Saturday, October 30, 2010


Look for the button
on this site!
Happy Hallowe’en! This is the time for spooks, goblins, tricks and treats. One of the treats is the scavenger hunt for valuable prizes from Long and Short Reviews. The trick is to find their symbol  hidden on this site--not the one like that to the left, but a different one. Keep looking--it's here. Really, it is.

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Call me morbid but I like visiting old cemeteries, the kind with upright monuments in every conceivable shape. Since I love history as well as writing, perhaps that’s why I read the epitaphs, dates, and names as if they were stories. They are! Sometimes epitaphs are funny, sometimes sad, sometimes bleak. What annoys me is when the wife’s tombstone has only something like “Mrs. John Jones,” as if her life were whittled down to being a wife with no experience anywhere else or value in any other capacity.

My scare for you is a trip through the local cemetery. Here are some weird tales.  Whoo-ha-ha-ha! That's supposed to resemble a blood-curdling laugh.  Scared yet? Didn't think so.

Witch-real or
only in her mind?
Our community had a local couple who were, um, shall we say eccentric? Having little to do with genuine witches or warlocks, this couple called themselves a witch and warlock, dressed in Goth style, were heavy into the drug scene, and drove a black car decorated with white polka dots. Unfortunately, they had several followers. The local Justice of the Peace was asked to perform their marriage ceremony at midnight on Hallowe'en in the largest local cemetery. Because he was a good public servant, he agreed and showed up. After the ceremony, when he said, “You may kiss the bride,” the bride and groom slapped each other. Hard! That’s when the JP made his escape. Sadly, about a year later, the bride was found in the cemetery dead of a drug overdose. Friends who are real Wicca tell me that Wiccan practicioners do no harm to themselves or others, which makes this poor victim's life and death even sadder.

Crypt similar to that 
of the"white witch"
Sometimes rumors are so much more interesting than the truth. The same cemetery has what supposedly is “the white witch’s” grave. No one knows where this incorrect label originated. Actually, the grave is a white marble crypt built for a man who had no family. No one visits the grave-—except those searching for a sensational story.

Nearby is the statue of the “weeping” angel. Many visitors believe that name means the statue weeps actual tears. Sorry, the sculptor portrayed a weeping angel, not nearly as interesting as a statue that sheds real tears, right? Still, it's a beautiful statue.

Chased by a ghost?
In a town where I once lived, some teens went to the cemetery to share beers they weren’t supposed to have. When they realized the owner of the car had already been drinking before he picked them up, they argued with him about whether he was sober enough to drive them home from the cemetery. He beligerantly insisted, so the other teens reluctantly climbed into the car with him to go home. Can you hear your mom telling you never to ride with a driver who's been drinking?  Here's why.  Shortly after they left the cemetery, they had a wreck that killed the driver and a couple of the passengers and badly injured the others. A few months later, the greatly altered story appeared in one of those sensational press newspapers one sees at the checkout stand. In the account, supposedly a ghost had chased the teens from the cemetery and caused the wreck. Not true, but that sort of thing sells newspapers. I hate to refer to that sort of publication as a newspaper, don't you?

What’s your favorite Hallowe’en tale?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Rie McGaha, Author
Welcome to Rie McGaha, our guest author for today. Rie is a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in Southeast Oklahoma and writes for Champagne Books and for Silver Publishing. She's the author of several books in various genres. Here's her post:


On July 18, 2010 our house burned down reducing everything in it to ashes. After nearly two months, the insurance company finally settled with us and we have been trying to get our lives together, the house rebuilt, and get back on track. In July our youngest daughter, Rocky, went into labor at twenty-eight weeks. She spent the next couple of months in the hospital while the doctors tried to stave off labor until the baby was big enough to survive on his own without medical intervention. She delivered a baby boy she named Cruz on September 6, 2010 at thirty-four weeks. Cruz is small but healthy and went home just four days later. We are still working on the house. On September 20, 2010 a family friend, Kori, whom we have known for nearly fifteen years and has been my daughter Lisa's best friend since they first met, lost her seven-year-old daughter to Rhett's Syndrome. We are still working on the house.

But such is life, I suppose. No matter what is going on in your life that is stressful, life rolls on for everyone else as if your little problem doesn't even exist. That is both the beauty and the dark side of life. No matter what you're going through it can always get worse. And it usually does. I spent quite a while being upset that my whole summer was ruined. I was supposed to pick up several of my grandchildren and bring them out to our house in Oklahoma for a couple of weeks and we were going to hit all the water parks and amusement parks. Then life got in the way and just upended all my well-laid plans.

Really the only way to deal with life's ups and downs is to be flexible and willing to change, make a new plan and move on. So that is what I have done. And I try to see the good things in spite of the bad. My grandson is healthy. Kori is going to survive and Maybl is free of a body that refused to obey her commands. My grandchildren managed to have a great summer without me and we have time planned in November to be together. And all this happened while we were still working on the house…which might actually get finished after all!

And now a blurb from CLOSURE:

From Champagne Books
A Spicy Romantic
High in the hills above Albuquerque, New Mexico Detective Zachariah Ellison arrives at the scene of a murder, and not just any murder, but one that definitely falls into the “gruesome” category even for a seasoned cop like Zach. When another body is found murdered in much the same fashion, Zach knows he’s got a serial killer on his hands, and to top it off he’s got an assistant district attorney hounding him about the case. As Zach tries to investigate the crimes while sidestepping nosey Amy Logan, a third body is found and Zach hasn’t a clue as to whom the perpetrator might be.

