Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

In 1915, American Author Edgar Lee Masters published Spoon River Anthology, a collection of monologues in free verse. The voices of the dead speak about the lives they lived, sometimes tragic,sometimes triumphant. In death, they speak of themselves as they perceive themselves to be. The reader interprets and, inevitably, judges.

Two hundred forty-five former residents of the mythical Spoon River share with us the mistakes they made, the lessons they learned, the secrets they took with them, and more often than not, their opinions of each other. The interplay between family members, colleagues, friends, enemies, and strangers weaves a spell of wonder and wanting to know more.

In the pages of of this small volume, we get to know

Hod Putt, Indian trader
Ollie McGee, abused wife
Amanda Barker, dead in childbirth
Chase Henry, town drunkard
the troubled Pantier family,
Emily Sparks, schoolteacher
the Town Marshall
the Circuit Judge
Blind Jack, the fiddler
the unsung author
John Hancock Otis, politician
Ida Frickey, who married wealth
Father Malloy, the priest
Godwin James, a casualty of the Spanish-American War
The Village Atheist
and so many more

My favorite is Lucinda Matlock, because she introduced me to Spoon River when I read her monologue in my American literature book as a junior in high school. Lucinda, the young woman who met her lifetime lover
driving home from an entertainment on a moonlit June evening. Married for seventy years, she buried Davis, her husband, and eight of her dozen children.

At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you---
It takes life to love Life.

Born in Kansas, the author grew up in Petersburg and Lewiston, Illinois.He took the names for his fictional citizens of Spoon River from the gravestones in the Lewiston Cemetery.  He practiced law in Chicago, but in 1921 he turned to writing full-time. He is buried in the same cemetery that was his inspiration for Spoon River Anthology.

If you've ever walked through an old cemetery, either for research purposes or out of curiosity, you've surely wondered about the people to whom the names inscribed on the tombstones belong. Here's your chance to find out--and perhaps to see yourself in some of their words.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banned Book Week

A sticky topic, censorship, which is essentially what banning a book means. I'm of two minds about the subject: (1) I think some books are inappropriate for classroom teaching and (2) No book should be jerked from a library, school or public, because a few people complain. To offer further explanation, I was appalled at some of the books one of my sons was required to read in high school. Now, believing that education begins at home, I knew he wasn't reading about any topic that we hadn't discussed, at least nominally if not fully. Still, I felt that there were other books with more literary value--if, indeed, the purpose of English/American literature was to teach that subject.

I was further appalled when he told me that there was no class discussion, only independent reading and paperwork (worksheets, tests,etc.) I began to wonder why the books were chosen, and I'm still not sure. But, being a teacher myself, I didn't charge up to the school and voice my distaste for certain books.

Let's face it--"classic" authors dealt with the same weighty subjects.There's nothing new under the sun! The Scarlet Letter comes to mind. Did Hawthorne present his topic as graphically as authors do today? No. Still, it was all out there.

I believe that the classic books which have been discarded in favor of the newer ones are still valuable. My son hated Great Expectations and loved Jane Eyre. He'll never forget To Kill a Mockingbird, a book that I understand is banned in some places.I love Joseph Conrad--and I've seen some of his books on the "banned/challenged" lists, too. We may as well ban life if we can't write about it!

The point is, there's age-appropriate, and there's appropriate in general, and I think everybody needs to use some common sense. I also think that parents have abdicated their parental oversight, so their outrage isn't necesarily justified. Carelessly-chosen books in the classroom are asking for trouble. That's not to say these same books shouldn't be available for independent reading.

Do I support common decency in the arts? Absolutely. I can close a book, walk out of a theatre, or choose not to go to an exhibit. I abhor the idea of pornography. But there have to be standards of decency. The line must be drawn somewhere--consistently. Rational discussion, not political correctness, must govern our decisions.

I watched the television series The Waltons faithfully. One of the most moving episodes took place either just before or at the beginning of World War II. The local minister, in his misguided attempt to speak out against the evil of Nazism, organizes a community book burning of German-language books. Horrified, John-Boy points out to the minister that his actions are no better than those of Hitler, who also supported burning books.

He snatches a volume from the bonfire before it is consumed and hands it to one of his neighbors, a woman of German ancestry who is fluent in the language. Reluctantly, she opens the book and begins to read.

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth...

The scene brought me to tears. In it is a lesson for us all.

