Thursday, September 20, 2018

WIP Update #RomanticSuspense #series #writing

The view from the Ghostly Goulash

To refresh your memory, the setting for this new WIP (work in process) is based on a real-life mining town turned ghost town turned tourist town. I fell in love with Jerome, Arizona years ago. In order to have more flexibility with the lay of the land and the history, I've renamed it Joshua. All the people in Joshua are purely from my imagination. This Romantic Suspense Series should keep you turning the pages long into the night. An unsolved murder from 1990 has a bearing on today…especially now that bones have been found in the Hippie section of town called The Ravine.

Last month, I offered up the first page of the first book. So, where am I with the first book in the series today? Not as far along as I’d hoped. I have finished two more chapters, made a chart of characters that are involved in the plot with their ages in 1969, 1990, and 2019. There are twenty-five of them so I definitely needed a chart. The book is set in 2019, involves a murder in 1990, and is interwoven with what happened in 1969.

I found I had to rename quite a few characters. This idea started as a three-book series set in
1930s "house of pleasure"
1969/1970 and three books set in present day. But I decided to write a book within a book. Too many characters from the two time periods had similar names. That done, I continued writing. I’m handling 1969 through a series of flashbacks.

I’ll share one of those flashbacks with you today. Every flashback will be seen from the POV (point of view) of Frank Harlan MacKenzie, who came to Joshua in 1969, met Susie Muse and had three children, Magpie, Harlan, and Elidor. Frank and Susie were some of the first of the so-called Hippies that settled in Joshua. I can’t share the whole flashback because it’s too long, so here’s the latter part. He’s just dropped off his friend, Snuff, at the clinic. This is when Frank meets Susie…1969.

Frank closed the clinic door behind him and strolled through the archway that led to another part of the building. A sign intricately painted with scrolls and flowers read Knit Two Wear. The arrow pointed straight ahead. In the middle of the shop, Lolly—the Lolly—arranged some sort of knitted clothing on a rack. Even without seeing her face, she was hard to mistake for anyone else. He was just under six feet, and the woman stood nearly as tall as him. She had to weigh three hundred pounds.
She glanced up. “Good morning. Anything I can help you with?” She dressed the same as the first time he’d met her: full, floor length skirt, sandals, and a cotton blouse with a plunging neckline that left little to the imagination about an abundance of breasts. A leather strap held straight blonde hair at the back of her neck.
“I’m just looking around.”
“Please do.” Thick brows drew together. “We’ve met.”
“Yeah, first night I was in town. At your house.”
“That’s right. You live with Doug and Maureen.” She floated toward him, all fullness of skirt flouncing, breasts bobbing and threatening to break free of what little material covered them.
Her arms spread wide, and he suddenly dissolved into warm flesh. He could’ve laid his head on her shoulder and taken a nap. The scent of patchouli lulled him.
She stood back then, still clasping his shoulders. “My, you are a strong young man.” Her hands slipped to his biceps. “Mm—mm.” She winked. “Why haven’t you been back to my house?”
Her welcome hug could’ve turned into a whole lot more. She was really beautiful, but the beauty came as a result of the openness and warmth that radiated from inside her. Lolly held nothing back of herself. How he knew all of this with one hug and a wink, he didn’t know, but thoroughly believed.
“I’ve been busy getting settled and working on my sculptures.”
“Ohhh, you’re a sculptor.” Her fingers massaged his biceps. “I should’ve guessed.” Another wink, and she released him. “Well, you know where I am. You come around any time you want. My home is open most every night to all of our friends.”
Two women entered the shop from the street door. With a smile, she left him to greet her customers.
Having been officially welcomed to Joshua, he left through the street entrance and stepped into the almost noonday sunshine. This is home. He smiled.
The heat of eighty-degree weather penetrated his cotton shirt, and he rolled the sleeves above his elbows as he walked. Turning onto Cutway Street, aptly named as the road jutted upward at an angle to connect to Main Street above, his leg muscles felt the pull with the climb. He didn’t mind. Cutway Street dumped onto Main and into the heart of downtown Joshua. He took a deep breath as he paused at the top. He hadn’t quite acclimated to the elevation yet.
His stomach growled. He’d had only coffee for breakfast. The shop directly in front of him looked promising for food when he spied two wrought iron tables on the sidewalk in front. The sign above the door said “Susie’s” and was flanked by a window on each side. Over one window, “Wake Up Susie” was painted in purple and over the other window in bright taxi-cab yellow was “The Muse.”
He stepped through the open doorway, greeted by a delicious spicy aroma, as well as a nicely rounded bottom covered in worn jeans frayed on the leg edges and missing a pocket.
The petite woman belonging to the butt, bent from the waist downward, peeked around her legs. Black hair, so curly it hung in corkscrews, dusted the floor. “Hi!” She straightened from the shelf of books she was arranging and laughed. The sound was a melody. The face a work of art. Her eyes were the color of gold nuggets rimmed in the color of dark fertile soil. How appropriate for an old mining town. She smoothed her waist-length hair down without much success. Her ripe peach lips were moving, and Frank started with the realization she was speaking.

