Friday, October 31, 2014


Since there is a new movie out about a Ouija board and it being the Halloween season and all, I thought it a good time to recount a couple of my own witch board experiences.  Neither encounter—thank goodness—was anything like the previews of that movie.

When we were kids, my sister and I found an old Ouija board underneath our house.  It had been placed inside a wooden trunk full of cobwebs and schoolbooks, and then shoved up under the floorboards of the bedroom we shared.  The planchette was missing and the numbers and letters were so badly faded as to be nearly unrecognizable.

At the time, we had no idea the board was used to channel spirits. My mother, never one to let anything go to waste, drilled holes in the backside and turned it into a pleasant little game of Aggravation.

It was only later, when we were told of Ouija’s true purpose, that I began to question why someone had gone to the trouble of hiding the spirit board underneath our house.  Nothing spooky happened as a result of our discovery, but to this day, I wonder about the history of that board.

The second experience came a few years later when my cousins received a Ouija board for Christmas and we all took turns asking questions about our futures.  I queried the spirits about what I would do when I graduated high school.  Answer:  D.I.E.


That pretty much ended my dabbling, though not my fascination.  I’ve since had a friend share her mother’s hair-raising experiences with a Ouija board and if you look at the forum on the movie’s IMDB page, you’ll find a rather frightening discussion about the dangers of opening unknown doors.

So I ask you, is Ouija just a game?

 Amanda Stevens is the award-winning author of over fifty novels, including the modern gothic series, The Graveyard Queen.  Her books have been described as eerie and atmospheric, “a new take on the classic ghost story.” Born and raised in the rural south, she now resides in Houston, Texas, where she enjoys binge-watching, bike riding and the occasional margarita.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Alissa Callen: Christmas Traditions

Her Mistletoe Cowboy is the second in my Wildflower Ranch series and follows on from my rodeo story Cherish Me, Cowboy. The third book, Her Big Sky Cowboy, will be out in January 2015.

Her Mistletoe Cowboy is a story about hope, redemption and the magic of Christmas. It also features plenty of festive food. Just like my character, Ivy Bishop, it is a family tradition to cook and this Christmas my kids can’t wait to try some of the new recipes I found while researching Her Mistletoe Cowboy.

In my family it is also a tradition to sprinkle ‘reindeer food’ on the lawn Christmas Eve. Even though my children are now older they still enjoy making the recipe below:

1/3 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons glitter
Mix together in a small zip lox or plastic bag and tie with a festive ribbon.
Give away as gifts or sprinkle on your own lawn.

This verse can be printed and attached to bag:

Be sure to take this food and sprinkle on the lawn.
On Christmas Eve Santa’s reindeer travel miles before dawn.
The smell of oats and shining path will guide them on their way.
And you’ll wake up to Santa’s gifts next morn on Christmas Day.

I’d love to hear what your family may have as a special Christmas tradition.

Blurb for Her Mistletoe Cowboy:

Corporate analyst, Ivy Bishop, intends spending Christmas holed up in an isolated Montana ranch house with only an abandoned puppy for company. When the festive season ends her broken heart might just have had just enough time to heal. 

Ex-rodeo rider, Rhett Dixon, has put his playing days behind him. He has something to prove. Despite being the first son in three generations of ranchers, he is determined to succeed in ranching on his own merits. 

But when Rhett’s new neighbor proves to be far-too-pretty and far-too-compassionate, his single-minded focus deserts him. And the more time Ivy spends with the workaholic, blue-eyed cowboy next door the more she realizes her heart isn’t actually broken – yet. 