Please follow this link to another blog on this topic by Margo Dill. It's a worthwhile read.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, English Tea Rose Author, Donna Hatch

The English Tea Rose is a line for historical stories set in Great Britain. There you will find Medieval knights, Scottish highlanders, and Regency lords; everything a girl needs to sweep her off her feet. I love this line because I write Regencies. The Regency Era was a short, yet pivotal time line from 1811 to 1820 when King George III of England was officially declared insane and his son, the Prince of Wales, became Regent. People often think of the Jane Austen books when they think of Regencies, even though most of her books were slightly earlier.

I love the Regency Era because it was a completely different world. Men were civilized and cultured, educated in dance, art and literature, and yet engaged in manly pursuits like hunting, fencing and the steeplechase. I love to imagine myself in the glittering world of dukes and duchesses, libertines and lovers. There, I can wear beautiful gowns, waltz with a viscount, outwit a killer, and fall in love.

I have a full length Regency Romance entitled The Stranger She Married, and a novella called Troubled Hearts. I have a third title, a sequel to The Stranger She Married which is coming out June 2010. The new book is called The Guise of a Gentleman. You may find my Regency Romance Novels at the Wild Rose Press under "Historical" and "English Tea Rose."

My advice to aspiring authors: Be persistent and work really hard to continue to develop your craft. Great artists – whether they be painters, dancers, musicians, or authors – must spend countless hours learning and practicing. Also, swallow your pride and accept constructive criticism. If you reject all the advice you ask for, people will not want to help you and you’ll never improve. My final piece of advice; keep working at it and don’t give up. Lots of people want to be writers, but most don’t have the determination to ride through the rough times or continue their education.

My current work, The Stranger She Married is a sweet, yet sensual Regency romance with adventure, intrigue, a love triangle, and a terrible secret. Torn between a disfigured war hero with the heart of a poet, and a handsome libertine who may not be all he seems, impoverished Alicia must marry by the end of the month. Despite a murder threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all … to her heart.

Order the paperback on Amazon or order the ebook on line at Look for The Stranger She Married under the category “Historical.”

Please visit my blog at Follow me, make a comment on one of my posts, then send me an email at with the subject line: TWRP blog. In the body of the email say something like: “I’m following you, now send me a free short story.” And I will!

Visit my website at

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Visit with English Tea Rose author Donna Hatch tomorrow at The Word Place.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Release Dates and A Few Others

Where Is Papa's Shining Star? will be released by The Wild Rose Press on July 9, 2010.

Finding Papa's Shining Star will follow on August 13, 2010.

I've signed on to participate in October Obsession, a writing group project similiar to National Novel Writing Month. I don't have all the details yet, but it appears that we set individual goals and then support each other in achieving them. Since I can continue with my work-in-progress, The Showboat Affair, I decided to give it a try. (For inspiration, I purchased this picture of my characters "Nick and Jean" from Fotolia where I get the pictures for my book trailers.)

 October 8-10 is the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This will be my first writing conference, and I'm looking forward to it. The keynote speakers and those leading the break-out sessions appear to have a wealth of information to share, so I plan to come home a lot savvier about writing in general!

I'm taking a one-sheet to the conference "just in case" since I really want to find a home for Four Summer Days. I really haven't done much to try to find a publisher. It's an odd combination of genres, and while the feedback from those who have read it has been really positive, I've drug my feet. Here is the picture (also purchased from Fotolia) that I've used on the one-sheet. When I saw it, it was exactly the way I'd pictured the old Pope homeplace in my mind!

November 1 kicks off the annual NaNoWriMo event. The goal is 50,000 words of a brand-new novel during the month of November. If a returning participant has achieved that goal the previous year, he/she may continue writing on something already begun, but the 50K goal for the month of November stands. I'm hoping to finish Showboat during October, so I'm not sure what I plan for November. Last year I did Dancing with Velvet, then rewrote it later, but it is still awaiting more rewriting before it's anywhere close to fit for submission! (The house elf--who else?--designed the cover for this one!)

It occurs to me that the pending western novel might be a good thing to work on in November. During my trip to Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle last May, I didn't find the ranch where my grandmother spent a year teaching in a one-room school, but I came home with a lot of information about those  schools. I have other research notes, too, and I wrote the first chapter as a stand-alone story for the LSS forum, so perhaps I can pull together a rough draft in November. 

