Friday, October 30, 2015

Into the Sunrise by Carolyn Haley

Into the Sunrise, like most novels, is a made-up story. However, three elements of it are not only drawn from real life but inspired me to write the book.

The first element is Linny’s sunset ride on the beach. When I was a young, my family vacationed on Cape Cod for two weeks every summer. At that time public riding stables were allowed to take horseback groups out on National Seashore land (no longer true). Most trail rides were rather boring hour-long shuffles through the dunes, but one stable offered a two-hour sunset ride on the outer beach near the very tip of the Cape. I rode that trail twice—and the first time was a wild galloping adventure that ranks among the high points of my life. The opportunity never came again, and there was no handsome horseman to fall in love with. So I gave both to Linny, thereby allowing myself, and readers, to live the experience vicariously.

 The second element is Linny’s ride with the hunt on Opening Day in the Hudson Valley region of New York. This, too, is something I did, some twenty years after the sunset beach ride, and it was almost as crazed as presented in the book. A big difference is that I rode with the non-jumpers, on a rented horse I couldn’t handle. Linny got her dream horse, Midnight, who was my dream-come-true horse back when I went to summer camp, again as a teenager.

I knew Midnight for only two weeks. But he, like the beach ride and Opening Day, indelibly impressed themselves on my mind and heart, so I immortalized them in a story.

At that time I was an artist, not yet a writer. The other day I found an unfinished sketch I did at age fourteen, of Linny and Con riding Shark and Klatawah on the Cape Cod shore.


I also unearthed this illustration from the novella (The Island) I wrote between ages ten and twelve that laid the foundation for Sunrise:



And a woodcut I did in junior high art class, of Shark:



There are more drawings deep in my archives, plus a few that are too big to scan. Whenever I dig them out and make electronic images, I will share them with you.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Our Roving Reporter meets the Detective.

Today your roving reporter is at St. Louis Metropolitan Police Headquarters. We’re sharing a cup of coffee with the department’s newest detective, Ms. Maylee Morgan.
I’d like to begin by offering my congratulations on your promotion.

MM: Thank you.

RR: Could you share with our readers when and how you first became interested in police work?

MM: It’s difficult to remember a time when I didn’t enjoy solving puzzles and reading mysteries. When I was in junior high, one of my older brothers started bringing “True Crime” paperbacks into our home and soon I became convinced I wanted to solve real life puzzles.

RR: Could you describe the educational route you took to your current position?

MM: My formal education includes Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri St. Louis. It has a nationally ranked program and prepared me well. Of course, the first step after acceptance by the department was attendance at the Police Academy. This combination of classroom and hands on training is vital. And an officer’s education continues with seminars, on-line classes, and workshops sponsored by universities and law enforcement agencies.

RR: Describe some of your off duty interests and hobbies. Where would we be likely to see you on your day off?

MM: The most consistent activity for my down time is a good run in the park. Yes, there are times when weather doesn’t cooperate, but then I visit the department gym for physical training. When I have an entire day off I try to spend part of it with family. My mother lives in South County and two of my four brothers live within the Metro Area. We have a long list of family traditions, some started three or four generations ago, which we continue. All of us are Cardinal fans and are looking forward to a winning season.

RR: Family sounds important to you. Can you see yourself blending career, husband, and family in the future?

MM: It’s going to take a very special person to understand and accept the time and emotional demands of my occupation. I like to believe that he’s out there, but we haven’t crossed paths yet. Oh, and it would be a bonus if he can cook.

RR: Thank you, Detective Morgan. We wish you luck in both career and personal life.

Stare Down, available October 23, 2015, picks up Detective Morgan’s story a few weeks after this interview.

Ellen Parker

Friday, October 16, 2015

Breathing In by K.K. Weil

Even though I wish the weather could be 80 degrees and sunny every single day, there are certain things about fall that make me warm and fuzzy like no other time of year. For me, this season is all about the scents. Sure, I love the mandatory autumn events, like apple and pumpkin picking, hayrides and corn mazes. But after you pick that fruit, what do you do? Come home and bake, of course. And that’s where the smells begin.

So there's the basic, delicious apple pie aroma wafting through the house, and even the roasting of pumpkin seeds. As soon as my kids get wind of those seeds they circle my kitchen like mini-vultures. But that’s just the start of it.

