It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared what’s going on in my world — writing and otherwise.  So, since I am procrastinating (a COVID-19 pandemic side effect, I’m afraid), I decided to update the look of my blog.

What do you think?  The other theme was dark and hard to read — and I decided I needed something brighter with a flower. So this is what you get … until I change my mind. 😉 By the way, the garden and statue are located on the approach to my front door.

On the family and personal side, my hubby is fine. Some of my long-time followers might recall he had heart-bypass surgery in 2015. Thus, we are being careful and staying close to home. When we do go out, we wear our masks.

PSA: Please, wear a mask — you protect those around you. COVID-19 carriers can be asymptomatic.Thus, everyone wearing a mask has proven to be the most effective way to keep the spread of this deadly virus down.Trust me on this — I’m married to a pathologist! I am well-informed. Daily!

We also wash and sanitize our hands — and anything else that is washable or can be sanitized. Our house is a safe zone. Once inside, my husband is assured of not getting infected. This is because I am obsessive about wiping down door handles and anything that comes from the outside that could carry microbes be they viral or bacterial.

Okay, I’ve always been that way — but I am really on it now.

Our son has moved back in with us after being away for four years. His employment had ended, and he was looking for a new job and then the pandemic hit. Since living in Silicon Valley is expensive while unemployed and no new job lurked on the horizon, he left California (the day Newsom shut it down!!). I sweated bullets each day he was on the road, hoping he could find places to eat and a place to sleep at night. He was fully prepared to sleep in his car and had provisions if nothing was open. Luckily, for him but not for the poor inhabitants of the states he drove through, most of the states he passed through had not shut down (this was in March) for the virus (except for Illinois and Indiana where we live). It is nice to have him home where I know he is safe. Of course, he’d rather have a job and his own place to live. And I can understand that.

~~ Note to potential employers:  I can vouch for him — because I raised him. 🙂 He is a hard worker and reliable. He adapts well and is very creative. He is willing to relocate. Big Data is his thing. He’d be considered a Senior Programmer and is willing to learn “new” things. He has three Bachelor of Science Degrees — Accounting and Finance from IU’s Kelley School of Business and Computer Information Technology (computer software engineering) from Purdue — and also has a bunch of certifications (Sales Force and Agile come to mind). See? He likes learning!! ~~

As for the writing front, which is why most of you follow me, I am currently working on my fourth What A Witch book in the Magic and Mayhem Universe. What A Witch Finds will take up where What A Witch Desires left off, with Paul, the pooka, finding his mate and carrying her to Dale and Bree’s house. This book will come out in October of 2020 along with a slew of other fun and fabulous Magic and Mayhem Universe books.

After that book is completed, I will write an SSI novella, Ride Out the Storm, # 6.5.

This book will reintroduce SSI-East in the Upper Peninsula Michigan. Risto Smith is in charge of SSI-East, located in Osprey’s Point, and his biggest concern at the moment is his wife Callie is due to have their first baby any day.The novella will also reintroduce Big Earl and his wife Tessa, the four Walsh brothers who’ve yet to find their perfect partners, and Dr. Anton Vasilov and his new wife Lucia.

The conflict in this novella arises from Anton and Lucia’s past as depicted in An Ill Wind, SSI #5. When Lucia’s cartel-connected relatives hit Osprey’s Point, Anton will have his hands full delivering Callie’s baby and protecting his own pregnant wife.

After Ride Out the Storm is finished, I will consult the four Walsh brothers to see who wants his happy-ever-after first. For Book 7, I know who the heroine will be and what chases her to Osprey’s Point to find her future, and I’m leaning toward one of the brothers over the other three. He has yet to convince me that he should get the girl. Book 7 will be titled:  Before the Storm.

You can keep up-to-date on what’s next on my web site on the Upcoming page.

 

Rosanna Leo Interviews Soren Snow

Predator's Serenade I’d like to say a big thank you to my pal Moni for hosting me today! I’m here to promote my new release Predator’s Serenade, book 2 of my Gemini Island Shifters series. I know Monette likes bear shifters, so to thank her, I brought one along.

Monette, I believe you’ve met Soren Snow. (Turns to the big, blond bear shifter) Soren, play nice.

Soren: (eyes Monette with appreciation and smiles) I always play nice. I’ll play extra nice with Ms. Michaels, if she’ll let me.

Rosanna: (bites lip, hoping Monette’s blush isn’t one of mortification) Please excuse him, Moni. Soren can come on a little strong at first, but he’s all heart. Aren’t you, Soren? (elbows the bear shifter in the ribs)

Soren : (doubling over) Right. All heart. Anywhere else you wanna hit me?