It's going to be a busy fall season. I like busy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Climbing Rose Author, Denise Gwen

Hello, sister roses!  It’s great to be guest-blogging with JN this week.  My YA novel, House of Wacks, was released on August 14, 2009.  A good friend of mine who owns a coffee shop where I like to go and write (while sipping lattes), hosted my first book-signing on the release day.  And on Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, September 5, I attended my second booksigning, at The Green Bean, a coffee shop in Bloomington, Indiana.  Holding the second book-signing at The Green Bean was of great significance for me, as the owner of The Green Bean, Caroline Clay, is the owner and a friend.  She is also the sister of a friend I made in Cincinnati, and when I learned that my friend had a sister in Bloomington, I got to know Caroline.  I grew up in Bloomington, and set House of Wacks in Bloomington, Indiana.  The booksigning was very well attended and a lot of my mother’s friends came to the booksigning to lend their support.
 I’ve been writing for years, and I made my very first book sale in 2007, with a release date of October 1, 2007.  My first book was an erotica entitled Fantasy Daze, and is sold by Liquid Silver Books.  So getting a contract with The Wild Rose Press for a real, live book was a thrill.  My third book, also an erotica, entitled Rose Red and Black Bear, will be released on October 1, 2009, by Red Sage Publishing.  My erotica pen-name is Gwen Williams; my YA and adult romance pen-name is Denise Gwen.  I’m presenting in edits right now with my editor Tori Spence, for Judge Not, an adult romance that will probably be released sometime in 2010.

Little did Jordan Meadows realize, when Dad insisted she get a job, it would turn out to be such an amazing summer! Who would have guessed that all her eyebrow, bikini, and leg waxes at Tranquility Spa would pay off as job experience? Working behind the scenes on the set of House of Wax IX: Return of the Revengenator, she becomes the go-to girl for paraffin wax. Then she meets Keith Charles, a band nerd from her high school. Between draping his freckled arms with wax and making sure he looks extra clotty, she’s stunned to find herself falling in love with someone outside her own clique. As filming and the summer draw to a close, she’s a changed girl, for sure. She's made friends with people she never would have associated with at North High School, but what about her friends, the awesome foursome? Should she break up with Keith, since he’s not a member of her exclusive, inner circle? Or is it time to branch out and make new friends?

Denise Gwen
House of Wacks, a Climbing Rose Young Adult Novel, coming on August 14, 2009!
Judge Not, an American Rosette Novel
visit my website at
visit me at myspace at

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Join Climbing Rose author Denise Barone tomorrow here at The Word place. 


Wednesday Book Review

The Nazi Hunter, Alan Elsner's debut novel (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2007) kept me riveted from the time I opened the 321 page thriller until I--reluctantly--closed it. 

Set in Washington, D.C., the book chronicles the work of a (fictional) Office of Special Investigations employee, Mark Cain (born Marek Cohen) as he relentlessly pursues information that will connect well-known vocal artist Roberto Delatrucha to a dark Nazi past.

Complicating the effort is the fact that Delatrucha is scheduled to receive a Presidential award, a connection that could have political consequences for the current administration if he is revealed as a brutal killer after the presentation.  

Meanwhile, a lunatic neo-Nazi fringe is planning a strike against a government building--but when and where--and is it part of a plot to conceal Delatrucha's true identity? Someone wants to make sure it isn't revealed, and now Mark Cain may pay a price for his zeal.

Romance isn't ignored, because on a personal level, Mark finds himself falling in love with his assistant Lynn. Both of them are Jewish, but Mark is orthodox--and Lynn isn't sure she can follow the rules.

Well-researched history into the concentration camps that sprang up over Europe in the 1930s and 1940s gives the reader a glimpse of the individuals who made up the six million who went to their deaths during that dark period. Not only did Mark's grandparents perish at Belzec in Poland, but so did a gifted young violinist, Rachel Levitas. And it is Rachel whose resurrected memory may bring about long-overdue justice for her killer.

I can only hope that Mr. Elsnor is working on another novel. I won't be able to get my hands on it fast enough.

Alan Elsner was chief political correspondent for Reuters before he became a Knight International Journalism Fellow.

Also by this author:  Guarded by Angels: How My Father and Uncle Survived Hitler and Cheated Stalin and Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America's Prisons

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Crimson Rose Author Cara Marsi


     Did you ever have one of those days? Or a lot of those days? Days when you thought your head would explode at the monotony of your life? You rise at the same time each day, go through the same morning ritual, then it’s onto your job. Maybe you’re a corporate drone and cubicle dweller as I was. Mind-numbing. Boring. 

     Many a morning as I drove to work, I’d fantasize about something extraordinary happening to relieve the boredom of my existence. I don’t mean any earth-shattering event, or anyone’s getting hurt. Just something different. Like I’d come upon a bank robbery in progress and be taken hostage by one of the robbers. Oh, wait, I could get hurt. I didn’t want to escape my cubicle-dwelling world that badly. Maybe the robber is really a sexy undercover FBI agent. That led to other kinds of fantasies I won’t go into. But you get my drift. Escape, romance, danger. Romantic suspense stories have them all, and that’s why I decided to write a romantic suspense.

