Sunday, January 21, 2018

What are friends for? by Barbara Edwards

Getting into the routine again hasn’t been easy.  I finally realized I needed to resume the routine I had before all the chaos that broke it into pieces. As you may recall, my husband had cancer. It turned into months of treatment, other issues and finally time for recovery. He just had his second six month cat scan and is still clear.

What a relief. Then I discovered having all the stress relieved didn’t release my creativity.
In fact, I felt empty. 

Writing is a journey. I’ve used emotions and incidents from my life to fill out my plots, but I couldn’t use this. Thinking about what occurred gave me nightmares. the days waiting in the hospital. The recurring chemotherapy treatments. The surgery that lasted hours. Just mentioning it makes my shoulders stiff with tension.

So  how do I take this phase of my journey and turn it into a positive step.
 know all the tricks. Take a walk in the woods. sit by a lake or river. Listen to the wind. Look at the stars. Read a book.  I bet you have a special way to refill that empty tank and could share  it.

I tried going to RWA chapter meetings and found the other authors a source of strength. Everyone had serious problems. Everyone was hanging onto their dream of writing that book by their fingernails. It was a comfort and a challenge. They talked me into volunteering to be president. 

So here I am. I’m writing again. Because of my friends.

Check out the on-line class we’re sponsoring at
Marie Tuhart shares the basic’s of writing erotic romance.

I’m taking it because I still choke at writing love scenes.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

R.E.Mullins interviews character, Gabe Blautsauger (It's A Wonderful Undead Life) #character interview #RosesofProseBlog #BloodyMary

A Character Interview with Gabe Blautsauger from It's A Wonderful Undead Life by R E Mullins

Act natural, I tell myself as I settle into a chair, and try to quell the butterflies in my stomach. My guest today is Nosferatu vampire, Gabe Blautsauger. He’s sitting on the couch across from me, and I do appreciate the view. It isn’t as if we haven’t met before. We got to know each other quite well while I was writing his story in It’s A Wonderful Undead Life.

Still, there’s something about sitting near all his, ah, gorgeousness, lightly coated with a sheen of danger. It's all enough to make my body parts sit up and sing in three-part harmony. Down girl, I caution myself. He’s taken.

“Thank you, Gabe,” I practically stutter. I have to stop and take a deep breath as he smiles knowingly. “Thank you for joining me today. I’m sorry your beautiful wife, Cailey couldn’t join us.”

That’s a bald-faced lie. I’m thrilled to have Gabe all to myself—even for a platonic few minutes.

“It’s good to see you again, Re.” His low voice holds just a touch of his exotic Russian accent. I feel my face heat. Me, a middle-aged woman that didn’t even know she could still blush. Perhaps, I’m all atwitter at the way he puts my initials together and simply calls me Re instead of R. E. I want to consider it a special nickname between just the two of us.

I swallow. “In your story, I describe your first attempts to get Cailey to drink bagged blood by disguising it as a Bloody Mary. When you first described your method, you mentioned something about the history of the drink. Would you, please, share the complete account with our readers?”

“Of course,” his reply is easy as is his demeanor as he relaxes back into the couch. “Current online encyclopedias say the origin of the Bloody Mary cocktail is unclear, and that there are multiple conflicting claims as to who invented the drink.”

He takes a sip out of the to-go cup that he’d brought into our meeting. I find myself both fascinated and horrified because I know it’s blood. Even after writing about vampires for years, the sight still makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Setting his cup aside, he seems to sense my squeamishness as he smiles sweetly at me without showing a hint of fang. “Humans have tried to take credit. For instance, bartender, Fernand Petiot was the first to claim, what is considered, the classic recipe. He maintains he created the drink, which he called a Red Hammer, in the early 1920’s. Though he admits his part of the recipe was adding seasonings. It was one of his patrons, comedian George Jessel, that often requested a cocktail of half tomato juice and half vodka.”

