Monday, April 24, 2017

Love and War in Any Element by Colleen L. Donnelly

Please welcome my guest, Colleen L. Donnelly with a very entertaining post...

It’s movie night in front of the DVD player and the males are voting for action movies – conquests, fighting, and chest-thumping winners bloodied from their victories. The females argue against two hours of unrelated sequences of brutality and heroic feats, hoping for a more tightly woven saga involving a hero and a heroine on an adventure riddled with conflict and camaraderie until they ultimately wind up in a chest-to-chest loving embrace. Two different…wait…are those two types of scenarios actually different? Can the story of two fighters in a ring parallel the conflicts of a boy and a girl on their way to becoming a couple? “Ewwww” and “No” are the most likely reactions from the moving-watching crowd, but I beg to differ.

I looked at what I write and the movies I watch (or am subjected to) and discovered relationships are the basis of almost any story told – a boy pitted against the elements in order to survive, a girl finding herself loved in spite of self-doubt, a country vying against another for power, aliens and other planets warring against earth, animals forming unlikely bonds to overcome obstacles, thieves trying to outsmart the law… All of them hinge on relationships in one form or another – one being encountering another or themselves, and clambering toward a hopefully positive outcome.

My writer’s eye watches for conflict, seeking out what will make or break a relationship, and ultimately a good story. Even though none of my characters resolve their issues with guns or soccer balls, the wars are there – the unloved wife accused of infidelity in “Asked For,” the young woman whose heart belonged to another instead of to the man her family had arranged for her to marry in “Love on a Train.” Or, the conflict searing enough to split a family into two warring factions, unforgiveness vs forgiveness, in “Mine to Tell.”

So, can peace and harmony reign in front of the television between the two factions warring over physical vs emotional conflict? Can those with romantic notions see heroes vanquishing and vanquished by more than a heroine’s heart? And can those with non-romantic notions concede John Wayne did win and lose less manly sorts of battles, and did so without a gun? To a degree, yes. Because, no matter what our pleasure, there is a relationship buried in any encounter somewhere.

“Mine to Tell” is the story of the Crouse family shame, three generations accepting great-grandfather Isaac’s claim that his wife, Julianne, had done the unthinkable when she disappeared for two weeks. Great-granddaughter, Annabelle, on the cusp of her own marriage, decides to do the unthinkable herself and give Julianne a chance to tell her side of the story. With both great-grandparents long since deceased, Annabelle unboards the closed-up house Isaac had relegated Julianne to, and moves in, believing the truth is there somewhere and it will set the Crouse family women free. Annabelle’s actions further split her family as well as her own engagement as she determines to find the truth, her only faithful companions in her venture being her great-grandmother’s hidden story and the quiet young man down the road she’d ignored while growing up.

“Mine to tell,” Kyle said suddenly. It was a jolt. I was yanked from my mental tumble into a pit of unredemption. Alex looked up too, a quizzical expression on his face. “Julianne left a story behind,” Kyle continued. “Some of it speculation and rumors by people who don’t know, and the rest of it by her own hand. It was a love story. One that was countered with suffering.” 

We were all quiet. I looked at him, my heart melting as I heard his masculine voice speak of love and suffering. I wanted to lean across the table and hug him, but I was too afraid. 

Alex leaned back in his chair. “What my father went through didn’t feel like love when we were little.” 

“But maybe it was,” Kyle persisted, his tone smooth and even. “Does love always turn out the way we want it to?” Then he looked at me. “Julianne Crouse was a fine woman. We haven’t finished her story, but she suffered, and she was fine indeed.” 

Tears came to my eyes. “Thank you,” I squeaked. Kyle stood and walked around the table to me. He helped me stand as he thanked them for their time. He retrieved Julianne’s picture, took my hand, and together we went to the door, Alex and his wife following us. 

“I hope you’re right,” Alex said, running his hand through his thin, brittle hair as we stepped outside. “My father had some things to come to terms with, but he was a good man. A better man later in life, when he told us he was sorry. I never knew for what.” 

Buy link to “Mine to Tell”
Buy Link to “Love on a Train”
Buy Link to “Asked For”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wildlife Meets Wild Life

Kiss is coming to Laughlin


The RV Life
Wild Saturday, wild life, and wildlife. April started off with Wild Saturday. The Happy Hour Gang pool the spoils of the hunt, and the Williams host this feast every year at the RV Ranch. This year we had dove, quail, and elk. Last year,
FDW caught an 8.5 lb striper
they talked Frank into keeping some fish leading up to Wild Saturday, but they weren't successful this year. I made some wild beans and bacon.

