Saturday, December 19, 2015

How The Greatest Gift Became It's a Wonderful Life

 Most people know that when a bell rings an angel gets his wings. But do you know the true story behind “It’s a Wonderful Life”?

In 1938 Philip Van Doren Stern was inspired to write about a desperate family man’s encounter with his guardian angel who showed him what life would be like if he’d never been born. In 1943 he finished his 4,100 word short story, “The Greatest Gift” which proceeded to be rejected by a variety of publications from “The Saturday Evening Post” to farm journals.  As an established Civil War historian and biographer, Stern published over forty books during his lifetime, but he was unable to find a publisher for this story.

 Determined to share his tale Stern had 200 pamphlets printed of his story and distributed them to friends and family as Christmas cards.  He told his third-grade daughter, Marguerite, that even though they were sending it as Christmas card to friends “It is a universal story for all people and all times”. Several months after Christmas a producer at RKO Pictures came across the Christmas card and offered Stern $10,000 for the movie rights. The oft rejected short story became a five-time Academy Award nominee and an American classic film.

Frank McCourt once said "Sing your song. Dance your dance. Tell your tale."
Personally I think the world needs more singing, dancing and good stories.

Wishing you and your loved ones glad tidings and great reads for the holidays!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Author Interview-Janice Oberding

How did you become involved in researching and writing about Nevada’s haunted past?
 I’ve been interested in the paranormal since I was a child. My grandmother shared many stories of ghosts and ghostly experiences of hers with me. Alas, none were about Nevada. As a Nevadan, I love our state’s rich history, lore and ghosts. In early 2001 I started looking around for books on Nevada’s ghosts and hauntings and discovered there were none. This was not acceptable to me. I wanted our state’s ghosts and rich ghostly history to be shared. And so I wrote my first book, Haunted Nevada. My next was the Ghosthunters’ Guide to Virginia City. From there I continued to write, to travel, and meet people throughout the state.

What were some of the challenges you encountered while researching these stories? 
When I started writing about Nevada’s ghosts I was the only one doing so. There weren’t but a handful of ghost investigators in the entire state. Consequently there wasn’t always a lot of information. People were sometimes hesitant to share such information, this always makes research difficult. Then too, when I found so many different versions of the same incident, I often had to choose which I thought was right or best. At that time I also had to deal with acceptance of my subject matter. Several people in Virginia City (which is Nevada’s most haunted town) refused to discuss ghosts with me, and one person who oversaw the Pipers Opera House actually told me that there were no such thing as ghosts and certainly none at the Opera House. Today more locations are open to talking about their ghosts and activity.

Tell us more about your classes at Truckee Meadows Community College.
My oldest class is Ghost Hunting 101. Each series the class is held in a historic/haunted location. Half of the class deals with the basics. The other half is a ghost hunt of the location. Over all it is a basic class for beginners and those who might want a somewhat different perspective of the field. The class includes history of ghost hunting, theories and a healthy amount of skepticism. Otherwise, I do different classes that deal with other aspects of the paranormal. These include, Quirky Nevada, Nevada’s Haunted Hotspots and Early Day Spiritualism.

What’s next for you?
I am currently working on several books. These will be fiction and nonfiction that focus on true crime and history as well as ghosts.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
My books are available at

Haunted Reno
The flashing neon lights of Reno harbor a ghastly past. With its wide-open gambling, divorce laws and around-the-clock casinos and bars, the Biggest Little City in the World was a rough and wild town with a turbulent history. Victims of Priscilla Ford's Thanksgiving Day massacre haunt a downtown street. After a disappearance and death shrouded in mystery, the spirit of Roy Frisch still lingers near the location of George Wingfields home. Lynched by a mob for a death that never happened, the angry ghost of Luis Ortiz still walks the bridge at night. The queen of haunted Nevada, Janice Oberding, unearths the ghoulish history that put the "sin" in Nevada's original Sin City.