And here's a quick excerpt:

He had company.
            The crunch of snow behind Rhett Dixon confirmed what the flicker of the bay mare’s ears told him. He wasn’t alone. He finished tickling the sweet spot on the horse’s neck as she rubbed her head against his jacket. Faithful old Cherry loved her daily scratch.
            From over his shoulder, the icy breeze brought the faint scent of vanilla. He frowned. His unexpected visitor was female. But it couldn’t be his childhood friend, Payton Hollis. Perfume wasn’t exactly on the working cowgirl’s ‘must wear’ list. It also couldn’t be his sisters. Peta and Kendall now phoned before they’d arrived to make sure he’d have a fire lit. He hadn’t heard the last of their complaints that they’d gotten frostbite from his arctic log cabin.
            The mare, happy she’d been spoilt enough, lowered her head to the hay Rhett had delivered. He glanced at the big buckskin gelding to his left and, satisfied Tucker wouldn’t poach Cherry’s portion, he eased the weight off his right leg readying to turn. The twinge in his knee reminded him why he lived on a high-country ranch so isolated he’d only ever had two visitors. Well, if his sisters even counted as guests.
            He turned.
            The ache in his knee faded. The cold biting his cheeks receded. The grief that never left him, dulled.            
            Yes, his visitor was female. But not local.
            His breath expelled in a dense, white cloud.
            She was also … beautiful. Knock the wind from your chest beautiful.
            And cold.
            Her arms hugged her torso and snow glistened on the fawn-brown hair that fell from beneath her fur-trimmed hood. Lips, that should have been pink, were pale, and from the shadows beneath her eyes he wondered if something else besides the glacial temperature leached her of both warmth and color.
             He made his way through the wooden gate toward the stranger.
            “Hi there.” His gloved hands flicked over the buttons on his sheepskin jacket. “It’s not the best day to be out and about.”
            The woman might be wearing a long black jacket but thanks to his sisters he knew the thin outer wear was more of a fashion item than functional.
            “Hi. Yes, I know. My feet feel like two ice bricks.” She shifted from one high-heeled black boot to the other in an attempt to beat the cold seeping through her thin soles. “Sorry to bother you, but I need a hand.”
            Her smooth and cultured words confirmed she should be in a heated city condominium and not out in the winter weather of the Montana mountains.
            Rhett shrugged out of his coat. Ignoring the wind gust that delved beneath the collar of his thick plaid shirt, he offered the woman his jacket.          
            “No problem. Here … take this. Has your car broken down?”
            She shook her head and made no effort to unfold her arms and take the coat. It hung suspended between them. Used to stubborn sisters, without thought he stepped nearer and draped it around her.
            Big mistake.
            He was so close he could see the creamy texture of her skin and the silken length of her dark lashes. He could smell the now stronger scent of vanilla mixed in with something sweet. Orange? He could also see the flash of spirit in her hazel eyes as she stepped side-ways so the heavy coat slipped off her narrow shoulders and back into his hands.
            “Thanks. But I’m fine. You’ll need your coat.”        
            He nodded, knowing it would be futile to argue. Her firm tone made it obvious she might be out of her urban comfort zone but she was no helpless city girl. His independent elder sister, Peta, had taught him well. It was a brave man who’d override the wishes of a woman with a tilted chin. Even if that woman was pint-sized and barely reached his jawline.
Buy links:
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When Alissa Callen isn't writing she plays traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who really does believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. After a childhood spent chasing sheep on the family farm, Alissa has always been drawn to remote areas and small towns, even when residing overseas. Once a teacher and a counselor, she remains interested in the life journeys that people take and her books are characteristically heart-warming, emotional and character driven. She currently lives on a small slice of rural Australia.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Guy Gibson: Dot Robinson – Australia’s Queen of Speed

In Melbourne Australia in 1912, a heavily pregnant Mary Olive Goulding was rushed to the doctor’s in a Goulding sidecar fixed to a 1911 Harley Davidson. Dorothy, or Dot as she became known, entered the world and into one the great motorcycling families of the 20th century. Her father James, an English immigrant, owned a motorcycle dealership and built the world famous Goulding sidecars. Is it no wonder Dot went on to become on the most influential women in the motorcycling world.

Dot’s involvement with motorcycles saw her learn to ride at a very early age and winning her first trophy in Michigan in 1934, after her father had moved their sidecar manufacturing business to the USA by 1923. During the 1930s Dot won or placed in over 50 motorcycle endurance events. All this, competing against men as the women’s class did not emerge until sometime in the 1960’s.