In the fall, I bust out two items that have been put away for the summer. The first things I dust off are my candles. I absolutely love to have candles burning in the house, but for whatever reason, I never think to light them in the warm weather. As soon as the temperature begins to drop, though, out they come. Earthy vanillas and cinnamons are my favorites. When the windows are open and a breeze drifts through, I’m in my happy place.

The second is my slow-cooker. I never owned a slow-cooker until a few years ago, but as soon as I did, it quickly claimed its spot on my counter for the better part of the fall and winter. It’s not even that I love the food prepared in it so much. Some of the meals are very tasty, but it’s more the fact that I throw everything in it in the morning, and then for the rest of the day, the flavors dance around the house. The cooker I have gets plugged in, so I can leave with it on. There’s nothing like coming home from being out for a few hours and smelling that when I walk through the door.

Even the air is different in the fall. It’s evening right now, and I’m sitting by my open sliding doors. (It doesn’t hurt that we’ve also had the most beautiful fall weather in years.) A breeze just came in and I commented about how good it smelled. My husband immediately knew what I meant. No one was barbecuing outside. No one’s fireplace was on. It was just the clean, crisp autumn air.

I think for me, scent is the sense that evokes the most memories. Sometimes, when I’m walking down the street, I’ll stop mid-step because I get a hint of someone’s perfume or shampoo, and I have to take a second to reflect. I might forget someone’s voice over time, and maybe I’ll even lose some of her more subtle facial features. But if I pick up a person’s distinctive scent, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed since I’ve seen her, I’ll think of her. Even smells that wouldn’t necessarily be considered pleasant, like roads being paved or paint drying, bring me back to fond memories.

Interestingly, it’s also the sense that I most readily overlook when I’m writing. Sight and sounds are easy. They come naturally. But I find I really have to concentrate on adding in scents when I’m revising my work. I’m not sure why, because they’re so powerful in my everyday life. And as a reader, I’m easily drawn into a setting where smells are described. So from now on, every so often as I write, I’m going to remind myself to close my eyes, breathe in and just imagine.

K.K. Weil

Witches vs Fairies by Linda Tillis

     I am not a big Halloween fan, but I do have a few good memories from my childhood that I bring out and relish occasionally. Since this is October, the designated month for ghosts, and goblins, and such, I thought I would share a few with you.

     My mother died when I was ten years old, therefore, my childhood per se was cut a little short. We lived in Cleveland, Ohio, at the time, so you could expect cold weather, and sometimes snow, for Halloween festivities.

     I remember she would drop a few of us girls at the corner, drive to the next block, then wait for us to make our giggling way down to the car. Afterwards, when our hands were frozen, our noses running, and our feet numb, she would take us for hot chocolate.

     Those memories are a little vague; just generalities with no specific details. But there was this one fantasy that she and I shared that will always stay with me.

     She worked at night, in a tool and die factory. We lived in an apartment, on the second floor of an old Victorian house. The head of my bed was against a small door, that probably led to the attic. One night, I got it into my young head that I heard something behind the door. Needless to say, I was not happy.

     My mother was from Appalachia, had been raised in the mountains of West Virginia, and could spin a good yarn. So, she sat me down and told me that what I heard was the tiny little footsteps of the fairies that lived in the attic. She explained that she had asked them to watch over me at night, while I slept. She said that as long as I put out a snack for them, they would be very happy to do this.

     There was a young black woman, who was studying to be a nurse, but came to stay with me at night. She would ride the bus to our place, then Mother would drive each of us to our school in the morning.
Each night she watched me pour a half glass of milk, place a cookie on a saucer, and put both on the dining table. And each morning the milk and cookie were gone. This was a ritual that continued for what seemed like years to my young mind, but was probably only a few months.

     I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember what incredible circumstance could have caused me to forget my part of the ritual, but it came to a messy end one morning. My mother woke me by asking what in the world had happened in the kitchen. I jumped from bed and ran, only to find chaos. The dining table, and most of the floor, were covered in flour. There were shards scattered in the flour, from the broken glass and saucer. And what appeared to be little tiny foot prints.

