Saturday, October 8, 2016

Best of the West

In celebration of the release of Ladies Man, the production team shares what they consider the best of the West. They worked with me on Package Deal and Hot Flash and I'm thrilled to work with them again.

Personally, I'm pretty fond of the scenery throughout the West-not to mention how varied it is. You've got the stark beauty of the desert, the coast across California, even thick forests up in Washington. The weather can be a bit crazy sometimes, but there is always a gorgeous spot somewhere around the corner.

In addition to formatting, Stevie does cover design. Featured is one of her covers.

Harris Channing-Cover Design
Harris is an author in her own right as well as designer.

When asked what I love about the West, I had to stop and think.  As a Southern girl, it pains me to say that the furthest west I’ve ever been is Louisiana
So, I had to go deeper into things I like about the West. And what intrigues me is the history. So many great things happened during the expansion of America.  Gunslingers, Indian Chiefs fighting for their people, cowboys herding cattle, the iron horse, bison...And all the sites!  I’d love to see the Alamo, dip my feet into Pacific ocean, ghost hunt in a real ghost town, visit the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and where Custer (who I think was an idiot) made his last stand.
But my interest in the historical West started more, or less, with reruns of television shows from the 1950’s and 60’s.  Young Clint Eastwood playing cowboy Rowdy Yates, James Arness as Matt Dillon (still don’t know why he never married Miss Kitty), my strange crush on Hoss Cartwright—I know he’s not the best looking Cartwright, but I think he would have made a hell of a good husband and father…Did you know his name is actually Eric Haas Cartwright?  Bet you didn’t.
But it has to be Chuck Connors-- cowboy, father, marksman and overall hottie, Lucas McCain that has me wanting to don spurs and ride into the sunset.  That chiseled jaw, that piercing stare, the immense size of the man, broad shoulders, narrow hips….yep, he was a romance novel hero before I even knew about romance novels.
So, here’s to the faux-none to factual Old West….where you never saw a cowboy in the outhouse.  Never smelled him after he’d been sewn into his long underwear all winter, and who always, always had strong, white teeth and minty fresh breath.
The Old West of the 1950’s.  It’s just too good to be true.
Truly an author’s editor, Marian also writes romance as Colleen Ladd.

Living in the mountains in northern Colorado, what I like best in the West is when fall rolls around.  The leaves change, mostly aspen turning gold and orange and, if we're very lucky, red.  The air turns cool and so crisp you feel you could cut it with a knife.  The smoky smell from people's fireplaces fills the air.  There's something fundamentally different about the smell of smoke in the fall.  Summer campfires smell of picnics and outdoor family time, hotdogs and toasted marshmallows.  Winter fires smell like warmth and cuddling up under a warm blanket with a dog or two and a good book.  They smell like home.

Mariposa Cruz-Author

To me nothing captures the spirit of the West with its wide open skies and landscapes like a Western. Destry Rides Again (1939) was James Stewart’s first Western and is tops on my must-see movie list. The folks of Bottleneck are confounded when Destry (Stewart) their sharpshooter new deputy refuses to carry a gun.  Armed with a quick wit, Destry upholds the law without firing a shot. But corruption runs deep in Bottleneck and an armed standoff between Destry and the mayor’s hired guns is inevitable.

As with many of his roles, Stewart comes across as Everyman Nice Guy. However there are a few key scenes where the Nice Guy façade drops and Destry stares at his opponent with a cold glare with a rage held barely in check. The effect is chilling. To me that look is well-worth the price of admission.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Indie Author Day

“Writers aren’t exactly people…they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

I believe Fitzgerald’s quote to be especially true for indie published writers. Not only do you have a cast of characters in your head vying for attention, as an indie writer you are the CEO, publicist, finance director and tech support of your own business.  Even if you hire out for some of the heavy lifting jobs (like editing), the success or failure of your enterprise rests squarely on your shoulders.
That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the inaugural IndieAuthor Day taking place in libraries across the country on October 8th with a live webcast scheduled for 2:00PM EST. 

