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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Summer winding down...

It's still plenty hot here in California, likely to stay that way well past Halloween, but the kids are all back in school which my niece thinks is a plot to get parents to have to buy a whole new "decent" summer wardrobe for the hot weather and then a clothes for the cooler times ahead.  I love summer and I'm a heat fan but there's something so appealing about getting up on an autumn morning, making coffee and sitting at my desk to work, wrapped in the shawl my old friend knitted for me. Halloween...Thanksgiving. They're just around the corner and I know this must be true because every store I have been in lately has the displays to prove it. 

But I want more summer first. The calendar gives us until late September, and I refuse to dip into autumn with its colorful foliage and pumpkin spice everything so soon!  I still want coconut suntan lotion and bare feet,  hair tied up in a braid to keep it off my neck...and a bit of complaining that it's hot out while I really am loving it.

When I was a child, my grandmother always took the month of August off for vacation and we went to the beach every day. She was the only granny of eighty or so in a two piece bathing suit and my aunt would buy us comic books and hamburgers from "Honest John" a former wrestler turned beach snack shack owner.  I bet you have some great summer memories, too, and I 'd love to hear them. It's such a magic time for children and sometimes even for adults. I learned that from my former-flapper, wildwoman of a grandma. Every season has its special moments and most of them are with family. So I guess the season matters less than who we spend them with.

Going Live Everywhere about now...

One of the best things about being part of the author community is the opportunity to use our skills to give back. Somewhere Out There is a collection put together by over 125 professionals of all kinds in the book world. Authors, editors, artists, assistants...a publisher. And 100 percent of profits will go to help keep families together.  Because that's the most important thing, families. If you're so inclined to pick up a copy, we'd be most grateful.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Can You Find LOVE - Use a Map/GPS! by Marianne Stephens

I thought I'd skip going into the boring details of checking road maps...don't you use a GPS now?...and branch off to a different tangent on this.

Let's a road map and find your way somewhere. Isn't the journey to LOVE kinda like that? Don't you have to follow a "path", go in a certain "direction", to find true love?

Romance books use a road map/path/directions to get their heroines to their heroes. It's called a PLOT...and it's never an easy journey. There are always bumps in the road, detours, obstacles, slowdowns, wrong turns...just as you might find if following a map to some unknown destination.

Usually, you manage to find your way...just as our heroines manage to find that "happily-ever-after" ending despite all the setbacks. Flat tire? Run out of gas? Or, Hero's ex-wife shows up to create havoc? Heroine thinks hero is cheating on her? All detours of some type. A road map may not be able to help sometimes, but a crafty plot written to guarantee happiness can set the hero and heroine back on course to romance and love. 

Why don't we send our heroes and heroines on a fantasy journey using a road map and find "LOVE"?

How many cities in the United States are called "Love"? I did some searching on the Internet and here's some that I found:

Love, AZ
Love, IL
Love, KY
Love, MS
Love, TX
Love, VA

Now, you can also find variations for the word "Love" in cities around the country:

Lovers Leap, CA (tragic idea!)                                    Lover, PA
Love Canal, NY                                                           Loving, GA
Love Hill, AL                                                               Loving, KY
Lovejoy, GA                                                                 Loving, NM
Loveladies, NJ                                                              Loving, OK
Lovelady, NC                                                                Loving, TX
Lovelady, TX                                                                Loveland, CO
Love Lady, TN                                                              Loveland, IA
Love Lake, MO                                                             Loveland, OK
Lovely, KY                                                                    Loveland, WA
Loveless, AL (sad!)                                                       Loveland, OH
Love Point, MD                                                             Loveland Park, OH
Loveville, MD                                                               Loves Corner, IL
Loveville, TN                                                                Loves Park, IL

Most of those sound like interesting places to check they live up to their names? Does "LOVE" define each city and hold some type of special magic for those seeking romance? Maybe I should have checked "Romance" for city names. Or, things to do with love and romance.

I actually did find a couple that might interest you. How about Horneytown, NC? Or, Romance, AK? And then there's my favorite, Intercourse, PA.

I've actually been to Intercourse more than once. Quaint little Amish city...mostly a tourist spot. Will you put that on your list of places to visit? Check your road map (or let your GPS find it for you!).

Story idea: What if I have my heroine visit cities with "Love" in their names, while looking for "Mr. Right"?