A young man named Earl wandered into James Goulding’s Harley dealership to buy some oil for his J Model. While there he set eyes on Dot and the rest as they say is history. Earl hung around until James gave him a job as a mechanic. By 1931 Earl and Dot were married and running the dealership.

The pair had a chance meeting with Arthur Davidson (co-founder of Harley Davidson) which resulted in them being offered both the rights and funds to buy the HD dealership portion of James’ business, enabling James to concentrate on his favoured side car enterprise.

In 1936 the HD dealership was moved from Saginaw to Detroit increasing the business to the point where it was one of the top selling Harley Dealerships for many years. During the period Dot won the Jack Pine Endurance Race several times including several other 500 mile distance races around the country.

Dot co-founded the Motor Maids of America and sat as president for some 25 years. They sold their Harley Dealership in 1972. Between 1928 and 1990, Dot put over one million miles on Harley Davidson motorcycles. In 1998 Dot was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame. She continued to ride until the age of 85, passing in October of 1987.

Find out more about this amazing woman -

I’m not sure what inspires anybody to pioneer – those of us who follow their dreams against the odds are among the people who I look up to most.

G.W.Gibson - Queen of Speed

It’s not easy being a girl in an all-male world. Penny McIntyre has to fight every day to hold her place on the race track. Her lifelong dream of sponsorship is realised when she is offered the chance to ride as part of a Justin Byrne’s 600cc motorcycle team. At long last her dreams are in reach.

Ride Safely, Write with Passion

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lenora Worth: Giving Hope

Hi. I love writing suspense for Love Inspired but people often ask me how I can write with a faith element and a murder element in the same book?

Well, it’s not easy but I thought I’d clarify how I combine the two. First, I write to entertain people. A good, compelling read is always the first priority. I also like to give people hope. What better way to do that than to showcase people of faith struggling with tough issues in their lives?

I believe every romance novel has an element of hope. We love our happy endings, not matter the form they take. Most of the books I read are by people I consider friends. And friends come in all sizes and shapes. So do our stories. Our readers demand a happy ending and … hope. We are hopeful things will turn out all right, no matter what our characters have to suffer through.

In a suspense, characters sometimes have to make tough choices that involve life and death. I like writing about strong protagonists who are willing to lay down their lives for those they love. This is about hope and faith and winning out over evil. Love conquers all. That is a good message in any story. It is especially touching in a dark suspense.

In my upcoming November suspense “Deadly Holiday Reunion”, this is the message I try to convey. When a serial killer comes back to Texas to seek revenge on my hero and heroine, they reunite in spite of their differences in order to save someone they love. I have to admit, writing this story left me a bit disturbed, but I felt good about how my characters fought the good fight until the bitter end. I hope you will agree.

I’d love to hear what you like in a suspense novel. What are some of the stories that have stayed with you? Let’s discuss! Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my November release!

(Thanks to Lee Hyat for allowing me to visit your blog today.)

*** Lenora's winner is Laurie G! Please email with your mailing details!***

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Michelle Conder: Technology

It’s pretty safe to say that I am not technologically savvy. I can use my mobile phone to call and text and I can even access Google Chrome as long as things are going well. As soon as there’s a glitch I’m done. I’m back at the shop handing it over for someone else to fix.

But I love technology. Being a writer would be that much more difficult without access to the web and I use it all the time. Something my children find very unfair because I don’t let them use it at all. In fact I don’t let them use any electronic devices other than a camera. My reasoning is that I use electronic devices for work. They are children. It is their job to play and learn how to be in the world. Computer games are a time sap and the internet was meant for adult usage. That means that it is full of adult content and I don’t want my children being inadvertently educated about life from unknown sources before they’re ready.