     I was horrified! I had forgotten to put out the offering for the fairies. I wept in heartbroken guilt. My mother pulled me onto her lap and soothed my tears with hugs. Then she told me that I would not hear the fairies anymore. That they had decided I was grown up enough that they no longer needed to watch over me at night. They had moved on to another little girl that needed them more.

     This is one of the sweetest memories of my childhood. That my mother loved me enough to cater to my need to feel secure (not to mention her inner child). Only now, as an adult, do I understand the bond she was cementing with a little fantasy.

     I went searching for a picture that depicted how I imagined my fairies to look; both adorable and mischievous. This one caught my fancy. Enjoy.

Linda Tillis
A Heart Made for Love coming soon to The Wild Rose Press

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Shatterproof Character Interview with Griffin Stone

Please welcome Griffin Stone of Shatterproof...

So, Griffin, tell us a little about yourself.
Coming from the home I did, I needed to find something to keep me grounded. Otherwise, my anger at my parents was going to lead me towards a lot of destruction. When I was introduced to sculpture, everything else just faded away. I was able to transfer all that was brewing inside of me into the clay. It brought me to a world that was my own, away from my mother’s abuse and my inability to help her. It was my salvation. That is, until I met Frankie.

What is it about Frankie that made you decide to take the risk of being with her?
Frankie is vibrant and unpredictable. She sees things for what they can be, not just what they are. She thinks her impulsive ways are a flaw, but I think they’re part of what makes her unforgettable. She reminds me very much of how my mother used to be.

Holly’s House is obviously very important to you. Could you tell us a little about that?
That women’s shelter is the only thing in my life that ever gave me purpose. Sculpting the women at Holly’s, giving them back pieces of themselves, and reminding them that they are beautiful both inside and outside, allows me to help in some small way. Even if my mother never listens to me or finds a way out, at least I can be there for someone else’s mother, aunt, or friend.

Your former teacher, Mr. Rothman, plays an important part in your life. Care to discuss him?
There are no words to describe how grateful I am to Roth. He showed me an alternative, showed me how to breathe for the first time. Not only did he set my life in motion in a positive way, but he continues to guide me when I’m falling back into the darkness. Without him, I would have turned out to be an entirely different man.

What is your opinion of Frankie’s photography?
The first time I met Frankie, at Holly’s House, I had no idea what she was taking pictures of. It just looked like garbage to me. But when she showed me what some old crumpled up tissue paper could turn into, I was amazed. She finds beauty in the ordinary. It is an incredible gift. I find myself wanting to see things through her eyes, to get a different perspective and be exposed to some of the beauty that she discovers naturally.

What would you need in order to be truly happy?
I would need my mother to get the hell away from my father, I’d need to know, unequivocally, that I am nothing like him, and I’d need Frankie by my side through it all.

If you could give one pieces of advice to our readers, what would it be?
Believe in yourself. Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. The quicker you learn that, the quicker you can start to be exactly who you want to be.

KK Weil

Thursday, October 08, 2015

MY WRITING DEN by Roberta C.M. DeCaprio

I've lived in my home for 37 years. The back bedroom within that time has served many different situations.

It first became a toy room for my two children when they were small, shelves stocked with all sorts of games, dolls, and stuffed animals. I enjoyed hearing laughter and cheer coming from that room as my children entertained themselves and friends who came for play dates.

For a brief time it served as a sewing room, and I remember well the fond memories of my grandmother and I cutting out patterns. Under her guidance I learned how rewarding a homemade garment could come to mean. We created many wonderful projects together.

When our Rottweiler joined the family, this room became her den. She'd sprawl out on an old couch placed there for her bed, and guard the rest of us as we slept in the surrounding bedrooms. During this time period I'd become a single parent, and having such a formidable canine close by made me feel safe and secure at night.

When I took in a foster child, the room became her bedroom, a private sanctuary she'd never had before. It made her feel safe, wanted, and truly an important part of the family.

For a time it was a dear friend's bedroom when she came to stay with me for three months . . . until she could again get on her feet after a divorce, as well as a spare bedroom for grandchildren who spent the weekend now and then.