 My local library, Washoe County Library-Spanish Springs, will have their event on Sunday, October 9th from 2:00-4:00PM PST. The Spanish Springs event will host about a dozen local writers (including yours truly).  Authors will have their books available for purchase and there will be an author Q&A from 2:30-3:30.

Curious if your local library is participating? Check out
Here are the dates:  Nationwide-October 8, 2016
                                Spanish Springs, NV-October 9, 2016

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ladies Man-Available as a Pre-Order from Amazon

The release date is set for October 27th, but I'm excited to report that Ladies Man is available as a pre-order on Amazon. My second title in the Rhythm & Romance series and it's all about West Coast Swing.

Ladies Man

Clark Stevens has always had a way with women, but his teenage daughter despises him.  When his daughter comes to live with him fulltime, he enlists co-worker, Julie Wahl, to coach him on parenting skills.

As a single mom and paralegal, Julie Wahl, has successfully balanced family, work and swing dancing. After heartbreak on the dance floor, the last thing Julie needs is an office romance.  But she can hardly say no to a colleague in need, especially one with dark brown eyes and a killer grin.

Didn't Harris Channing do an amazing job with the cover! More in the weeks to follow.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dancing to Australia

Did you know an Italian study discovered that recovering heart surgery patients were happier taking waltz classes than those who cycled or ran the treadmill? I know I'd rather be on the dance floor than anywhere else.

Quick update: I've been busy with the final edits on the 2nd title in the Rhythm & Romance series. Harris Channing just sent me the cover and it's gorgeous! I hope to release "Ladies Man" later this Fall.

Today I'm guest posting at Louise Lyndon's blog about a certain cowboy who first invited me onto the dance floor. My sister Wild Rose author is based in Melbourne, Australia and I'm thrilled to be her guest. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Midnight Mysteries-Laura (1944)

I imagine between the schedule and facing the dark side of humanity on a daily basis that it would be difficult for a NYC detective to meet that someone special.  Under her portrait’s mesmerizing gaze while reading her diary, Detective Mark McPherson falls for a beautiful, quick-witted woman during a murder investigation. Unfortunately, the lovely Laura Hunt happens to be the victim.

The true star of the movie is the dialogue.  Laura’s mentor, newspaper columnist, Waldo Lydecker, has a rapier wit and he’s fond of skewering the unwary.  Writers will be intrigued by Lydecker’s writing desk, a typewriter perched over a spa-sized bathtub.

“I’m not kind. I’m vicious it’s the secret of my charm.”
 Waldo Lydecker

“In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any subject so worthy of my attention.” Waldo Lydecker

McPherson: [Regarding the list of suspects] “You know you’re on this list too.”
Lydecker: “Good. It would insult me to be overlooked.”

“I can afford a blemish on my soul, but not my clothes.” Shelby Carpenter

By the way it’s a treat to see a young Vincent Price emerge from the shadows to play Laura’s man candy boyfriend, Shelby Carpenter.

I’m afraid I can’t say more without revealing too much. I can tell you that Laura like most noir movies, nothing is as it seems.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Author Interview-Jenna Bennett

What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been a writer. My first grade teacher told my parents – and all the other parents in the room – that “this one will probably grow up to be an author,” just before she read my story out loud at one of the parent-teacher meetings. Growing up, writing stories was a way to live vicariously through the characters, who were all prettier, more popular, and much more exciting than me.
I never considered writing as a possible career, though, so I did a lot of other things. Tour guide, bank teller, actress, waitress, proof reader, bed and breakfast reservationist, real estate agent, stay-at-home mom... until 2005, when I met historical suspense author Tasha Alexander. Her first book was being released that year, and she told me, “if I can do it, you can do it.” So I did it. And the rest is history, pretty much.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
I’m partial to Eve Dallas and Roarke, in JD Robb’s (Nora Roberts’) In Death series. They have full lives, difficult pasts, often difficult presents, and they don’t always get along, but their relationship is always real, and I like how, when they disagree, it’s over real stuff, and not some silly misunderstanding that could be figured out with a two minute conversation. As mostly a mystery writer, I appreciate the mystery and suspense plots of the books, too.