Hmm...sounds like a good idea!

Photos: Flickr: Andii, Amanda "Bake It Pretty", lorigami's photostreams.
Also: Mapquest: Intercourse, PA

Monday, August 13, 2018

Rough times and the power of Romance

When Stephen Foster wrote the song, "Hard Times,"our spinning blue and green rock hadn't yet experienced the trauma of two global wars, an international Great Depression or the string of natural disasters related to climate change. One thing we know about humanity, though is that the tougher the times, the more good, strong people step up and shine.

Writing romance may seem a frivolous occupation, one that doesn't do to help with any of our local, national, or global crises. With respect, I disagree. Here's why. People need to smile. Most of our old happy ever after fairy tales go back to the dark ages, to the worst eras of the feudal system, or other times when everyday life has been frankly, horrible for the average peasant. (And face it, most writers qualify as peasants in a financial sense.)

But even the bravest and boldest of us need something to which we can aspire. We need to believe in the possibility that things can work out for the best. There are decades of demographic research proving that the worse the economy, the better for escapist, genre fictions, including mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and, most of all, romance.

Love is one of the most powerful forces for good in the universe. If I didn't believe that, I couldn't write romance. Love gives us hope, courage, strength and determination. Love makes us act when it would be easier to ignore whatever is in front of us. Love gives us purpose, and love is the best reward. Believing in that, holding on to it when times are bleak, is a gift. And that's the gift that we authors can help give our readers.

For a few hours, while immersed in one of our stories, the reader is transported to a world where good and right will win the day. Where love provides power and love is the ultimate goal. We make our readers smile. And that smile, that few hours of happy respite can help bolster their strength for another day, another mile, another fight.

In the romance field, we've all heard our work called trashy, unrealistic and over-simplified. Don't by into that. We're selling smiles. We're selling that sense of warmth that allows someone to go to sleep and dream of a world they want to live in. And if you think about it, that's not at all an insignificant job.

For you readers who deal with the same taunts over your choice of reading material, ask them this: is romance any less realistic than a detective who always solves the mystery, or spaceships that never lose an impossible fight? We all enjoy escapism now and again.We're just refueling our faith that humanity is worth the effort. Recharging our optimism.

Happily ever after doesn't always mean the world is perfect. Sometimes it just means we have someone by our side to face the worst. And that's still a powerful thing to believe in.

Friday, August 10, 2018

POCAHONTAS AND JOHN SMITH: Greatest Love Stories Ever Told Series

Posted by Author R. Ann Siracusa

What elements of a love story make it one of the “greatest”? What makes it different from all the rest of the love stories we have read, seen, heard about, watched in movies or on TV, or lived? Why have certain stories captured the human imagination and lasted, in some cases, for thousands of years?
So far, I would conclude these tales are usually tragedies involving great sacrifices on the part of the lovers, which often means death…and that’s about the greatest sacrifice for most human beings. Not too many HEAs.
Although Pocahontas left an indelible impression enduring for more than 400 years, many who know her name know little about her. What they think they know was probably misinformation. According to Jackie Mansky -- historian, professor of Native American history, and writer for the Smithsonian Magazine -- most of the histories and biographies of Pocahontas were:
“...written by people who weren’t historians. Others were historians, [but] they were people who specialized in other matters and were taking it for granted that if something had been repeated several times in other people’s works, it must be true. When I went back and looked at the actual surviving documents from that period, I learned that much of what had been repeated about her wasn’t true at all.”
Pocahontas was born around 1596, the last child of Wahunsenaca, the highest chief of the Powhatan Indians [the Superchief, so to speak], and his first wife [and wife of preference] who was also named Pocahontas. She was apparently a member of the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia.
Our Pocahontas was formally named Amonute, but was called by the more private name Matoaka, which means “flower between two streams.” Pocahontas was like a nickname which meant playful one, because of her frolicsome and curious nature. Other sources claim the nickname meant laughing and joyous one, ittle wanton, mischievous one, the naughty one, or spoiled child. When she became Christian, she was Christened as Rebecca.
I’ll just call her Pocahontas.