And now this back bedroom is my writing den. In it I have a desk inherited from a loving uncle's estate. I remember the times I spent at his house, playing with my cousins, as he sat at his desk making out his bills, writing in his ledgers, or reading the newspaper. The electric hurricane/type lamp sitting beside my computer once sat on my grandmother's vanity. She'd turn it on while she combed her hair, or applied her cherry-colored lipstick. In one corner of the room sits a book hutch given to me by a cousin who recently passed away from complications due to ALS. The old file cabinet in another corner houses upon its surface my father's old Remington typewriter . . . the very one he used while composing poems, song lyrics, and short stories. An artificial fireplace stands against the back wall. When turned on it warms the room to a cozy glow on those winter nights I sit tapping away at the keyboard, creating another novel to share with readers.

Upon the walls I have pictures of loved ones and cherished pets who are no longer with me, as well as artwork painted in oils by my talented artist husband. As a doll collector, I have a few wall shelves displaying my classic Barbie collection, as well as a few vintage music boxes, and porcelain figurines.

My writing den is a room with a lot of history. Within its walls many eras have come and gone. Many lives have claimed this small, back bedroom for a sanctuary. I know it certainly is mine.

TO READ EXCERPTS & ORDER BOOKS - and Roberta's blog at:

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

ATHENA’S SECRETS My Personal Research into ESP

It started with my cousin. She was a full-time, practicing psychic. People came from all over California for her “readings”, at which she claimed an approximately 85% accuracy. One day, while in my 40’s, I decided to get a reading from her. Extremely skeptical—although I’d known her all my life and knew she wasn’t a con artist—I arrived, fully expecting a lot of lucky guesses on her part. An hour later, I left dazed and confused. How did she know that my husband and I were deliberating over which of two investment opportunities to take. We hadn’t mentioned this to anyone, not even anyone in my family or my husband’s. The one my cousin advised against—and which we didn’t take, fortunately—ended up in bankruptcy a year later. There were other revelations that day that proved true in the months to come.

 And so, I became intrigued by this strange phenomena known as ESP, or sometimes psi. Whatever you called it, it was known as “extrasensory perception”. My cousin claimed to be a “clairvoyant”, or able to “see” what most humans cannot see. Her insights into people, their health, and other personal facts were amazing to me. People in my family both welcomed and dreaded her phone calls. It was often: “You’ve got diabetes,” “You have a cancerous tumor in your bladder. See a doctor immediately”, “Your appendix is infected. Get yourself to a hospital now!” One close friend of the family received one of her calls. She told her that her brother was dying of cancer and that this friend should call him as soon as possible. The friend insisted that her thirty-five year-old brother was perfectly healthy and they’d just spoken days before. However, my cousin persisted and prevailed, even over objections of the friend’s brother. Two weeks later, the friend’s brother called back. He’d seen a doctor, had gotten a series of tests, and his prognosis was grim. He died a year later after a valiant battle against cancer.

When I probed my cousin, she explained the genesis of her visions and revelations. As a child of eight, she began having dreams. Some occurred at night while she slept, while others happened as daytime visions. A recurring vision puzzled her but one day it suddenly made sense. Her parents—my aunt and uncle—had announced that they were moving to Hollister, California and had just bought a house with property attached. My cousin “knew” what it looked like and proceeded to describe it to her parents, who hadn’t shown pictures of it to anyone. What she described, from the house to the trees, driveway and outbuildings, matched the place her parents had just put a down payment on.

After that, the family believed my cousin to have a gift from God. That experience prompted me to open my mind and begin a thirty-year exploration into ESP. What I’ve learned has convinced me that clairvoyance does exist, and that perhaps to some extent, precognition. Many people have incredible, intuitive abilities and many share this gift with others, at no intent of monetary gain but simply a desire to help others. A poll cited in the Journal of Parapsychology showed that at least sixty percent of Americans believe that they have had at least one psychic experience in their lives.
The difference between a true psychic and a charlatan, or someone who uses trickery and seeks profit or notoriety? Only one does it for monetary gain. True psychics, as do the psychic women in ATHENA’S SECRETS (Book One, THE DELPHI BLOODLINE Series) share their gifts quietly and gratuitously.
Like my cousin.

