Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rescued by Larynn Ford

Today's talented author is Larynn Ford, a paranormal romance author with Soul Mate Publishing. Her new novel, Rescued, hit Amazon last week and is steadily making its way toward becoming a bestseller! Here's Larynn to tell us a little bit more about her book.

Fiercely independent and determined to be taken seriously in a man’s world, PI Rose Baxter will do whatever it takes to find the kids who are disappearing from the streets and bring them home safe, even teaming up with PI Marty Brown, a man hot enough to burn whatever part of her gets too close – her fingers, her sheets, her life, and her other nature’s whiskers.

But her other nature knows whiskers grow back and will accept nothing less than this man as her mate for life, a plan Marty’s all in on. Sparks fly when she refuses to be the little woman. Besides, those kids need her and their time’s running out. But, thrown together 24/7 can she fight it?

Rescued sounds like a great story. I'm a huge fan of stories that include private investigators. 

Larynn sent us a short excerpt for our reading pleasure. And given the way my day went yesterday, I could use a bit of pleasure today. 

The mattress moaned slightly in response to an unseen and unexpected movement. Her eyes snapped open and focused on the room, moving up, down, side-to-side. She didn’t recognize a single thing in her line of view. A rush of air flooded her lungs in a panicked gasp. She wasn’t where she should be.

In her own bed.


Damn. Where am I and how did I end up here? Double damn.

Her last memory? The bar. Jed’s Place. She’d received a tip from her source that her suspect had slithered inside. Arriving a few minutes later, she kept an eye on him and his cohorts for a couple of hours. Posing as a customer, she shot a couple of games of eight ball with some of the regulars.

Her eyes narrowed. Her head pounded as she recalled the next events.

Nothing stood out until . . . the asshole from the pool table sidled up way too close behind her and tried to score points by offering shooting tips. She stretched up on her tiptoes to line up the winning shot. His groin pressed tight against her bottom. His hands slid down her arms to her wrists as he whispered, “Let me give you a hand there, little lady.”

Without flinching, she purred, “I’m not little, I’m nobody’s lady, and I don’t need your help.” She slammed the butt end of the cue stick into his ribs, and with the same smooth motion came back to make a perfect shot and win her third game of the night. She straightened from the table with a satisfied grin.

Oooh. Rose is my type of gal! You've got great details here, enough for me to totally picture the scene. I love her response to the guy. Great line of dialogue. 

To purchase this title, click here.

So tell me more about the author. 

Larynn Ford is intrigued by the paranormal. She’s a day dreamer and a romantic. She loves to let her mind wander always searching for a happily ever after ending to her dreams.

At home in East Central Alabama, she worked as a cook and cashier before becoming a wife and mother. Earned a degree in Elementary Education, taught school, and worked in customer service. All the while her day dreams stacked up in the archives of her mind waiting for, well…

She put some of those ideas on paper and began writing in 2009. Larynn’s first effort involves the reuniting of two lost loves through a series of dreams involving the magical land of the Fae. It’s not all fun and games though since danger lurks in the shadows and must be dealt with.

In 2010, she joined Romance Writers of America and chose the Southern Magic Chapter in Birmingham, Alabama as her local support group.

She’s going to keep on dreaming and searching for those happy endings.

Available on Amazon

CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS, a short story in "All I Want For Christmas Is A Soul Mate"
Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon

Coming soon


Thank you so much, Larynn, for letting me help spread the word about your newest release.  Only a week old, and you've already got a 5 star review! I wish you the best of luck on your sales. 

If you're as intrigued as I am, purchasing this title won't make much of a dent in your bank account. Only $2.99. That's less than the cost of one cup of my favorite coffee drink at Starbucks.  To purchase this title, click here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Confederado do Norte by Linda Pennell

If you love historical fiction, then I've got a treat for you. Author Linda Bennett Pennell, another one of my fabulous Soul Mate sisters, has joined me today to celebrate the release of her new book, Confederado do Norte. Before we begin, take a moment to feast your eyes on Linda's gorgeous book cover below. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read that book based on the cover alone?! 

But seriously, without further adieu, here's Linda to tell us about her book. 

Available on

About the Book:
Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.

October, 1866.

Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.

I love anything that deals with this particular time period. What inspired you to write this book? 
Very little has been written about the real Confederados who left the defeated former Confederate states in search of a place where they could remake life as they had known it before the war. There are three historical monographs and a couple of websites, so imagine my surprise when I read a magazine article about their descendants who live in and around Americana, Brazil. On festival days, these folks with Anglo surnames and Portuguese first names can be seen wearing Confederate gray uniforms, antebellum ball gowns, and displaying the Stars and Bars. They even hold balls like their ancestors once did. It's like Gone with the Wind set in Brazil. While I do not agree with their ancestors' choices before or after the Civil War, I found their story fascinating and it got my imagination churning. Confederado do Norte (Confederate from the North) is the result.