Amy Logan has worked hard to put herself through school and pay for law school on her own and now that she’s secured a position as assistant district attorney in Albuquerque, she’s determined to do everything she can to be the best prosecutor this office has ever seen. And as if luck was following her, she’s been assigned to the biggest homicide case the city has ever seen. The only problem she’s having is the homicide detective who’s leading the investigation—Zach Ellison.

And here's an excerpt:

She tilted her head back, looked up at him, felt her heart thud in her chest, and then his mouth was on hers and she was climbing all over him. All those years alone, all those nights of wishing she had someone to hold her, all those weeks working with Zach. The wanting of him, the needing of him, the denying of what she had been feeling—it all came pouring out of her at that moment of contact.

Her arms wound around his neck, her fingers worked furiously through his hair, over his shoulders, kneading his neck. She could feel his hands on her face, his fingers burning into her skin, his lips sizzling against hers as his tongue probed deep inside her mouth, encouraging her to take more of him, to give more to him.

She couldn't think for the blood pounding in her head, couldn't breathe because her breath had caught in her chest.

She could only feel. She could feel his hands moving from her face, trailing down her neck, felt them move over her shoulders and down her back. She could feel her body pressed against his, and then was suddenly very aware of the size of her breasts, aware that they were crushed against him. She had never been so aware of her own body in her life, had never been so aware of another person.

Then he was pulling away from her, took a step back from her, and dropped his hands to his sides. He was panting, his chest heaving as he tried to catch his breath.

They stood there looking at each other for a long moment, neither speaking. Zach raked his hands through his hair, took a deep breath and blew it out. He stepped toward her, took her hands in his and brought them both to his mouth, and kissed them gently.

“I—” He paused and took another breath. “I haven't been with a woman since my wife died. I haven't wanted a woman since my wife died. Not until I met you. Still, I didn't expect to feel what I just felt when we kissed. So I'm going to give you the chance right now, Amy. If you don't plan on staying, tell me now and I'll take you home. But if you come back inside with me, don't ask me to stop and don't ask me to take you home, because I won't.”

He dropped her hands and looked into her eyes and waited.

She took a deep breath, fixed her gaze on a distant spot in the semi-darkness, chewed on her bottom lip as both fear and desire warred within her. Then she took his hand in hers and led him back to the house.

From Silver Publishing
Whew! Rie, what a great excerpt and blurb! I can hardly wait to read CLOSURE. And COMES AND OUTLAW soungs very good, too. Excerpts of all of Rie's books are available on her website

For more stops on Rie's book release blog tour, check out her schedule at

Hope you'll sign up for my monthly newsletter while you're here. The form's on the sidebar. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Do You Think About This Title?

Fall foliage at Lost Maples
Glorious fall has finally arrived to North Central Texas. When I go out today, I can actually layer with my favorite cardigan. This is my favorite time of year. I love the cool weather, the lovely colored trees, even though--achoo!--fall brings allergy problems here in the allergy capital of the U.S. 

It's time to purchase pumpkins, start making holiday lists, and planning for the last quarter of 2010. Imagine that, who knew when the sequel to 2001 Space Odyssey came out that we'd be living in a 2010 not that much different from last century--except for electronics. Yes, I love my Kindle.

So, how do we accomplish in three months all we've left undone from our January to-do-this-year list? Here's what I've accomplished. Two books, OUT OF THE BLUE and THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE have been released to great reviews. I finished a novella, SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME, and just learned I'll be offered a contract for it. My sweet contemporary, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, is in edits. I submitted a cozy mystery, I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE, to an agent. I'm working on a second cozy, GOIN' CRUISIN' IN MY PINK CADILLAC, and a time travel romance, TEXAS SHOWDOWN. It's a busy time for me.

Okay, here's my question: When you hear my cozy title, GOIN' CRUISIN' IN MY PINK CADILLAC, do you think of Aretha Franklin's great song, Elvis Presley, or  Mary Kay cosmetics? Please leave your comment. I need your help as I've had mixed answers from my critique partners.

Thanks and have a great day!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Welcome Author Rhonda Lee Carver

Rhonda Lee Carver
Please help me welcome author, Rhonda Lee Carver. Rhonda is a full-time romance author and a freelance editor. She enjoys writing contemporary, paranormal, suspense, and erotica. Her specialty is bad-ass heroes (charcoal hair, copper eyes, and heart of gold) and smart and sassy heroines. And her favorite subject is…men in military uniform. They make the perfect hero.

Reading her first romance novel at age thirteen, Rhonda was hooked. Her talent of bringing interesting characters to print and shaping happy endings are not only a passion of hers, but a dream career. She thinks the love between hero and heroine should be so steamy that it melts the ink off the pages.

If she’s not at her computer crafting a story, Rhonda enjoys reading romance, hanging out with her loved ones, or watching a movie that either pushes her to tears or has her rolling with laughter…and  preferably both.  She lives in Ohio where she is a mother by day and a sensual writer by night. She has too many pets to name but has a place in her heart for each of them. She believes everyone deserves romance in their life—one page at a time.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Rhonda: My fave author is Nora Roberts. I also have a soft spot for new authors Tracey Jackson and Lisbon Ferrao.