Rosanna: (smiling sweetly) Not right now, thanks. Now you’re a bear shifter and a famed rock star. I’d imagine blending these two worlds isn’t always easy for you.

Soren: You could say that. For many years, I muzzled my inner bear, for lack of a better term. When he threatened to misbehave, I just channeled his energy into misbehaving in much more exciting ways. (Arches a brow and allows gaze to roam over Moni’s legs)

Rosanna:  Stop looking at my friend’s legs.

Soren: (throws up hands) What? I appreciate beauty. That’s all.

Rosanna : Well, you didn’t appreciate my heroine Gioia’s beauty too much at the start of Predator’s Serenade. What was it you called her? A “little owl of a woman?”

Soren : (snickers) Oh, I appreciated Gioia just fine. (Gaze warms over) I appreciated her a lot more than I was willing to admit at first. Luckily my bear straightened me out quickly. Let’s just say he was a bit more straightforward in his thinking than I was. When he saw Gioia the first time, it was all I could do to stop him from charging her in lust. It was hard to keep a lid on him.

Rosanna: Which brings me to another point! Why are bear shifters so stubborn? You and your brother Ryland from Predator’s Kiss seem to suffer from the same affliction.

Soren: The shifter will always harbor some traits from their animal. Bears are, well, not always the most warm and fuzzy creatures. We’ve been known to get a little, um, ornery.

Rosanna:  (smiling devilishly) And has Gioia helped you with that little problem since you’ve mated?

Soren: (narrows eyes at pesky author type) I’d like to think we help each other in many delicious ways that I will never share with you. If I tell you anything, you crazy woman, it’ll all end up in another book. See what happened the first time I confided in you? I became part of a paranormal romance series!

Rosanna: Oh, you’re loving every minute of it. If it weren’t for my book, we’d never be able to come visit with lovely people like Moni.

Soren:  (turns to hostess with inviting grin) Speaking of Moni, what is your situation, darlin’?

Rosanna: She’s married! And you’re mated!

Soren: Kidding. Just kidding. You know I adore my Gioia. I’d do anything for that woman. (Stretches his long legs and stands). In fact, if it’s all the same to you ladies, I think I’m going to go cater to that wonderful woman right now. Since we mated, she’s become insatiable and I aim to cash in on some of that action right now. (Kisses Moni on the cheek, gives Rosanna a high-five and heads out the door.)

Rosanna : (looks at Moni, who has fallen off her stool) Moni? Moni? Damn, I knew she liked bear shifters a little too much.

 

Blurb:

There are three things that make bear shifter Soren Snow’s skin crawl: mothers, their children, and the great outdoors. Soren is a famed musician and playboy, and he would rather spend his days pressing the flesh with the women in his fan club than developing meaningful relationships. When his brother calls in a favor, forcing Soren to revisit the Ursa Fishing Lodge in Northern Ontario, he couldn’t be more displeased. However, he owes his brother big time.

Gioia Clementine would rather not meet Soren, her drummer son’s rock idol. But when tragedy strikes her home, it seems the only one the boy might respond to is Soren. Gioia begrudgingly agrees to let her son meet him, hoping the rock star won’t turn her tween into a musical misogynist.

When Gioia and Soren meet, the sexual chemistry threatens to set the Ontario woodland ablaze. Can these two opposites find a common ground? And can they manage to resolve their unwanted feelings, even when a mysterious stranger arrives at the lodge, threatening everything?

Excerpt:

Gioia followed Soren’s approach with a curious eye. She’d wondered if the miracle kisser would beat a hasty retreat after witnessing her boy fall to pieces, and yet here he was. He wore the same famished look he had right before he’d ruined her for any other man’s kiss. And she felt it too. The tingles between her shoulder blade, the gelatin knees, and trembling lips that wanted to gobble him up.

She couldn’t. She didn’t want to saddle him with such a wreck of a woman or family.

He came right up to her, so close, as if making a mockery of the space that sought to separate them. Weaving his fingers through her hair, he cradled her skull and pulled her close. Tucking her head against his chest, he kissed the top of her head, blazing a trail of hot reaction down her spine. He had new clothes on and smelled fresh and clean. As she breathed him in, he rained soft kisses all over her head.

He knows.

She pulled away, suddenly terrified he’d think she was a travesty of a mother. It’s what anyone would think in his case. They’d wonder what Gioia had done wrong to create a monster child. But as she attempted to remove herself from his grasp, Soren fought her by holding her still. Again she tried jerking away from his wall of a chest. He held her firm.

When she tried two more times, each time unsuccessfully, he looked at her and shouted, “Dammit, woman, I am not letting you go, so you can stop pulling away from me!”