I'm already sold on this book. In case you aren't convinced quite as easily as I am, how about an little excerpt to sway you? 
Chapter 1
I dreamt the dream again last night. In the small hours, I awoke in a tumble of bedclothes and bathed in perspiration despite the howling snowstorm blanketing the city. I rearranged quilts and plumped pillows, but sleep remained elusive. My mind refused to be quiet.

As often happens after such a night, I felt unable to rise at my usual hour and remained abed long after the maids cleared breakfast from the morning room. My daughter-in-law, bless her heart, meant well. I told her it was ridiculous to bring the doctor out on such a frigid day, but apparently the very old, like the very young, are not to be trusted in matters of judgment. After the doctor listened to my chest, a studied sympathy filled his eyes and he gently suggested that perhaps I should get my affairs in order. No doubt he wondered at my smile for he couldn’t have known I have no affairs other than my memories and the emotions they engender.

Unlike most elderly persons, I don’t revel in slogging through the past. It isn’t wrapped in pretty ribbons or surrounded by a golden aura. Instead, its voices haunt my dreams, demanding and accusatory. Until recently, I’ve resisted their intrusion into my waking life, but I now believe the past can no longer remain buried in nocturnal visions. It must be brought out into the light of day. From its earliest moments onward, the past’s substance must be gouged out, pulled apart, and examined bit by bit until its truth is exposed. While total objectivity may not be possible, I have concluded that committing the past to paper is my best hope for sorting facts from imaginings. Perhaps then I will achieve the peace that has so long hidden its face from me.

You see, when I was quite young—only a girl really—I killed four people. Two were dearly beloved, one was a hated enemy, and the last was a dangerous criminal.

Chapter 2
My story begins at the end of a terrible war, one that destroyed many lives and much property. But for that war and a handful of newspaper editorials and advertisements, my life would have turned out quite differently. Sometimes it seems no time at all has passed since I was a nine-year-old child standing on the deck of a ship watching home disappear over the horizon.

Warm Gulf breezes tugged at the brim of my bonnet, setting its ribbons dancing. Leaning over the Alyssa Jane’s railing, I stared back in the direction of Mobile Bay and pretended I could see the dock where my beloved Bess stood, probably still waving. Mama, her pretty features marred by a furrowed brow and down turned mouth, paced beside me.

“Mary Catherine MacDonald! Get down before you fall overboard. All we need right now is another crisis. And stop wiping your nose on your sleeve.”

Mama didn’t seem to understand anything anymore. Before we left home, she was calm and kind. Afterward, she snapped at the least little thing. I threw her a hateful glance, but she had already turned away, so I stubbornly leaned a little farther out over the railing. The wake trailing behind the Alyssa Jane looked like a blue-green path lined on either side by mounds of ginned cotton, a path pushing me away from the only life I had ever known. Only my sniveling broke the silence of that October morning.

A swish of crinolines brought Mama beside me. She grabbed my arm and whispered through clenched teeth, “Mary C., I told you to get off that railing. Go below and stay there until you can do as you’re told!”

I stomped across the deck, pausing once beside the mainmast to scowl over my shoulder. It was all so unfair. I hadn’t asked to be dragged along on this blasted trip. I wanted Bess. I wanted to go home, no matter how damaged it was, no matter who ran the stupid government. I wanted to be anywhere but here. But Mama turned away from me. She wasn’t even going to watch to see that I did what she said. Her indifference was like a slap in the face.

As I jumped through the open hatch leading below deck, the pungent odor of pine tar mixed with burning kerosene assailed my senses. I hated the smell. Besides making me slightly queasy, it reminded me of how final my losses were. Nothing at home smelled like the interior of that old tub. I hit the steps at a near run with plans to fling myself into my hammock and stay there forever. It would serve them right if I just upped and died. I bowled along toward the sleeping area blinded by tears and the sudden gloom of the narrow passageway.

Without warning, I crashed headlong into a pair of wool-encased legs. The trousers’ owner and I struggled momentarily in an awkward dance. With a standoff in the making, he harrumphed once, picked me up by my arms, deposited me on the other side of him, and stepped toward the hatch.

Tears forgotten, I tugged on his retreating coattails, ready to let him see my displeasure. Hooded eyes with ink black irises stared down in return. He didn’t look particularly angry, but authority hung about him like a mantle.

I swallowed, choked back what I intended to say, and instead muttered, “I’m sorry for running into you.”