Mariposa’s note: I was fortunate to meet Janice at one of her readings on Halloween eve at Grassroots Bookstore.  I’m currently reading “Haunted Reno” and I can tell you as an author she is as engaging in print as in person. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Author Interview-Kate Hill

What inspired you to become a writer?
I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer. I've always liked to tell stories. When I was
sixteen I decided to start submitting my work for publication. It took ten years before I had a story accepted.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
Wow, that's a hard question because there are so many great characters. I love Charlotte Boyett-Compo's Kamerone Cree from Bloodwind, Jude Deveraux's Alexander Montgomery from The Raider, Jack Greene's Jordan from News at Eleven, Sean Michael's Rose and Thorne from the series of the same name, Gabriel Belthir's Evie Johns from Lily of the Wastelands, all the heroes from the Men of Valor series by Kiru Taye, Vance and Victor from the Cirque Caprice series by Julia Talbot. The list could go on.

Tell me what inspired this story.
Though St. Augustine's Silhouettes is short, there was a lot I wanted to do with it. Like most of my stories, the main characters developed first. I wanted to write about two outcasts who find each other. I also wanted people to question whether the hero could be trusted. The story is definitely a romance, but it has elements of horror and suspense as well.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
The mountains. I love the mountains. Luckily I don't live far from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so it doesn't take long for me to drive there for inspiration.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 
Definitely! I love to connect with readers. Links to my social network pages and blogs can be found at my website For those who enjoy characters with a dark side, my Compelling Beasts Blog is dedicated to antiheroes, antagonists and paranormal creatures who are traditionally considered the "bad guys." Please stop by to say hello at
St. Augustine's Silhouettes
by Kate Hill
Historical, Paranormal, Thriller
A killer runs loose in a small American town. When free-spirited Katherine allies herself with a man dubbed Satan by the townsfolk, has she found the man of her dreams or has she fallen into the hands of a murderer?

Purchase Links and Excerpt:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cooking Up Some Magic-Update

I've interviewed many authors from young mothers to empty-nesters and having time to write is always a challenge. In fact having time for one's passions is a struggle for just about everyone including crafters, gym rats, joggers, sports fans, pet parents, readers and gardeners.

Just in time for holiday shopping, We'd Rather Be Writing, is now available in print as well as an e-book. 88 authors share their favorite time saving dinner recipes and other tips. Edited by USA Today Bestselling Author, Lois Winston, the contributors range from debut authors to authors with an established writing careers and I'm thrilled to be part of a very talented group. Best of all a portion of the proceeds go to No Kid Hungry.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Author Interview-Rebecca Grace

Blues at 11:

Kimberly Delagarza is a familiar face in Los Angeles as she can be seen nightly on the evening news. She drives a fancy car, lives in a house on the beach and wears designer clothes. But the TV anchorwoman has been accused of murder No one believes she didn’t kill her louse of an ex-boyfriend after he dumped her. Her next picture may be on a wanted poster, and her home may be The Big House and she may soon be wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.

Can Kimberly catch a cagey killer who will stop at nothing to bring her down?

What inspired you to become a writer?
I am not certain what inspired me.  I always just felt like I HAD to write. From the time I was young I was making up stories and as I got older they seemed to keep focusing on romance or adventure. I was a voracious reader so I think if anything inspired me it was reading those books and wanting to make up my own stories.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
I absolutely love Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) and Scarlet O’Hara (Gone with The Wind) for different reasons. I liked Lizzie’s wit and Scarlet’s nerve and I like both their spirits.  They both wanted a man in their lives but they weren’t going to settle for just any man and if that meant staying without one, that was okay.

Tell me what inspired this story.
My latest book, Blues at 11, which is a mystery with romantic elements was inspired by a conversation with a good friend after I broke up with a boyfriend. We were having fun planning ways to kill him and disposing of the body when someone who had overheard us jokingly mentioned he would keep our guilty secret if the ex-boyfriend turned up dead.  Add to that the fact that I was working at a news station in Los Angeles and constantly seeing the media attention given to so many celebrities during murder investigations and trials… well, I just had to write a story that combined it all.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
My favorite, favorite, favorite location is Vancouver, British Columbia.  I lived in the Northwest for several years and constantly go back to Vancouver every chance I get. I set my first romantic suspense (Deadly Messages) in Vancouver and then set my novella, Shadows from the Past, on a fictional island in the Northwest.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

I’ve always gotten my ideas from situations around me or events that I can weave into a fictional story. For instance, in addition to writing and reading romance, I have always been a major sports fan, especially baseball.  One of my first romances, Love on Deck, focused on a female radio announcer who was covering baseball games. I got the background for that while working as a sports producer, back in the days when there just weren’t many women allowed on the field for any sport. I am so pleased to see how all that has changed. 