Gabe paused to wet his throat again, “The name, Bloody Mary, has been attributed to many things such as her Majesty, Queen Mary I of England—who I think gets a bad rap historically. She was always quite kind to me. Others say it was named for the actress Mary Pickford.” He brow furrowed. “I never got that one. Another concerns a waitress named Mary who worked in a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood—I got that one off Wikipedia myself,” Gabe sounded amused.

"So who was the original Bloody Mary?"

“Re, your readers might not know that my surname, Blautsauger comes from an old Bavarian word for bloodsucker and my ancestry can be traced back before the common era. We’ve been around a long, long time and have seen how, throughout time, various ‘inventions’ are discovered, lost, and re-discovered. Each time something was, let’s say, re-learned the new finder claims to be the original inventor. Most didn’t even realize the truth and truly believed their discovery to be their own brain child.”

“I wonder if that explains why cars and planes were ‘invented’ here in the States as well as in other countries at practically the same time?” I mused.

Gabe nodded. “Take this for instance, in 1386 Genoese envoys brought the first aqua vitae ("the water of life") to Moscow. Then about twenty years later a Russian monk gets the credit for making the first recipe of vodka in the early 1400’s. My ancestral knowledge goes back before all that. Also as a child, my stepmother, Cassiopeia played around the Egyptian pyramids while they were being built, so she has firsthand knowledge of such things. Ah," he chuckled, "you don’t need to tell her I said that.”

Knowing Cassiopeia as we do, we're in little doubt that she'd appreciate us mentioning her age. This has us grinning a little guiltily at each other.

“So, when Greeks were first fermenting their grapes, the Chinese were experimenting with rice, and a vampire living in what would be Poland was making her own alcohol of burned grains in water for human medicinal use.”

“Vampires made medicine for humans?”

“Naturally.” Gabe seemed a little bemused by my surprise. “Vampires have always had a vested interest in keeping humans healthy. Remember, they were our only food source. That is until recently when Michaela finished her blood formula and freed us from that bondage.”

I blinked. The fact vampires would consider their dependence on human blood as a type of bondage had never occurred to me. My only thought had been about the way they fed off humans.

"What about the name? Bloody Mary?" I had to ask. "Does it refer to the vampire's bloody fangs or the wounds left on the human's neck?"

He grinned fully this time and, for an instant, I caught sight of the pointed tips of his gleaming fangs. “It was named after Marysia Blautsauger. (I wish the reader could hear how Gabe pronounces her name. The syllables roll lyrically over his tongue, Mar ish ah Blôt sang er. Talk about sexy sounding.) “She was an ancestor of mine that was feared and yet greatly revered by both peasant and royalty alike. She was the first to ferment burnt grains and water together. Then she mashed those globose yellow Mandrake fruits into the weak alcoholic mix. It made the remedy even more beneficial as Mandrake fruits, or love apples as they were known, have cleansing and sedating qualities.”

“Aren’t love apples part of the potentially deadly nightshade plants?”

“Yes,” Gabe confirmed with another easy smile. “Even vampires had to handled them skillfully. Mandrake fruit, did you know, were often confused with tomatoes and this confusion had people afraid to eat tomatoes for centuries. So—,” he beat a tiny drumroll on his knee, “—Bloody came from our last name of Blautsauger and Mary was corrupted over time from Marysia to Maria to Mary.”

“So that’s how it all came about!” I lifted the Highball glass holding the Bloody Mary cocktail I’d planned to drink during the interview. My gaze caught and lingered on the deep red color of the drink and set it aside.

And Gabe's laughter filled the room.

The Basic Bloody Mary Recipe: Start here and then make the cocktail your own by toying with the seasonings and garnishes.

· 1 1/2 ounces vodka

· 1/2 cup tomato juice or V8

· 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon or lime juice

· 1-3 dashes Tobasco or pepper sauce

· 4-6 dashes Worcestershire or Soy sauce

· pinch of salt and pepper

· 1 tsp celery salt or skip this and add a bit of Horseradish sauce

· Garnish as desired with celery stick, lemon or lime wedge, or stuffed green olives.