Tell me what inspired this story.
I started writing the Savannah Martin romantic mystery series when I was in real estate school in 2005. They were talking a lot about personal safety, and about the dangers that might lurk in an empty house. Things like axe murderers, rapists, and really big cockroaches. And I started imagining what might happen if a newly-minted real estate agent walked into an empty house and found a dead body. And not just that, but the dead body of a competitor, the barracuda of the real estate office, with her throat cut from ear to ear. And the suspect in the crime, the guy practically standing over the body, was the boy her mother always warned her about...  
That’s how A Cutthroat Business was born. I was reading a lot of Janet Evanovich around that time, so that’s the general feel of it. With a romantic relationship that actually goes somewhere, and doesn’t carry on in perpetuity with no resolution.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
I’m not sure there is such a thing. I mean, it all depends on who you’re with, right? Anywhere can be romantic with the right person, or unromantic with the wrong one.
That said, the isle of Capri is lovely. So is Venice. So, for that matter, is Bruges. And a whole lot of other places in the world, depending on your taste.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
A Cutthroat Business, the first Savannah Martin mystery, is a free ebook download.  You can find the links on my website, or simply by checking your ebook vendor of choice for it. It’s available on Amazon, BN, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play.
Here’s the blurb, if you think it’s something you might be interested in. It’s pretty funny, and with a really hot love interest, if I do say so myself.

Savannah Martin has always been a good girl, doing what was expected and fully expecting life to fall into place in its turn. But when her perfect husband turns out to be a lying, cheating slimeball—and bad in bed to boot—Savannah kicks the jerk to the curb and embarks on life on her own terms. With a new apartment, a new career, and a brand new outlook on life, she’s all set to take the world by storm.
If only the world would stop throwing her curveballs...
Everyone has warned new-minted realtor Savannah Martin that real estate is a cutthroat business. But Savannah doesn’t think she’s supposed to take the warning literally ... until an early morning phone call sends her to an empty house on the ‘bad’ side of town, where she finds herself standing over the butchered body of a competitor, face to face with the boy her mother always warned her about.

Rafe Collier is six feet three inches of testosterone and trouble; tall, dark, and dangerous, with a murky past and no future—not the kind of guy a perfect Southern Belle should want to tangle with. In any way. But wherever Savannah turns, there he is, and making no bones about what he wants from her.

Now Savannah must figure out who killed real estate queen Brenda Puckett, make a success of her new career, and avoid getting killed—or kissed—by Rafe, all before the money in her savings account runs out and she has to go back to selling make-up at the mall. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Author Interview-Rachel Leigh Smith

What inspired you to become a writer?
I can’t put my finger on any one thing. Writing was something I always enjoyed, and that my parents encouraged me to pursue. Then in 2007, I decided I wanted to get a little more serious and learn how to write a novel. So I did. I finished my first one in the winter of 2011, and I just published my fifth novel.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
How much time do we have? :D Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series! He’s magnificent. I’m also a huge Psy-Changeling fan, and Sherri’s The League. I have such a Dark-Hunter problem that I own both of the coloring books out right now.

Tell me what inspired this story.
My Name Is A’yen arrived in a dream, after a pretty traumatic couple of years and surviving an abusive marriage. On the night of what would’ve been my third anniversary, I dreamed about a humanoid alien walking through the forest saying the same word over and over and over.
I woke up the next morning, got out a notebook, and started writing stuff down. It just poured out. In 86 days, I had a completed first draft of 97,000 words. Writing it was a big part of my healing process. I poured all of my heartache into A’yen, and when he got his happily ever after I kinda did too.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
It’s an Episcopalian church in St.Francisville, Louisiana, with a beautiful old cemetery. It’s such a beautiful place. And I’m odd enough that I find old cemeteries very romantic. Especially Southern ones in the spring when all the azaleas are in bloom.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
My Name Is A’yen is free! It’s a romance focused on the hero, as all of my romances are. If the hero is always favorite character, or you like exploring new worlds, check it out. It’s available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Play.

They've taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant of the galaxy.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches, and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened, he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeders Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.


You can also check out my website, for more about A’yen’s Legacy, and watch for my upcoming shifter romance series launching this fall. I’m also on Facebook,, and on Instagram, @rlsauthor.