He gazed at me for a moment and then simply nodded before turning away. The Reverend Jonas Williams might be a man of God, but his unsmiling countenance raised the hair at the nape of my neck as though someone stepped on my grave. Mama often fussed that Bess planted too many of her superstitions in my fertile imagination. I was now old enough to understand that some of what Mama said was true. But the Reverend Brother Williams still affected me like a haint. A slight shudder slithered down my spine, as though my body was trying to rid itself of his effect. I turned and fled down the hallway toward our sleeping quarters. Many months later, I would come to see this encounter as an omen, a foreshadowing of all that came afterward.

I think I'm in love. Even in this short snippet, the writing is fantastic. The word choices alone are simply divine, swoon-worthy for a teacher like me. 

And just remember . . . purchasing an ebook on Amazon only takes the click of one button, then POOF! it appears on your ereader seconds later.  

See? I just did it! (just don't tell my husband)

About Linda Pennell:
I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, "Let's pretend."

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." Voltaire

Connect with Linda:
Twitter: @LindaPennell

Other Books by Linda:

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel

Thank you so much, Linda, for allowing me to join in your celebration. Your book looks fantastic. Best of luck to you, and may your sales be many. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Romance Weekly: #LoveWriteChat

It's my favorite time of the week! 
Time for the Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat, where our merry band of Romance writers tell you all their writing craft secrets! If you found me by way of Gemma Brocato, welcome! This week's questions come from  Jo Richardson

How often do you write?

I write as often as I can. At any given time, I may have 2-3 different projects in varying states of disarray to draft or revise, plus blog posts to work on. During the summer, when I'm off from work, I try to spend at least a couple hours writing each day. Some days, I hole up in my bedroom and work all day while my two kids fend for themselves. Other days, I wind up playing referee, chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, or photographer. You know . . . begin a wife and a mom. 

During the school year, my "butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard" writing time is seriously limited. Being a teacher often means that my day job takes over my entire life. I steal what time I can to write, usually nights and weekends, but it's definitely not easy.

Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?

Absolutely. You have to write or you're not a writer. There's just no way around it. BUT I don't think writing as much as possible, or even writing every single day, is enough to turn someone into a great writer. Writing involves so much more than that. You have to hone your inner editor, too. 

I saw this quote and picture recently on FB and it perfectly sums up my philosophy as a 5th grade teacher. 

William Faulkner by Vladymyr Lukash. C.C. by 3.0

When we read in my classroom, we are constantly analyzing how the author did what they did. How did they begin their story? How did they end each scene? How did they indicate a passing of time? You get the point. We analyze and discuss our findings, label each method, and then practice it for ourselves. After that, we critique, reflect, and revise. Then it begins all over again. 

Even when I'm not writing per se, I'm still involved in some part of the writing process, whether it's plotting, reading a mentor text, giving a critique, revising a piece, or 
teaching my class about writing.   

What is your opinion on the saying “if you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer"?

For some of us, it's just not possible. My job and my family need my time, too.That doesn't make me less of a writer. It makes me human. It just means I have to be smarter with the time that I do have. I need to learn to turn off the internet so I don't hear the siren's call of FB and Twitter. I need to set my DVR to record my favorite shows. When I need a break from writing, that's when I can binge on all my TV shows and get caught up! 

Can't wait until next week's chat? Then check out of Romance Writer's Weekly Facebook page.     Our authors are ready to chat with you right now and will give you the inside scoop on their latest contest wins, upcoming books, and sales. Oh, and before you go, be a doll and enter our Romance Weekly Giveaway

Now, if y'all don't mind, I left my muse tied to a chair where I intend to keep her for the next few hours while I write. Next up on the love chat tour . . . Carrie Elks, author of Halfway Hidden and Fix You.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Into The Darkness by J.J. Devine

Today, I get the pleasure of introducing you to fellow Soul Mate author and Romance Writers Weekly peep, J.J. Devine. J.J.'s paranormal romance, Into the Darkness, hit Amazon's e-bookstore yesterday, so today, we celebrate! Here's a little teaser about the book. Just a small taste to whet your appetite.
Witches and vampires can only be found in make believe worlds, right? This is exactly what Raven thought before that fateful night when her mortal world came crashing down around her, bringing to her fingertips the fate of two very different worlds, vampires and witches.
I don't know about you guys, but the teaser alone is enough to make me want to buy the book. I gotta say, I love stories that include witches, and the clashing of human and paranormal worlds. Let's just say, True Blood and Charmed are/were two of my favorite television shows. It definitely makes me want to read more. So I think we should do just that!