Caroline: I love Nora, too, but I'm not familiar with the other two. What are you reading now?

Rhonda: Nothing at the moment, but I did just finish Lisbon Ferrao’s KAIHAN.

Caroline: When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Rhonda: I like to relax with a glass of wine in hand, the fireplace blazing, and watching a good movie.

Caroline: Sounds relaxing all right. Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

Rhonda: Nutella. I love chocolate.

Caroline: How long have you been writing?

Rhonda: All my life. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t jotting down a story or creating characters.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Rhonda: I couldn’t manage without my laptop. It has become as precious as a limb. I need peace and quiet while I write. No tv, no music, no interruptions. And that is difficult considering I have young children and animals.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Rhonda: A panzer through and through.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

Rhonda: I like to take the spark of real life and add layers of fantasy, conflict, and passion.

Caroline: Do you research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Rhonda: I used to rush into a story but now I have found that spending a little time researching a subject saves time later. And researching also gives me a more creative sense to my story.

Caroline: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

Rhonda: I write daily. I must write daily, like a chocolate fix. I do set goals, but unfortunately, I don’t always reach them. I try not to be too hard on myself. Working as an editor and raising kids takes a lot of time.

Caroline: Do you write full time or do you have a day job.

Rhonda: I consider myself a full-time writer, and a part-time editor for a publishing house.

Caroline: Positive Thinking! What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Rhonda: I hope they are filled with a mixture of tears, laughter, intrigue, fascination, and left with a desire to go and buy my other books.

Caroline: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

Rhonda: Read, read, read. And join a reputable critique group. The feedback you get from published and unpublished writers is priceless.

Caroline: Tell us about your latest release.

From Lyrical Press, Inc.
 SECOND CHANCE COWBOY will be released on November 8, 2010. I am very excited about this story because I think it is my best yet. I fell in love with the hero and women can relate to the heroine.

Blurb: A tumble down the stairs lands Carly back in the arms of her ex-husband.

After the loss of a child tears her marriage apart, Carly vows she’ll never speak to her soon-to-be ex-husband Chance again. On the eve of their divorce, however, Carly takes a stroll down memory lane and calls Chance.

A passionate one-night stand between the two is shattered by cruel light of morning. With reality having set back in, Carly admits to Chance she made a mistake, forcing him to come to grips that there is no hope left for their marriage.

Fate has other plans for them. Carly’s fall down some stairs leaves her with amnesia…but that’s only the start of it.

Can deception bring a second chance at love or will it forever destroy an already broken marriage?

From The Wild Rose Press
Excerpt: G rated

Carly froze. She knew that voice. Knew it well. Husky, rich, laced with a Texas drawl. Her heart pounded and her stomach did somersaults.

What had she done?

Last night’s events wriggled into her consciousness, plowing through her anesthetized, hungover brain. She forced her mind to face last night’s actions, one-by-grueling-one.

Somewhere along her journey to oblivion, she’d made a phone call. She hadn’t intended it as a booty-call, yet that’s how it seemed to have turned out.

Another whisper tickled her ear and all she could do was gulp a mouthful of air.

“Cat got your tongue?”

He should have just licked her from thigh to shoulder, because each time he spoke, it evoked the same slice of heaven.

Stay on track, Carly.

She couldn’t muster up the gumption to turn around and face the imp. She counted to ten...backward, forward, upside down. No help.

Out of all the men in Shelby, how could she have picked him, her husband, to sleep with!

From Lyrical Press
 Caroline: Where can readers find your books?

Rhonda:  and

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Rhonda: By visiting, friending me on Facebook and following me on twitter under Leeferrao

Thanks for visiting with us, Rhonda. Continued good luck with your writing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welcome Author Sherry Gloag Chatting About Writing and THE BRAT!

Sherry Gloag

Readers, please help me welcome author and reviewer, Sherry Gloag. Sherry lives in the United Kingdom (see her waving from across the pond?) but is here today through the wonders of cyberspace.

Caroline: Sherry, how did you get into writing as a career?
 Sherry: It is more a case of the other way round. Writing got into me. It’s been there in the background for a long time. The odd excursion during my school years. Sadly my teacher did not see anything to applaud in my writing and whenever she caught me, she confiscated everything I wrote! Life got in the way for a while. Then in the ‘90’s I tried my hand at some more novels. I received kind rejections but didn’t have the nerve to follow them up. (Shades of schooldays, perhaps? I don’t know.)

Caroline: Hard to believe we didn't have the same English teacher. Are you sure you didn't have Mrs. Willhite? No, of course you wouldn't have, lucky you. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Sherry: When I pick up a book I want to be transported to the author’s world of romance. I need to empathize with the characters, and most of all I feel cheated if I’m not given a HEA. So when I write, I hope my readers experience the same intensity I look for in a story, and the same satisfaction and ‘feel-good-factor’.

Caroline: Worthy goals. In what genres do you write? 

Sherry: I claim to write in the contemporary genre, but reviewers have described my debut novel, THE BRAT, as ‘suspenseful’ and a ‘mystery’.  Two of my current WsIP are experiments, one in a genre I love reading, which is Regency. And the other is a mystery/detective romance.

Caroline: I write in more than one genre, too. We can't help ourselves, can we? Who are your favorite authors?