     My first published book, A CATERED AFFAIR, from Avalon Books, is a traditional reunion romance. I love reunion stories and I wanted to write another one. I also love secret baby stories. I came up with a story that combined the reunion with the secret baby. The heroine is a corporate executive with a sexy new temp assistant. But this assistant is also the father of her teenage son. Only he doesn’t know he has a son. Okay, standard secret baby story, which is fine. But like my cubicle escape fantasies, I wanted something a little bit different, something dark, edgy, and dangerous. 

     Doriana, my heroine in LOGAN’S REDEMPTION from The Wild Rose Press, works long hours and is a single parent. She’s like many women today. But Doriana has secrets that threaten to explode when her past and present collide. Doriana and Logan were teen-age lovers, but Logan ran off before Doriana could tell him she was pregnant. Now, he’s back, working for her as a temporary assistant. To her anguish, she realizes she still loves him. But there are too many unanswered questions. Why did he leave, and why is he back now? Does he know about his son, and will he leave again?
     Logan too has his secrets. Doriana and Logan find their worlds unraveling, their routine lives turned upside down by emotional travails that threaten their hearts, their trust, their very souls. But in a suspense, you need more, much more. I had to up the stakes. Danger. Excitement. Violence.   
     So, I began the “what-ifs.”
     What if someone is sabotaging Doriana’s father’s company, where she’s a vice president? What if Doriana’s son is rebelling, staying out late, hanging out with bad elements, and what if he is asking questions about his father? Now, our heroine has a demanding job, a rebellious son, and worry over her father’s company. And throw into the mix the guy she still loves, the man who abandoned her, who suddenly reappears. But he’s not the guy she once knew. He’s darker, more dangerous. And he’s hiding something.   
     Doriana needed more trouble. Pile it on her, I thought. What if someone is stalking her and wants to kill her? Is it the same person who is threatening her father’s company? And what if Logan is the only person who can help her, and to protect her he has to move in with her and the son he doesn’t know about? What’s our girl to do? The thing I love about writing suspense is I get to heap problems and dangers onto my characters. It’s kind of an outlet for me, too. I can live vicariously through them.
     Doriana may be an ordinary corporate worker, thrust into extraordinary circumstances, but she meets the threats head-on. She’s no damsel in distress waiting for a man to save her. She finds her strength and refuses to show weakness to the person who stalks her. When she’s attacked, she fights back. Like a cornered mother lion, she’ll kill to protect her own.
     I love the twists and turns of a good mystery filled with danger, tension, and romance. The love story is central to anything I write, but suspense allows me to think outside the romance, to conceive of plot devices I hope keep the readers turning the pages. In a romantic suspense, the hero and heroine fight danger to their physical selves and to their emotional selves. This gives depth to the characters and the story.
     Doriana and Logan fight the villain to save their lives. They fight their past to save their future. That’s romantic suspense.

Carolyn Matkowsky/Cara Marsi
Avalon Books/The Wild Rose Press Facebook

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Cara Marsi will be tomorrow's guest blogger here at The Word Place.  Stop by for a visit and read about romantic suspense.  

Friday, September 18, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Champagne Rose Author Nancy Sweetland

 Hello - this is a new experience for me, and thanks, Judy, for inviting me to your blog. I’m a Champagne Rose author of "The Door to Love, a romance set in Door County, Wisconsin, which came out in late July. It’s hard to explain how I felt when I saw those boxes of books dropped off at my front door, but I’m sure many of you have had the same experience. Though I’ve published children’s picture books and an easy-reader before, having this really-for-adults book is giving me a whole different experience.

I actually didn’t aim specifically for the Champagne line, which calls for ‘sensual, fully depicted love scenes.’ That’s just where Wild Rose put my book when they read the manuscript that I pitched to their editor at a romance conference (I had fun with the love scenes, and even more fun with my friends’ reactions to them!).
It’s been interesting placing my book into the stores up in Door County. For those of you not familiar with that area, it’s ‘a little bit of New England set in the Midwest,’ a well-known, romantic getaway that attracts people from all over the country. Very ‘touristy.’ Each small village has its own ambience, and I particularly fell in love with Sister Bay, where my story is set. This book has been a long time coming – I actually began it nearly 25 years ago on vacation when I saw an old abandoned building on the Green Bay shore that I thought would be a perfect place for a sporting good shop. But I kept pushing the idea aside until last year when it kept calling me back until I had to finish it.