Best wishes,
Donna Del Oro

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Interview with Hero of Two Hearts in Time

May I introduce myself? Raymona Marie Anderson here, my new time-travel historical, Two Hearts in Time just out from The Wild Rose Press. The spicy romantic adventure set in Mexico’s Yucatán involves an archaeologist from the U.S. and a tomb looter of mixed Spanish and Maya heritage. That gentleman, Don Juan Miguel Zamora y Balam is a character of many facets. Meet him below in a scenario that serves as an interview. The exchange doesn’t appear in the book, nor does the inquisitive fellow named Delgado.

D: Señor Zamora, may I introduce myself? I am Raoul Delgado. My store is here on the city plaza.

Z: It is a pleasure to meet you, sir, but it is very late.

D: Yes. And it is so good of you to give me a moment. I saw you ride into town and have been told you sometimes offer for sale certain items the ancient Mayans left among their ruined pyramids. Visitors to Mexico come often into my shop to ask for vases and other antiquities.

Z: Of course, amigo, people from the north believe it is their right to own such things, more than it is my birthright to collect as a son of Yucatán. If I did engage in commerce we would talk further. In truth, I collect for my own pleasure. Good evening, sir, I have journeyed far and am very tired. If you will excuse me now.

D: A moment more, friend. I am told the Zamoras are among the keenest business men in Mérida. It interests me that such a person as yourself would abandon that city for the wilds of Yucatán’s jungle, and for no financial return. I saw what heavy burdens your mules bore. To sell a few lesser items, perhaps?

Z: Your persistence amuses me, sir. You are without doubt an excellent salesman. I enjoyed dealing with such men when I worked in the family trade. If you must know, sir, I have lost my taste for comforts gained through mistreated souls who labor in my father’s haciendas. Now, as I said, I am very tired.

D: True. True, I am sure. But the woman who accompanied your party––I saw that you delivered her to the cura’s residence. I am very circumspect and would not think of spreading tales. But is she in trouble?

Z: Señora Lyons has suffered a trying experience. She became lost from her associates, a party visiting the ruins from the United States. A very willful woman, I must say, one I should not have taken into my care, but it is 1898 after all. How could a modern gentleman disregard such a woman in distress? She will remain safe with the cura and his housekeeper until train service to Mérida is restored. In that city she can find help at the U.S. Consulate.

D: She would travel unaccompanied?

Z: This female shows little concern for appearances. Besides, I dare not return to Mérida with such murderous thoughts against my father’s puppeteer, Luis Carranza. Good night, sir.

D: Señor? Wait, Señor Zamora. About this Carranza––?

To Purchase on Amazon
To Purchase on The Wild Rose Press or Nook

Monday, October 05, 2015

Dee's first attempt: Sweet Sunset

Sweet Sunset is my first novel, but I don't have a release date yet. I did get my book cover which I like a lot.

Sweet Sunset is mainstream WF. I refer to it as my dysfunctional family book. As in real life, there's humor, there's sadness and then as we like to say, this too shall pass and we move on. Here's a note from my main heroine, Myrtle Sue Henderson.

My name is Myrtle Sue Henderson. My husband Sam passed away a year ago. I discovered his insurance didn’t cover all his medical bills, so I found a job working as a cook at a middle school. Having been a housewife for many years, that’s about all I knew how to do, cook, clean, and take care of the family.

A few months after Sam passed away, his mother, whom I refer to as the mother-in-law from hell, was kicked out of her senior apartment. Why? Because she burned food on the stove, blew up her micr

Several times a week she tells me to cook food for her dead father and his long ago dead sisters who she insists are coming to visit.

Luckily, I have someone to stay with Hazel for most of the time I’m at work. She thinks he’s her dead son and adores him. He is good to her.
Two months after Hazel arrived at my house my oldest daughter, Presley, and her two children asked if they could stay with me, too. Her husband is abusive. She should’ve left him long ago. He and his father are taxidermist, so what did he give to his eight-year-old daughter for her birthday? He stuffed her dead dog, put wheels on its feet and told her that she could take the dog for walks. Emma was horrified and screamed when she saw the dead dog sitting in her room. But if you listened to Emma’s idiot dad you’d thought he just gave her the Hope diamond.

After moving into my home, Presley found a job and enrolled in college. A few days later, her drunken husband showed up at my house and beat the crap out of Presley, and then attacked me when I tried to get him away from my daughter.