About the Book:

Dream or Reality? Fantasy or Fact? Vampires and Witches are they mythical creatures or something that walks amongst us every day without our knowledge? To Raven, a twenty-five year old, extremely sheltered woman, they are nothing more than something to be read about in a book. To Dragon, an eight hundred year old vampire, they are a way of life.

Raven truly believes she is going mad. Erotic dreams fill her nights causing her to question her sanity by the light of day. They lead her into a world she never knew existed and a heritage that can only be found in nightmares.

Dragon wants nothing more than to own the mortal soul of the beautiful Raven. What he finds is, a woman, who can make eight hundred year old scars disappear, and proof she is far from mortal.

Together they seek out the dark heritage of her past. What they find is much more than either of them bargained for. A destiny lies at her doorstep, one that could bring her salvation and an eternity at his side. Or, it could seal her fate and rip her from his world forever.

To celebrate the release of her book, J.J. snuck a short excerpt for us to enjoy. 

Raven awoke with a start. A single candle penetrated the darkness engulfing her. Her body began to tremble as she assessed her strange surroundings. She smelled Dragon; he was close. Her body hummed its need for him. What happened tonight? Where am I?

Tremors overtook her, remembering the events of the night. What had she become involved with? Vampires? Witches? And who were they trying to fool? Moreover, for what purpose?

Dragon’s heady scent filled her senses, drawing again her craving for blood. If she was the daughter of a vampire, as Tristan would have her believe, then why did she not have fangs?

The urgency of her desires, more apparent as the wetness between her legs dampened her skin, became an irritant. Damn him, even now she craved the pleasures Dragon stirred in her.

She tried to move from the bed, but Dragon’s strong arm wrapped about her waist, holding her in place. Well, that explains why I can smell him so strongly.

“You told me you wanted to spend the morning with me,” he grunted in her ear.

“That was before I knew you were a vampire.” Her angry words caused him to release her.

Rolling to his back, he slid an arm under his head. “I’m sorry, Raven. I should have told you.”

“There is a great deal you should have told me. Do you think for one moment I believe you or Tristan are these . . . these fictional creatures? Do you suppose for one moment I believe I am the daughter of not just one of these imaginary characters, but two as well?”

Dragon remained relaxed, his breathing even, his demeanor calm. His relaxed posture in her bed, as if her words held no more import than a vague breeze, infuriated her.

“Are you listening to me?” The demand in her tone was harsher than she had ever used.

He lit a lamp on the table beside him, illuminating his face. “Are you done ranting?”

“Ranting! You make fun of something that frightened me so gravely and you have the audacity to say I am ranting.”

Dragon’s hand came to her cheek. Instantly, need replaced anger. She wriggled to ease the yearning between her thighs. Her breasts felt swollen, aching for his touch.

Yet she resisted. “Stop it, Dragon. You know what affect you have on me.”

Dragon withdrew his hand, rising so the sheet fell, exposing his bare chest. Shifting away to fight off the tremendous urge to ravish him, she choked out, “I want answers. Now.”

“Raven, I have never lied to you, nor have I ever made sport of you. And I meant it when I told you I love you.”

“You’re saying that you and Tristan are vampires. And I thought I was the crazy one.” She turned away in disgust, even as she sensed the pain her words had caused him. She pressed a hand to her chest to ease the pressure she felt there.

When her eyes flickered back to him, a shocked gasp escaped at the sight awaiting her.

His mouth was open. And he had fangs. In his mouth.


“Touch them!” he demanded.

She recoiled.

“I said, touch them!” He grabbed her hand, forcing it to his open mouth. The sharp points of his fangs pricked her finger.

Raven ripped her hand from his grasp. “Stop, Dragon! You’re frightening me.”

“I smell your fear. Look deep inside yourself. Fear is not the only emotion that drives this craving for the taste of blood. Your lust for me is stronger.”

Shock overwhelmed her anew as she studied his eyes. She could read the stream of mixed emotion pooling in their deep, darkened depths. His voice sounded in her ears, yet his lips never moved.

“See, you do hear me. Can a mortal woman hear what a man says within his head?”

Dragon rose, naked, from the bed. Raven gritted her teeth against the glorious sight of him. Every muscle, chiseled to flawless perfection. The heat between her legs grew uncomfortable. Damn you for making me want you, even now.

Crossing the room to a small wooden table, he poured a drink into two glasses. It looked dark and smelled rich, inviting. Her mouth watered, a consuming sensation. He came back to stand beside the bed, shoving a glass at her.

She eyed it suspiciously. “What is it?”


The scent of the liquid aroused her, but she held her ground. “What is it?”