I’m not a salesperson, and I dreaded walking into stores and asking them to stock my book. But the managers were great! It seems that tourists are always looking for a book that takes place where they’re visiting, and the stores were open to taking 10 or 15 copies (some on consignment and some bought outright). My first foray into selling was shortly after the book came out in late July, and the stores are now asking for more copies! Whoo-hoo! I wish I had a sequel in the works! (Got to think about that.)

My writing career has been a long one – I got my first rejection at 13 (a very nice personal note from Woman’s Day magazine - I think they sensed I was just a kid. That wouldn’t happen today but it’s a nice memory!) . I’ve been writing ever since and garnered lots more rejections...but that’s the business. I’ve published 7 picture books (2 still in print) and one easy-reader chapter book, (you can find them if you Google me) but this novel is my first adult book, and my first romance. I’ve sold more than 350 short stories, articles, poems and essays for both adults and children. Now I’m concentrating on a mystery novel set in upper Wisconsin (those woods – and the people in them – can be creepy!).

I teach for the Institute of Children’s Literature (have about 90 + correspondence students right now), and that has been a growing experience for me - I’m sure I’ve learned as much from the students as I’ve passed on to them. As you know, it’s much easier to spot what needs fixing in someone else’s work than to pinpoint it in your own.

Any tips I might pass to new writers would probably be what they’ve already heard or read. Sit down and just do it! BIC (butt in chair) makes the difference. If you have talent, great–you’ll produce great writing. But if you have the perseverance and the chutzpah to send it out into the marketplace, even better, because that’s what produces published writing. And that’s what we all want, isn’t it? The best tip I ever got was from a many-times-published elderly poet who said, "Write it, and keep it in the mail. An editor can’t buy what she can’t see."

Something to think about when you have your book in hand: I contacted an upscale restaurant here and we developed a "Girls’ Night Out" - I was there with my books, a jewelry-maker had her wares and a couple of skin product people (Lancome and Claris) were there with their pitches. The restaurant charged $10 for a glass of wine and nice appetizers, and the event ran from 5:30-8:30. I sold over 40 books with only word-of-mouth advertising. So...signings don’t always have to be in bookstores!

I’m working on a website and have now have started a blog  and hope my weekly posts will be interesting to other writers. I plan to concentrate on what’s happening in my writing world from imagining to selling at any given time. There won’t be much about my family (there’s too many of them–12 kids, spouses, grandchildren, dogs, cats and turtles) unless it touches on writing. But you’ll be able to commiserate with me when the writing goes bad and celebrate with me when it’s good - come and visit. I look forward to hearing from you

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Tomorrow's guest blogger at The Word Place is Nancy Sweetland. Interesting stories about her writing career and how she markets her books will encourage every writer, old and new. So come by for a visit, and don't forget to leave a comment! If you've commented on every guest blog thus far, you're still in the running for a $25 gift certificate to TWRP bookstore!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

I Hear America Talking: An Illustrated History of American Words and Phrases by Stuart Berg Flexner (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976) is a different kind of "dictionary" which authors can use to make sure that their characters don't speak in terms that weren't even in use in that time and place.

It's a big book (505 pp with index). If you're looking for a specific term, go to the index first. Otherwise, browse by subject matter such as Cowboys, Goin' Courtin', Jails and Jailbirds, Pretty Girls, The Roaring 20s, and The New Woman. 

Each section gives a brief (or lengthy, as necessary) history of the subject and, occasionally, some pithy comments and related songs. Explanations for words and phrases used in the context of the subject, along with the (approximate) year that the word was first used in that context, make interesting reading and imperative research for writers who want to write with creditibility and realism.

So, if you're curious about such terms as dude, dogie, tenderfoot, bill and coo, spark, spoon, lovey-dovey, calaboose, the pokey, two-time loser, the cat's pajamas, the bee's knees, snake's hips, bachelorettes, and bloomers, you'll find it all here. In addition, there's everything you'd like to know but would never ask about less eloquent language. . .um. . .you get my meaning!

The book is a permanent resource, one that won't stay shelved for long at a time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Welcome to The Word Place, Champagne Rose Author Debra St. John

I love being a rose.