Sherry: That’s a hard question to answer because I have so many. But Nora Roberts, Georgette Heyer, Sherryl Woods for her humor, Brenda Jackson, PD James, Ruth Rendell and Agatha Christie, to name a few.

Caroline: Several of those are faves of mine. Describe yourself in three words.

Sherry: Loyal, dependable, and (hopefully) loveable.

Caroline: Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Sherry: I’m a panzer. Having said that, I do find that by the end of the chapter I’m writing, I know approximately where I’m going in the next. I just have no idea how I’m going to get there! LOL

Caroline: Do you have a writing schedule?

Sherry:  Like the road to Hades, my writing schedule is full of good intentions. But I tend to write more at night [wrapped in the cuddles of darkness – less distractions going on outside :-)]

Caroline: So I'm not alone there! LOL Are you attending any conferences this year or scheduled as a speaker? Blog tours or other promotions?

Sherry:  So far I’ve not attended any book fairs or conferences here in the UK. But perhaps next year?

Caroline:  Any guilty pleasures or vices you’d care to share?

Sherry: I am a ‘need-to-know’ person, which irritates me almost as much as everyone else around me.

Caroline: When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?

Sherry:  Read! I read to relax. I also enjoy the garden. I redesigned it last year, so this year has been full of surprises as the bulbs and plants bloomed through the seasons this year.

Caroline: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

Sherry: Believe in yourself, because if you don’t why should anyone else? Use this belief to carry you forward, to meet your targets, to reach your goals. Get your name ‘out there’. But most importantly, get the butt on the chair and the fingers on the keyboard and write. :-)

Caroline: Definitely sound advice! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

Sherry: I learned to write short stories hitting a dry spell in THE BRAT. One day I opened a blank page and just started writing. My first short story "Precious Treasures" emerged and was accepted by LASR They have published four more since then.
I’m lousy at time-management! LOL.
I love chocolate, but this summer it has taken a skunner to me. Boohoo!
I love working with crystals.

Caroline: All very interesting info. Tell us about your latest release.

Sherry: to terms with the consequences of their parents’ actions when they mTHE BRAT is my debut novel, and is published by The Wild Rose Press. I didn’t sit down and decide to write this story. The characters arrived and hassled me until I put aside what I was working on and started their story. From that point on they virtually took over the telling. It all started when Gina, my heroine, asked me how I would write a story about a woman who’d been abused as a child? When I pointed out that it was hardly a unique tale, she then added that the children of two mothers had to come to terms with the consequenses of their parents' actions when they met for the first time twenty-five years later. Now, that caught my attention, and so THE BRAT was born.

Caroline: Wow, Sherry, that is too intriguing. Give us a blurb, please!

Sherry: Here's the blurb:

Gina Williams is a 35-year-old famous children’s author, who also writes detective mysteries under the name of George Williamson. She was robbed of her childhood when aged ten by the late mother of the hero, Ben Kouvaris.

When he was ten-years-old his mother sent him to her ex Theo Kouvaris, multi-millionaire, who lives in Greece. When he returns to her funeral he is haunted by the beautiful woman who organised the funeral. When his father orders him to marry he thinks of Gina Williams.

They have to overcome the horrors of the past and forgive their parents for their betrayals. Will their past destroy their future?

Caroline: Your blurb raised so many questions. Can you share an excerpt?

Sherry: Here's one:
A voice from the grave filled her mind to the exclusion of everything else. “No one cares about a guttersnipe like you. You’re nothing but a snivelling little brat. You have no past and no future. You are no one and never will be. Your place is here, for you have nothing else to aspire to, and nowhere else to go.”

More than two decades later the words still fuelled her ambitions to achieve. They still goaded her into proving to herself and others that she could succeed. Her aspirations and dreams propelled her need to prove herself.

“Watch it, luv!” A hand yanked her back from the curb. “You got a death wish or som’it?” The blast of a car horn jerked her back against her rescuer.

“Oh!” Gina gasped. “I wasn’t paying attention…”

Her voice trailed off. Her memories stole her concentration. “Thank you.” She eased her arm from within his grasp and held out her hand. “Your quick actions saved my life.”

“Think nothing of it.” The man touched his cap, stepped back, and soon disappeared in the crowds. Shaken more than she cared to admit, she looked around and entered a nearby coffee shop.

She fought the ghosts from her past and wrestled them back into that black box in her mind she’d kept locked for almost two decades. With the exception of her agent and best friend, Liz, she’d never shared her secrets, and Liz didn’t know the half of them, just enough for Liz to realize her children’s adventure stories evolved from her childhood fantasies.

Caroline: Thank you, Sherry. You've tantalized us even more with the excerpt. Where can readers find your books?

Sherry: Readers can buy THE BRAT from The Wild Rose Press
And ]


Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Sherry: They can find me - here and here and here…

Buy THE BRAT here =

And at Amazon =

My Website = www.

My blog =

Book Trailer =

Facebook =

Goodreads =

Twitter =

Caroline: Sherry, thank you so much for sharing your debut novel and yourself with us.

Sherry: Thanks for having me, Caroline. I've enjoyed myself.

Check with Goddess Fish Promotions to see where Sherry will appear next.