Little is known about the mother of Pocahontas. Some historians believe she died in childbirth. Whatever the truth, Pocahontas was favored by her father and held a special place in his heart.
Wahunsenaca, her father, was the most important man among the twenty-eight or thirty Powhatan tribes [25,000 people]. Sometimes referred to as the Powhatan Confederacy, each tribe had its own chief, and Wahunsenaca presided over the whole Confederacy. This matters because there is quite a lot known about the Powhatan Indians and their culture, and some of the events recorded in John Smith’s book General Historie of Virginia, published in 1624, simply could not, would not have happened in that culture.
The English colonists arrived in Virginia in May of 1607 and began the process of settling Jamestown. The Powhatan and settlers didn’t meet until the winter of that year, when Captain John Smith [age 27 at the time] was captured by Wahunsenaca’s brother, Opechancanough. Once captured, Smith was displayed at several Powhatan Indian towns before being brought to the high Chief Wahunsenaca in Werowocomoco.
References are unclear regarding the length of time John Smith was a captive of the Powhatan. Apparently, it was long enough for Pocahontas [who was only ten- or eleven-years old] to try to teach him the Algonquian language and for Chief Wahunsenaca to take a liking to him, to discover they both feared the Spanish, and ultimately to offer 1) An alliance against Spain; 2) A better site for the Jamestown colony; and 3) “Adoption” by the tribe [an initiation and recognition of Smith as another chief].
Pocahontas Saving the Life of Captain John Smith, chromolithograph, c. 1870.
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (Digital file no. cph 3g03368)

According to John Smith's book, which as written after Pocahontas died, he was brought in front of Chief Wahunsenaca to be executed. In his version of the story, his head was forced onto two large stones and a warrior raised a club to smash in his brains.

Before the warrior could do it, Pocahontas rushed in and placed her head over Smith’s, saving his life. After that, the chief told Smith he was now part of the tribe, and in return for two guns and a grindstone, he gave Smith land on the York River and his esteem as a son. Then Smith was allowed to leave.
Afterward, the chief sent food to the starving English. No mention of this “rescue” appears in any of John Smith’s notes, letters, or written accounts of his capture until after the death of Pocahontas.
The oral history of the tribes indicates what Smith described was not an intended execution -- although Smith wouldn’t have understood that – but a four-day ceremony in which Smith became a werowance, a honorary member of the tribe. Children were never allowed to be present at any sort of religious ritual, including the werowance ceremony, so many historians deem it highly unlikely, if not impossible, the Pocahontas, a child of ten or eleven, would have been there.
Over the course of the next two years, the Powhatan made many trips to the colony, to bring gifts of food and to trade. Pocahontas, being the favored daughter of the chief, was likely present as was a sign of peace to the English. It’s clear she went there often enough to be known at the colony.
When John Smith was injured from a fire in his gunpowder bag, he returned to England, and relations between the Jamestown colony and the Indians deteriorated. Pocahontas did not return to the colony for four years. Some references claim she stayed away because the English told her Smith had died.
Actually, in 1610, at the age of adulthood [14], Pocahontas married a warrior named Kocoum. This is confirmed by later colony records. He was a member of the Patawomeck tribe, a component of the Powhatan Confederacy, and brother of the tribal chief. After her marriage, she was still the favored daughter, since the Powhatan women could marry whom they chose. She soon had a child, although there is debate over whether the offspring was male or female. In the Patawomeck oral history, the child was a daughter named Ka-Okee.

During this period, the Powhatan were at war with the English settlers, now under Sir Thomas Dale, Governor of Virginia.
Pocahontas isn’t mentioned again in colony records until 1614, when Captain Samuel Argall kidnapped her, hoping to use her as a bargaining chip to end the war with the Powhatan and for the return of some British prisoners, tools, and weapons.

Samuel Argall        Governor Thomas Dale

She was held captive for over a year, apparently at first in Jamestown. During that time, she learned English, converted to Christianity, and was baptized Rebecca. She also met John Rolfe, a recently widowed settler who had come to Virginia in 1610 and was pioneering the production of tobacco.
John Rolfe

Written history claims that, as a captive, Pocahontas was treated as a guest, and eventually she and John Rolfe fell in love. The tribal histories claim she told her sister she was raped and treated like a slave. When she became pregnant, she was moved to a smaller town named Henrico where she gave birth to a son [Thomas] out of wedlock.