There’s another reason I limit their usage of technology while they’re young. I think there is this belief that technology has made life easier, but really I think it has just made life more accessible. And with accessibility has come the desire for more; which might account for why everyone I speak to starts out a conversation with a harried, “I’m so busy” statement. Somewhere, at some point, I think we need to pull back a little and turn our devices off if only to give ourselves some time for uninterrupted contemplation. Because without periods of uninterrupted contemplation we lose the capacity to learn about who we are in isolation to the influences around us.

This is particularly important when writing a novel. A story is made up of action scenes and reaction scenes. Something happens and our characters are fully immersed in the action. Then the character – and reader – needs to have some time to mull over that action. Some time to think and to plan. Some time to gather their courage and forge on. Without this it is just action, action, action which would become draining and ultimately boring to read.

In real life the danger of technology is that we don’t ever switch it off long enough to give ourselves that time. So my New Year’s resolution – late or early depending on your perspective - is to put technology in its place. To have it as a tool and not an extra appendage I can’t live without.
How do you feel about technology? Does it rule your life or do you have a healthy balance worked out for yourself? And if you do – pass on your secrets. I would love to hear them.

If you would like any information on my books and up and coming releases please jump on my website.

Best to everyone and happy reading!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Linda Wisdom: What Do You Want In A Romantic Suspense?

Thank you, Lee, for having me here!

This is the season when things go bump in the night. But what about something else that can unsettle you? Have you ever had that sense of wanting to look over your shoulder because you feel someone is following you? Have that uneasy feeling because someone is staring at you for no reason? Your phone rings, you answer it but while no one speaks you know the line is open.

How would that make you feel? Uneasy? Paranoid? Would you consider looking under your bed, inside your closets? Maybe even keep the lights on after you go to bed because you don’t want any dark shadows increasing your imagination.

I’ve written romantic suspense books on and off since 1986 and read them even longer. What can I say? Reading or writing about a character in danger is easier than being one. The idea of a stalker has always intrigued me. What do you think would cause someone to throw themselves uninvited into another person’s life? We see and hear about them in the media with celebrities and sometimes you read about an everyday person who’s been targeted by a man or woman focused on being a part of that person’s life.

I’ve had my crushes over the years but never thought of finding a way to invade their personal lives. Personally, it gives me an icky feeling. I’ll settle for drooling, oohing and ahhing from afar.

Plus, it’s better to write about it. I can give it any twist I want. Such as making the hero the object of a stalker instead of the usual heroine, but I decided to let her get some of the stalker’s overflow. That way I can also tap into my dark side. What would I do to the woman I convinced myself had stolen my man? How much would I make her suffer?

I think what said it all was what a friend said after she read Double Jeopardy. Her exact words were “I never want you mad at me”.

You know what that tells me? I did my job. I created a stalker who was committed to the idea that a man was her one true love and she was determined to do whatever it took to scare off any woman who he tried to have a relationship with. And it worked until she came up against a strong-minded woman who refused to back off because she was determined to have a relationship with a man she was falling in love with. But it was more than that. She wasn’t going to allow anyone to cause her to look over her shoulder, shudder any time the phone rang or be afraid of dark corners.

I feel we all have a choice. We can either be the one who worries or the one who fights back. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be the one who fights back.

But just in case, I’ll make sure I have plenty of nightlights around the house and check Caller ID when the phone rings.

And isn’t it nicer to read about a stalker than to have one?

What do you want in a romantic suspense? Would you rather read about danger than be in it?


Friday, October 24, 2014

Luann McLane: Writing believable characters who deal with real issues…

Although Sweet Harmony is a story about Cat Carson and Jeff Greenfield who are both country music stars, I still strive to write characters with everyday issues and problems that readers can relate to.  Halfway through writing Sweet Harmony I realized that the personality quirks that Cat had was because she has ADD… attention deficit disorder.  I spotted this in Cat because my daughter Cara also has ADD.  Daydreaming, losing things, impulsiveness, jumping from one subject to the other and having trouble concentrating is something Cara has to deal with on a daily basis and it isn’t easy for her or the people who love her. 