In the meantime, please sign up on the sidebar for my newsletter and be included to receive FREE reads, recipes, news, and occasional prizes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's It Like To Look Into The Mind Of A Killer? Guest Post by Mary Eason

Mary Eason
Please welcome our guest, Mary Eason, to the blog. Mary, I'm turning the blog over to you.
Caroline, thank you for allowing me to share this time with you.

What would you do if a killer were hunting you? What if your child was the target? What if the killer was someone you knew?

What’s it like to look into the mind of a killer?

Ask any author who writes dark, romantic suspense and they’ll tell you, it ain’t no walk in the park at times.

I think even for writers who create fictitious killers it’s still a little disturbing to consider that there are really such depraved people living in the world amongst us. To make a believable killer you have to do your homework.

To quote Friedrich Nietzsche:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

For me, I love to watch Forensic Files and 48 Hours Mystery on TV. You can gain a great deal of knowledge into the mind of a killer simply by studying old case files. I know it’s certainly been insightful for me.

Available from Champagne Books
So why do people kill? Well, most psychologists will tell you there are two fundamental reasons someone will take another life.

Love and money.

Both truly are the root of all things evil.

In SHADOW GAMES, my latest release from Champagne Books, the killer was someone who the heroine considered a father figure. His motives for killing were all about money.

But there is another type of killer that is far more evil and cunning than all others. He’s extremely intelligent. He can blend into society well enough to be your co-worker, your high school English teacher. Your neighbor next door. He lacks anything resembling a conscience. He’s a sociopath known as the serial killer.

The FBI estimates that today there are some 50 active serial killers working among us in the US alone. That’s a frightening statistic to consider.

From Cerridwen Press
In ROOT OF ALL EVIL, my release from Cerridwen Press, my heroine, Anna Sorenson comes face to face with a serial killer like none other. Anna tries to escape his deadly trap. She walks away from everything to gain redemption. But she doesn’t quite leave the past behind and as Anna soon learns, even in paradise evil still exists.

For me, writing about the dark side of romance is both rewarding and challenging. The characters I create leave their mark on you and make it hard to move on to the next story.

And if they’re really chilling, like in ROOT OF ALL EVIL, they make it hard to sleep with the lights off at night.

All the best…

Mary Eason
Root Of All Evil – Available now at Cerridwen Press
Shadow Games – Available now at Champagne Books

Fifty serial killers in the U.S.? Shades of Ted Bundy! Shiver. If reading Mary's post hasn't frightened you too much, take a minute to sign up for my newsletter in which I offer FREE reads, recipes, and news. See the spaces on the sidebar beneath my photo.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Have you noticed that there's a place on the sidebar just beneath my photo to sign up for my occasional newsletter? Please sign up! Each issue will include a FREE short story relating to my books--something only subscribers will know about the characters. Also included will be news, reviews, and general stuff I feel inclined to write about for readers. One subscriber per issue will win a free book download. All in all, it's a win win situation.

After meandering about events, book review, and author interviews for a while, I decided to share some writing tips again. Recently, someone asked me about setting up a series. Sounds like a good segue for me to expound on my theories on series—pardon the alliteration. Readers, myself included, love series. We love seeing the initial characters evolve in the background as further books develop.

Occasionally, a writer will have such a great response to a secondary character that he/she decides to write a linked book featuring the character. This has happened to me with Finn in THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, to Beth Trissel with Fergus in SOMEWHERE, MY LASS, and with Nicole McCaffrey with Kip Cooper in WILD TEXAS WIND. Writers love, love, love when that happens!

Usually, though, writers plan a series and incorporate one or two secondary characters who will make good heroes or heroines of a later book. I’ve done this with a series I’ve worked on featuring three brothers. This post is directed at others who want to write a planned series. Because characters and places will recur in two or more books, keep good records, known as a series bible (small print and no religious connotation) and contains everything about your setting and the people and places that occupy it. I even draw a map on a sheet of printer paper where I place businesses as I name them. A sheet of posterboard works even better if you’re planning a series where lots of buildings are involved.

I recently saw a great movie, except for one major error. Initially, the home in which the main characters were housed was described as "way outside town." Later, the hero and heroine jogged to town, then even later walked there. Okay, how far is “way outside town?” You don’t want your readers stopping to ponder questions like this. Be specific in your bible so there are no questions or misconceptions later. A writer I know once forgot the color eyes of a character on whom she wanted to base a book—three books after he was first mentioned. She pursuaded a fan to reread her books and locate the character’s initial description.

To prevent errors is not difficult—at least this type error. Keep a list of characters with minimal identifying points: hair color, eye color, height, build, job, and age in the first book. As your series progresses, everyone must age at the same rate. Have you read a book series in which a child suddenly pops up as a teen or adult when the primary characters have aged only a year or so? Keep things as credible as possible. I list not just the age, but the year of birth.

In short, a minimal effort at good records will prevent errors and headaches. We have enough of those in this volatile industry without creating our own, right? Happy writing!

Remember to sign up for the newsletter. You'll be glad you did. Okay, I'll be glad you did and I hope you'll be glad, too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our Texas State Fair Is A Great State Fair

Big Tex greets fiar visitors
Fall arrives, there’s a change in the air (achoo!), and Texans know it’s State Fair time! Once upon a time, each state in the continental U.S. had a state fair. Not so today. Although I’ve lived in Texas most of my life, I only visited the State Fair of Texas after my Hero and I married. If any of you have seen the movie “State Fair” on late night TV—or in the theater depending on your age—you know that Pat Boone was the star of that 1962 movie made at the Texas State Fair. In the movie, the fair was an exciting, magical place--but in a naive way.