What happens when you pray for an angel and get a vampire instead? Start with Gabe and Cailey's story in It's a Wonderful Undead Life and read the entire series. Laugh out loud, gasp in surprise, and let your heartstrings be tugged.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

How do you like your #Books? by Jannine Gallant

#Paperback or #eBook? That's the big question for authors. How do you most enjoy reading? I know a lot of people who prefer to hold a book in their hands. But someone is buying all those eBooks! Reports show far more digital books are sold than paperbacks in adult fiction. My guess is lower prices and convenience drive these sales.

Traditional publishers still make more off paperback sales than digital, although that percentage has shrunk in recent years. It's the indie authors pushing the eBook numbers over the top.

Paperback sales have increased in some markets, however. Just not in physical bookstore. Amazon increased their market share in print sales in 2016. Whether this trend will continue into 2018 remains to be seen. Read the article I linked above. It made my head spin with all the facts and figures.

How does all this effect me and other authors? Up to now, I've pushed my digital sales because that's where my profits were. No one but my mom was willing to pay $15 for a POD book. But with the release of BURIED TRUTH at the end of this month, I'll have my very first mass market paperback available. The price is an extremely reasonable $4.99 vs. the $3.99 price for a digital copy. For an extra buck, readers can hold it in their hands. I actually make far more off digital sales, but there's the potential to actually see my book on a bookstore shelf. That counts for something, right?

The thing is, I'm learning that mass market doesn't necessarily mean bookstore shelf space. Publishers produced more inventory each month than stores can carry. Individual stores actually have to order your book. BURIED TRUTH won't automatically go out to every Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble in the country. Stores tend to order books from big name authors because their goal is to actually sell those copies, not ship them back. I have a feeling I might not make the cut!

So, we're back to the question posed at the or paperback? How do you prefer to read? Would you spend $4.99 on a paperback in a genre you enjoy with a cool cover (I have that going for me!) from an author you aren't familiar with? What if you had to order that book from Amazon, not impulsively pick it up off the shelf while you're buying dog food and paper towels or browsing in B&N? Stats show that is happening. If you're shopping for books on Amazon, do you always go for the instant gratification of downloading it onto your Kindle or will you order the paperback version?

There's a catch to the excitement of having a mass market contract. Sure, there's the potential my book could reach a whole new market and sell very well. That's what I'm hoping, of course. But if it doesn't sell well, this series will be the last one I have in print. My pub is waiting to see how BURIED TRUTH does before considering my next project. That's kind of scary, but I get that they're in the business to make money.

So, when BURIED TRUTH releases on January 30th, make my day by showing my publisher I'm a good risk. Buy my book if you see it on a bookstore shelf, or order a copy online. Pre-order your PRINT or DIGITAL copy now. Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment. How do you like your books?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

An Interview With An Author Part I by Betsy Ashton

Recently, I sat down with an Intrepid Reporter who wanted to talk about my serial killer book, EYES WITHOUT A FACE.

Intrepid Reporter: I understand you recently wrote a book about a female serial killer. Do I have that right?

Me: Well, since you are reading from the press release, yes, you have that right.

IR: What ever possessed you to write about such a dark subject?

Me: Nothing possessed me, if you mean, was I taken over by a spirit or something like that?

IR: Huh?

Me. It was the result of a double-dog dare. You can never turn down a double-dog dare.

IR: Really? Who dared you?

Me. I took a course on writing mysteries a few years back. One of our challenges was to write the first sentence of a mystery. I wrote: "My sorority sisters were into sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but that wasn't enough for me. Then, I killed someone and found my true calling in life."

IR: Well, now.

Me: That's what the teacher said. She went on to double-dog dare me to turn the opening into a novel. I did.

IR: May I assume you are not a serial killer?

Me: You may.

IR: How were you able to get inside the head of such a, um, well different character?

Me (signing): It's called using the creative gene. I imagined what it would be like to be a killer and wrote about it. Simple as that.

IR: I think it would be very hard to write this book in first person.

Me: No harder than in third person or from the point of view of a dog.

IR: A dog?