“Drink it!” Dragon’s tone was dark and furious, his eyes glaring at her.

“And if I don’t?” She ripped the glass from his grasp and slammed it on the bedside table in a show of defiance.

Dragon gulped the contents of the glass in his hand, then yanked her from the bed. His mouth crashed down on hers, the drink still rich on his lips and tongue. Unable to control herself, she clung to him in desperation, devouring his mouth. The sweet taste of the liquid fueled a sudden fire within.

Dragon pushed her away. Her hands reached for the glass he had brought her and she drank down the warm, soothing liquid in one large draught. She didn’t care if he watched her, as her tongue licked at the remnants clinging to the corners of her mouth.

His anger seemed to rise with each drop she took in. Now he taunted, “I believe it is you who needs to answer my questions. Mortal women do not crave blood, my dark angel.”

Raven’s hand went to her mouth as her stomach lurched. Dragon grabbed the chamber pot as the contents of her stomach resurfaced.

“You bastard!” She cursed him, even as her taste for the liquid returned in much greater force than before.

“How much more proof do you need, Raven? Your hunger for blood is as deep as any vampire I know.”

Love it! I love the part where she turns around and sees his fangs for the first time. And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is the book trailer for Into the Darkness by J.J. Devine. 

Let's learn more about the author behind the book.

About J.J. Devine
J.J. Devine
Reading and writing have been J.J.'s passion her whole life. Starting out with being the poet, everyone came to in high school to get that "perfect" poem for his or her boyfriend/girlfriend. She spent her weekends locked away in her room, curled up on her bed, writing short stories for only a selected few readers.

She has been happily married for 28 years to her trucker husband. She is a mother of three, grandmother of three; a lover of dogs, cats, and fish.

J.J. started to pen historical romance as a hobby when her youngest child was a year old, creating the Acceptance Series. She got serious about her writing career joining Romance Writers of America and Indiana Romance Writers of America moving on to help start Crossroads Romance Writers in 2014. She penned her first paranormal romance, Into the Darkness, in 25 days, taking herself beyond her comfort zone and just giving the characters free reign of their story.

Since taking herself out of the outside working world, she has dedicated her life to her writing and her writing world and raising consciousness for Domestic Violence Awareness.

Connect with J.J.


Hold up. Do you mean to tell me, you wrote this book in only 25 days?! Now I'm totally jealous. I think I just might have to hate you a little bit. But seriously, though, maybe later you can share your plotting secrets with me. Please?? 

To purchase, Into The Darkness by J.J. Devine, click here: 
Good luck with your book sales, J.J.!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MSFV Blog Critique Tour

Last week, Authoress, from the ever-fabulous Miss Snarks First Victim website, ran a fun little logline contest on Twitter. (For my non-writer friends, a logline is a one sentence summary of a book or film.) Winners would get the chance to participate in a Blog Critique Tour. The tour itself promised to bring an onslaught of visitors voicing their honest opinions. And as we writer-types know, any feedback, even the brutal truth which brings tears to our eyes, is worth listening to. Critiquers are entered in a drawing of their own, for a 15 page line edit by Authoress herself (that's her to your right). Each critique equals 1 entry into the drawing. 

Talk about a win-win situation! I figured, what the heck? Couldn't hurt, ya know? Before my nerves could get the better of me, I hit the Tweet button. 

And then I started reading all the other submissions. 

Oh, my gosh, guys. Talk about talent! In case you missed the logline frenzy that hit Twitter, there are some amazing books waiting to hit your bookshelves. Take my word for it, start saving your pennies now, because you'll be spending a ton very soon. 

As luck would have it, Authoress plucked my logline, along with 9 others, from Twitter-sphere obscurity. What in the world did I get myself into?!  

So I humbly present to you my logline, and first 250 words of Assassin, P.I. - my noir-inspired Romantic Suspense novel. 


The vigilante justice business gets mighty complicated 
when the killer you’re tracking . . . 
might turn out to be you.

Intrigued? Want more? 

Here are the first 250 words of Assassin, P.I.

When Jack awoke that morning, he had no idea that by the end of the day he’d sign his own death warrant and seal it with a kiss. Just another unfortunate schmuck about to get played. By a dame, no less. A pretty dame with pretty legs and an even prettier mouth.

“Mark my words, Jack, you’ll be back on the streets tracking a killer by the end of the week.”
And Frankie was always right.

“I need your help, Mr. Gaines.”

Jack stifled a groan, refusing to look at the woman who graced his doorway. It always started like that. Some broad would waltz into the office begging for help. Well, not this time. He was through being a sucker with muscles for every pretty dame who had a sad sob story to tell.