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Classic Horror Movie Review- Dead Men Walk

“You creatures of the light how can you say with any certainty what dwells in the oceans of the night.”  Eerie declaration by disembodied head in the fire during opening credits.

Kindly Dr. Lloyd Clayton (George Zucco) has secretly murdered his evil twin brother, Elwyn Clayton (also played by George Zucco) to protect the town from Elwyn’s sorcery.  Unfortunately, Elwyn is more of a master of the dark arts than his brother anticipated. Elwyn returns from the dead intent on revenge by enslaving their niece, Gayle (Mary Carlisle) for eternity.

This movie has some interesting similarities to a latter vampire flick, Black Sunday which also opens with the murder of a sibling. Asa is executed by her own brother for witchcraft. Both movies have the lead playing dual roles of hero/vampire.  In "Black Sunday" Barbara Steele portrayed wicked Asa and her innocent descendent Katia.  While both movie villains faithfully follow the vampire genre (coffin dwelling and craving for human blood) you won’t see even the hint of a fang in either movie.

Fun facts:
This 64 minute black & white film was shot in 6 days.
George Zucco served in the British army during World War I
“Dead Men Walk” was Mary Carlisle’s last film. She retired from movies shortly after getting married.

Aren’t movies better with sweet treats? An almond Hersey chocolate bar always tastes better in a darkened theater. Here’s your chance for a Halloween treat. Leave a comment with your favorite fright flick, email address to be entered into a drawing to win either a copy of Hot Flash (spicy) or Package Deal (sweet). Be sure to note whether you prefer spicy or sweet in your comments along with your email address. Drawing will close October 31, 2015 at 8:00PM PST.

Have a wonderful Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On the Road Again

One of the things I loved best about taking my kids trick or treating is going to the neighbors' houses and getting a peek inside--some had a full view of the living room with a warm fire in the hearth, others offered only a glimpse of an antique coat rack or winding staircase.

Today I'm chatting about Package Deal at Rebecca Grace's blog with a hint about the next title in the Rhythm & Romance series. I love visiting authors' on-line homes (without the dark, chilly walk).
I'm happy to report Rebecca will be a guest on my blog on November 7th.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Author Interview-Casi McLean

Note from Mariposa, The original post had to be deleted and re-posted due to formatting problems. Personally I think gremlins are to blame.  Special thanks to Casi for her patience with the technical difficulties.

A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta's famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to
a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery's car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy, black water, she awakens in the arms of a handsome stranger, in a place she’s never heard of––
34 years before she was born.
When the 2012 lawyer tangles with the 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire.
Bobby Reynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes. Learning the truth about her origins does nothing to stop the passion from taking root in his heart, and leaves him torn between finding a way to help Lacey return to 2012 or convincing her stay with him.
The desperation to find her way home dissolves as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the Earth, and the man who vows to protect it. Will the couple discover the key to a mysterious portal before time rips them apart? Or will their star-crossed spirits wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake?
#TimeTravel, #RomanticSuspense

What inspired you to become a writer?
Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
Writing has always been a part of me as significant as my heart and soul. My mother said I was born to write. I dictated stories to her before I knew the alphabet. Forth grade had me mesmerized with Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle In Time and I fell in love with time travel.
My first publication, The Apron String Captain, was written at age nine, and during high school, I was an editor of my high school literary magazine. As a young adult my interests shifted to include romance when Jude Deveraux's Knight In Shining Armor introduced me to her hero, Nick, and the Montgomery family captured my heart. I taught creative writing, English, and drama from many years before my children took center stage.
Tell me what inspired this story.
A town that time forgot––the eerie lore attached to a rural area that sleeps beneath Atlanta’s famous man-made lake, Sidney Lanier, fascinated me. Homes, churches and businesses still linger beneath the surface.
And Looper Speedway, a half-mile dirt track where bootleggers competed with their souped-up cars, bared its cement stands in a recent draught. The moonshiners of the 1940’s added built-in suspense, not to mention the birth of NASCAR.
There’s a Lady of the Lake who haunts the ghost town too––the lore is creepy. Swimmers get trapped among the deadfall of sheered-off trees and town remains until they join her in her watery grave. Even expert divers get tangled beneath the murky surface, hence the lake’s unnerving label: Lanier never gives up its dead. The inspiration haunted me, begging for a story to be told.
What a perfect setting for my romantic time-slip suspense series.
What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
Without a doubt, water inspires my romantic creativity. Beaches, waterfalls, remote islands all inspire a trip to paradise. As far as cities or countries, wherever my mind wanders conjures endless fodder.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Beneath The Lake's heroine, Lacey Madison Montgomery, evolved as an unacknowledged descendant of Jude Deveraux's endearing Montgomery family. I hope the character lives up to her inspiration.
Please take a moment to watch my trailer.
My other books include the award winning Destiny Series, five novelette with a twist endings, and Wingless Butterfly, a memoir sparked by discovering a maze of secrets in my past. For more information, please visit my Amazon Author Page.