This last week, we spent a few days in Laughlin, Nevada. A few years ago, back in the farm days, we would go

Clowning on the River Walk

several times a year. One of the casinos started sending us free nights. We still get them and try to make use as often as possible...that is when it's good fishing weather. We go on the cheap with free rooms, take our breakfasts and lunches in a cooler, tote a small coffee pot with us, and use coupons for dinners at various casinos. During the day, Frank fishes and I write. This trip, the wild life and wildlife were an added benefit. Sharing pictures!

Thumbs up coming in to Laughlin
Another gesture leaving Laughlin

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sinners and Saints by Gemma Snow


Please welcome Gemma Snow as guest blogger today. She's talking all kinds of wicked. Enjoy!

            In the case of It Takes Three to Waltz, I wanted my setting to be as wicked as my heroes. Lords Lucien Sinclair and Gabriel Montague are co-owners of London’s most notorious dance hall, The Garden of Eden – a location rife with opportunity for bad behavior. My love for art history and erotic romance manifested into the design of The Garden of Eden, also referred to as The Garden. In stained glass and upon canvas, I twisted traditional biblical scenes to set the mood of the salacious club, where lords and ladies find no end to hidden shadows and secret rooms.

            The Original Sin Masquerade Ball, where a whole host of wicked behavior occurs, takes the reimagining of pious scenes to an entirely new level, with painted human statues in lascivious poses and half-nude acrobats suspended high above the lush gardens.

            The idea of original sin appealed to me as a concept, because there is so much ripe history and imagery to create from. For centuries, art was focused upon biblical scenes, and my heroes – and I! – have no qualms about perverting those traditional images to allure and entice, as Lucien and Gabriel are supremely fond of. In the course of art history, I am certainly not the first – nor will I be the last – to find original sin a seductive concept. But my debonair Lucien and rakish Gabriel are both wicked, depraved men with a taste for all sorts of sin. I couldn’t think of a better place for them to find it, except, perhaps, in the arms of the woman they love. 

It Takes Three to Waltz is not yet available for purchase, but get your FREE copy of Boardroom, Bedroom - Get it here: - and check out my most recent release, Good Little Teacher! 

Good Little Teacher 

New teacher Emmy Lange is adjusting to life at the Redding Boarding School. She can’t shake the giddy feeling that the handsome headmaster, Marcus Powers, is attracted to her. Underneath his stern and commanding demeanor is a spark that beckons to her. When he asks her to his office to review her progress, she can't help but wonder if the intimate setting could lead to some sinful discipline, especially when he takes her to task for her improper usage of his title. His deep voice makes her shiver, and Emmy might find it all too easy to enjoy a "hands-on" lesson on how to properly address the handsome headmaster. 


But it might not be the letter that’s making me shiver. Marcus is standing so close to me now that I can smell him, a delicious combination of coffee and book pages and fireplace, and the scent of his body is so overwhelming that I nearly lose my balance.
“Are you quite all right, Miss Lange?” He cups his hand on my shoulder.
The warmth of his hand has a less than calming effect, and I feel hot and slightly dizzy with his proximity. He reaches for the letter and places it on a side table, but leaves me trapped between him and the desk. I’m starting to think that the nature of this evening has changed completely, and that it’s unlikely that this is all in my imagination.
At that passing thought, Marcus runs his hand down the length of my upper arm. I try to suppress a shudder, but it comes anyway, my whole body responding to the surprisingly delicate touch of his hand.
“Marcus,” I whisper, and his name seems to echo around the room like a prayer.
He caresses the skin on my other arm, and I feel like I’ve stumbled into some crazy dream, because there is no way that this gorgeous headmaster is touching me, looking at me like he’s hungry.
“I admit,” he says slowly. “I find myself quite drawn to you, Miss Emily Lange.”
Buy Links: The Wild Rose PressAmazon   Nook   Kobo 

About Author: 

Gemma Snow is the author of several works of erotic and romantic fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres, and enjoys pushing the limits of freedom, feminism, and fun in her stories. She has been an avid writer for many years, and recently moved back to her home state of New Jersey from Boston, after completing her education in journalism and creative writing. 

In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent a semester abroad living in a 14th century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars, and talking to strangers. 