Something in Gioia broke. She’d been carrying her sadness around for so long, trying to be strong, and Soren was offering to be strong for her. For just a moment, maybe she could surrender. God only knew how badly she wanted to give herself to the bear man.

He grabbed her tighter, and his hands slid down to mold over her ass cheeks. His warm breath was all over her face, and she took a dizzying dive into the seas of his eyes. He ground her against him, and she was forced to stand on tip toes.

“Gioia,” he whispered.

She wound her arms about his tense neck, felt him tense further. Then … a sigh somewhere in his big frame and a relaxation in his muscles. As if he needed to have her wound about him. As if it soothed him as much as her.

“Soren. Please.”

As he kissed her, he picked her up, his hands under her bottom. Her miniskirt rode up, and she spared a second to mentally curse her decision to wear it. And then she didn’t care.

Kissing her madly, Soren spirited her into the woods.

Buy link: http://www.lsbooks.com/predators-serenade-p818.php

RosannaAuthor bio:

Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author with Liquid Silver Books. Her books include For the Love of a God, Up In Flames, and Sweet Hell. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.

She blogs at www.rosannaleo.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

www.twitter.com/LeoRosanna

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826852.Rosanna_Leo

Muse Wednesday — Tina Whittle

9 muses

Like most mystery writers, I grew up marinating my brain in unsuitable material— Edgar Allan Poe, The Nightstalker, the lurid photographs in my mother’s nursing textbooks. I whetted my appetite for the edgy and unsavory in every medium that the library and late night movies would allow, but I also stole liberally from my mother’s stack of bodice-ripping romance novels. Soon my imagination brimmed with stories of carnal appetites savory and otherwise, populated with intrepid heroes and feisty heroines and more than a few corpses.

Such is my literary resume. But my Muse is a different creature altogether.

Separate from me, yet intimately collected, my Muse is my constant creative companion. I capitalize the word deliberately, as I would a proper name, because that’s how the relationship feels to me — like two individuals working for a common cause. I did not choose my Muse any more than I chose my best friend; our partnership evolved organically, and I work hard to honor and nurture it (which usually involves massages, good wine, and naps, so no hardship there).

I subscribe whole-heartedly to the idea of the Muse as an entity separate from the artist (I’m in love with artist Thalia Took’s image of the Greek Muses celebrating their individual and collected magnificence — imagine yourself in the center of that circle and you’ll feel the power, I guarantee). The Muses are here to engage our best selves. As writer Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, describes it, “there’s a contract between you and the mystery.” She encourages modern day creatives to drop that idea of genius as something only a select few possess, and to think instead of genius as a separate intelligence that visits us in order to inspire and assist with some creative act.

This is exactly how working with my Muse feels to me — cooperative, mysterious, energizing. It’s a multi-sensory experience. Sometimes I feel as if I’m eavesdropping on my characters, jotting down their words and whispers. Sometimes the feeling is visual — a singular image, like blood on snow, that I just have to explore. And sometimes it feels downright spooky, like when I feel a pull toward a certain magazine or book only to flip it open to exactly the piece of research I’ve been desperate to find.

I can’t explain it . . . and I wouldn’t want to. Trying to cram the experience into a formula would ruin the magic. And it is magic — powerful, alchemical, transforming. Humans are storymaking creatures, and to be able to share in that age-old process is a gift and a privilege.

So take a bow, fellow creatives, and make welcome your own Muse. It will be the start of a beautiful relationship, I promise.

Bio:

Tina Whittle’s Tai Randolph series — featuring intrepid gunshop owner Tai and her corporate security agent partner Trey Seaver — has garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Described as “cozy noir,” the third book in the series — Blood, Ash and Bone – is available now from Poisoned Pen Press. When not writing or reading, Tina enjoys golf, sushi, mini-pilgrimages, and spending time with her family (one husband, one daughter, one neurotic Maltese and a single bossy chicken). You can find the author online at her official website —  www.tinawhittle.com.

Dangerous Edge of Things cover1_darker cover1_blood

Muse Wednesday: Parker Kincade

I’d like to welcome one of my fellow Liquid Silver Books authors, Parker Kincade. She is sharing her thoughts on Lora Leigh’s Lion’s Heat.

LORA LEIGH’S LION’S HEAT

Parker Kincade

My alarm clock went off at six o’clock the morning of April 6, 2010. As I reached over to palm the snooze, my first coherent thought was Jonas. It was release day, you see. And one I had waited for since I was first introduced to Lora Leigh’s Breed series years before.

