her privileged life hasn’t prepared her the events that transpire as she makes her Great Escape.  Especially her meeting with a mysteriously sinister man named…Panda?

Q. Call Me Irresistible is releasing soon too. What else can we look forward to in the near future?

A.  I’m currently in the early stages of my next book, but I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet. Visit me on my website, Facebook or Twitter for updates.

A quick note: Call Me Irresistible and The Great Escape don’t have to read in order. The stories happen in the same time frame, and each book stands on its own.

I wish I could thank each one of you personally! I love meeting fans in person, but that doesn’t happen as often as I like. My primary contact with readers is through FACEBOOK, my website, and email.Knowing readers all over the world are responding to my stories has been the single most incredible part of my career. Some days I have to pinch myself to believe my good fortune.

Don't forget to visit Susan's author page at!

Excerpt for The Great Escape:

He had too long black hair that curled past his collar, cold blue eyes set above high cheekbones, and sadistic lips. After so many years of Secret Service protection, Lucy had grown used to taking her safety for granted, but she didn’t feel safe now, and the fact that she dimly recognized the biker as a guest at last night’s rehearsal dinner¾one of Ted’s odd assortment of friends¾didn’t exactly reassure her. Even semi-cleaned up in a dark suit that didn’t fit well, a rumpled white shirt open at the collar, and motorcycle boots that appeared to have received nothing more than a dusting, he didn’t look like anybody she wanted to meet in an alley. Exactly where she happened to be… 

Interview conducted by Mahalia Levey.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's the Story, Silly, Or Is it?

I recently read a book that was so well-written I didn’t realize until halfway through that I didn’t much like the characters or the plot. The writing distracted me from the story. As I read, I kept saying to myself, “This is so well-written. I can’t believe what a good writer she is.” I continued to be amazed at the “fresh” writing, as editors call it. Not a cliché in the whole book. When I finished, I was left with a hollow feeling. Despite the stellar writing, the characters and plot were forgettable. When I read a book, I want a satisfying story and characters I like.

That got me to thinking. Are the story and the characters more important than the writing? Have you been so enthralled by the writing you didn’t notice the story? Or has the writing been so bad you couldn’t get into the story? As readers, what’s most important to you—the characters, the plot, the writing? All three?

We all know the BDSM trilogy that earned the author millions and millions of dollars. Some of you may have read the books. That author has admitted she’s not a good writer. Most who have read the books agree with her. Why did her books become a worldwide phenomenon? There are probably many answers to that. Let’s concentrate on the universally accepted bad writing and on the story. My college student niece couldn’t get through the first book because of the bad writing. Her mother, on the other hand, admits the book is badly written, but she loved the characters and the story and devoured all three books. She said she couldn’t stop reading. And isn’t that what all authors want—to write books that capture readers and make them keep turning the pages? I’m convinced most readers will forgive bad writing if they love the story and the characters. I’ve not read the aforementioned trilogy, don’t intend to, so this isn’t meant as a review or critique. I’m stating what others have said.

It’s really the story, isn’t it? We authors are all storytellers. We need to tell an entertaining story with unforgettable characters. The author of that trilogy touched a chord with so many readers. She wrote a story that kept them turning the pages. She wrote a hero, who, despite his many flaws, readers fell in love with. A compelling hero is a must for romance novels. Moral: Write a compelling hero and the readers will come.

As a reader, I’m character-driven. I’ve read books by some big name romance authors that left me cold because I didn’t like the characters. I’ve loved books by lesser-known writers that weren’t as well-written but had characters I liked and related to. However, I can’t read books that are badly written. My inner editor comes out and I end up editing as I read, totally ruining my reading enjoyment.

I’m not one who will read a book just because everyone is talking about it, which I think is one of the reasons the BDSM trilogy has had such astounding sales. I’ve been burned in the past when I’ve read popular books and found them wanting in so many ways. Harry Potter is the exception. I resisted reading the series because I thought they were strictly kids’ books. I finally broke down and read the first book, and I was hooked. Loved the whole series. Saw every movie. That’s a series that is well-written, has a gripping story, and wonderful characters.

As an author, I want to tell a good story, but I want anything I publish to be as well-written as I can get it. It’s a matter of pride. Yet, I know the bottom line is I have to tell a good story, period.

What about you? What’s important to you when you read a book?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Guest Blog: Rose Anderson: Coloring Our World with Words

As the story goes, when god spoke to Moses from the burning bush, he revealed his true name. From the moment of man's first inkling of the vast miracle of his own existence, he's tried to put a name to it.  A name is not merely an arbitrary designation or a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing it's been given to. It represents the history and reputation of the thing. But a name by itself just isn't enough somehow. Moses may have been privy to the Name, but everyone else added the adjectives – all-seeing, loving, vengeful, benevolent, and almighty are just a few.