The best writing advice I’ve ever gotten was when a friend and fellow chapter-mate (Thanks Morgan!) recommended I submit to The Wild Rose Press. Wisely, I followed that advice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve been a rose for almost two years now, and for the moment I write exclusively for the Champagne Rose line. Champagne Roses are contemporary romance stories with lots of spice; that is sexual tension, passionate chemistry, and at least one fully consummated love scene. (In layman’s terms, if you’re reading a book from this line, the hero and heroine will definitely be “doing it”! – More than once if you happen to be reading one of mine.) These stories are sexy, emotional, and real, with a guaranteed happily-ever-after. What more could you want?

As a reader I enjoy historical romance as well as contemporary romance, but doing the research and getting the facts right in a historical is a tad intimidating for me, so writing in the here and now is definitely more my cup of tea. In my stories I try to incorporate places I’ve actually been, which helps to add an air of authenticity to the setting. I know exactly what my hero and heroine are seeing, because I’ve seen it, too.

I’ve been very fortunate in my association with TWRP. The first manuscript I submitted to them was contracted within a few months. My debut novel This Time for Always was released in July of 2008. Following that I published “Mistletoe and Folly” in December of 2008 (a short story for their Free Read program).

My latest book, Wild Wedding Weekend will be released May 14, 2010. You can check out the fantastic cover (Another terrific part of TWRP: WONDERFUL cover artists!) and read a blurb on my web-site( Currently I have another manuscript with my editor (the fabulous Kat O’Shea) for consideration. Tentatively titled This Can’t Be Love, it’s a spin-off of Always. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my experience and the way my writing career is developing with The Wild Rose Press.
For all of you aspiring writers out there, the best piece of advice I can offer is to keep writing. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. I highly recommend joining some kind of writing support group. I belong to a local RWA chapter (waving “hi” to my fellow Chicago-Northers) which is fabulous. However, a more informal group may suit your needs better. Find what works for you, but get that support, make those connections, and learn the business. Having a critique partner or group can be very helpful as well, as long as you hook up with other writers who know what they’re doing. Enter contests. Contests are a great way to get feedback on your work, and for finalists, to get your work in front of an editor.

Thanks for visiting, and thanks to Judy and The Word Place for having me and organizing this amazing bunch of authors from The Wild Rose Press! If you leave a comment here today you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a PDF copy of This Time for Always.

To find out if you’re the winner, visit me at on Sunday, September 20. (I’m the official Sunday Blogger at Acme.)

Happy Reading!

Debra St. John Blogging Tomorrow at The Word Place

Champagne Rose author Debra St. John will be guest-blogging at The Word Place on Monday, September 14. Stop by for a most interesting read and a chance to win a pdf copy of her debut novel, This Time for Always. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Welcome to The Word Place, Cactus Rose Author Linda Carroll-Bradd

Hello. So glad you stopped by today to learn about the Cactus Rose line of The Wild Rose Press. Cactus stories are historical westerns set “west of the Mississippi River during the 1800s. They should be filled with colorful characters and plenty of romance. Historical accuracy is important but shouldn't overshadow the romance in the story. Give us adventure, seduction, and a rollicking good time!” (quoted from the website)
I have always loved westerns—something I learned from my dad. On family road trips when an old cemetery appeared, he’d stop and take a few minutes to walk through reading the gravestones. I soaked up his explanations about reading the dates and figuring if influenza or another disease had swept through the town. Or he’d point out how a man or woman’s death closely followed the death of a spouse.

When I started writing, I remembered those conversations and thought of how different women’s positions in society were. The idea for Lone Star Angel came after viewing one of my all-time favorite movies, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. (What woman could resist Robert Redford with his tousled hair and bushy moustache?) The story question became, what life is left for the paramour of an outlaw when he is killed? Back in 1860s Texas —not much. So she turns to the family she deserted when running away with an exciting man seemed like such fun. Plus, in Carnelian Wendell’s mind, the anonymity of a west Texas ranch is an added bonus. Of course, she’s never met anyone like strait-laced, ranch owner Luc Tarrant and the sparks fly.

My other Cactus release is part of the Lawmen and Outlaws anthology—two stories about lawmen and two about outlaws. In Dreams of Gold, Sheriff Quinn Riley is tracking the swindler who bilked Bull City ’s townspeople, including his parents, out of their savings to invest in a gold mine. When Easterner Ciara Morrissey maneuvers a runaway stagecoach into town, she cuts a swath through the community and one solitary man’s heart. Especially when she starts asking about the very man Quinn is tracking.
Other stories released by The Wild Rose Press are in the Sweetheart Rose line: Ten Fantasy Wishes and Only for One Night and in the Faery Rose line: A Legend of Ireland.
Free reads at The Wild Rose Press include One Last Time and Business is Blooming.*
Visit my website:

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Cactus Rose author Linda Carroll-Bradd will be guest-blogging tomorrow, Friday, September 10. Be sure to stop by for a look at western romance.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wednesday Book Review

This is more a PREview than a REview since I just acquired this book at the library today. However, I want to pass on the information as a good resource for writers, so I'll "cheat" a bit and give you a peek at the table of contents.