Then there’s my daughter, Michelle, who we all refer to as Florence Nightingale. She’s a nurse and always looks for love in all the wrong faces. She announced that she’s pregnant and isn’t married. Her boyfriend left her for Michelle’s friend.

My son Sammy doesn’t want to grow up, but I’m making him pay back all the money his dad loaned him to buy a truck. Maybe he’ll find a woman who I hope won’t run from him.

When I decided it was time to return to church, I took Hazel with me. Two men sat beside us. Hazel hit the elder man with her cane and the two of them got into a loud argument during the pastor’s sermon. And that’s how I met Mike, a psychologist, who could spend his life practicing on my family. I’m happy to say he actually likes all of us. And me? I’m becoming very fond of him.

I just wish my dead husband would quit talking to me. It scares the hell out of me when he suddenly pops into my head. He did approve of me running up to Presley’s husband who pushed his way into the house in a drunken rage and I kicked him where it hurt. My son yelled “touchdown.”

I do hope you’ll enjoy reading about the journey of my dysfunctional family. I'm sure most of you have a few loose cannons in your family, too.

Dee Gatrell
owave repeatedly, and the other apartment dwellers feared she’d catch the place on fire and kill them. We couldn’t get her into an assisted living home, so she moved in with me. Hazel is a difficult person to live with. I swear if I can’t find her a home soon, I’ll have to take a vacation to the loony farm.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Finding Rose Rocks

Wood rotates against stone as the grinding wheel of writing is slowly set to motion. Low rumbles and a high-pitched squeal register its complaints. Five solid years of studying craft, writing, revising, and searching for representation has finally gained me some notice. The cog completes a full revolution. The Wild Rose Press has accepted my story. Let the edits begin!

"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about." Winston Chruchill

Hi all. FINDING ROSE ROCKS by me, Karen Ginther Graham, is in the Last Rose of Summer category. I'm so excited about becoming a published writer and am anxiously awating my first edit by Ally Robertson. I look forward to lots of interaction with other authors here at TWRP.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Changing Genres by Fran McNabb

SAVING THE CHILDREN was published here in the Crimson Line in April. Lori Graham is my editor, and I’m excited to say I’m waiting for the release date for my second book with the Crimson Line. I call this new one KEEPING HOPE ALIVE, and the story follows one of the teammates of the hero from the first book.

Signing this second TWRP contract started me thinking about writing romantic suspense. Before SAVING THE CHILDREN, I had six other books published, none of which are romantic suspense. They are either historical or contemporary romances, so I have to ask myself why I switched genres.

That’s a good question, and I think the answer is very simple. I didn’t intentionally write something that was different, just something that fell into guidelines that fit a different genre. In reality I write what I feel at the moment and, well, I guess I felt like upping the angst a little bit with this book.

I love reading books with military heroes, and yes, SAVING THE CHILDREN, has a hero in the Special Ops—Major John Dawson. I always fall in love with my heroes, and it wasn’t any different with John. John is captured after he is wounded on a compromised mission. To keep him alive so the rebel leader can kill him himself, the rebels also capture Victoria Lafferty, a nurse working with orphans in the jungles of South America. When Victoria and John are thrown together in his jungle hut, they begin a journey to rescue six orphans in the midst of a hostile jungle with dangerous rebels. At the same time they save themselves from deep seated emotional baggage.

When I think about this story, I know it does fit into the romantic suspense guidelines, but still I have to say, writing romance and writing romantic suspense are not too different. All the elements of the novel are there. Plotting is heavier in RS, but it can’t stand alone. Without well-developed characters and a strong setting, no genre would be worth reading.

I’m proud to be part of the Crimson Line, and I hope if you read SAVING THE CHILDREN and like it, you’ll want to know what happens to John’s teammate, Max, in KEEPING HOPE ALIVE.

To find SAVING THE CHILDREN by Fran McNabb

Fran McNabb

Friday, October 02, 2015

Book launch of RETURN TO ME

The book launch of RETURN TO ME, by debut author Carolyn Menke, drew a crowd! The event was hosted by the Penguin Bookshop, located in Sewickley, PA. Check out that stunning cover art by Kim Mendoza in poster size. Congratulations on a successful event.