I’ve been floundering on what to call this new series. Not wanting to wait for some inspiration to hit
Hanging on the side of a mountain
me, I’m going with these working titles. First off, the series will be called Joshua, Arizona. And I’ll name the books for the main character. Book one will be “Magpie, a Joshua, Arizona Novel.” Book two will be “Harlan MacKenzie, a Joshua, Arizona Novel.” And book three, “Elidor, (maybe Elidor Muse), a Joshua, Arizona Novel.” If I find these are too boring, I just might offer a contest to readers to help me choose new titles. More on that in the months ahead.
Now to get back to writing. I’ll give you an update next month.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Steampunk! What's #Steampunk? by Laura Strickland


Laura has introduced us to several genres she writes. Today is of particular interest because I'm not sure what SteamPunk is. How about you? Please give us a lesson, Laura!

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this question, I’d be a wealthy woman indeed. Usually, when I confess that I write Steampunk Adventure novels, people tend to look at me with a puzzled expression, perhaps wondering whether I also sacrifice goats on weekends or whether my tattoos are all safely hidden beneath my clothing. I can almost hear them thinking, “Wow, but she looks like such a normal lady.”

And I always feel as if I’ve been put on the spot. Despite all the times I’ve been asked, “What’s Steampunk?” I’ve yet to come up with a perfect answer. Perhaps that’s because Steampunk means different things to different people.

Here’s how the Urban Dictionary defines it:  Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.

For me, Steampunk is more a feeling than a definition. It’s a dark and misty place in my mind populated by folks who might have escaped from one of the more troubling Dickens novels, with a hint of Sherlock Holmes and a seasoning of black humor. Wrap that all up in an atmosphere of steam-powered everything from airships to automatons, and you’re getting close to what I think of, when I think Steampunk.

Fans tend to get into varying aspects of the genre. Some like the mechanics of it—they want to create their own gadgets, and claim their own realities. Others fall for the costuming—think Victorian gone on a wild weekend with Gothic. For me, it’s all about the characters. What sort of people would inhabit such a world? Would its mechanics affect them? How?

When I first set out to write a Steampunk Romance, I thought I’d set it in London, like so many other Steampunk tales. My daughter, who lives in Buffalo, New York—city of my birth—suggested I set it there instead. Upon thought, I had to acknowledge that Buffalo offers everything I love about Steampunk—strength and grit and an industrial past, people who as the sons and daughters of immigrants tend to look at the world a bit darkly, and who never, ever give up. And so the world of Buffalo Steampunk Adventure was born. I and my readers have traveled back again and again. Come visit, if you dare!

Blurb for Dead Handsome: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure (first book in series)

Clara Allen needs a husband in order to keep a roof over the heads of her assorted dependents, a roof her nasty grandfather will re-appropriate unless she is married by her 21st birthday, only a few days away. Strong-minded, unwilling to take orders from any man, she decides to solve her problem by raising a murdered prisoner from the dead and marrying him. She expects an empty-headed puppet; she certainly never dreams he’ll be so devastatingly handsome.

Liam McMahon doesn’t recall much about his life before his hanging in the prison yard, other than being Irish. He does remember the kiss Clara bestowed as she brought him back to life. Every time he looks at her, his desire gets out of hand. But his former life is chasing him down like a steam engine, and when a couple of mad geniuses decide he’d make a fine experiment, he wonders if he’ll live long enough to claim Clara’s heart or if he’ll die all over again.