Me: Never mind. It was a challenge, but one I was ready to take on. I'd never written anything with such an unlikable character. Strike that. Some people think she's likable.

IR: Eeuw! Really?

Me: Really.

IR (shaking her head): I couldn't, but then again I'm not you.

Me: And you should be glad you aren't. Imagine what my husband had to live with for the three years it took to shape and polish the book.

IR: I'd rather not. Let's move on. The cover is very chilling.

Me: It's supposed to be. I asked my son to put on a hoodie and ski mask that covered his lower face. I gave that picture to a cover designer who took out the rest of his skin, overlaid the eyes, and created a character without a face but with eyes that follow you.

IR: I can't imagine what your dinner table conversation is like.

Me: Pretty normal, actually, except talking about using KA-Bars or switchblades for killing.

IR: But you don't have a KA-Bar in the novel.

Me: Aha, you have read the book. I did, but I took the scene out. I may use it as a short story because I love one line in the section: "I don't use guns because you never have to reload a KA-Bar."

IR: I think it's time to take a little break.

The second part of this interview appears on this blog on January 27. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Falling in #Love by Diane Burton

What’s the best thing about falling in love? The excitement, the trill, the anticipation. How soon does the glow of love begin to fade?

As writers of romance, we get to relive that initial euphoria. We put our characters through an emotional wringer to make sure they’re serious about falling in love. When we end our stories, we indicate our characters will live happily ever after. That’s the promise we give our readers when we call our stories romances.

What does it take to live happily ever after? Work. Once we’ve taken those vows and promise to love and honor in sickness and health, etc., we’re still in the honeymoon stage. Everything is roses and lollipops. Then we go back to work and life as usual. Only it isn’t usual anymore. We have someone else to think about. What will he like for dinner? Would she like to go out? Who’s going to do laundry, buy the groceries? Who will pay the bills? Is it my money and his money or is it our money? (More arguments between newly-weds are over money.)

Then kids come along. Who’s supposed to pick them up from daycare? Who cooks dinner? Who’s exhausted? Yeah, romance books don’t show that. How can you keep the romance going when you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow?

Some couples schedule date nights. They hire a sitter (or beg a grandparent) to watch the kids and go out to dinner and a movie. Or do an activity they both enjoy. That takes work setting it up, but keeping the romance alive is worth it. The kids grow up, and college comes faster than you think. Soon, those kids are gone, and it’s just the two of you again. It’s so easy to grow apart. He does his thing, she does hers.

I’m no expert. Hubs and I have had our ups and downs during our forty-five years together. We’ve had health scares (ourselves and our children). Unemployment was a killer. Three times. But we pulled together when times (and money) were tough. The key word to getting through those difficult times is together.

We know that life isn’t a continuous happy-ever-after. Either divorce or death ends a marriage. That can turn a person bitter or wallowing in grief. But sometimes, we’re given a second chance at love. That’s the premise of my latest book, Romance Rekindled. A mother and daughter, their spouses gone for many years—one through divorce, the other a widow. Both get to experience falling in love a second time.

In the stories we write, we reaffirm that love is wonderful, that it comes when we least expect it. Along with our readers, we get to experience the thrill and excitement that comes with falling in love.

Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.

ROMANCE REKINDLED is available at:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She blogs here on the 16th and 30th of each month.

Monday, January 15, 2018

If You Love Janet Evanovich's Books, You'll Love Mine (I hope) by Alison Henderson

I want to say up front, I'm a HUGE fan of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books--her explosion-prone every-girl heroine, hunky heroes, wacky array of supporting characters, and endlessly inventive villains. But most of all, I love her humor. I almost fell out of my chair when I read Grandma Mazur's account of shooting the roast chicken in its gumpy at the dinner table. 

I would never try to claim I am as brilliantly funny as Janet, but her unique brand of humorous romantic suspense has been a major influence on my Phoenix, Ltd. female bodyguard series. I don't do scary well. I'll never write hide-under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight, serial-killer suspense. I want readers to worry how my characters are going to thwart the unknown antagonist, but I want them to laugh while they're doing it. 

