Fall is almost here, and the Roses are falling all over themselves with ideas! For September, we're going to: Fall in Love, Fall to Pieces, Fall into Place, and Fall by the Wayside.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Puppy dog tales and falling by the wayside ~ Leah St. James

Recently my writing life has taken a definite fall to the wayside.

My son has been house/dog-sitting for the past few weeks at a friend's home at the Chesapeake Bay. I should clarify. Her home is ON THE BEACH. For a transplanted Jersey (Shore) girl, the word "beach" is a homing beacon. I'm at peace at the beach. I can think at the beach. More, I can breathe at the beach, and that salt air smells so good.

So when my friend said it would be okay for me to stop by and enjoy her beach house while she was gone, I said, "Okay, thanks!" Inside I was already planning long walks while watching gulls soar lazily overhead, maybe a weekend afternoon snooze in her back (beach) yard lounger. (Sigh.) Maybe I could even take the dog, an adorable 18-month-old collie, for a walk now and then. (Dogs and beach walks -- perfect together!)

For the first week or so, I indulged my beach need with evening walks with the dog, about a mile altogether up and down the beach road, with a few pit stops. Then I'd drive home, shower off the salt air and doggy slobber, and sit down to an evening of TV with the hubby, leaving the dog to my son's care. How lucky was I?

Then my son got called out of town unexpectedly, a must-do trip. But what do to with the house/puppy-sitting?  I, in full self-sacrificing mother mode, said, "I'll get the okay to work from home and spend the night and next day there."

Little did I know how different an evening walk would be from full-time puppy care.

Wednesday evening, my son passed over the keys and took off for parts south. I kissed hubby goodbye and headed to the beach, weighed down with a quick overnight bag and all the stuff I would need to work from the beach house for the day.

That night was fine. Puppy was sufficiently exercised from the day's activities and went to sleep without a peep. The only thing keeping me awake was the steady shooshing of the waves (one of my favorite sounds) and the blinking of a lighthouse, somewhere far out in the bay. (Yes, my friend's bedroom overlooks the beach. Double sigh.)

I woke rested and alert, ready to face my DAY WITH THE PUPPY. I fed her, took her out for a long morning walk--probably a mile and a half--picked up after her when she did her business and headed back home. Then we played fetch and tug-of-war for about 30 minutes, until she tired of the game, found a comfy spot and sat down to gnaw on one of her rawhide/puppy-approved dog bones.

Rolled up tug toy. I tossed, she fetched, we tugged...
then did it all over again.

The day went on like that--playing, resting, playing, resting, with me working in the rest periods. My friend had wisely installed baby gates, so the dog was confined to the living room/office area where I was working. Still, I remembered my sons' toddler phases enough to know to keep an ear tuned for noise, or lack of.

It was a sudden quiet moment that alerted me to trouble. I had gone into the kitchen for a quick snack (hiding is easier than eating in front of her) and climbed over the baby gate to the site of something white and shredded strewn around the living room.

Slobbery toilet paper...woo-hoo!
Then she pranced into view, a huge wad of white in her mouth. At first I thought it was the stuffing of one of her toys (she likes thrashing them around quite a bit). But no. It was toilet paper. I had committed the cardinal sin of leaving the bathroom door open, probably hours earlier.

I suspect she knew it and was just waiting me out. Because in a few short minutes she had that living room decorated like Mischief Night.

What followed was a 15- or 20-minute game where she did her best to rip the entire roll into pieces while I chased and did my best to pick them up. In the end, she stood there grinning around the soggy, chewed remnants of the tube in her mouth. Somehow I managed to extricate it before she could fully ingest it. Then it was time for a walk.

When my son relieved me around 9 that night, I don't think he could have paid me to stay.

Don't get me wrong. She's a loving, fun dog and wonderful companion. But good grief, the amount of energy packed inside that one critter who is less than half my arm and leg muscles are still aching!

When I woke Friday morning, I realized that not only had I not checked my own email during that 24-hour period, not only had I not worked on any of my writing projects, but I'd been too exhausted from puppy-sitting to even think about it! Not a single thought. I was shocked. How could I not even think about my beloved characters and their troubles?!

Obviously the puppy pushed them out of my head.

I've always been a little envious of today's authors who can share cute parts of their everyday lives--whether it's stories about young children or grandchildren, or adorable puppies or kitten. Now I wonder if I'd be writing about them anyway! I think I'd be too exhausted!

Happy writing and reading to all. And to all of you who care every day for young children or least you don't need a gym membership? :-)

In her normal life, Leah works full-time in a busy newsroom, and in her spare time writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil and the redeeming power of love. Please visit her on, friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or check out her writing storyboards on Pinterest.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sometimes, you have to make things fall into place by Alicia Dean

Don’t you just love it when things fall into place? You know, when plans fall into place, a job falls into place, kids fall into place, and especially when a manuscript falls into place.