Author web site: HERE

Author bio:
Born in Buffalo and raised on the Niagara Frontier, award-winning author Laura Strickland has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. She believes the spunky, tenacious, undefeatable ethnic mix that is Buffalo spells the perfect setting for a little Steampunk, so she created her own Victorian world there.  She knows the people of Buffalo are stronger, tougher and smarter than those who haven’t survived the muggy summers and blizzard blasts found on the shores of the mighty Niagara.  Tough enough to survive a squad of killer automatons? Well, just maybe.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

#FairyGarden and #Farming in the Desert

It’s not getting much cooler here in Tonto Basin, or anywhere else in Arizona. I took part in the annual Chino Valley Days a couple of weeks ago. So glad we had shade and a breeze off and on. I enjoy doing this event every year with some fellow Arizona authors. It’s small town Arizona with a pancake breakfast and parade. Of course, I don’t get to take part in either since I’m under the tent with my books, but the atmosphere is fun. When someone walks directly to me and asks to see my latest book, I’m honored. I had several repeat customers who read all my books. I wish I could write them as fast as they read them.

When I’m not writing, I like to “play in the dirt” as FDW calls it. It isn't technically farming on this scale, but I am a fiction writer! Until last spring, I stuck to potted plants at the Ranch. In late spring, I tried a small plot. It was a failure. The soil here is mostly sand, and I planted too late. Since it’s supposed to be fall, I’ve added more planting soil and tried some different vegetables. But the heat is hanging on so I’m not sure what will happen. In pots, I have sage and fennel that are two years old. I’ve got basil that is new. The rosemary in the ground is a hardy plant and still going strong after three years. In the small plot, I planted seeds of green onions, carrots, beets, chives, and dill and broccoli plants. Wish me luck. I’ll need it for my garden in the desert.

My fairy garden is to the side and a work in progress. I have more fairy additions coming in the mail. I’ll play with it over the next few months.

Do you garden? Or play with fairies? I'd love to hear your stories.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Female Trucker to Sexy Romance by Dee S. Knight


Dee is fearless for sure. When she says "this might not seem very fearless", I answer "oh yes it is!"

Growing up, I never considered myself fearless. Far from it, in fact. Maybe because I had polio as an infant and my left leg was affected to the point that I wore braces until I was in my mid-teens. Despite that, I learned to roller skate, ride a bike, learned to dance, and took part in most everything else kids do. So maybe my mom instilled some fearlessness in me while I wasn't looking. I went from a mom who made me get out and do things to a husband who rarely took no for an answer when it came to adventure. I like to say that between them—my mom and my husband—they thought I could do anything. Even things I didn't particularly want to do! And that leads me to my most fearless action.

I am a creature who likes stability. I'm fairly risk-averse. So when hubby came home from work one day and said, "Remember all those years while we were dating I said I thought we should drive a truck? Well, I wasn't kidding," I didn't quite know what to think. But I'd watched the big rigs go up and down the highways and I'd suffered from wanderlust for years so I said, "Why not." In a matter of weeks, stay-at-home me packed up the items we wanted to keep and stored them in my in-law's attic. We sold everything else, let the apartment go and set off for Home Transportation in Marietta, GA. This might not seem very fearless unless you consider that I had never been inside a big rig, much less had driving experience. Remember what I said above? I was raised to believe I could do anything, and I had no doubts that I could handle driving a tractor trailer.

Well, we had a few setbacks. Hubby went out by himself for six months or so, but then called me back down. I went through "truck school" (this was before the national license and testing that we have now), had the physical—which I almost didn't pass because of the residual effects of the polio on my left (clutch) foot and leg—and I went, fat, dumb, and happy, as my mom would say. Hubby taught me how to drive by making me practice when and how to shift the truck's fifteen gears in the company parking lot. Then off we went, like we knew what we were doing. That was the start of eight fabulous, fun years driving throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada. In probably a quarter of a million miles of driving I never had an accident or a ticket. Had lots of laughs, though, and many days of hard work. Being fearless was definitely worth it! 

A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That's how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she's lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. Find Dee on and read about her books like her latest, Naval Maneuvers. Contact Dee at

Find all of Dee's books HERE

Thursday, September 6, 2018

In The Book: When #Inspiration Strikes #girlpower

In the Book

One spring day, I received an invitation for Ben and Amanda for a summer wedding. The invitation was on a full sheet of paper, folded. Because of the folds, the first thing I saw was "Amanda in summer." I was instantly transported to another era. Holding a folded sheet of paper was reminiscent of an age of letter writing communication. That led me to a woman named Amanda, toes in the sand on a summer day. Inspiration hit. I wish I’d kept a detailed account of where my mind wandered. But I didn’t. The complexity of this brief novella tells the tale.