Baptism of Pocahontas by John Gadsby Chapman, oil on canvas
in. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Pocahontas either accepted, or was coerced into accepting, a proposal of marriage from John Rolfe. Allegedly, both her father and Governor Dale agreed to the marriage, although Chief Wahunsenaca did not attend the ceremony for fear of treachery.
Her husband, Kocoum, seeing the handwriting on the wall, agreed to a divorce [which did exist among the Indian tribes]. Other accounts claim Argall threatened Kocoum’s brother until he agreed to help with the kidnapping. In this version, Kocoum was killed by the settlers when he returned to his village. Both versions could be true.
Once Pocahontas married, peace prevailed but, of course, she had to give up her child to be raised by the women of the tribe and probably never saw her again.
According to, “In the midst of her captivity, the English colony of Jamestown was failing. John Rolfe was under a 1616 deadline to become profitable or lose the support of the Virginia Company and the English crown. Rolfe sought to learn tobacco curing techniques from the Powhatan, but curing tobacco was a sacred practice not to be shared with outsiders. Realizing the political strength of aligning himself with the tribe, he eventually married Pocahontas on April 5 [14?], 1614.

After the two were married, the tribe’s spiritual leaders and family shared the curing practice with Rolfe. Soon afterwards, Rolfe’s tobacco was a sensation in England, which saved the colony of Jamestown, as they finally found a profitable venture."

Two years later, in the spring of 1616, Rebecca and John Rolfd and their infant son Thomas, went to England with Governor Dale and a group of other Native American men and women, including Pocahontas' sister, Mattachanna and her husband. The Virginia Company saw the visit as a device to publicize the colony and to win support from King James I and other investors.

The marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe (1614) © North Wind Picture Archives
During her nine months in London, our heroine met John Smith once and didn’t mince words about her displeasure with him and his countrymen who “lie much.”

Rebecca and her husband John planned to return to Virginia in 1617 and had embarked on the ship, still on the River Thames, when Pocahontas fell ill and died.

The historical party-line is that she probably had contracted a lung disease [pneumonia or tuberculosis]. Mattachanna’s account was that Pocahontas was in good health all through the trip and when they boarded the ship for the return journey. Then, after having dinner with Rolfe and Argall, she began vomiting and soon thereafter died. So sudden was her death that her sister concluded she had been poisoned. 
She died at the age of about 21 or 22 in the town of Gravesend, Kent and was buried on March 11, 1617 in the chancel [near the altar] of the original St. George’s Church in Gravesend before it was destroyed by fire in 1727.
John Rolfe returned to Virginia and Thomas, the son, remained in England until 1635, when he returned to Virginia and eventually became a tobacco farmer.

Her father, Chief Wahunsenaca, learned from Mattachanna that his beloved daughter had died but had never betrayed her people, as some historians claim. Heartbroken that he never rescued her, he died from grief less than a year after the death of Pocahontas. 


Not only is the love story between Pocahontas and John Smith an unfounded myth, a sham, but even the love story between Pocahontas and John Rolfe is questionable and certainly not one of the greatest ever told. But even if her “love story” isn’t one of the greatest, she made significant sacrifices for her people and helped create a bridge between cultures. Pocahontas deserves to be remembered and honored for who she was as a person; brave, courageous, clever, strong, and a much more interesting and important than the fictional Pocahontas.

Travel to Foreign Lands for Romance and Intrigue

Dr. Linwood "Little Bear" and Angela L. Daniel "Silver Star." The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History.Golden: Fulcrum Publishing, 2007.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sometimes I'm Just a Fan Girl #author #fan #amreading #RB4U

Sometimes I'm Just a Fan Girl

Welcome to another witty, or trying to be, post by a small town romance author. Thank you for stopping by! 

I began as a reader. I devoured books left and right at an early age. When my mother introduced me to romance books, there was no looking back. By the age of thirteen, I was reading a book a day and fell in love with the magical worlds created by Johanna Lindsay and Jude Devereaux. Over the years, my reading interests changed. I moved away from historicals and found vampires. I loved the Urban Fantasy genre with kick-butt heroines and how they set out to 
save the world.

In the 90's I found Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. The first book, Guilty Pleasures, introduced me to a whole new world where vampires, magic and shifters existed. I quickly bought each new book and read them in one sitting. Eventually, I found other authors who I fell in love with and gobbled up like candy, too.

As years passed, I began writing. Now I'm on the other side of the table during author events. People fan girl over meeting me. My dearest friend, Carol, cried the first time she met me. As an avid reader, I understand what it means to meet someone who has written a story which keeps you up at night or hits close to your heart. 