In school, we were taught to avoid overusing flowery language because too many adjectives and adverbs can ruin the reading experience. Well sure, I can see that. When the writer expounds for the sake of expounding, the reader's brain has trouble making sense of it all.
Victorian writer and shameless expounder, George Bulwer-Lytton, left a few memorable tidbits behind. Example: This well-known opener – It was a dark and stormy night...

Funny how no one ever mentions the rest:
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets, for it is in London that our scene lies, rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

A century later Ernest Hemingway might have taken a stab at it like so:
After dark a storm came, and sometimes in the wind there was a noise on the rooftops. You could see the streetlamps struggling to stay lit.

A half century more and Cormac McCarthy might have a go:
Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. The blackness he woke to on those nights was sightless and impenetrable. A blackness to hurt your ears with listening. No sound but the wind in the bare and blackened trees.

My mind has this ability to add and extrapolate. In Bulwer-Lytton’s description I can feel the wind but also see scraggly city trees bending from the force. Backlit by the flames of flickering light, I see the slanted rain streaks on the street lamps’ glass panels and see shop shingles flapping like wooden flags. Over all that, I can imagine a dirty, sooty, 1830’s London with poor and ragged souls chilled to their marrow and hovering in doorways. Cloaked and sodden, they turn their backs to the cold and heavy rain.

In Hemmingway’s version I see an overall mild storm with the occasional gust that wants to extinguish the lamps. My mind doesn’t care to fill in or extrapolate here.

Even without the rain and gust-dimmed lights, in McCarthy’s few lines I see desolation. Again, the words are so tight, the image so compact, my imagination says “OK, enough. I see it.”

I’m ok with all three but you can guess the one my imagination prefers – George Bulwer-Lytton’s.
I find adjectives and adverbs to be life’s jumbo box of crayons, you know, the super-sized box with the built-in sharpener on the back. These modifiers express feelings both physical and emotional. They give a reference point to interpret with. They describe and evoke. But most of all, they lend a tangible quality to the names of things. They color our world. My mind needs adjectives because I see and hear and feel the colors, textures, sounds, and beauty of life. I need them because I have feelings, and one size does not fit all.

These thoughts came to me today, surrounded as I am with grey. A heavy snowstorm a week ago now sublimates into a dense hazy fog. I see bare patches of brown grass in spots on the lawn that inexplicably cleared before the rest. I’ve lived here long enough to know who and what comes first in the spring. First on the scene – my snowdrops have pushed their heads out of the half-frozen ground to soak up the sunlight. I heard my first robin this morning. I saw my first chickadee yesterday. Spring is ready to burst into song, and opening day is just around the corner.

I’m a three-season person. Summer can stay in the south where it belongs, I’d happily enjoy spring, fall and winter without it. Coming to understand myself, I realize one of the reasons I love these three seasons, is the sense of expectation they give. Summer really holds no expectations for me, other than three months of hot and buggy. Fall has the hunkering-down excitement of everything preparing for winter. And winter in the upper Midwest has the grab-bag of weather. The ever-tricksey Lake Michigan can throw a weather curveball like nobody’s business. From deep snows to ice storms it’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates – you never know what you’ll get. But spring is when life stirs and everything starts anew. The whole of nature trembles in anticipation and determines to get its show on the road.

Aside from enjoying how the season unfolds, I love the many colors and sounds of spring. A few short weeks from today, I know I’ll hear a bluebird across the road calling the attention of a nearby female. I can almost see him in my mind’s eye – his downy breast a softly muted shade that turns bright blue at just the right angle. Outside my window, a cardinal will sit in the cedar with his vibrant red plumage. As long as I’m talking descriptors, I must mention his song. The only way to describe that sound is sweet – a rich sweetness that makes your heart ache just a little to hear it, because it’s that beautiful.

Of all the spring colors, I have to say green stands head and shoulders above the rest. This isn’t a generic monotone color. Oh no, far more descriptors are needed here. The range and scope of spring green needs as many as language and imagination allow. In spring, one must spell Green with a capital G.

If I gave an April tour of spring green in my yard, this is what I’d see:
The newly budded weeping willow tree whips will have filled with running sap and turned a yellowish-green. They’re also nubby with unsheathed catkins, each of which has the slightest reddish tinge. Hosta lily spikes of numerous varieties jut up from the ground in clumps and are mostly white-tipped emerald or jade. Lacy bleeding hearts will appear and their stems are a plump hunter green shot with dark crimson edges. Vibrant yellow daffodils have thick kelly-green spikes. (I must add another adjective here – succulent.) Spring cedar growth is dark, almost a shade of olive, but where the squirrels have been stealing bark for their nests, I’ll see the yellow-gold cambium layer exposed in strips that run in long lengths up the trunks. After all these years the trees seem to take this vernal pillaging in stride.