Three generations of women…and the secret that strengthens their love.

Imagine summertime, lazy days, lying on the beach watching the waves roll in and writing a letter to your best friend. Okay, this is probably totally foreign to some of you. Write a letter? Why not just call or text? In 1947, you wouldn’t have had that option. Writing a letter was an art, an intimate exchange and a satisfying pastime. The excitement of waiting for a reply and checking the mailbox every day was a treat.
Amanda in the Summer is told through that old-fashioned way of communicating. Three of my characters are named Amanda, mother, daughter and granddaughter, and through letters they write to Tilly, over the course of fifty-seven years, a story of love, pain, secrets and joy unfolds.
We never hear from Tilly, but through the words of the three Amandas we meet the woman who is the epitome of the forward-thinking female of her era. She’s a member of the beat generation of the forties and fifties and holds a secret that affects all three generations of Amandas. Although each generation has her own voice, the friendship and love remain constant. But then there’s that secret…


Friday, August 31, 2018

#FearlessFridays and Facing Your Fear of #FreshStarts by Addison Brae


Since I'm a Bathophobic (fear of being underground or underwater), I'm enjoying today's Fearless Friday. I haven't conquered mine yet, but you'll be delighted to read about Addison Brae and some other phobias.

Do you ever get dizzy, breathless, or nauseous at the thought of flying, sharks, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, or even learning something new? The National Institute of Mental Health reports an estimated 9.1 percent of U.S. adults had a specific phobia over the year of the study, and the prevalence was 12.2 percent for females.

Here are some achievements I certainly didn’t tackle fearlessly, but rather faced my fears head-on. These adventures may not be phobias, but at times my heart raced. I felt like I would throw up any second. The good far outweighed the bad, and in hindsight, I don’t regret any of these journeys.

·     * Attended high school in another country—inspired my first manuscript
·     *Got my scuba certification
·     *Learned to figure skate as an adult and competed—inspired my second manuscript
·     *Rode in a hot air balloon
·     *Quit my corporate job to start my own consulting business—August was 18 years
·     *Learned to shoot a pistol
·     *Bought a sports car
·     *Published a novel

The achievement that sticks with me most was leaving my second husband. It was an emotionally abusive relationship about to explode to violence. Before I left I was afraid for my life at times. The fear of stepping out into the single world again brought an entirely opposite fear. These experiences inspired Becker Circle, my third manuscript and first to publish.

Seventy-four percent of people in America know someone who’s a domestic abuse victim, which is why a portion of my proceeds go to Hope’s Door New Beginnings Center, to help raise awareness and stop the horrible trend. The good news is we always have a way out. Fresh starts are scary. They almost always come with doubts like Gillian, the main character in Becker Circle, experienced, but those doubts are rarely worse than what already happened. Fresh starts come with experimentation. We screw up. The sting reminds us we’re not numb.

Facing fear of leaving and a new beginning led to another adventure, vacationing in Puerto Rico--alone. A few years later, it led to something else that causes shortness of breath and racing heartbeats--falling in love. 

Today’s Fearless Friday. You don’t have to be fearless, but I challenge you to stare down a fear today.
You can find Becker Circle on Amazon.  Connect with Addison Brae on website, Tirgearr Publishing, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

About Becker Circle
New degree. New job. It’s Gillian’s fresh start across the country. So much to experience. A giant past to forget. Gillian’s sense of humor and best friend help her maintain her self-respect when most every jerk in the neighborhood hits on her. Who know a fresh start could threaten her dignity—and even her life. Watch the trailer. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Reading and #Reviews (Garner, Konrath, and Henderson)

I'm a writer, but I'm also a reader. Each month, I'll share with you what I'm reading and some reviews. My available time to read is limited because I write, but I love to curl up with a book or a reader at night for the last hour of my waking day.

I tend to read what I write, but not exclusively. I also like detective thrillers, WWII historicals, mysteries, and some main stream character driven novels. I just finished Overland on the Hippie Trail by Larry Farmer. I'll review it soon. My current read is a Dying to Love You by Alicia Dean. It's a short romantic paranormal and I'll share my review in the future.

Here are some of the books I've read recently. Maybe you'll discover a new book or author!