Check me out on social media and visit for your FREE download of Boardroom, Bedroom.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Novel Born From Desperation by Gary Guinn

Please welcome today's guest, Gary Guinn and his debut novel. Read to the end and enter his giveaway!

Sacrificial Lam, my first genre novel, a mystery/thriller featuring a liberal English professor teaching at a small, conservative southern college, released by The Wild Rose Press on March third, was born out of desperation. Two years ago, my writing had stagnated. On a beautiful day in October, while my wife and I were visiting friends at their beach condo in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, I realized I had been revising older work
for months, while creating nothing new. I felt discouraged and became convinced that I was failing completely as a writer.

Then a serendipitous thing happened. An ad for NaNoWriMo popped up in my email box. I had heard of it, but never taken it seriously. But I grabbed onto NaNoWriMo as if it were a lifeline. I had to do something, and I knew it had to be something new. All my writing to that point had been literary fiction, purely character driven, avoiding formula like the plague. “Well,” I told myself, “what good is literary purism if it’s stuck in a Slough of Despond?” So I turned to my favorite genre, mystery/thriller. Almost as a lark, I decided to write about a protagonist very much like myself—a liberal English professor who taught in a small, conservative southern college. My protagonist, Dr. Lam Corso, looked a lot like me, and the school where the novel is set looks a lot like the small university where I taught. Writing the novel turned out to be liberating and fun.

I spent the last week of our visit to the beach working on a detailed outline, and during the month of November cranked out fifty-five thousand words. After a year of feedback from my writing group and six months of working with my editor at The Wild Rose Press, Sacrificial Lam was ready to go.

But the genesis of the novel entailed much more than simply stagnated writing and NaNoWriMo. On page one, Dr. Lam Corso receives a note threatening his life, from someone who doesn’t like his beliefs. Fairly early in my career at the university, a disturbing incident occurred, which stuck with me through the years. Three of my colleagues at the university, who were all liberal, progressive professors like myself, received anonymous threats couched in violent terms, aimed specifically at their liberal positions on social issues. The university was a very conservative place, and liberal professors like ourselves were in a real minority and sometimes found teaching there an uncomfortable fit. At the same time, we felt a sense of purpose, of mission, in being the source of divergent, more open, views in the areas of politics, social issues, and religion.

The threats created a tense environment. As it happens, nothing further came of them, but that situation has become the kernel for developing the series of mystery/thrillers featuring English professor Lam Corso. Sacrificial Lam is the first in the series. The second, which I am close to finishing, has the working title Lam to the Slaughter.

And I guess the thematic material in the novel, has emerged at a fitting time historically. In the novel, there is a strong strain of religious and political fanaticism and intolerance of difference and divergence that drives some of the characters. We live in a world where the destructive results of fanaticism and intolerance leap out at us every day. Though the novel does not attempt to promote any particular ideology, I do hope the story is a voice for tolerance and respect and the importance of the dignity of every human being. 

  Sacrificial Lam Blurb 

When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off.  A liberal activist at a small Southern conservative college, he's used to stirring up controversy on campus.  It's just part of the give and take of life.  Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it must be a mistake.  He can't imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs. 

When his home is broken into and his wife's business vandalized, Lam is forced to face the truth. His wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. The police can't find a single lead. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan are forced to examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by his own set of beliefs. 

What will it cost to survive?  


When he dropped Lam back to the pavement, he said, “You dodged a bullet Friday afternoon. My bad. But I won’t miss this time.” And then the attacker stepped away and waited, breathing hard.

Another shock of fear and clarity ran through Lam. The car had been trying to kill him. He’d been a fool. He thought of Susan, sitting with the boys on the sofa, watching TV and sipping a glass of wine. He couldn’t let go of her, he couldn’t bear to leave her and the boys, lying there in an empty parking lot. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He had imagined dying hundreds of times—cancer, car wreck, drowning, plane crash—but never this, beaten to death by a lunatic who didn’t like his politics.

A desperate sound, short, high, and strained, broke from him. Blind without his glasses in the dark, he was helpless, but he refused to lie there and be killed without a fight. He tried again to stand. But as he struggled to his knees, a blow to the side of his head sent him sprawling against the bike rack, and he thought he was passing out.

The voice came again, “Time’s up, Lambert.”

When Lam looked up, the man stood above him with something, a knife Lam thought, in his hand.

The voice said, “You were warned.”