Taking a page from Janet, one of my favorite ways to add humor is with colorful supporting characters. Because my books are stand-alone stories instead of a series featuring the same central character, there's no opportunity for a single, fabulous sidekick like Lula. Instead, my bodyguard heroines are beset by a meddling Chinese grandma, a malfunctioning cooking robot, and a light-fingered Capuchin monkey with a bad attitude. These secondary characters are perfect for lightening the mood whenever the situation gets too tense.

I also love snappy dialogue--classic, old movie-style bantering. I have a dry sense of humor and a smart mouth, and so do most of my heroines. Even the men are no slouches in the wit department. I like dialogue so much, large swaths of my first drafts read more like screenplays than novels. Sometimes, my characters are so chatty I can barely type fast enough to keep up with them. I have to go back later and add all the physical and emotional elements to round out the story.

Here are a couple of my favorite lines:

"It's not too late," Carter said in a stage whisper. "You can still change your mind and travel as my masseuse."

She sent him a quelling glance. "You do know I'm carrying a gun, right?" from UNWRITTEN RULES

As he carried her up the grand staircase, visions of Tara flashed through her mind. Although he didn't take the stairs two at a time like Rhett Butler, all she needed was a lush, red velvet dressing gown to transform into Scarlett O'Hara. Oh, and a night beyond her wildest dreams. 

That was so not happening. from BOILING POINT

When it comes to writing humor, I bow at the feet of Mistress Evanovich, but if you love her books as much as I do, I invite you to check out UNWRITTEN RULES and BOILING POINT. And the third book in the series is due out early this summer.



Sunday, January 14, 2018

Are Canine Kisses a #Moodlifter? by Christine DePetrillo

Is there anything in the world better than sloppy doggie kisses? Is there? I doubt it. I can have the absolute worst day, but ten seconds after opening my garage door and stepping into my basement, my entire outlook is changed. Science agrees with me. According to this Time article"People who have pets tend to have lower blood pressure, heart rate and heart-disease risk than those who don’t." Pets are moodlifters and good for your body! 

Keeping an eye on some deer in our field

For those of you that don't know, I have a large dog. A very large dog. Like outweighs-me-large dog. When I come home, he's usually right on the other side of the door, tail a-waggin' and snuffling noises of pure excitement sounding as I push into the house.

And then we cuddle. Seriously cuddle. Due to his size, I can literally spoon my dog. So that's what we do. For at least a 60-second count. In that minute of spooning, my soul is at total peace. Nothing in the world matters. Nothing that happened at work matters. Nothing on my to-do list matters. There is only thick German Shepherd fur to bury my face in. There are only oversized ears to rub. There is only the deep, growling rumble of canine bliss as we enjoy our reunion.

But such snuggling only lasts so long and then the beast wants to walk and play. He's a good sport though. He'll throw a few more kisses my way and when I've been sufficiently loved, we walk for a good forty minutes through the 'hood. Most days, I'm not really sure who walks who.

A few neighbors say hello, but most have learned that my dog takes protecting me very, very seriously. If your hello is a little too boisterous, he'll let you know. If your greeting looks as if you might approach us, he'll tell you to stay back. If you're walking with a little dog... good GOD, don't bother with us at all! Neither of us can handle it.

When we've had enough of the streets, we return home to play in the yard or in the basement. Or, most likely, both places. After this hour of walk and play--and sometimes dancing (The Werewolf loves to conga)--both the dog and I are different. He's released some of his zoomies and I've tapped into a new well of my energy. We're both renewed. I'm able to slip into writer mode after this transition time with my pooch. My mind is settled and ready to create some magic on the page.

I always thought I was a cat person, and don't get me wrong, I love my two cats, but it's not the same. They don't alter my mood. They don't seem to know exactly what I need.

They poop on the carpet.

I'd much rather have canine kisses. How about you?


Looking for more kisses and canines? Try Wolf Kiss, Book One in my Warrior Wolves series. Only $0.99 in ebook!