Pat Boone in 1962 movie
The State Fair of Texas is still magical and exciting, but not so much as depicted in the movie. For one thing, canned goods entered in the creative arts division for judging must be submitted in August, not after the fair opens at the end of September through the middle of October. There are on the spot cooking contests, however, and a friend once entered and won for her peach cobbler. I always preferred the canned goods and won blue and lesser ribbons several years for my peach jam, grape jelly, and green beans. Hero grew the fruits and vegetables, and I processed them into canned or frozen caches. Hero, while waiting for Darlings 1 and 2 and me to look at the ladies’ exhibits, found a seat at a cooking demonstration and learned to make biscuits and cinnamon rolls. He said, "I didn't realize cooking is just a math formula," Can you tell he's an engineer? Now that was a good year, because he still makes biscuits better than anyone I know (except my grandmother). One year, Darling 1 garnered a blue ribbon for her photography. All in all, the fair has been good to our family.

Blue Ribbons similar to ours
 Big Tex—and I do mean BIG—welcomes visitors frequently with announcements of upcoming events. In addition to the Midway featuring a huge ferris wheel that is up all year, there are exhibit buildings filled with everything from new cars to farm animals. Walking among the crowds quickens the pulse. What to do first? We head for the funnel cake place, then the caramel apples, then the Belgian waffles. Yes, we eat our way through the fairgrounds until it’s time to eat a late lunch at the scenic Old Mill Restaurant—which has served everything from country cooking to Mexican food, depending on the year. Then there are all the exhibit buildings to see: new gadgets, import booths, you name it.

Cotton Bowl football every weekend
 For football fans, there’s the annual University of Texas vs. Oklahoma University. Their rivalry is legendary, but other games are held in the Cotton Bowl during the fair. Don’t be shocked, but no one in our family is a football fan so I can't tell you who else played this year. Rare not to like football in Texas, but I'm afraid we are eccentric. At various stages, live music shows including at least one headliner per night are available—this year from The Pointer Sisters to an Elvis impersonator and everything between. Mostly country groups. After all, this is Texas. And that doesn't include the show at the State Fair Music Hall. Those Music Hall shows are a bargain because your peviously purchased ticket not only includes parking and entry to the fair, but it gets you into a terrific paved parking lot inside the fence near the Music Hall. The grounds are permanent home to numerous museums: Women’s Museum, African American Museum, Hall of State, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Aquarium and a Railroad Museum. There’s also a Garden Show. In short, there’s something for everyone and every age.

over Fair
Personally, I have always wanted to ride the ferris wheel during the fireworks over the nearby lagoon. By then, we are usually pooped and dragging our feet while Hero laments the amount of money we've spent. We sit on the grass or, if we're lucky, a bench and watch the show before straggling to our car and then to battle the traffic and head home. I love hearing the hordes of children watching (why are they up this late?) ooh and ahh as the fireworks explode in beautiful colors overhead. Maybe this year will be the year I see the display from high atop the ferris wheel!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hallowe'en Treat From Cherie De Sues

Chérie De Sues' family heritage is half Gypsy and half Wicca. She writes thrillers, contemporary and paranormal suspense novels in sensuous to sizzling heat levels. Her latest paranormal suspense novel release, THE SEDUCTION OF SIMONE, is critically acclaimed by LASR-Whipped Cream Reviews with 5 Cherries, "Ms. De Sues is a truly talented writer. I was quickly drawn into the characters' lives and their emotions."

Here's a blurb:

Simone Devereaux has inherited an estate on the Northern California coast after her Aunt Celeste meets with a sudden, mysterious death. The hot neighbor, Trent Grayson, insists Celeste was murdered, and wants to be more than the man-next-door.

When clients arrive to pose for their nude portraits over the weekend, Simone realizes she's inherited more than an estate. Two randy poltergeists enter her dreams for a lusty ménage, and a budding serial killer threatens her sanity. Now her Wiccan mother and gypsy father are coming for a visit, just in time to watch Simone lose her heart . . . and possibly her life.

You can read the full first chapter at Noble Romance Publishing

When Chérie isn't promoting, speaking with romance readers online or writing her sizzling novels, she writes pagan articles for her website, Irish Gypsy's Parlor at With Halloween and Samhain just around the corner, Chérie gave us the following special treat for the season.

         To Keep A Ghost Or Send One Away

Scribed by Chérie De Sues

Thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia, ghosts were considered the spirits or souls of the living who could cause harm to the living if sacrifices were not made to appease the ghosts. Over 2,500 years in ancient Egypt, Egyptians believed in the existence of an afterlife and even the possibility of a second death. Most cultures have a belief in ghosts or the soul/spirit of a deceased person.

The descriptions of the ghosts range from an invisible presence, translucent, shapes that change form like smoke to life-like versions of the dead. When a witch, gypsy or other pagan like a medicine man attempts to summon the dead spirits, that is known as necromancy. The ritual may be called a séance, a spell or many other names, but the desire is the same...raise the dead to make contact.