As all writers know, some books are a struggle, some go rather smoothly (although I have never been lucky enough to have a book ‘write itself’). My upcoming release, Without Mercy, did NOT fall into place. As a matter of fact, I had to grab it, wrestle it down, beat it into submission, and SHOVE it, kicking and screaming, into place.

I started writing WM in 2009. I liked the idea, and the first half a dozen chapters came fairly easily. Then, I hit a wall. Hard. My characters were in a BIG PICKLE, and I didn’t know how to get them out of it. Over the years, I would pick it back up and write a little here and there, but I never progressed very far, and definitely not very quickly.

A few months ago, I picked it up again. This time, I was determined to finish it. Come hell or high water, bald spots and all. Even if it meant doubling up on the anti-anxiety meds.

Again, I struggled, but this time, I powered my way through, with a bit of brainstorming help from my CP’s. My writing style has changed some since 2009, so I had to ‘fix’ quite a few problem areas. Oh, and also, at one point during the recent rewriting, my flash drive became corrupted, and I lost all the progress I’d made. So that was awesome. (NOT) But, again, I powered through. Now, I am pleased to say, the book is finished and currently with a proofreader. (After a lot of help from wonderful beta readers, among them, Diane Burton, and with help from my critique partners, who always have my back.)

Yes, finally, it ‘fell into place.’ J

Is there a manuscript or project that has given you fits like this? Did you conquer it? Give up on it? Or is the jury still out on that one?

Below is a blurb and excerpt from Without Mercy. I hope at least some readers feel it was worth the trouble.
Available September 26, 2014 - Pre-order for an introductory price of only 99¢:

Click here to Pre-order for Kindle


How far will a mother go to protect her child?

When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare.  

A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. Each time China makes a mistake, someone dies. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but with no idea what move will be the wrong one, that might not be enough.  

As the lives of China’s loved ones are jeopardized, she must take action, although she has no idea where to turn—and time is running out. But then, a startling truth is revealed and China discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.


The shrill alarm pierced the morning, jerking China from a dream about Aiden. He’d shown up at her door, dark eyes smiling. In his thick Irish brogue, he’d said, “No more worries, lass. I’m here now.” Relief and love filled her heart. She’d thrown her arms around his neck, clung to him tightly—she could almost feel his warm, strong body—and whispered, “Come meet your daughter…”
She’d been cocooned in sweet, safe warmth. Maybe if she stayed in bed and lay very still, the dream wouldn't leave.
It didn’t work. The illusion fled, and there was nothing left but to face reality. Annoyed and exhausted from another restless night, she stumbled from bed and down the stairs.
Gunnar was sitting at the kitchen table.
“Today is your first instruction,” he said.
“Oh, goody.” Did Gunnar recognize good ole American sarcasm? She jerked a mug from the cupboard and sloshed strong, hot coffee in it.
“You must find out which day the Norman, Oklahoma branch will have the most money on hand.”
Ice surrounded her heart. “You’re going to rob another bank?”
“I did not rob a bank.”
She let out a frustrated sigh. He was like some kind of robot, processing information in the most literal sense.
“Your gang is going to rob another bank?”
“It is not for you to ask questions. Only to follow instructions.”
Dread welled in her chest as she took a gulp of the hot brew. She couldn’t be a part of this. Couldn’t aid in another robbery. Another murder. She shook her head. “I can’t. I just…can’t.”
“You dare to refuse? Do you think we are playing?”
She remembered the web cam feed. The image of the couple she’d sentenced to death. “I know you’re not playing.”
“The deaths that have taken place so far have been those you are not particularly close to, true?”
She nodded.
“They will rob the bank no matter what. They wish to have information that will gain the most profit. If you do not get this for them, the next victim will be quite different from a boss you were not fond of. You are very close to your aunt, am I right?”
Fear moved through her, tingling along her scalp. “You won't... Please don't hurt Lucy.”

“Perhaps she will not feel much pain. Perhaps she will. I cannot make any promises about that. But I can promise you that she will die.” 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fall in Love with Serendipity! by Jannine Gallant

I love creating towns. Especially towns I can revisit in a series. When I wrote my Secrets of Ravenswood trilogy, I built Ravenswood from the ground up, a small town set in the High Sierra. For my cowboy Trouble books, I created Redemption, Texas. I got pretty elaborate with that one, making a map with a paint program so I could keep locations and street names straight. When Margo and I decided to reclaim our rights to our Class of '85 books and republish them ourselves as anthologies, we knew we had to change the location of the reunion. We moved the setting from New York on the shores of Lake Ontario to Serendipity, Vermont overlooking Lake Champlain. I love this area--absolutely beautiful! A lifetime ago I spent a summer on Stave Island, a private island smack in the middle of the lake up near the Canadian boarder. I cleaned house and mowed lawns and helped prepare meals for the people who owned it. Fun memories. This is the area where we dropped our fictional town of Serendipity. I insisted on the name. I've always loved the way the word rolls off your tongue.