Amazon Author Page: Casi McLean
Wild Rose Press Buy Link: TWRP Casi McLean
Twitter: @casimclean
FB Author Page: Casi McLean-Author

Goodreads: Casi McLean

Author Interview-Casi McLean-Please see next post

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cooking Up Some Magic

As much as I love to cook, I hate trying to figure out what's for dinner. That's why I'm thrilled to be one of the 88 authors featured in We'd Rather Be Writing, a compilation of recipes and writing tips.

Both the recipes and tips are designed to give you more time to pursue your passion (like finishing your current WIP!) If you pre-order, your copy will be waiting for you on your Kindle by October 30th just in time to stock up on some quick dinner recipes before the holiday rush.

I haven't yet heard when the paperback version will be available, but will keep you posted.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Author Interview-Isla Grey

What inspired you to become a writer?
You know, I don’t remember a particular event.  I remember writing as a young girl so I guess it’s always been in my blood.  Of course, when I was smaller, it was mainly writing some pretty bad poems for my grandmother.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
I love old school romance.  Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester from “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte come to mind as well as the main character from “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier.  Oh, there’s also Allie and Duke from “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks.

Tell me what inspired this story.
The idea for Asylum Harbor came from a family vacation to the beach where we visited Shell Island.  Yes, this place actually exists but no one lives there.  Vacationers like to visit during low tide to grab seashells and sand dollars.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?
The beach is one of my favorites.  Definitely Williamsburg, VA—the colonial section.  I love walking Duke of Gloucester during sunset.  (Any later and you pass the ghost tours!)
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I hope everyone enjoys reading about Devon, Kerr and Shell Island!

Trouble is the last thing Devon Brown needs when she leaves the painful memories of her past behind and heads to Shell Island.  As the Salty Dog’s new bartender, she finds herself drawn to Kerr, the Shell Island harbormaster.  But finding her happily-ever-after is difficult when dealing with an obnoxious bootlegger who supplies the bar with illegal liquor and a jealous coworker.
A standoffish loner with damaged emotions, Kerr avoids relationships like the plague.  Things change when Devon catches his eye.  When a simple flirtation grows serious, the coworker and bootlegger quickly become obstacles to any future Kerr and Devon may have together.  As the situation worsens, Devon realizes that even the still waters of Asylum Harbor are no refuge during a storm.

You can connect with Isla at:

Buy Links

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hanging Out At the Haunted Diner

Legend has it that if you stare into a mirror at midnight on Halloween, you will see your future spouse. I love all the legends and lore surrounding Halloween.

While I can't say whether you'll see your future husband in a midnight mirror, I can tell you'll see some great authors at Kate Hill's blog (including yours truly!)  Her haunted diner is to die for!!
And be sure to stop by on November 21st when she'll be a guest here.

Happy Haunting!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Author Interview-Vicki Batman

What inspired you to become a writer?
After my son was born, Handsome and I were shopping in a Half Price bookstore and I told him I was looking for Dick Francis mysteries. He asked why I liked them so, and I blurted out, “Because I wish I could write like him.” But I didn’t try to write for a long time. A friend prompted me to do so. My mind had really expanded in writing and I love it!

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
I’ve always been drawn to curious heroines, particularly those in mysteries. I cut my teeth on Nancy and Trixie. Oh how I wanted to be them and have their adventures. As a teenager, my mom lent me her Emilie Loring romances. The women where strong and looked for someone to match them. They were willing to try new things and go new places. Eventually, I discovered stories by Mary Stewart who weaved intriguing suspense into her romances.