When I think about authors/books that inspire me, this is what I think about. The excitement of a new release, characters I’m invested in, stories I love.

Lora Leigh’s Lion’s Heat is not the first book in her Breed series. Nor is it the fifth, or even the tenth. Lion’s Heat is the twentieth. That’s right, for nineteen books, I had hung on every word. I followed the compelling and fascinating lives of the men and women who were fighting for the rights most of us take for granted. What made these people different? The fact that they had been genetically altered with animal DNA and bred to kill.

Smack dab in the middle of the fight was Jonas Wyatt, Lion Breed and Director of the Bureau of Breed Affairs. As I said before, I had spent nineteen books and many years with Jonas, gritting my teeth as he manipulated and forced his will on those around him. He’d killed. He’d deceived and he had a serious bad-boy attitude. He was a game player whose line between right and wrong was extremely jagged.

So, why then, couldn’t I wait to run to the bookstore the morning Jonas’ story released? The simple answer is: because I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

And I was right. Lion’s Heat is a powerful story, a turning point almost, in the saga of the Breeds. From page one, Ms. Leigh didn’t just grab me – she yanked me into the story – presenting me with a very determined, yet vulnerable, Jonas, fighting to remain in control as he dealt with the fact his (unclaimed) mate had belonged to another. And it didn’t stop there. Until the very end, Ms. Leigh kept me on the edge of my seat, never knowing what to expect as I turned the page.

I’ll admit, I fell in love with Jonas a little that week. I learned his secrets, that he had a fierce capacity to love and that there was definitely more to him than I’d ever imagined.

As an avid reader, I’ve had many authors who’ve inspired me, in one form or another. Some for technique, some for character development and well, you get the idea. For me, Lora Leigh’s Lion’s Heat embodies off of these things – all wrapped up in a world so beautifully created, it’s hard to believe it’s not possible.

As an author, this is what I strive to do. Taking the reader on a journey they can’t wait to continue, with characters so vivid it’s hard to imagine they aren’t real. It’s powerful stuff, no?

Bio:

Parker Kincade has been writing since she was a little girl. Her love affair with romance novels began as a teen and she dreamed of writing her own. She is thrilled to be living her dream.

Parker lives in the South with her husband, children and beloved boxer sidekick. She loves reading, playing golf, spending time with her family and friends, ice cream from the ice cream truck, taking her dog to the park and watching old musicals.

Visit her Web Site.
Take a look at her release

Naming Your Characters: The Terran Realm Names

I write both paranormal and historical romances and I try very hard to give my characters appropriate names. No Amber, Tiffany, Kevin or Chad for me. Usually. Oh, I have had characters named Mike and Julie in a story, but the alien, sex-sucking, shape-shifting villain in that same story was called Tzahyad. Very creepy sounding name, yes? But it’s a real word…in Hebrew. It means hunter and I thought it was quite appropriate for a predator like my villain.
I do this frequently — find words in foreign languages that I speak (or sing in) and use them within the context of a story. Often, the character will tell me their name or demand a new one! When I wrote THE SHIMMERING FLAME I had a name all picked out for my hero: Kevin. Well, I went to sleep after settling on that name and my guy popped in to tell me he didn’t care for it at all. Too “woosy” (his words). No, the name he wanted was Gabriel. Now, in Hebrew, Gabriel (or Gavriel) means “God is my strength”. Since Gabe is a Terran Protector, it was a fitting name. Kawsantower, his last name, is a transliteration of Cosantóir, the Gaelic for ‘protector’. Our heroine’s name was simple since she is, in actuality, Brigid, the Irish,demi-goddess. The various meanings of the name Brigid and its assorted spellings would take an entire post. What made Brigid so perfect as a Terran Keeper, is that the many talents of the demi-goddess were all powers of Terran Keepers who can control the elements.
Now, I have a love triangle in THE SHIMMERING FLAME. Uaithne, also an Irish Terran, is Brigid’s love from thousands of years ago. His spirit is reawakened in the character Ethan Clark. Ethan (Eitan) means strong in Hebrew and I felt that Ethan had to be a strong character. Uaithne is also the name of a demi-god in Irish mythology who played a magic harp and my modern day Ethan has his own magic harp. His last name, Clark, is in tribute to Tom Clarke, one of the heroes of the Irish Easter rebellion of 1916.
Now, the name of my villain was tricky. I wanted something really icky sounding. Nimhnach, his original name, is the transliteration of the Gaelic word for ‘venomous’. Nolan, his present day name, fits his Terran identity of a Speaker — someone who can control the actions and thoughts of humans. The Irish surname, Nolan means ‘shout’, an apt word for a Speaker who has become a Destroyer — a Terran baddie.
In A PERFECT SYMMETRY, the sequel, my foreign naming continues with Aviva Shiron, a Desert Terran who is a Singer — someone capable of controlling humans *and* Terrans. Aviva is a Hebrew name derived from the word for Spring and the first part of the name  Shiron, shir, means ‘song’ in Hebrew. All the new Irish Terrans — Machnamh, Eileen Murray, Casey Aidan — have names that were inspired by what type of Irish Terran they are.
You can find out more about my Liquid Silver Book, A Song of the SidheThe Shimmering Flame and A Perfect Symmetry, by checking out my blog, The Celtic Realm of Fancy at the following link: http://jeannebarrack1.wordpress.com/blog/. You’ll find a link for an excerpt for each story on their individual pages. To find out more about the Terran Realm, click on this link. To learn more about my m/m work and my Loose Id titles and my MLR Press titles, check out my other blogs: The Sweet Flag, Jeanne’s Worlds and my research blog, Jeanne Barrack’s Guideposts