Risky Redemption (Rogue Security) by Marissa Garner
This is the first book I've read by Marissa Garner and it won't be the last. My favorite kind of books have both suspense and romance. Wow, does this Romantic Suspense meet my reading taste. I see there are other Rogue Security novels so I'm happy. The main characters in this novel kept me reading. This guy is just the right amount of bad and certainly enough tough. Angela is a heroine we can route for. Definitely recommend to romantic suspense lovers.

Bloody Mary (Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels #2) by J.A. Konrath
I didn’t read the first book in the series. It didn’t hurt. Jack is a tough female detective who deals with her ex, a new boyfriend, an oversexed and overfed partner, her mom’s failing health and, of course, murder. This serial killer is a sicko. The characters are well portrayed and in spite of the subject matter, there is humor. It was a little too cutesy for me, but overall an entertaining, light read. Suspense/Mystery

Boiling Point (Phoenix Ltd. Book 2) by Alison Henderson
I love stories about mistaken identity, or in this case, hidden identity. When a female body guard poses as a chef (and she can't cook), and a male body guard poses as a chauffeur (and he never drives), the humor is light in the midst of real suspense. Their attraction for each other, and their suspicion of each other, makes for fun reading while they try to protect each half of a couple in danger. You’ll enjoy this Romantic Suspense an entertaining read. By the way, I again didn't start with book one in the series. What's up with that? Whatever, it didn't matter.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Lure of #Scottish #Romance by Laura Strickland


Here's post number two by Laura Strickland. She writes in multiple genres, and I asked her to share more about them with each post.

I’ve always loved Scottish Historical Romance. In the early days, fabulous books like Barbara Michaels’ The Master of Blacktower drew me in. I thrilled to the misty, brooding atmosphere of moor, mountain and glen, and desired a brooding hero to match. When I met my best friend in High School (incidentally, she’s still my best friend today), one of the first things I said to her was, “I write books about Scotland”. So I guess it’s fitting the book that let me break into print with my now publisher, The Wild Rose Press, was just such a story, Devil Black.

I have to admit, I still prefer a dark hero when it comes to a Highland love story. I want him to be as elemental, and perhaps as changeable, as the land of his birth—as rough around the edges, and as compelling to a woman’s heart. I want him to be harsh and gentle in turns, like the wind from the Hebrides. I want him to be irresistible, like the land I love.

Of course, such a hero demands a heroine of strength, one who won’t back down—one who, perhaps, never imagines just how tough she is, till she runs into him. Throw in some details from Scotland’s turbulent past, and you have a book in which you can lose yourself. Ah, romance!

Readers often ask me how I moved from writing Scottish Historical Romance to other genres, like Steampunk. Here’s a little secret: they’re not all that different. They’re set in different historical eras, it’s true, but if you take a look you’ll find all my heroes are either devilishly dark, or fascinatingly damaged. Like Finnan MacAllister, from His Wicked Highland Ways, who’s had readers screaming at him through the pages since the book first came out.

So, what’s your idea of the perfect Scottish hero?

His Wicked Highland Ways blurb:
Widowed following a marriage of convenience, Jeannie MacWherter has fled lowland Dumfries, Scotland, for the highland cottage bequeathed to her late husband by his brother-in-arms, laird of the glen. Though she’s never met the laird, local rumor labels him both murderer and seducer—a wicked, dangerous man who Jeannie learns is determined to chase her from his land.

Finnan MacAllister has come home to Glen Mhor in order to right past wrongs. He doesn’t care that Rowan Cottage is the beautiful Widow MacWherter’s only refuge. He’s convinced she’s a wanton who deliberately broke the heart of his best friend, Geordie, and he’s vowed to get even with her: seduction is his weapon of choice. But will his own heart betray him?

The man arose from the pool stark naked and dripping wet, like a god newly formed. Jeannie took another half step backward and blinked, not entirely believing the sight that met her eyes: some six foot of male, all rippling muscles, scars, and tattoos, with a curtain of sopping red-brown hair that slapped his shoulder blades, and a handsome, dangerous face. His eyes were tawny brown, almost the same color as his hair, and spiked by wet, black lashes. But after one glance, Jeannie could not make herself look there.

Instead her gaze dropped—and dropped. Sweet, merciful heaven! Was that how men came equipped? She might be a widow in name, but she had never seen her husband, Geordie, naked. Theirs had not been that kind of relationship, or that kind of marriage.