Tell me what inspired this story. (see question 1) My friend suggested writing the opening paragraph of a book using the word window. I had nothing and she let me off the hook, saying to go home and email something in a few days. I did. Like eight chapters.
Not long before the prompt, I’d received a ticket and since my car was old, the windows rolled down. And that is what kicked off my story.
What is one of your favorite romantic locales? You know, romance isn’t about locale for me. It’s about who I’m with and that’s Handsome. If we can laugh and share and say silly giggly stuff or chat about what’s important, I’m good.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Here’s a bit from my romantic comedy mystery, Temporarily Employed:
No frisking and no arrests were--so far, in my book--a good thing. As Sarah Anne’s older brother, I found it easy to eliminate him from the stalker, murderer, and rapist categories. The something in the truck line sounded similar to approaches used in past dating experiences. For instance:
“Want to come up and look at my etchings?”
Translated: A roll in the hay.
Or the ever popular “Would you like to meet Mr. Lizard?”
Translated: Mr. Wiggly Worm.
“How about coming to my place for a drink?”
Translated: To ply me with multiple drinks and the requisite roll in the hay.
I hadn’t fallen for those then and wasn’t going to be a sucker now.
He stuck his hands on his hip and said, “I know what you’re thinking. I’m not a stalker, murderer, or rapist." 
Apparently, he could read minds.
"Just a minute." I closed the door partially to release the chain, then opened it. “Why can’t you just tell me whatever it is?”
“No. I want to show you---”
“Not a Picasso?” I asked.
“Not an iguana?”
A perplexed expression crossed his face. “A what?”
“Not your pet worm?”
“What pet worm?”

        “Look, I don’t know what you’re thinking. The only worms I know about are for fishing.”

Find Vicki Batman at:
Find Temporarily Employed at: Amazon

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mr. Craven's Neighborhood

"You go down the stairs to find these characters. It's not a place anyone can go, and sometimes it's not a place you want to go." Wes Craven

A career that started with Last House on the Left (1972) led horror fans through the dark neighborhoods of the soul.  33 titles as a writer, 28 titles as a director and 44 titles as a producer.
All I can say is "Thanks for a memorable and terrifying journey."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dancing the Day Away

One was the surprise hit of the 80's which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the other featured Richard Gere in an American remake of a popular Japanese film. Today I'm chatting about two of my favorite dance films at  Isla's Grey's blog:  isla's inklings

In case you're wondering, the song was "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" which also won a Golden Globe and a Grammy for Best Duet.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday Shifters-Author Interview-J.C. McKenzie

the Shucker's Booktique
After her fiancé dumps her and her beloved Aunt Jenny goes missing, Willa Eklund travels to Lobster Cove with a broken heart to search for Jenny while running her bookstore. When a mysterious man visits the Shucker'sBooktique on a stormy night drenched in rain and covered in mud, Willa's heart melts under his stormy gaze. She wants Lon and the answers he may have, but he also has a secret. Can Willa trust him?

Lon Devlin is a Tempest, a water sprite who can only take a human form during stormy nights. He rides the waves, lives by the tides, and nothing can hold him down, not even a beautiful woman. When he visits his mortal friend, he discovers she's missing and her intriguing niece has taken her place. He wants Willa, but he also wants answers. What happened to Jenny?

What inspired you to become a writer?
My mother and fellow author, Jo-Ann Carson, always encouraged me to write. I grew up in a very remote island off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, and without a lot of the services often found in larger municipalities, I made up a lot of my own games and stories.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
I have too many book boyfriends to pick just one or even a few.

Tell me what inspired this story.
The Wild Rose Press announced a special project, and their description of the fictional town, Lobster Cove, Maine, sent my imagination into overdrive. Almost immediately, I envisioned Lon and Willa and the story wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?

Anywhere near the ocean. I especially love the sandstone cliffs overlooking the ocean in the Strait of Georgia.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?  

Buy Links:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Here's Looking at You-The Beast with a Million Eyes

The Beast with Million Eyes (1955)

"...because it will seem like I see your most secret acts, you will know me as the beast with a million eyes."  Alien

 If you watch this flick expecting to see a multi-eyed creature you will be sorely disappointed. Yes, I know the movie poster and opening credit art hint at such a creature. The actual “beast” is an alien with the power to control animals (and eventually humans) to do its bidding.  The alien’s vision is expanded through the creatures it controls.  When the alien’s ship lands outside a remote date farm, the Kelley family is forced to get a grip on their various issues in order to fight the alien threat.