Malicious Intent by Sean Mactire, subtitled a writer's guide to how murderers, robbers, rapists, and other criminals think, is part of The Howdunit Series made available by Writer's Digest. 

After an introduction entitled "The Face of Evil", the book is divided into fifteen chapters.
  • The History and Hallmarks of Violent Crimes
  • Understanding Human Behavior
  • Profiling the Criminal
  • Crime Fact, Crime Fiction
  • Serial Murder
  • Cult-Related Murder
  • Sexual Predators
  • Child Molesters and Child Murderers
  • Victims
  • The Career Criminal
  • Wise Guys and Hitmen
  • Drug Abusers
  • Terrorists
  • Women Who Kill
  • Psychology in the Courtroom
All of this seems pretty "dark", but it's a fact of life---and of fiction. While some literary license is always permissible, I like to be sure of my information before incorporating it--even lightly--into a story. I didn't go looking for this book, but it jumped out at me while I was browsing the books on writing.

Right now, as I work on The Showboat Affair, I'm interested in the last chapter, "Psychology in the Courtroom".

This 228-page volume contains a bibliography and an index for easy reference.

Other books in the series include:
  • Police Procedural: A Writer's Guide to the Police and How They Work
  • Private Eyes: A Writer's Guide to Private Investigators
  • Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons
  • Scene of the Crime: A Writer's Guide to Crime-Scene Investigation
  • Armed and Dangerous: A Writer's Guide to Weapons
  • Modus Operandi: A Writer's Guide to How Criminals Work 
When I was a little girl, my goal in life was to be a "lady detective". Somehow, I think I've missed my calling. . .but I can still write about it!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Black Rose Author Barbara Edwards

Walking on the Dark Side

     Black Rose is the dark paranormal branch of The Wild Rose Press. The website intro says it all: Step into a mist-shrouded netherworld where vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters roam at will…
     My name is Barbara Edwards and I didn’t plan to write a dark and dangerous story. The idea started with the cemetery next to the house where I grew up. No longer used, the ancient stones were a spooky place to play hide and seek during the long summer dusk. The headstone covered hill was an obstacle course for winter sledding. Huge old pines cast dark shadows.
     Sometimes I wondered if spirits walked there and hid under my bedcovers all night.
     Ancient Awakening was conceived from a nightmare and grew into the fictional town of Rhodes End. Rhodes End is the nexus of ley lines and draws paranormal activity to this otherwise charming New England town.
     I’ve published three other novels with WingsEpress, two historical romances and a romantic suspense. In the works are the second and third books in the Finding Rhodes End series.
     Here’s the blurb from Ancient Awakening, a September 18 release from The Wild Rose Press.
       In Ancient Awakening, Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.
      Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.
      In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find the real killer and a love that defies death.
And a short excerpt to tease your interest:
      The hum had changed to a soft slithering, like a snake on sand. Something stirred close by—something evil.
      Wally pointed towards the faintly illuminated back corner.
      “How about that? Mighty fancy carving on it.”
      “If it was a little bigger, I’d figure it for a coffin.” Butch scratched his unwashed head while he squinted at the carved stone rectangle. “With gold rings or teeth on the body.”
      “Lem’me see.” Wally shined his small flashlight so the beam revealed the writhing figures.
      “Piece of shit.” Butch pushed at the box. Stone grated on stone. “Too heavy to lift. Help me get the lid off.”
      “No,” Josh whimpered. Evil. He smelled evil. He couldn’t tear his terrified gaze from his friends. He tasted it.
      “Watch out!”
      The box crashed heavily to the floor.
      “Damn it, ya broke the friggin’ side. Be worth spit now.”
      “Quit yer whinin’. At least you’re not bleeding. Damn edge cut my hand. Shine a light here while I check inside. Better be worth our trouble.”
      Bloodcurdling shrieks tore open the night.
     There is no easy way to be a published author. I recommend finding a good group of fellow writers for support. This is a lonely business and motivation is the key to success. Other writers can share tips, offer good advice and critiques, but in the end only determination keeps an author writing.
     This is my advice. Sit in that chair every day and write. When the book is done go back and rewrite. Work to make it the best story possible. Send it out, take the hits and keep writing daily.
For more excerpts from my books visit my website: for Barb'Ed Comments for Annie's Heart, Another Love, Rachel's Rescue

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger

Barbara Edwards, another author who writes for the Black Rose line at The Wild Rose Press, will be the guest blogger here at The Word Place tomorrow.
Drop by to read what she has to say about "Walking on the Dark Side" and leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to TWRP Bookstore.