In Sweet Harmony, Jeff knows that Cat has ADD because his sister Sara has it too.  Sara and Jeff grew up on a farm and Sara was always in trouble because she would forget to do her chores or leave things undone.  People with ADD are often considered thoughtless because they forget to do things and often show up late… but it is just as frustrating to them as it is to those who love them. But knowing and understanding the symptoms makes living with ADD much easier.  Like Cat in Sweet Harmony, Cara is open about having ADD and combats the symptoms with a large dose of humor.  “Sometimes it feels like my brain had a dozen tabs open all at once,” Cara says with a laugh.  She’s done research about ADD and now that she understands how her brain functions she is able to cope with it so much better.  “We all have something we have to deal with.  ADD happens to be my thing.”

Because Cat reminds me of Cara she is such an endearing character to me.  I hope that readers feel the same way about Cat too!  Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Sweet Harmony.

To read an excerpt of Sweet Harmony visit my website at:  You may also follow me on Twitter:, Pinterest and like me on Facebook:

*** Luann's winner is Debbie Meredith! Please email with your mailing details!***

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Christmas Romance by Joanne Rock

Ever since I started writing my own books, I don’t read as often as I used to. It’s an odd phenomenon reported by lots of writers… too many hours spent crafting words robs some of the pleasure of reading them. It’s a cruel and ironic side effect of the job since we all started writing because we love to read!

But after over a decade as a writer, I’ve read more romance this year than I’ve read in a long time. What a treat! Part of it is because of all the lovely freebie reads offered by authors now. If there’s a new-to-me author I’m curious about, I’ll try out a freebie. If I love it, I’ll download backlist books like crazy! It’s fun to find new authors this way.

Another part of my new reading obsession is that I’m loving all the Christmas romances. I just started the Magnolia Bay series, starting with Holiday at Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim. I’ve got Jennifer Snow’s The Mistletoe Melody pre-ordered for quick delivery next month and I’m excited for Tawny Weber’s Christmas with a SEAL. I think that reading holiday books help me start thinking about baking and decorating, family and seasonal traditions. It’s a fun way to spend a dark, cold evening.

I also like reading Christmas books because it’s a way to enjoy the season without overindulging on decadent treats (I need to read about more of them than I personally consume) or spending too much money shopping. I try to celebrate the holidays simply and meaningfully, but who doesn’t occasionally get swept away with the urge to purchase super cute holiday china or over-buy for the kids on their list? At the end of the day I’ll feel better if I sent the extra cash to a local kids’ charity and read about someone else’s fun and festive Christmas ;-). In the end, it only adds to my own.

So today, I’d like to know, who are your favorite holiday authors? Or what have been your favorite holiday stories? I’m a fan of Mary Balogh for a Christmas novella, I will admit! What about you? I’ve got a copy of UNDERCOVER FESTIVITIES my holiday Blaze 2-in-1 with Tawny Weber to give to one random poster!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jeannie Moon: Real Life Inspiration

I’m always asked, and it doesn’t matter where I am or with whom, if I base my characters and stories on real people or events.

The short answer is “no.” Most of the time. And that’s the honest truth.

There’s no way we can separate what we know from our writing.  Everything we do, the people we are, what we know, trickles into our writing.  There’s no avoiding it, but it’s never a direct path.
I enjoy the following story, and I think it speaks to what we do as authors.  We are great observers.  We are good listeners.  To break it down to its most simple, we’re spies.  And we’re watching all of you.

My husband and I went on vacation to Maine a few years ago and I loved everything about the visit. We stayed in the area known as the midcoast—specifically about an hour north of Portland in a beautiful place called Boothbay Harbor.  With the wonderful location, perfect weather and friendly people, we couldn't ask for more. The resort we stayed at was on the waterfront and wonderfully picturesque.  With its gorgeous flowers, rolling lawns and the stately main building, it’s exactly how I would have written a New England resort.

The purpose for the trip was to relax and spend some quality time with my husband, which I did.  We sampled the local food, explored new places and did some major decompressing.  Of course, I took pictures.