For centuries, witches, wizards, gypsies and others have been paid to communicate with the dead. Ghosts are known to haunt certain locations, ordinary objects and people they knew in life. On a grander scale, there have been reports across the globe of phantom ships at sea, ghostly trains that rumbled by on broken tracks and ghost animals.

Some places or homes that have experienced great violence, tragedy, murder or suicides have been called haunted. Supernatural activity by ghosts or spirits who become lost or confused after death may fail to pass to the other side. Often an experienced medium is asked to cleanse the home or place of a ghostly presence.

If you want to live with the spirits in your home, honor them with incense, candles and say this chant three times.

A spirit I'd rather not meet!
Spirits of my home, you shall live,
In every chamber my light I give,
To every corner my breath I send,
This home I share you may attend.

To rid yourself of a haunting presence use this method on Samhain (Halloween).

The presence that stands upon the stairs
The unseen hands that move the chairs.
The lights that play across the wall,
The stains that stay, the plates that fall,
The mist, the chill, the wandering scents
This gentle spell must speed them hence.
At midnight, set a table neat,
With cup and plate, and wine and meat,
One of the not-so-dearly departed
 Invite the ghost to sit and feast,
As any host should urge a guest.
Presently, clear the meal away,
Then open the door and softly say-
"Quick or dead, thou art fed,
Cease to grieve and take thy leave"
Bid him depart but should he remain
Be calm, take heart and feast him again.

Thanks to Cherie for her post. Readers, are you scared yet?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Book Review: WILD TEXAS WIND by Nicole McCaffrey

Nicole McCaffrey at
her lakeside home--
her exact likeness!
If it’s possible to be born a writer, then Nicole McCaffrey certainly was. For as long as she can remember, she’s heard voices in her head. Fortunately for her, they’re all characters begging her to tell their stories. She has been married to Peter, her best friend, for twelve years and they live in upstate New York. Nicole is a work-at-home mom with two busy boys ages seven and ten. When she’s not working, writing, or nose deep in a research book, chances are she’s baking, gardening, or just hanging out with her guys. Now, about WILD TEXAS WIND, available from in print and download. It's also available from all the usual online sources.
                               WILD TEXAS WIND
Raz Colt said whiskey, women, and a fine cigar go a long way to make a man feel comfortable, but only one thing keeps a man warm at night—money. When he learns rancher H. H. O’Hara is offering ten thousand dollars for the safe return of his daughter—with her virtue intact—Raz heeds the call. All he had to do was return Arden O’Hara to her daddy and collect the reward. When he finds Arden, he learns she staged the kidnapping to force her fiance to come after her. The so-called fiance has not manned up and is waiting at the ranch for her return or her funeral, whichever. But someone is definitely determined to kill hot-tempered, wildcat Arden before she can get back to the ranch. With the big reward, fortune hunters are crawling out of the woodwork. Raz has to keep her safe while not knowing friend from foe. How safe can he keep her when he wants her—and not for the money?

available now from
The Wild Rose Press
Raz is a multi-faceted hero any woman could love. Arden is a strong-willed woman who knows what she wants—or thinks she does. The two make a perfect couple as they battle one another and unknown forces. Accompanying them through their obstacles are a cast of delightful and sometimes ornery characters.

This story is very well plotted and fast-paced with enjoyable touches of humor. I admit I didn’t know the villain’s identity until revealed by the author. That’s a real compliment to Ms McCaffrey. As a devoted reader of mysteries, cozies, and romantic suspense, I usually guess the villain near the first of the book. I’d say this book is a must-read for anyone who loves romance, adventure, and a good book.

As an aside, I was happy to learn that Ms McCaffrey is considering a linked book with Kip Cooper, a secondary character in this book, as the hero. Keep up with Nicole McCaffrey at her website, and check out her posts each month at 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Focus on Today!

Lynn Baber and her horse, Beau
This week the women from the church I attend were invited as guests at a women’s group in a nearby town for a salad supper and program. The program was a horse trainer, Lynn Baber, and her horse. Years ago, one of our daughters had horses, so I know they are a big responsibility—no pun intended. Although I enjoy riding, I want no part of cleaning hooves, mucking stalls, and all the other details caring for a horse involves. In fact, I only went to this meeting because of the friendships involved. I certainly didn’t look forward to a program using a horse. What was with a horse at a women's meeting? Since my hero of THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE trains horses, I admit I was mildly interested in Lynn's technique.

When we arrived, chairs were set up on the church lawn. The evening was lovely; cool and sunny, a perfect time to sit under the trees in the picturesque grounds of the stone church. Lynn Baber and her horse, Beau, were already there. Beau is a beautiful dappled gray stallion. Lynn is a horse trainer, and has done an incredible job with Beau. He responds to tongue clicks and hand gestures as if he were a mind reader. By the way, Lynn also trains dogs. Like the hero in my book, Lynn only uses kindness to train animals. Positive reinforcement to build trust.

 Lynn talking to Beau at the meeting
I won't go into Lynn's main message because it is religious and I avoid religion and politics here. But one of the things Lynn said that resonated with me was applicable to everyone: All we have is today. I’m the world’s greatest procrastinator. Sure, I’m going to clean out that closet, but not now. Yes, I’m going to finish that book I’m writing, but not today.