Because this is a holiday weekend, I'll count any comments made either on Monday or on Tuesday.

Congratulations to the Guest Blog Contest Winners So Far!

Linda Sherlock won Beth Trissel's Through the Fire.
Katie Gardner won Beth Trissel's Enemy of the King.
Leona Biron-Coulter won Skhye Moncrief's He of the Fiery Sword

You could be a winner, too, just by checking in at The Word Place every Monday and Friday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place: Black Rose Author Skhye Moncrief

Good morning, Judy!

Let me tell you a little about the Black Rose line. In a nutshell: Fur and Fangs. That's it. Black Rose deals with dark paranormal romances. What's the difference? Don't worry. The editors often send them on to the other paranormal line if your submission doesn't fit a Black Rose but deserves publication. ;) Think shapeshifters, vampires, and guys with very tarnished reputations. There's more information for the curious... When the Black Rose line decided to run the Got Wolf! contest, the editors were very excited about a new release with a female shifter. So, they encouraged authors to write their heroines as shifters. ;) But I just didn't see my first release, HE OF THE FIERY SWORD, as dark. It seemed more a High Fantasy adventure romance set in medieval Ireland. But something worked for the editor. That's what so great about publishing with a small press. They are more open to new ideas. And my hero was a shape-shifting dragon--a pretty popular theme in romances at the time. Lucky for me. Shapeshifters are what Black asks for... But dark can equal suicidal like with my self-destructive hero (King Arthur) in the opening scene of HE OF THE FIERY SWORD. However, I did come around and write a novella for the Black Rose line--THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON. The heroine was the shifter were-assassin. As you can see, I jumped on board the Got Wolf! wagon, and the work panned out. ;)

I'm only published with WRP at the moment. I greatly appreciate having copies of my tales in print. ;) Any story you write over 65K words will be released in print if WRP contracts your piece. I'm also fortunate to have editors who talk to me and answer my e-mails. I don't hear that common with other presses. WRP is a wonderful place. And you asked for writing tips...

Writing tips are tough calls. Every writer has his/her own hangup. Me, I'm stubborn. One would think that a good thing based on what I'm about to say... With writing, persistence should be the word of every day. Find blogs about writing like Skhye's Ramblings where writing tips are delivered daily to subscribers' mailboxes. I blog about THE SOUL OF FICTION, BARING YOUR CHARACTER'S SOUL, and WORLDBUILD LIKE A ZEN MASTER. I have a guest each week who describes the research she did for her works. And I blog about my personal collection of reference books. I also know that what works for me won't work for everyone else. Still, find those writers who think like you. Learn from those who've already walked the rocky path you're facing. And, if someone helps you, return the favor and buy their book! The economy is tough on authors. Who knows? You might find a gem, i.e. new favorite author.

And today, I'd like to give away a pdf of HE OF THE FIERY SWORD to one person who comments telling me which cover they like best at Just comment here by midnight, CST tonight. I'll announce the winner tomorrow. If you'd like to know who wins, just subscribe to Judy's blog! Best of luck to everyone on their writing journey! ~Skhye

"Arthur is a masterpiece..." He of the Fiery Sword's King Arthur ~Diane Mason; The Romance Studio

“The Spell of the Killing Moon offers the best of spine-tingling suspense. The setting is perfect... Moncrief’s ability to wield magic and emotion are without compare. Her words twist together emotions and visuals until you experience this tale as if the trap were set for you. Some lines blend a kind of poetic magic: “Moonlight wove a special kind of magic, a spell so vacillating that a person never knew if reality were anything other than a dream.” Darkness and premonitions and deadly intent fill these pages... a unique blend of mystic Medieval Gothic and romance…and a true blood-curdling thriller. 5 books" ~Snapdragon, LASR

"Intense, original, suspenseful, and dramatic... an unpredictable topsy-turvy romance... the suspense builds with every page in SACRIFICIAL HEARTS. In a world where symbols mean everything, magic is the way..." ~Snapdragon; LASR

HE OF THE FIERY SWORD available at

"Be the change you want to see in the world." ~Ghandi