But she had an eyeful now, right enough, and for the life of her could not keep from staring. What a ridiculous, daunting, and marvelous appendage! How did men ever manage to walk around like that?
But this man did not attempt to walk. He merely stood in the shallow pool with the water lapping around his…Jeannie’s strained mind supplied the word “weapon”…and gazed at her as if he found her as hard to fathom as she found him.

Ah, and she never should have walked so far down the glen. But dearly as she loved Aggie, Jeannie sometimes needed to escape her chatter, and the beautiful day had lured her on.
Into danger, clearly. Who was he? Obviously someone of ill repute, a traveler, a dangerous outlaw, a madman. What if he decided to use that terrible weapon on her, and she on her own?

Instead he spoke the way a man might to a frightened horse. “There, now, no need to be afraid. I’ll not harm you.”

Jeannie took another judicious step backward. If she ran, would he be able to catch her? No doubt, given those long, muscular legs.

She shook her head, and her hair tumbled about her shoulders. Never well-disciplined, the yellow curls invariably escaped their pins, and she’d lost most of those on her walk down the glen.

He spoke again, in a voice smooth as warmed honey, lilting, and very Highland. “Where are you from, lass? You’ll be a maid at Avrie House, no doubt.” Deliberately he snagged his plaid, which lay on the bank, and wrapped it around his waist.

“Why were you lying in the water?” Jeannie forced her voice past suddenly stiff lips. “I thought you dead, drowned.”
Buy links:
Author Web site:

Author bio:
Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her "fur" child, a rescue dog. Author of Scottish romance Devil Black as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy, she is pleased to say that His Wicked Highland Ways is her eighth title for The Wild Rose Press.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Reasons to Write a Book About the #Navy by Dee S. Knight #military


Please welcome Dee S. Knight as my guest blogger. It's a great post. Fun read so enjoy!

I was raised as a Navy brat. That's the long and short of it right there. My dad loved the Navy!! When he left home as a teenager, the Navy became his home and he wasn't shy about letting people know how proud he was to serve. He didn't have an easy job—he was a boiler tender, one of the men who worked in the bowels of the ship and worked with the giant boilers used to power the ship. Lots of noise, heat, and (we found out later) asbestos everywhere, used as fire retardant. He was gone at least eight months out of every year, except for his two tours of shore duty, a total of 6 years out of the 24 he served. It wasn't an easy life, but still he loved it. The reasons why are part of why I wrote Naval Maneuvers. I really wanted to highlight these three factors about military life, and especially about the Navy.

1. Military service isn't only hard on the men and women who leave their families, it's hard on the families. When a spouse is gone for months at a time, the person at home is responsible for the children, the home, the vehicles, their own jobs (because pay in the military is often not enough to support children, homes, and vehicles by itself), and everything that stuff involves. On the one hand, it's an honor to represent the service member, but on the other hand, it's like having a fist fight with one arm tied behind your back. Then, after handling everything for months by yourself, your service member comes home and expects to take back have the responsibility. That is very hard! It's difficult to hold a relationship together and those who do deserve a lot of credit and respect.

I highlighted the family situation especially in Weighing Anchor, when Mel Crandall refused to fall in love with a serviceman because of her childhood memories. Her father seemed to miss all of the important events in her life because he was away. Yup, that really happens. My dad missed holidays, birthdays, and my mom's serious illness.

2. The military isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle. On our block in Virginia Beach, only one neighbor was not in the Navy. So a certain camaraderie developed. We all knew when ships had to be met or farewells had to be made. A wife at home had support from others who went through the same trials. It wasn't the same as having the spouse at home, but every wife (or now, husband) knew there was a lifeline of sorts in others experiencing the same thing.

I highlighted this in Weighing Anchor, also. Mel's mom reminds her of the "family" they had in the service families they had around them.

3. Someone has to do the dirty job of keeping the nation safe. This has been a truth since countries first had boundaries and armies and navies to defend them. I wanted to highlight that service members are not social misfits who can't do anything else so they entered the service. Unfortunately, that is a view held by a lot of people—that if you can't get into college or learn anything else, you can always go into the service. In each Naval Maneuvers story—Weighing Anchor, Dropping Anchor, and Anchor Home—I wanted to show that whatever you do in whichever service you join, the job is an important one. A necessary one for the existence of a sovereign nation. If not our service members—and in Naval Maneuvers, obviously, our Navy—where would we be?