And my name? Barrack means ‘lightning’ in Hebrew.

Thanks so much for having me here today!

Compelling Characters by Guest Blogger Cheryl Norman

I’d like to welcome my first Guest Blogger romantic suspense author Cheryl Norman.  I’ve been a big fan of Cheryl’s novels since our days on the RWA Kiss of Death Chapter.  – -Monette

To write an unforgettable story, you need an unforgettable character.  But what makes a character interesting?  What keeps the reader / audience intrigued?  If the character is the same from beginning to end, do you have a story?  Yes, but do you have an unforgettable story?  Think about the books on your keeper shelves.  Even detective series stories sell better when the recurring sleuth character faces personal problems and continues to grow.  Janet Evanovich knows this.  Do we really care so much about Stephanie Plum’s latest mystery?  No.  We want to know what she’s going to do to resolve her romance with Joe Morelli while fighting her attraction to Ranger.  We want to know if she can manage to keep from losing her newest car to yet another mishap.  We want to know if her parents will finally reconcile themselves with her life’s chosen work.  Personally, I want to know how she manages to zip her jeans after all those Tasty Cakes.

So how do we make our protagonist stand out?  First, you give him a flaw—at least one.  Then you give him an opportunity for personal growth.  How he responds to that opportunity is your story.

To paraphrase Donald Maass (Writing the Breakout Novel), you should list five things your hero would never say and five things he’d never do.  Then take the top one from each list and make him say/do it.  Characters forced by circumstances to grow make memorable stories.  Who can forget Scarlett O’Hara, Southern belle at the first of the book, shooting that trespassing Yankee and dumping his body in the well three or four hundred pages later?

At the beginning of the 1990 film Quigley Down Under, we learn that Matthew Quigley prefers his special rifle to a handgun.  We also know that Crazy Cora mistakes him for her ex-husband, Roy.  She insists on calling him Roy, and Quigley insists on her calling him Matthew.  The last thing he’d say is his name is Roy Cobb.  The last thing he’d do is confront his nemesis with a handgun.  Yet in the final ordeal, [spoiler alert] he kills Marston in a shootout using the pistol Marston provides, thinking to put Quigley at a disadvantage.  At the movie’s end, when he’s a wanted man and is booking passage back to the states, the ticket master asks his name.  Quigley sees Cora standing in the doorway and replies, “Roy Cobb,” the answer that saves him from capture but also communicates his affection for Cora.

In the movie Collateral, Max is a taxi driver who takes great pride in his work and in the condition of his cab.  The last thing he’d do is wreck his taxicab deliberately.  [spoiler alert] Yet that is exactly what he must do to escape Vincent, the hit man holding him hostage.  Collateral is a strong example of the hero’s journey (The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler).  The story is Max’s, skillfully portrayed by Jamie Foxx, from the Call to Adventure to the Return with the Elixir.  During the course of one night he grows from playing it too safe in his ordinary world to [spoiler alert] confronting the hit man and killing him.  Max is not the same man at the end of the story, and that keeps us riveted.

Find the one thing your character fears or loathes then make him confront it.  If your heroine must rescue her child from being trapped in a cave, make her claustrophobic.  If the child is trapped in an upper floor of a burning building, make the rescuer fearful of heights.  Notice how in every Indiana Jones movie Indy has to confront snakes?  The fearless archaeology professor faces down Nazis and savage tribes but is deathly afraid of snakes.

Give your hero and heroine interesting histories to motivate their story choices, but please don’t dump it in chapter one!  J

Find Cheryl’s newest novel, Reclaim My Life, here.   Cheryl’s web site is here.