Buy Links for Sacrificial Lam, by Gary Guinn 


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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

THE DIRTY 30s by Sylvie Grayson

Please welcome my guest Sylvie Grayson today. She has a wicked story!

This story is set in the dirty ‘30’s when times were very tough, and people were on the move looking for opportunity, or just food to feed their families. Julia Butler, a widow, has two small children and is barely hanging on. When two young strangers happen by her farm, she feels compelled to let them in. But they don’t come without connections that make things dangerous for the whole family.  Here is an excerpt –

“Ben, quick! Around the corner!” Ollie grabbed his brother’s sleeve as he whipped past, heading for the side of the school building. Ben looked startled but Ollie kept going, his head down and legs pumping. Alarmed by the panic in his brother’s voice, Ben abandoned his game of ball and ran after him, past the duty teacher and into the shadows of the woodpile at the back of the school.

“Ollie, hold it! Where are you going? What is it?”

His brother had stopped, holding his side, his eyes wide and unfocussed. “Ben, he’s here, we have to hide!”

“What are you talking about?” Ben shook his shoulder and peered into his face. “Who’s here? Ollie, stop it!”

Ollie shook, holding his arms against his thin chest. “He’s here, Pa’s here. I just saw him.” He pointed a wavering finger in the general direction of the front yard.

Ben’s jaw dropped. He lowered his voice. “Are you sure? Was it really him?”

Ollie nodded, staring into his eyes, panic written on his face.

Ben’s head swiveled around and he looked back the way they’d come, then he moved to the corner of the building and peered cautiously around.

“Ben, don’t do it. Come back, he’ll see you!”

He waved Ollie back and stuck his head further out.

“I don’t see anyone,” he whispered. He slowly eased around the corner.

“Ben, he’ll notice you more than me. Don’t go out there!”

They stood still, breathing shallowly as Ben scanned the schoolyard, then he snuck back toward his brother. “What should we do?”

Ollie shook his head, “I don’t know.” His legs suddenly wobbled under him and he sat heavily on a stack of firewood.

Ben crouched beside him. “Do you want to see him, Ollie?”

He shrugged, uncertainty shining in his eyes. “I’m afraid he’ll take us back there. Back home.

“That’s not home, not anymore,” Ben said fiercely. “We’ve got us a new home, a real nice one, with a Mum and everything.”

Ollie whimpered. “We had a Mum before, didn’t we?”

Ben shook his head, “Not really.” They fell silent.

When the bell rang by the schoolhouse door, both boys jumped, then rose and cautiously joined the throng of children lining up at the entrance. Their heads turned this way and that, but they couldn’t find their father.

“Are you sure, Ollie? I can’t see him.”

Ollie hung his head. “I don’t know. I’m pretty sure, but I don’t know.”

Ben’s arm snaked around his shoulders for a quick hug, then dropped to his side.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Do You Hate to Ask Favors?

Muse Monday...if I have a Muse, she's chomping at the bit wanting me to finish the last book in my Love and Murder Series, The Deep Well of Love and Murder. Chomping at the bit is appropriate since it takes place on a ranch and involves horses. I'm at the point in my novel when I can see the rest of the story stretching before me, completed. It's in my mind like a movie, but I can't write fast enough to keep up. I need to invent a machine to stick my head in, I think the rest of the book, and it flows through tubes and onto the page.

Meanwhile, books three and four, A Legacy of Love and Murder and The Power of Love and Murder, garnered 4-Star reviews from InD'Tale Magazine. I'm thrilled, but I'm also full of anxiety. These great reviews put me up for two RONE Awards. The reason for the anxiety is the process. The next step is in a couple of weeks, the books will appear on the website and voting begins. The books with the most votes will then go to Industry Professionals to be judged. That last part I'm good with. My getting out and asking for votes makes my skin crawl. I really hate it. But I'll have to do. I don't have much hope. Why? Cause I'll ask once and then cower in embarrassment. It's not that I don't believe in the books, I just hate to ask for favors.

For now, I'll rejoice with the reviews.

Crafting a connection to present day political unrest and history, Ms. Whiteside knocks it out of the park with her have a stellar story that stands firmly alone, while complimenting the series.

...utterly addictive...enough thrills, romance and audacious surprises to make ones head spin. A superb story with an explosive ending.

Here's the link if you'd like to read the entire reviews or check out some other reviews from authors you might want to add to your to be read list.