The premise is promising but falls short in delivery.  While an all encompassing animal attack on humanity could be terrifying as in Hitchcock’s The Birds  or James Patterson’s Zoo  most of the attacks in this flick seem more silly than scary.  Maybe it is because a flock of churlish chickens or a single rampaging cow is not as threatening as a pack of wild dogs or an angry bear.  Even when Kelley family is aware their critters are on the warpath, the mother proceeds with daughter Sandy’s birthday party as though all animal life is not intent on killing them.  After all nothing stops escalating insanity and violence like birthday cake and a pretty party dress.  

Even though the film seems more like a family drama with creepy accouterments (like the mute lurking handy man) than a creature feature it is still worth a watch.  If nothing else, it is comforting to know that even a dysfunctional family can rally to defeat an alien with apparently superior intelligence.

Fast facts:
Filming took place in Indio and O’Rourke’s Date Ranch at Coachella Valley California.

Budget was approximately $30,000.

Most of the music featured in the film was public domain music cues from Richard Wagner, Dimitri Shostakovich, Giuseppe Verdi and others.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Some Like It Hot

In celebration of the publication of Hot Flash, the production team shares their favorite hot stuff. These multi-talented ladies worked with me on “Package Deal” and I’m thrilled to work with them again.

Stevie DeInk-Formatting
In addition to formatting, Stevie also does graphic design. My Vampire Wedding is one of her recent covers.

If you're looking for a hot vacation spot, definitely check out Hawaii. Sand and sun are in no short supply. You can tour, take helicopter rides, attend luaus, and also check out your island of choice's array of restaurants. Not to mention the endless stretches of beach that you can lounge about on if you so choose. (And don't forget the swimming!) But be aware of the wind- it gets a bit wild at times.

Besides doing cover design Harris is also a romance author.

Hot....a sunny summer day.  Hot...a steaming plate of food.  Hot...a beautiful person.  Hot...a raging fire...
So much hot, so little time. 

But what's my favorite definition?
Hmmm, not so easy...I'd have to say my favorite hot is when my husband comes home from work with flowers for me.  Or when I rest my head on his chest and listen to his heartbeat.  Or the warm blush that touches my cheek when he tells me how much he still loves me...

We have been married for twenty years now and I'd have to say our hot love affair is my very favorite form of hot.  I suppose that's why I've chosen to write romance with happily ever after because to me there's nothing hotter than true love and devotion....

Marian also writes romance as Colleen Ladd. Her next release, “The Duke’s Despair” is due out in June 2015.

I’ve never found conventionally attractive men hot. Buff bodies, yes – broad shoulders and chests, muscled arms and legs, yes indeed. Or leave aside the visible muscles, but keep the power – strength enough to save someone by main force if necessary, but also strength in personality. Beautiful, strong bodies and spirits are incredibly attractive, incredibly hot. But pretty-boy faces are just that – boys. Give me the rugged man, the lived-in face, the eyes that have seen things. Give me scruff and a strong, square face lined with character. And with that lived-in face, give me a lived-in soul. A man who hasn’t always made the right choices, perhaps one who hasn’t always been certain what the right choices are. A hero who does good because he is good is… boring, just as a conventionally handsome face is rather boring. A conflicted hero, or even an anti-hero, who does good despite not being good… now you’ve got it. You’ve set the bar higher and made his protection of someone else, his care and concern and love, mean far more than it would if it was done simply because it was the right thing. Now he’s someone to find interesting, to find very (very) hot.

Mariposa Cruz-Author
Whether it’s a stroll on the sands of Barbados or a cruise along the Ná Pali coast, the sarong is my go-to-garment when temperatures rise.  With a simple twist, a sarong can transform you from sopping wet to smokin’ hot.

Unlike more complicated lingerie with hooks and underwires, the sarong is easy to slip into (and out of). Sarongs are favored by my lady shifter characters. Check out Roar and you’ll see why.