On Saturday, we were enjoying our lobster rolls at a wonderful waterfront restaurant when I pulled out my phone and took a couple of photos.

"What did you take pictures of?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing," I responded.

My darling husband grinned. "What just gave you an idea?" he wondered.  "The guys in the boat?"

That did it. I started laughing.  He knew the two rather rotund, shirtless, middle-aged men in a high-powered cigarette boat were going to be in a story someday.  It was an awesome scene...the men were flirting shamelessly with two twenty-somethings in bikinis and displaying as much bad taste as you would expect.  I saw all the potential in the scene and my husband knew it. He caught me mining for material.

But that brings up the idea that everything is material when you are a writer.  Every experience, every place, every person you meet can be stored away and drawn upon later.  My guys in the boat may not turn up for two or three or ten stories, but I'll always have the memory. And the pictures.

So, the short answer to the question everyone asks me about where I get my ideas is that I get my ideas from everything.  My mind is a vessel for memories and experiences. Writers use our surroundings—the people, the places, the sights and sounds—to bring our stories to life.

It’s what we do to transport the reader and when we do that, it’s a win for everyone.

Has something ever happened to you that made you want to write a book?  I’ll be giving away one digital book from my backlist to one lucky commenter.

The Second Chance Hero

Kim Torres didn't know if she'd ever love or trust anyone again, but Owen Kent wasn't going to give up on her without a fight.

Navy combat nurse Kim Torres knew it was a possibility. But she never thought it would happen. She never thought she would cut through a critically wounded Marine’s fatigues only to find her fiancé, Tom Albanese. She never thought he would die in her arms. Or that she’d collapse against his commanding officer when grief overtook her.

Fast forward one year, and Major Owen Kent has returned from Afghanistan to take his position as the billionaire CIO of Reliance Software. He’s happy to be home, and everything is business as usual–until he sees Kim Torres, the nurse he saw unravel in the Afghanistan hospital, the woman he could never quite get off his mind.

Now Kim is Harper Poole’s nanny, a job she took to get her mind off of her heartbreak, and although she doesn’t recognize Owen at a Memorial Day barbecue, she feels an instant attraction. Kim hasn’t felt this spark in so long, and Owen is the exact opposite of Tom, who wounded Kim’s heart in more ways than one. But can Kim find it within herself to love–and trust–again?

Role 3 Joint Forces Medical Facility
Kandahar, Afghanistan
Late June
Sometimes it was the quiet that got to her. Kim knew that if people were screaming, at least they were still alive. But now, there was nothing. Nothing except the hum of the equipment, the glare of the harsh lighting and the beating of her own heart.
Looking down at her gloved hands, her breath caught; her throat tightened. So much blood.
Tom’s blood.
She snapped the latex off her hands and threw it in with the other biohazards, then pressed her back against the wall. As she slid down, her arms folded over her middle. Holding in her heart, maybe? Her bleeding, breaking heart.
Her emotions started to close in, her eyes started to burn and she wondered if she would ever get the memories out of her head. If she would ever be able to see his face as it used to be. The boy next door. Her handsome Marine. Her love.
Usually, the team knew at least fifteen minutes before the inbound dustoff landed with wounded—especially when it was coming from that far out. Today, they didn’t have near that. They had five. Five minutes to prepare for men who were so gravely injured they shouldn’t have survived the flight.
The gurneys came crashing through the doors and they all had their jobs in the ER. Kim was ready for her patient—an alpha—the designation given to the patients with the most life threatening injuries. They knew he had a massive belly wound and burns on his neck and face. As bombs went, this one was a widowmaker.
Kim remembered descending on the patient with scissors, cutting off the bandages applied in the field so they could get to the bleeding in his abdomen. If they could get that under control he had a chance. A slim one, but a chance. She hadn’t gotten far when the big man took a gasping breath and she heard the impossible.
Hoarse. Strained. “Kim.”
“Baby, look at me.”  It was barely a whisper, but the words were screaming in her head. Her eyes traveled away from the blood, hesitating for a moment over his chest where his name was displayed. Albanese. God. How had she missed it?  Again she took in every inch of him and when she got to his face, and looked in his dark eyes, she saw the pain, the fear, he was facing. And Kim knew they would be saying goodbye. Even as the doctors worked on him, she knew.
He was dying. And there was nothing anyone could do.
It seemed unimaginable. She and Tom were part of each other. Together since they were just kids, he went into the Marines after high school, she went into the Navy after nursing school. He gave her a ring.
The wedding was in six months.
His fingers found hers and he gripped them with desperation. He squeezed hard. Kim reached out and wiped away the tear tracking down his face. His breathing was more labored, shallower. And he was scared. So scared. She leaned in and kissed his temple.
“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I’m here.”
“I’m sorry. I love you. I’m so sorry.”
“I love you, too. It’s okay. It’s okay.”
But there was no response. The end rushed up. She could see he was losing his fight, his body convulsed, his eyes rolled back--then he flatlined.
The tone from the cardiac monitor numbed her brain, told her a truth she wasn’t ready to hear. Tom was gone.
There were no measures taken. No dramatic chest pounding. No paddles. The doctor called his time of death.
That’s when Kim turned and walked into the corridor. That’s where she was now and where she would likely stay, running over the last few minutes again and again.