“We’re closed. Go away.” He tugged the fedora lower and kicked his feet up on the desk. Pretending to read, he peered over the paperback to watch the woman move for the coatrack, her stride restricted by the pencil skirt she wore. She shrugged the coat from her shoulders, revealing an hourglass figure draped in expensive clothes. The cream blouse scarcely concealed the lacy bra and the ample breasts beneath. His type of woman.

“Sign says otherwise,” the woman replied, undeterred. Her voice tickled a memory in the dark recesses of his brain.

“Pretty legs, pretty legs,” Jack’s parrot squawked.

“Shut up, Shamus,” Jack and the woman commanded simultaneously.

That voice.

Those legs.


That's all I'm allowed to share with you today, folks. Sorry! Now it's your turn to give me your feedback. Each critique you leave equals 1 entry in a drawing for a 15 page line edit. Good, bad, or brutal, I'm all ears. 

When you're done, click here to return to MSFV to check out the other winners and their blogs.

J.J. Devine
Now available on Amazon
Come back tomorrow when I help fellow Soul Mate author and Romance Weekly Blog Hop peep, J.J. Devine celebrate the release of her new paranormal romance, Into the Darkness, which is available right now on Consider this your official invitation to J.J.'s release party, where she'll be giving away fun prizes. Click here to join the party. See y'all tomorrow! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Romance Weekly: #LoveWriteChat

Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all..... About our writing of course! Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you found me by way of J.J. Devine, welcome! Be sure to come back Thursday to help J.J. and I celebrate the release of her new paranormal romance, Into The Darkness. Click here to join her release party: Release Party Details. Oh, and before I forget, be sure to enter our Romance Weekly Giveaway. Click here to enter.

This week's questions come to us from Jeanne McDonald, and boy, are they tough this week, or what?! Here goes. 

How did you go about choosing the names for your characters? 

I swear my characters just pick their own names and personality types. ; )

However, when that fails to happen, I turn to the internet or baby name books. Sometimes, I need to research the origin or meaning of a name.

I also keep a list of cool names that I'd like to use one day. As of today, Delanie, Brooklyn, and Nahla are on that list. 

Where did the inspiration for your current book come from? 

I'll admit, I can't for the life of me remember where the inspiration for Assassin, P.I. came from. But I do know where it came from for my next two projects.

Sophie and Mateo's story concept came to me at school one morning. Every Friday morning, from 7:00 to 7:30 a.m. our school site plays music for the kids to dance to. It's our way of celebrating that we made it through another week of learning. However, our school is situated in a small neighborhood, and across the street from our playground are several nice homes. I started wondering how our neighbors felt about the loud music, and the ensuing conga line Mrs. Gonzales would surely start.

What if Mateo, a cranky ex-Marine, lived in one of those homes? Surely he would resent the early morning wake up call. What if he tried throwing his weight around in the school's front office? How would Sophie, the petite school principal, react? I'm guessing sparks would fly right from the start.

Last week, I talked about another character who is very similar to me. April's story began several years ago after listening to a song. You know how song lyrics can be maddeningly difficult to decipher? Yeah. I mistakenly thought part of the song lyrics said the phrase, "GOING SANE." Can't remember the song, or the correct version of the lyrics, but the phrase stuck with me.

From there, I began thinking about three different women, all high school buddies, who leave their crazy lives in order to find their sanity. One leaves her neglectful husband for the sake of her young daughters. Another wants to get out of the rat race after losing a big promotion she was sure she'd get. And April needs to figure out what she wants from life. The three women, and two children, move in together to support each other.  

What methods do you use to ensure you have no plot holes (journal, storyboard, outline, editor, etc.)?

Does pulling my hair out and praying for the best, count? I think I've tried every method known to man! Since I write romantic suspense, and usually from multiple points of views, plotting can be difficult and confusing, especially for me. I've tried using index cards to keep track of scenes, sticky notes, outlines, and an overabundance of journals that I always seem to lose. I even threatened to create a clothesline approach on one wall in our bedroom. My hubby was none too happy about that, though, so it never came to be.

Now I use Scrivener as my writing software. I create a file for each of my characters, along with a photograph, physical description, personality traits, and motivation for their actions. As I write, I refer back to my character analysis notes and keep a long list of questions that need to be answered at some point in the storyline. And then (because it's my favorite tried-and-true method) I talk to whomever will listen. Usually it's one of my sisters who is subjected to an hour long phone conversation where I try to work out the storyline. When they get lost, they ask questions like "How . . . ?" and "Why . . . ?" In turn, I have to find the answers and rewrite or revise accordingly.