Now, I know that every serviceman or woman isn’t a saint. The military is, after all, a microcosm of the general population. But I also know the sacrifices members make to go to foreign lands to guard and protect our interests, and I know through experience the difficulties their families go through while they’re away. While I tried to make the book fun to read, and yes, sexy (because after all, that's fun!), I also wanted to show the three points made above.

I am unashamedly patriotic and pro-military, despite its problems and shortcomings. I was raised in the service and married a man who also was raised in the service. And, yes, I'm proud of that fact. So my life served as my muse for writing Naval Maneuvers. I hope readers enjoy it!

Blurb for Naval Maneuvers:
Men and women of the armed forces experience desire and love pretty much like everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of "duty, honor, service" as a man might apply them to a woman's pleasure. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which you'd better be armed, whether weighing anchor and moving forward into desire, dropping anchor and staying put for passion, or setting a course for renewed love with anchor home.

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A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That's how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she's lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I Have Met the #Villain...and She is Me by Michal Scott


Anna, aka, Michal, has such a unique take on creating villains. Read and enjoy my guest!
Authors are always cautioned to avoid Snidely Whiplash clich├ęs when creating villains. “Remember,” we’re told, “Every villain is the hero of their own story.” But how do you do that? My answer: create characters that share a value I hold dear, but have it twisted. For instance I love justice. I hate when the bad guys get off with sentences lighter than they deserve, (if they’re caught and/or tried at all). My blood boils when CEO’s give themselves bonuses from taxpayer money used to bail out their too-big-to-fail companies. Don't we all? If we had the power to make them pay, how many of us would exact what we believe is just punishment rather than give them a chance to repent? Every time I binge watch Law & Order I root for  guilty verdicts and am crestfallen when not guilty is announced. 
In my novella Judge Aaron “Hangman” Denton’s lives only for justice and is dismayed when my heroine’s botched execution provides opportunity for her to be found innocent and receive a pardon thus voiding his sentence. For him, her innocence is a technicality. Sentence once pronounced should be carried out for justice to be done. Since the system refuses to do it, he takes it upon himself to make sure Mary hangs. 
Wicked, right? But who can’t identify with the sentiment? I gnash my teeth when, in a favorite Law & Order episode, proof of guilt is excluded on a technicality. Yikes! I just looked in the mirror and saw Aaron Denton looking back at me.  
This is why I love writing romance in general and loved writing One Breath Away in particular. When a value I hold dear gets trounced in real life, I can have a villain trounce it on the page but have it turned round right in the end. 
Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. Never having been courted, cuddled or spooned, Mary now fears any kind of physical intimacy when arousal forces her to relive the asphyxiation of her hanging. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more. 
Wealthy freeborn-Black Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing a relationship with Mary was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex. 
Then just as Eban begins to win Mary’s trust, an enemy from the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…


His smile turned up the heat in his gaze. Mary frowned, painfully aware the smell of her passion lingered in the air, despite the woolen barrier of her skirt.
He stepped forward so his hand-stitched boots stood toe-to-toe with Mary’s second-hand shoes. “Eban Thurman, at your service, Miss Hamilton. May I get you something to drink?”
At her service? The air congealed. Mary gasped, trying to suck in air too solid to inflate her lungs.
“No—no, thank you. I’m not thirsty.” Her stutter mimicked the tremor between her thighs. She clasped her hands and planted them hard against her lap.
“It’s a really hot night.” He turned his hand palm up in a silent plea. “Perhaps you’d find a waltz more cooling.” He eased his fingers into her clenched hands. “May I beg the honor of this dance?”
“Yes, Miss Hamilton.” He tilted his head, slanting his smile to the right. “Beg.”
“You don’t strike me as the begging type, Mr. Thurman.” 
“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” He tongue-swiped his full lips as if he’d just tasted something he wanted to taste again. “I know when it’s time to beg.”
She pursed her lips into a frown, fought back the urge to grovel and won. Barely.

Anna Taylor Sweringen writes erotic romance as Michal Scott. History has been an old passion of hers. Romance a recent one. The opportunity to combine the two came in the publication of One Breath Away. Michal has been writing professionally since 2008 and belongs to the inspirational, gothic and erotic romance chapters of Romance Writers of America. An unexpected, but intriguing combination of genres for a retired minister.
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Twitter: @mscottauthor1