In our lovely Vermont town, old classmates from Serendipity High are reunited at a twenty year reunion. These are stories of love rediscovered and second chances. Each is a stand alone book with three stories included in each anthology. Here's the good news! Right now both our books are absolutely FREE through Sept. 19th. I hope you'll grab your copies of both books and fall in love with Serendipity, too!

ROAD TO SERENDIPITY by Jannine Gallant  Click HERE to download Jannine's book from Amazon for FREE!

SATURDAY IN SERENDIPITY by Margo Hoornstra  Click HERE to download Margo's book from Amazon for FREE!

To stay updated on news about my books, check out my Website or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Falling Into Like With A Place

by Betsy Ashton

In the beginning of a new series, several different things have to come together. First the story needs a strong main character. Next it needs a plot with conflict. Third it has to have interesting secondary characters. And fourth, but not last, the story must move the reader toward the conclusion.

Those who've read my current book know that I like opinionated, often snarky, women as main characters. This WIP has an alpha male at center stage. He's not a chest pounding, knuckle dragging, hard drinking Federal law enforcement officer. He's a widower with a four-year-old daughter and a sister who lives with him to help take care of the child. Because he works for the government, he's often moved around for different assignments. His new challenge is to lead a law enforcement team requiring coordination among several state, local and Federal agencies. Therein lies part of the plot and the conflict.

This male is also a stranger in a strange land. His current transfer is from his home in Northern California to a mid-Southern city. He knows virtually nothing about his new city. He is also a minority in a place where his ethnicity is unusual. He looks at the people on the streets, in the markets, at public events and finds little that is familiar. (No, he's not from a foreign planet, but he might as well be. Few of his "people" make this city their home.) He has to learn not to gawk at people. Conflict #2: How does he help his daughter and sister fit into school and neighborhood when no one looks like them?

Daughter and sister are part of the supporting cast of characters. Their feelings about being uprooted, about losing a mother and sister-in-law, about looking different and about having different accents work to give them depth. Throw in local law enforcement officers at the state and local level, add a couple of Federal agents from other task forces. Stir.

Put these folks in peril from the bad guys. Stir again.

What do you think? Would you read something like this?


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory, will be released in June 2015. She lives for words and writing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall in Love with a National Guardsman by Donna Michaels

I did. ☺

My husband is full time National Guard and the inspiration behind my hero in my upcoming release WYNE AND DINE. He and his unit have inspired me to write the Citizen Soldier Series set in the Poconos of PA (my back yard) where fall is so dang pretty! This series is a spin-off from my cowboy series, so don't fret, you'll still get some cowboys and cowboy-isms. These servicemen are rough and tough and tortured and sweet and passionate and deserve an HEA.

I've met many men and women in the National Guard over the past thirty years, and I've noticed in the publishing world that not too many books with military heroes and heroines are National Guardsmen. They're Marines, SEALs, Rangers...etc., which are wonderful, heck, I've written books featuring each of those great branches of service, but I felt it was time to showcase the guard. There will even be some heroines in this series that are part time soldiers. It doesn't take the threat of world domination to send these men and women into action. They are here for us when disaster strikes on the homefront. My husband has been state activated during floods, blizzards, hurricanes, ice storms, presidential inaugurations, and yes, some units where activated to help out in New York on that fateful day.

The Guard was originally created to guard our homeland. They were not supposed to be deployed, but times have changed, and so have the world's needs. These men and women are there when their community or the world falls to pieces, or to the wayside or even seems like it's falling apart. So, I figure it's time we fall in love with them. ♥

The Wyne brothers were first introduced in Book 3 HER UNIFORM COWBOY in my Harland County Series. They are the heroine Brandi's brothers, and this first book will feature the wedding between Brandi and Kade up at the Pocono resort she'd helped design for her brothers to run. Look out, Pennsylvania, the cowboys are coming up north for a visit. :-)

Here's the unedited blurb:

Sweet, reliable Lea Gablonski has a dream. Two dreams. To work at a museum in NYC, and to gain other-than-sisterly attention from her best friend’s brother. So far, she’s 0 for 0. With her MA in History just a wall decoration at her family’s diner where she’s working while her dad recovers from surgery, she enjoys her encounters with the sexiest man alive—even though he would sooner pat her on the head than take her to bed. 

Military born and bred, Btn. S4 Sgt. Benjamin Wyne thrives on order and control in his fulltime career in the PA National Guard and in his personal life. But when he’s forced to ask his sister’s best friend—his childhood sweetheart’s younger sister—to pose as his girlfriend to thwart unwanted advances from his boss’ wife, his world turns chaotic. Lea is full of life and energy and tastes so damn good he’s addicted. And when the attraction takes on a new level at his sister’s wedding, his carefully guarded heart begins to thaw. 