Next up . . . Jeana E. Mann, award-winning author of the novel, Intoxicated. Visit her blog at:

Don't forget to visit again soon. Tomorrow I dish on my current project (a noir-inspired romantic suspense),  and Thursday author J.J. Devine will be here to celebrate her newest release! See you soon! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk:
The intimate conversations that occur before, during, or after sex. 

Romantic Bed & Breakfast by Visit Finger Lakes, C.C. by 2.0

Grab your pillow. Today we're talking about sex. Specifically the kind of sex that occurs in most romance books. 

When you pick up a romance book, hopefully with the intention of reading it cover to cover rather than skimming for the steamy parts, you typically know what to expect, right? 

The first chapter or two is dedicated to introducing you to the two hapless characters, who just happen to be unlucky in love. We see the characters in their normal everyday environment. For example, the fireman is doing what he loves best . . . saving people from the hot tongues of flame. The lawyer is delivering his final argument in what is sure to be a certain win for his firm. The clumsy waitress trips and spills coffee everywhere. You get the idea. 

Next comes the cute meet, the moment when the hero and heroine first lock eyes, falling into immediate lust. Not love, yet. Love comes after lust. 

The two would-be lovers spend the remainder of the book alternating between being thrown together by events beyond their control, and pissing each other off. Their fate is obvious to everyone but them, and they continue to deny their feelings, lying through their teeth. 

At some point in time, the two main characters give in to their attraction. But how far they go, depends on the type of book you've chosen to read. 

Inspirational or Christian romance books tend to have a no sex before marriage clause. The characters can have desires, so long as they don't act on them. There is a slow build up of emotions that culminate in the promise of marriage. Often these books are labeled "sweet". 

Closed door sex is just that. The sex occurs, but behind doors only. The writer ends the scene just as things start steaming up the windows. 

Warm to Hot level books have more of an open door policy and the reader gets an invitation to be a voyeur. There are usually one or three sex scenes per book, depending on how how the rating is. Euphemisms are typically used here. 

Spicy books leave no detail to the imagination. All bets, and clothes, are off. Anything goes. Authors trade in their euphemisms for graphic details. Longer and more frequent sex scenes connect the storyline. 

Here are more heat scales you might want to check out before making your next romance purchase:

My first novel had no sex in the storyline at all. Well, that's not entirely true. There was a sex scene initially, but it got chopped before it ever made it to my editor. *Still liked the scene, though* As it stands now, Assassin P.I. has two sex scenes that would garner the book a hot rating, at least in my opinion. 

So how hot do you like your romance books to be? Sweet, spicy, or somewhere in between? Do you prefer euphemisms to describe body parts or do you crave all the juicy, graphic details? 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

2014 Summertime TBR Pile

Everyone, or at least everyone who's a reader (which is pretty much everyone I know), has a To-Be-Read pile. My pile just happens to be a bit higher than most. You see, I have a confession to make. I am totally addicted to purchasing books. Amazon just makes it so darn easy to feed my addiction. All I have to do is click one simple button and voila! - new books magically appear on my Kindle app for my iPad.

My kids are just as bad. They beg me to take them to our local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Hours later we reemerge, arms laden with $50 or more in book purchases. I look at my obsession this way . . . It's a tax write off! As a teacher, I can write off any children's book purchases I make as job expenses. After my kids read them, they usually find their way into my classroom library. And as a writer, I can write off all this books about publishing and the writing craft. So, in reality, it's a decent habit to have. Right? At least that's how I explain it to my husband. 

Here's what's currently on my TBR list.
Once Upon a Christmas Wish by Samantha Jillian Bayarr
Pistols and Petticoats (A Historical Western Romance Anthology) by Barabara Ankrum, Adrienne deWolfe, and Sharon Ihle
Hired For Christmas (The Naughty North Pole Novels) by Genevieve Scholl
Love Game: The Matchmaker Series by Elise Sax
The S.E.R.A. Files by C.T. Green
Elvis is a Keeper by Shauna Allen
Twice a Target (Task Force Eagle) by Susan Vaughan
A Man of His Word by Sarah M. Anderson
A Man to Trust by Cheryl Yeko (who just happens to be my Soul Mate Pub. editor)
In Bed With the Opposition by Stephanie Draven
No Flowers Required (Love Required) by Cari Quinn
Learn to Love Me by Sinead MacDoughlas
Saltwater Lover by Shiloh Saddler

Fadeout by Rolynn Anderson
You Belong to Me by Mary Higgins Clark
Daddy's Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark
Race to the Alter by Judy Duarte
A Seal At Heart by Anne Elizabeth
It's In His Kiss by Julia Quinn
Courted by the Texas Millionaire by Crystal Green
Almost Home by Debbie Macomber, Cathy Lamb, Judy Duarte, and Mary Carter

So, which book do you suggest I read next? What's at the top of your TBR pile? I'd love to hear from you. Leave your TBR list and book suggestions in the comments. Help me feed my addiction! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Romance Weekly: #LoveWriteChat

Want to know more about what goes on inside the mind of a Romance writer? Are you sure you want to go there? LOL. Well, suit yourself. You can't say I didn't warn you! Romance Weekly is the first place to go if you want the inside scoop straight from writers you love. 