The oak flowers in their spring emergence are not quite as yellow as the willow. The small bit of umber and brick red interspersed throughout tend to play a trick on the eye unless you purposely look for the green. Any spring rain will darken the bur oak’s corky bark. Each tree would be riddled light and dark with damp and dry places. Spring rains will also waken the pubescent moss and lacy-edged lichen of sea green that innocently grow all over the trunks and wait patiently for summer’s leafy shade. After 200 years, I do believe the oaks could care less.

By far, the most green comes from the lawn. As my house is surrounded by rolling fields, the lawn stretches as far as the eye can see. In a matter of weeks, I'll look out on a dew-kissed morning and imagine I’m in Ireland because the whole of it will be dressed in emerald green. It will stay that way until yellow dandelions take over. Then the mature grass gets so tall it goes to seed and bends under its burden. That changes the color dramatically – more of a silver green. The crabgrass and fescue are darker and thicker, more of a teal green. The small clovers and tiny weeds have their own variations on the theme. Slender blades, newly sliced through the topsoil are the faintest and purest of all the greens in my backyard. Describing the green of my lawn is a hard one because all the many shades collectively defy description. There just aren’t enough words for the job.

George Bulwer-Lytton could have run with this. Cormac McCarthy could certainly describe the emotion of the colors here. I think it might be lost on Hemingway. Or maybe he'd just keep it to himself.

BLURB: The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo: (Book Two Eluwilussit)

An ancient hatred seethes in pastoral Wisconsin. Denied access to the White spirit world of the ancestors, ancient shaman Eluwilussit finds himself in the Red Realm and receives a terrible gift from the forsaken spirits dwelling there. Blaming Ash for this misfortune, as well as Aiyanna’s death, he vows to be rid of the other shaman once and for all.

Meanwhile, Ash declares his love to Livie and reveals the truth of his existence as a Witchy Wolf. Warned that Eli comes for him, Ash sends Livie north to the reservation hoping John’s family will keep her safe. In the inevitable confrontation to come, either one shape-shifter will live, or both shall die.

I love words and choose them as carefully as an artist might choose a color. My active imagination compels me to write everything from children’s stories to historical nonfiction. As a persnickety leisure reader, I especially enjoy novels that feel like they were written just for me. It's hard to explain, but if you've ever read one of those, then you know what I mean. I tend to sneak symbolism and metaphor into my writing. You might say it's a game I play with myself when I write. And I so love when readers email to say they've found something. I’d like people to feel my stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth. These hidden insights are my gift to my readers.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Three hot brothers who know how to use their tools

What would you call a series about brothers in the construction business? Why, Erector Set of course. Meet the McCann brothers - josh, Alex, Tyler. Sexy. Smart. Mouthwatering. And each with a special talent.

Erected (Erector Set 1)
Who can resist a pint-sized female with luscious curves stranded in a parking lot? Not Josh McMann. It’s his pleasure to save Ness Bowen, especially given the instant sensual chemistry that explodes between them. When she wrecks her car on the way to meet him for dinner, he saves her once again. And dinner at home takes on a whole new meaning as the sexual pull becomes too strong for either to ignore. The more they see each other, the more intense and erotic the sex becomes.
But Ness sees Josh as a player, and she’s been dumped by men like him who were always looking for the next conquest. Josh has his own trust issues, having been burned by women interested only in his money and power.
When a breakfast date goes awry and Ness thinks she’s been dumped once again, it takes a lot of fancy maneuvering from Josh to make amends.
Hammered (Erector Set 2)
Alex McMann is putting his MBA to good use running the business end of the construction company he owns with his brothers. He’s flown high and wide through the female segment of every geographic area in which the company has a presence, and now he’s ready at last to settle down. When he meets Olivia D’Angelo, CFO of one of their client companies, he’s sure he’s found The One.
 Olivia is sharp, she’s smart, she’s sassy and she challenges him both in and out of the bedroom, where the sex is hot and plentiful. Just one problem. She has her own issues and isn’t looking for anything permanent. Alex has to convince her that he’s enough to satisfy her for the rest of her life!
Nailed (Erector Set 3)
Tyler McMann is a Dom looking for a sub in the bedroom who can match him fire for fire everywhere else. At the private fetish club Finesse, he spots a fiery redhead with a defiant stride and curves that don’t quit. Flame looks like the ultimate Domme, so Tyler’s shocked to discover she is a switch. Their session together is unexpectedly explosive for both of them. 
Tyler comes back night after night to play with Flame. Soon it becomes more than just club play but she’s afraid of fallout in her professional life. In her severe business clothes and uptight persona, no one knows about her secret weekend life and she wants to keep it that way. She also can’t risk another destructive relationship with a controlling man like the one who almost destroyed her before. If Tyler finds out who she really is, would he still offer his love and protection and a future together?

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