Or, feel free to use the excerpt link: 

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Jeannie Moon has always been a romanic. When she’s not spinning tales of her own, Jeannie works as a school librarian, thankful she has a job that allows her to immerse herself in books and call it work. Married to her high school sweetheart, Jeannie has three kids, three lovable dogs and a mischievous cat and lives in her hometown on Long Island, NY. If she’s more than ten miles away from salt water for any longer than a week, she gets twitchy.  Visit Jeannie’s website at

*** Jeannie's winner is Anna Gibson! Please email with your mailing details!***

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So Sorry for the Apologetic Post ;-) by Jenny Gardiner

I used to play a lot of tennis, back before my crotchety knees and a few other rickety joints decided they weren't on board with the program and thus brought that fun to a screeching halt. I loved to play the game, but I found that I (and many of my cohorts on the courts) had the unfortunate habit of apologizing for every whiff. And trust me, I whiffed plenty. Apologies were so rife that I entertained the idea of designing a brand of women's tennis clothes called "Sorry!" I think my game would have shortened by a good fifteen minutes minus the redundant apologies.
I'm afraid women are particularly adept at excessive apologizing. Perhap it's a culturally-ingrained thing, hard to say. Although I doubt it's such a great character trait—it must speak to self-esteem issues for one to feel the need to do so too much. And while apologies at times are essential, I guess even more important would be forgiveness, a practice with which most of us aren't particularly skillful.
I've had forgiveness on the brain since hearing a philosophy- and ethics-themed program on National Public Radio the other day, in which two philosophers pondered when and where forgiveness is acceptable, or even essential. A man called the show and proclaimed that he'd decided recently that from here on out, he would neither forgive nor forget, because whoever the violator or perpetrator is suffers no consequences for their transgressions when you forgive them. The hosts suggested that forgiveness isn't actually for those who have done wrong, but rather for those who need to release their anger or sadness, to free their soul, and went on to speculate that the caller was merely imprisoning himself in a web of rage and resentment. Who's the loser in that scenario?
I can't help but agree. Forgiveness does free the soul, it does enable you to purge a world of misery, providing you're actually able to undertake the action for real, not simply pay lip service to it. I have been trying (when I remember to, once I stop being so angry!) to work on this skill. It is an action that needs some regular flexing, exercising those tools that aren't so capably used in our society. Say someone cuts you off in traffic. Of course you want to yell at him, perhaps even flip him off. But what if it was erroneous? Maybe he was having a bad day. Or his mother just died, or his wife left him. So many times I've judged someone for their ugly behavior, only to realize in hindsight that they had real reasons for what they did. Not good reasons, necessarily, perhaps nothing particularly justifiable, even. But understandable reasons behind their bad actions. Maybe instead of my ire, they needed my empathy. So with the wisdom of age, I'm trying to accept and respect that the middle-fingered digital salute isn't always the answer. Trust me, I'm a work in progress with this effort, and my genetically-honed temper often gets the best of me, despite my occasionally magnanimous intentions.
I read a great book about an Israeli man and a Palestinian man, both of whose fathers were murdered by the other's countrymen. For years they both festered with anger, desire for revenge, and untenable loathing. But independently they both grew to understand that this simmering toxicity didn't help them to live well, that it held them back, and only fueled irrational bitterness. Eventually they joined forces to work for a higher peace, to help troubled teens turn around, and to help their parents understand how they could all work together to solve their relational problems.