One of the rare women’s garments that truly “one-size-fits all”, the sarong provides the flow of a dress without the fuss. I’d rather be barefoot in a sarong instead of skirt and stilettos any day. Isn’t a woman most sexy when she’s at ease?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Of Wynn & Romance

“The heart of the romantic literary tradition is providing audiences with a world that is better than what is real—an idyllic world.”  Steve Wynn

Recently, I had the good fortune to spend the night at one of Mr. Wynn’s resorts and I have to say the man knows a thing or two about idyllic settings.  The lobby of Wynn Las Vegas is a floral wonderland of whimsy.  Starting the morning with apricot brioche French toast in a sunlit atrium surrounded by lush turrets of fruit and succulents sure beats the usual cold cereal routine.  And yes, there was an impressive array of dry cereals available for those who can’t bear to be parted from their breakfast bran.
The Buffet  at Wynn Las Vegas

And while I thoroughly enjoyed the lush surroundings, I disagree with
Wynn’s view of romantic literature.  Don’t get me wrong I like a good flight of fancy as much as the next girl. But the romances that have most stirred my heart were grounded in reality. Even Cinderella went from rags to riches. Would her story have been as beloved if she simply “traded up”?

Maybe a true romantic is someone who believes a happy ending can reached by anyone who is willing to put in the hard work to get there.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Classic Horror Movie Review-Black Sunday

The movie opens in Moldavia 1630 with the brutal execution of Asa (Barbara Steele) and her lover for witchcraft and vampirism by her own brother.  Prior to her demise, Asa places a curse on the Vajda family and all future generations.  200 years later, a doctor and his protégé happen upon the crypt.  Through a series of misfortunes (including a run-in with a giant bat), the good doctor happens to awaken Asa who summons her lover and proceeds to wreak havoc on her brother’s descendants. Asa relentlessly stalks the lovely, Katia (also played by Barbara Steele) in hopes of draining her blood and gaining immortality.

Considered exceptionally violent for its time, the film was banned in the UK until 1968. Even after so many years the film retains its chilling atmosphere and is worth watching. Filmed in central Italy, this  1960 movie has all the elements of a classic black and white vampire movie looming shadows and an eerie castle.

Notable Quotes

“You mustn’t be afraid of the dead, they sleep very soundly,” Says the doctor to his assistant shortly before awakening the vampire.

“My kiss will transform you.”  Asa—Notice that vampires can get away with lines that just sound plain lame when uttered by mere mortals.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Making the Most of Writers' Conferences

Writers' conferences can be an excellent opportunity to network and learn about the business of writing. But in order to get the most out of any conference, you must define your primary goal. Yes it has to be more specific than "be a successful writer". Think about what you are trying to accomplish and who can help you toward that goal.

Study the panel biographies and develop a short list of relevant questions. Keep your questions brief. While a panel member may have a wealth of industry knowledge, she does not have the time to tell you everything she knows about the business.

On the other hand don't be so focused on your mission that you lose sight of potential opportunities. Even if you are intent on the traditional publishing route, it might not hurt to strike up a conversation with an indie romance author who happens to be on the USA Today's best seller list.

On Saturday, April 18, 2015 the Truckee Meadows Community College Writers' Conference provides a great opportunity for Reno area writers to network. Now in its 25th year, the TMCC Writer's Conference continues to host an impressive line-up of authors and literary agents, at a cost that is easy on the budget as well the schedule (1 day). If you live within driving distance of Reno it is well worth the road trip. I have attended in the past and have always come home inspired and enlightened.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Author Interview-Lynda Coker

What inspired you to become a writer?
I've always been a hopeless daydreamer with multiple scenarios bouncing around in my head. But I never equated that with being a writer until I read an interview where the writer said that she decided one day to turn her daydreaming into a book.  Well, duh! That seemed like a fun thing to do, and if you knew me well, you'd know I usually leap before I look. Before I knew it, I was chin deep into a writer's world.

Who are your favorite romance characters (besides your own?)
Usually the characters in the last book I've read are my favorites. They're fresh on my mind and still linger in my heart and imagination, so they get first place until I read another great romance.

Tell me what inspired this story. 
Men who are born leaders and commander have their own unique attraction, however, not every woman finds that quality endearing, especially in the beginning. So I thought it would be fun to see how one reacts when faced with a woman that just isn't into the alpha male persona. Stormee and Dirk have that type of beginning in STORMEE WATERS.

What is one of your favorite romantic locales?

Anywhere near water. I love the ambiance associated with breaking waves, ocean sunsets, etc. The view, smell, sound, along with water's eternal mystery, all come together to make those locales full of romance.