Whether you landed here by happenstance, or were so kindly directed by author Ronnie Allen, I'm thrilled you found me. Enjoy your stay and don't forget to enter our Romance Weekly Giveaway before you go. This week's questions from the lovely Tessa Gray.

Do any characters you've written into your books remind you of yourself? Explain which ones and why.
Sure, to some degree. For the most part though, my female characters embody some random aspect of my life, rather than my personality. Maya from Redemption For Liars roller skates because I did growing up. Angie, from Assassin P.I., sings and dances, only she's doesn't have the horrid case of stage fright that I have.

I do, however, have a character patiently waiting for me to tell her story (which is really more like my story). April can't make up her mind which path she wants her life to take. As a result, she has become a perpetual college student, switching her major whenever the mood strikes. Her choices in boyfriends suffer the same fate. I like to call her a serial monogamist (which I was totally guilty of being!). To find her inner voice, April swears off men (which only has the opposite effect) and sets off on an adventure of a lifetime through Latin America. This photo is what I imagine April might have looked like as a child. Colorful hair, sassy attitude, and a unique sense of fashion. Just talking about her makes me want to hurry up and write her story!

Was there a teacher or mentor in your life who helped nurture your writing?
I had several inspiring teachers in high school, but there are two college professors in particular who unknowingly stoked my writing confidence, for very different reasons. One because she hated me, and the other because she loved my writing.

While taking a course in The Psychology of Women, we were required to read articles and respond in writing. Encouraged to add in our own personal narratives to make our point, I relished each assignment, and the comments that followed. One comment in particular said this:

"Overall, you are a superb writer & throughout have insightful comments."  I cherish those handwritten comments. She was one of the first to actually value my writing skills.

On the other end of the spectrum, was my English 306 class. I couldn't stand the vague and pointless writing prompts the teacher assigned and she, in turn, couldn't stand my snarky comments or the classmates I sat with. Rather than fold under the pressure, I dug my teeth into each new challenge, determined to prove my writing worth. One assignment called for us to write about a Mythic Hero. So who'd I choose to write about? That's right. Jack Kevorkian, the hero of my paper entitled, EXPOSED! Angel of Death. I didn't even know how I felt about good ol' Jack and his deeds. I just wanted to prove I could support my arguments.

Here's a couple of my other assignment topics and subsequent titles:

  • Cultural Outlaws . . . Madman With a Bible (the Kool-Aid Suicides of the Jonestown cult)
  • Race Card . . . Dancing Racists? Or Too White to be a Hip-Hop Diva?

I guess I kinda like to push the envelope whenever I can. The teacher might have seriously disliked me, but she couldn't fault my writing skills. She only made me work harder to earn her approval.

Every author has that moment when they doubt their ability to write. When that happens to you, how do you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and continue? What do you do to inspire YOURSELF? 

Losing a contest, or receiving a dreaded rejection email, doesn't bother me so much anymore. But when every sentence I write begins to sound stiff, I take a break. I realize this sounds totally counterintuitive, but it works for me. I go play the piano, write music, redecorate my home, crochet, etc. I do anything creative that isn't writing. Sometimes my creative juices just need to be recharged.

Then I talk. I talk a lot. I bore my friends and co-workers with whatever plot dilemma I need to figure out. And because they don't know any better, they offer suggestions, none of which I ever take.

Once I'm done avoiding my computer, and hashing it out until I'm blue in the face, I begin rereading whatever story I happen to be working on at the time. With enough distance and time, I fall in love with writing again. My fickle muse calls me back to the keyboard.

But if my wacko avoidance method doesn't work, all it really takes is for someone to issue a dare, and tell me I can't do it. I'll do whatever it takes to prove them wrong. Problem solved!

Next up on the Romance Weekly Blog Hop is Jami Denise. While you're on her blog, check out her Jayne book series, See Jayne Play (book 1) and Queen of Hearts (book 2). Trust me when I say, they both look, and sound, sinfully delightful. Check out her book covers below. 

Well, that's all for today. Don't forget to enter our Romance Weekly Giveaway!  
See y'all next week!