I think of a woman I'd read about once, whose son was murdered by another man. This woman chose to embrace her son's executioner, to take him in as her own. Now out of jail, he shares a life with her and operates under perhaps a genteel penitence through the grace of this woman's ability to forgive. What a remarkable level of serenity must lie beneath her to be able to do this. Maybe she proves that just as humans have the capacity to inflict the most abhorrent violence on others, so, too, do we have the ability to rise above the worst that life has to offer us. Perhaps only a select few ever discover that internal grace that can allow them to reach that level. It's certainly one we can all aspire to.
Lately, I can't help but be reminded of the many cases of young people who have disappeared in my neck of the woods in Central Virginia in the past several years, most —assumedly all —victims of unspeakable violence. And I wonder how we collectively could ever forgive those whose monstrous acts that stole beautiful young lives and left a ripple effect of destruction well beyond their immediate families. I don't know if forgiveness is possible. I don't know how to be so evolved as to be able to forgive such heinous acts.
But I hope and pray for the healing of all in this community and especially for the immediate families of these young victims, so that at some point perhaps we can access that place, if only not to corrode from the anger. I struggle to imagine how those parents could ever release the rage, the eviscerating grief, to let go of it and forgive a fellow human being who could perpetrate such ungodly acts upon their innocent child. It's beyond the scope of comprehension. But for those who have that ability in them, I don't doubt it makes life somewhat more livable.
Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)
Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Back in Time with Historical Romance on November 1st!

  On the weekend of November 1st--which is the end of Daylight Savings Time--more than 200 romance authors of the Historical Romance Network will be celebrating the diversity of historical romances by asking readers (all of you!) to show the world that we love and read historical romances. How do you do that? 

  Here’s all you need to do:

1. Take a selfie with a favourite/recently read Historical Romance.

2. Post it to social media sites starting on 10 am CST 1 November 2014. Please include the hashtag #FallBackinTime. If pictures start sneaking out on the 31st and continue through the 2nd that’s okay, too!

3. "LIKE" our Historical Romance Network facebook page and join the event on Nov. 1st!

4. Spread the word about our love for historical romance through tweets and facebook posts. Here are some generic tweets you can use:

#FallBackinTime to your first historical romance! This was mine: (pix)
#FallBackinTime with this historical romance! (pix)
#FallBackinTime Look, it’s me in the [middle ages/regency era/etc]
If I could #FallBackinTime, it’d be to this book, this era: (pix)
Where would you #FallBackinTime to? I'd go here: (pix)
My favorite time machine is a book. #FallBackinTime (pix)
Escape with a historical romance #FallBackin Time. I do! (pix)

Historical Romance Network social media sites:

And here's a flyer you can share on your FB page or wherever else you'd like....

So, I hope you ARE reading and loving historical romances and I hope you'll join us in celebrating them on November 1st!  But why wait, give me some hints about which ones are your favorites? 

As you can see from the flyer, Jo Beverly's The Shattered Rose is one of my favorites! 

Terri is working on the second in her upcoming NOVELS OF THE STONE CIRCLES series for NAL - RAGING SEA will follow RISING FIRE in 2015. Visit her website or FB page or page for lots more info!