But this evening, I'm not at the author table, I'm a reader. A Fan Girl. And while I've read everything (even some of her Star Trek fiction) by Laurell, I hadn't gotten a chance to meet her. Today that changes. 

I'm going to an event at a local bookstore where I will receive a signed copy of her latest book, Serpentine, and get to listen to her speak about her writing. I'm hoping she will be available for photos, but if's still great to indulge in being a fan for a bit. Who knows... maybe I'll get an inspiration for a new story!

Is there an author who you fawn over and long to meet? Please share so I don't feel so alone!

Until next month,

Melissa Keir

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

#Guestinterview JL Regen visits #RB4U Secret Desires #romance

Please Welcome J.L. Regen 

What inspires you to write?
I started reading at three and composing at four. I come from a long line of teachers. My beloved mother instilled a love of reading in me when I was a little girl.

What kind of research do you do for your books and how extensive do you get?
When I have a travel budget, I like to go on site so that I touch, taste, smell, and hear my story setting. For my upcoming historical suspense, I had to read through all of my uncle's memoirs from his experience as a medic in WWII.
However, due to time constraints I'm not able to do as much research as I would like. History fascinates me, but whether it's history or contemporary suspense, I want to be as accurate as I can with my work.

Do you always/ever see yourself as the heroine/hero when you write a story?
I often see myself as the heroine in my novels. In fact, Secret Desires is based on a true story. In romance as in life, sometimes hearts must be broken (initially) to mend completely. As my hero, Eleanor Roosevelt, said, "A woman is like a teabag that has been plunged
into hot water." I've known that feeling in my personal life.

When you need a break or some time off from the trials of being a writer, what can you be found doing?
 When I need a break to think out my plot and give more depth to my characters, I usually go for a long walk or talk out my plot points with a good friend who is familiar with my story.


 Favorite romantic movie:  Charade. 
There are some tender scenes between Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn

    Favorite actor: Paul Newman. 
Though he's left us, when I see those blue eyes and handsome face, my toes still curl

    Favorite actress: Meryl Streep. She becomes her characters.

    Favorite way to relax: Reading, horseback riding, yoga, swimming

About the Author:
J.L. Regen’s book was inspired by a real life story of lovers who join hearts against many odds. She lives in the New York metropolitan area, is a published photojournalist, has short suspense stories online, and has taught English as a Second Language to students around the globe. This is her first contemporary romance. She has also published three nonfiction books and is crafting a historical suspense set in World War II.

Readers can find J.L. Regen on her  and her books can be found in paperback and E-book on and B&

J.L. Regen's latest release:

Secret Desires

Margo Simmons is ecstatic when she inherits her uncle’s Manhattan apartment and a handsome sum of money. To her chagrin, there are strings attached. She must be gainfully employed in a job for a year. Everything in Margo’s life has complications. When she meets the man of her dreams, she anguishes over how to fulfill her secret desires for a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife and afraid to open his heart again. To replace her fractured childhood growing up with a distant stepfather, Margo becomes the guardian of an elementary student who longs for connection and closeness. As the story evolves, readers will see how these individuals unite. Secret Desires is a contemporary romance written from the heart and speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   

Monday, August 6, 2018

Otherworldly powers. Danger. Romance. NEW RELEASE - Thrust Into Danger - Erotic Paranormal Suspense #TinaDonahueBooks #EroticParanormalSuspense

Thrust Into Danger just released and it's hot, plus romantic, plus suspenseful, and the supernatural powers really kick up the heat!

Thrust into Danger – part of the Phoenix Agency series. Erotic Paranormal Suspense.


Together, they’ll expose an unspeakable crime, while falling under each other’s spell.

Ex-cop and telekinetic Gaby Peña heads security at a private boarding school. She never expected a student to go missing on her watch. Desperate to find the girl, she contacts The Phoenix Agency.

Nick Torres, a telepath, is everything she’s wanted in a man: tall, dark, sexy as hell, and caring. During his time as a SEALs combat medic, he witnessed catastrophic injuries, but nothing prepared him for the horror of a kid disappearing. Moved by Gaby’s concern and captivated by the remarkable woman she is, he joins her in a search for the missing teen.

Their hunt takes them from San Antonio to Mexico and back, where they unearth a criminal conspiracy neither could have imagined…one that will threaten Gaby’s life.

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