Lynn said there’s no point in worrying about yesterday because it’s gone. There’s no point in worrying about tomorrow, because when it comes, it’s today! All we really have is today, and we must use it to the best of our abilities. In my opinion, that is an important message! If others are like me, we get so caught up in plans and lists of things to do, and worry about "what ifs" that we lose sight of today.
That’s what I as a writer need for focus. Stop worrying about whether I’ll win that contest, whether my current work in progress will receive great reviews, and on and on. Focus on my goals for today! How many words do I need to write to reach my overall goal? How long can I spend on email and visiting the blogs of friends? Even how many loads of laundry do I need to get done today? As Lynn said, when tomorrow comes, it will be today. Write as if today is all you have. Let’s focus on utilizing today to the best of our ability.

If you’re interested in Lynn’s book, AMAZING GRAYS, AMAZING GRACE, it’s available from Amazon. Her website is You can visit her website to learn about her ministry and schedule her and Beau to speak.Well, Beau doesn't actually speak, but he accompanies Lynn when she speaks. Yes, I need to focus on what I'm writing.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Guest Hope Clark Advises Writers About Themselves

Hope Clark and her dog Dixie
Although mostly blind and deaf, Dixie loves a drive

Hope Clark is the energy behind the newsletters Funds For Writers and Funds For Writers Small Markets out of South Carolina, which are received by a large network of writers. Each week she offers both paying and merely promotional markets for writers, along with terrific career advice. Here is one of her colums that resonated with me, reprinted with her permission.


Writers seek validation first and foremost. New or seasoned, we hang on feedback. We write and edit, but we fear venturing off on errant tangents, writing words that don't mean squat. So we spend countless hours reading websites, blogs, magazines, and books. We endure hours of misery in critique groups, sometimes walking away with gems, other times with empty hands and bruised egos. What we wouldn't give to have the guts to waltz into a room of readers with our book, shaking it, standing before the crowd to say, "This is a story you'll never forget." And really mean it.

This business, however, is wrought with naysayers. Funny, but it's usually those who break one little strategic rule along the way who gets noticed. Agents and publishers want someone fresh, but want what has always worked, too. That's why it's so difficult to give them what they want. They aren't sure what it is. They just know it when they see it.

Wouldn't it be nice to be comfortable in yourself . . .and your writing? Let's find some suggestions that may
help you on that journey in nailing your comfort zone.

1. Write . . . daily. Each day takes you closer to your true voice. There are no shortcuts. It takes thousands
of words to reach that voice that stands for you, and you alone.

2. You are unique. No one is like you. No one has your voice, stories or characters. Embrace that individuality. No one can offer the world what you have.

3. Everyone doesn't have to like you, to understand you. Sometimes the mysticism becomes your strong suit. Your task is to know when to use that magic.

4. Practice makes perfect. Only you can know when your work is polished well enough to present to the masses. If you aren't sure, it's not ready. That little voice that makes you wonder, is trying to tell you something.

5. Persistence gains more ground than creative inspiration. Be the tortoise, slow and steady, always moving toward the goal. A hot idea today might be a dud two months from now. Love being alone with yourself, working through the words.

6. Whether you receive positive or negative feedback, be selective in what you take to heart.

Bottom line . . . writing is all about your decisions, not someone else's. You will have hundreds of decisions in a writing career, but only a tiny number of them are not completely in your hands.

Hope Clark

Thanks so much, Hope. Great advice!

Friday, October 01, 2010

It's A Lovely Day In The Neighborhood!

Fanfare, please!
Gather around if you love romances set under Western skies. This is the official launch day for a new team blog, Sweethearts of the West. Fourteen talented writers whose contemporary, historical, and paranormal romances are set West of the Mississippi River have joined together to blog about our books, our lives, themes for the month, guests, and more. Join us beginning today at

Woohoo! I’m still doing the happy dance over my terrific reviews for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. I have to admit it's my favorite book cover ever. Nicola Martinez designed the cover and Allison Byers was my fabulous editor. Earlier this week, I shared the 5 Heart Review from The Romance Studio. Here’s the Top Pick review from Terri at Night Owl Reviews:

Set in the Texas hill country in 1885, this historical kept my interest from the first page.

The characters are fun. Dallas truly desires to do things right, not lose his temper, and work hard. He’s half Cherokee and many of his neighbors, including his grandmother, look down on him because of this. Keeping himself in check has Dallas stretched to his limits as Cenora and her family turns his life upside down. Cenora has lived in a wagon for the past ten years and has never lived in a house as grand as Dallas’s house. Can she hide the fact she can’t read and has no idea of what she is doing? She doesn’t want Dallas to throw her and her family out. It doesn’t help that the housekeeper, Rosa, doesn’t like her.

Dialogs are fantastic as the O’Neill family still speaks as if they are in Ireland. The wording is such that you can hear the brogue. Even better are the blessings and toasts that are shared as well as the customs and superstitions.

What starts as a clash in cultures becomes a fantastic story. I loved reading the misunderstandings and watching as they became clear. Cenora’s youngest brother was a trial for everyone and his actions caused plenty of trouble for Dallas. Just when you thought a happily ever after was around the corner, another corner appears. What should have been a simple sweet love story developed into a complex family affair.

After staying up as late as I could stay awake and then reading as much as I could at work, I’d say my interest was peaked and now I want more! Fantastic historical set in cowboy country.”

Wow! I’m so appreciative of the reception this book has received. I hope you’ll want to buy a copy here, and that you’ll love it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Thanks for being here.