He’s seen many relationships go wrong in the military. If he takes a chance on Lea and gives up control, will she be like her sister and leave him for a career in the big city? But if he doesn’t take a chance, will the best damn thing to ever enter his life become history?
I'm shooting for a September 22nd release, and hope I do these men and women justice. They are human, with normal lives and jobs, but when they get the call they will put their lives on hold and on the line for you and your family.

Here's the link to my website where you'll find more about the buy:

Have you ever been up to the Poconos of PA? It's a year-round playground for outdoor activities. In the series, the Wyne brothers own and run a resort. ☺

Thanks for reading,


Monday, September 15, 2014

When Things Fall into Place by Alison Henderson

Don't you love it when things fall into place? 

I've just finished my Christmas story for third annual Roses of Prose December short story extravaganza and am feeling pretty proud of  myself. Why would a short story make any novelist feel proud, you ask? What with moving, OG's health issues, and lots of house guests, those 4,100 words were the first new fiction project I've completed since last year's holiday story. I started a new novel but have struggled to get back in the writing groove, so this short story was just what I needed. It got me writing again every day and stirred up the creative juices.

Two years ago I was apprehensive when we started this project. My novels fall into the 90k word range, and I hadn't written a short story since junior high. I wasn't sure how to structure a story of that length. Somehow it all fell into place, and the story I wrote that year turned out to be one of my all-time favorites. I had a great time writing last year's story, too. This year, now that I've moved away from Midwestern winters, I had a blast writing about a blizzard on the north shore of Lake Superior!

In fact, writing this story was so much fun it gave me an idea for my next project. I've decided to put my novel on hold and write a collection of ten holiday short stories which I plan to self-publish next fall. It's a manageable goal, and the challenge of coming up with that many premises and characters should fuel my creativity. I won't have the opportunity to get bored or bogged down, because another new story will be right around the corner.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When Things Fall by the Wayside

Things never fall by the wayside for me. I can’t let them. I’m obsessive like that. If there is something that needs doing, I immediately put it on my To Do List and usually about five seconds later, I do it. My husband makes fun of me for the things I put on my To Do List, but I don’t want to forget anything… I don’t want anything to fall by the wayside.

I’m a time-budgeter by nature. Though I no longer wear a watch—I’ve broken five of them shortly after purchase—I am ever aware of what time it is or how much time I have to do something or what time I have to be somewhere. I schedule time like a maniac. Fifteen minutes to clean and change the litter boxes. Ten minutes to water all my potted plants. Two and half hours to clean the house. Four minutes to drive to work. Seventy-five minutes to teach a math class. Maybe it’s because I’m a math teacher for part of my work day or maybe I’m crazy, but time is important to me. I don’t want to not have enough.

More importantly, I don’t want to waste time. Nothing peeves me more than climbing into bed at night and feeling like I didn’t use my time efficiently. As a way of falling asleep—which doesn’t happen immediately like it used to—I often tick through a mental copy of my To Do List for the day. If I got everything done (and I’m Type A, remember, so I most likely got everything done), I’m very pleased. If something had to get carried over to the next day, that will bug me. Sometimes it will bug me to the point that I will get out of bed and attempt to get that something done if possible.

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I’ve got problems.

There are other things I don’t let fall to the wayside too. If I start reading a book, I’ll finish it even if I don’t like it. I have to. There’s only been one instance in my 40 years of existence that I didn’t finish a book. It had an older heroine in it, which would have been okay, but I didn’t realize that going in and just couldn’t connect with the character. I’d say one book in the hundreds I’ve read over the years is acceptable.

Yes, it is. Cut me a break.

I like to bake. If I’m trying a new recipe and it doesn’t come out as expected, I’ll try again. And again. And again, if necessary. If the middle of the chocolate cake is supposed to be “molten,” I won’t quit until it is the exact definition of molten. Desserts definitely should not fall to the wayside. Ever. I’m pretty sure that’s a cardinal sin or something.

Some big projects I’ve done either personally or professionally I’ve often wanted to let fall to the wayside, but I don’t like to let people down. I don’t like to let myself down. I’ll keep plugging along then until the project is completed even if it exhausts me.

I guess what I’m saying is The Wayside, wherever that place is, is not a place I visit. I don’t know how to get there. While I can think of a few examples where things would have been easier if I could have parked my car in front of The Wayside and emptied the trunk, being productive and determined is the way I roll. Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I’m out of breath at the finish line. Sometimes I wish I could just say, “Aw, the hell with it,” and loosen up.

But then I wouldn’t be me and it’s too much work now to figure out how to be someone else. I don’t have time for that. It’s not on my To Do List.

I’m not throwing myself by the wayside.


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