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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Throw Me Something, Mister by Kimmie Easley

I am excited to announce that I am elbow deep in my new romance novel, Gutter Princess. It’s been a long road, and there’s still a good stretch left to go. Nonetheless, it is coming to life far better than I could have imagined! I love when my characters push the limits and surprise me (yes, this does happen)!

Gutter Princess is steamy romance following the combustible love story of Baby Jade, a stripper caught in the clutches of the Big Easy and Lucky, a New Orleans native turned motorcycle nomad.

In honor of the beautiful, yet haunting setting of New Orleans, I thought I’d share some interesting facts about the historical city.

25 Things You Should Know About New Orleans 

1. Its pronounced New Or-luns, not New Or-leans. Unless you want a giant neon sign hanging from your forehead that reads “I am not from here"!

2. It is known as the Crescent City because of its moon-like shape hugging the Mississippi River.

3. Two words: The food. Okay here’s some more words: In New Orleans beignets have been a staple of Creole cuisine, and is the basis for one of the city’s most popular dives: Cafe du Monde. The delicacies were even named the Louisiana state doughnut back in 1986. Unfortunately, not every state has named their own doughnut. Call your local congressman today to rectify this egregious matter.

4. Speaking of which, in New Orleans it’s not a “sub,” it’s a “poboy.”

5. The term “Dixieland” originates in the city. Dixieland references the Old South and the style of jazz performed by early New Orleans performers. It’s since been used as a name for pretty much every middle-of-nowhere rinky-dink theme park ever.
6. Most of the buildings and architecture around today actually have more of a Spanish history. Due to a city-wide fire that spread in the 1700s under Spanish rule, most of the earlier French buildings were lost.

7. Guinness officially named the nearby Lake Pontchartrain Causeway the longest continuous bridge in the world. According to Gutter Princess, it's a good place to hide bodies!

8. The New Orleans Superdome is one of the largest enclosed arenas in the world. GET THIS! It’s so big that condensation inside it can allegedly make rainstorms within the dome. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

9. Mardi Gras may not have originated here (it actually got its start in Mobile, AL) but it sure stayed!

10. In fact, the Endymion Krewe has more than 2,500 members and sees about 15,000 guests to its paradesevery year. Of its circa 80 parades per year, their parades are the largest the city sees. 

11. The motto of the Endymion Krewe is “Throw Until It Hurts”. Meaning you are guaranteed to get cool stuff hurled precariously close to your face at any moment.

12. Endymion has also been grand marshaled by many a famous face, such as Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, Kevin Costner, Kelly Clarkson, and Maroon 5.

13. Speaking of famous people, a ton of them were born in the city. They are known to return every now and then for a visit, including Reese Witherspoon, Harry Connick, Jr., and Ellen DeGeneres (who was actually born right outside the city in Metairie).

14. Lee Harvey Oswald, president JFK’s assassin, was born in New Orleans in 1939. This factoid is meant to counterbalance all the positives on this list; otherwise, the world may step into chaos.

15. History question: During the Civil War, what was the largest city in the Confederate States of America? You guessed it: New Orleans. Like most Southern cities, it has a storied and bloody history that shows how it’s grown over the years, but also one that can’t be ignored. Just avoid asking everyone which side their great grandparents fought for.

16. It was New Orleans where voodoo was first introduced into the United States. In fact, in the 1800s Voodoo queens became central figures in the culture. In New Orleans, Marie Laveau gained prominence amongst these figures. She was an oracle, performed exorcisms, and overthrew the other queens in the city. Because of this influence, she is remembered to this day. Fun fact: her tomb in the New Orleans cemetery even warrants more visitors than Elvis Presley’s in Tennessee. That’s a legacy.

17. Vampires and werewolves and fae-folk… oh, you get it. HBO’s uber-popular southern paranormal drama “True Blood” takes place in the fictional town of Bon-Temps, LA and throws a gallon of supernatural paint at the wall to see what sticks. What does this have to do with New Orleans? Not much, but it’s probably the most recognizable popular culture representation of a Louisianian town and is hard to ignore because of it. Just don’t let the were-panthers scare you off.

18. Louisiana is 1 of 2 states in the U.S. that does not have counties. Instead, the state prefers the term “parishes.” Unsurprisingly, New Orleans is situated in Orleans Parish.

19. The city was originally founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville for the sole purpose of being safe from hurricanes. An act that would today earn him his own facepalm gif.

20. The French Quarter, known as the heart of New Orleans. A popular tourist stop for shopping and street vendors. It’s actually the small square area that Bienville first founded when he discovered the area. Thirteen city blocks long by six deep – the original boundaries of New Orleans.

21. Alcohol is practically given away in the city and can be found at any time of day. Bars stay open day and night, and because of the city’s festivals happening throughout the year, most bars give patrons little to-go cups for their favorite poisons. Inebriation, ahoy!

22. Like gambling? Thank New Orleans. The city was the place where both craps and poker were invented.

23. The first opera in the U.S. was performed in New Orleans way back in 1796. They may not be popular nowadays but this early form of performance art is easily traceable to having influenced the influx of the theater arts in the US, including the myriad interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays stateside and the eruption of Broadway throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

24. The New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl in 2010. This has a cool factor all its own. 

25. Once known as the “Back of Town,” is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans and is widely known as a racially mixed area. It’s an integral center of the city’s African-American and Creole culture. HBO made the polarizing TV show “Treme,” chronicling life of a cast of characters living in this lesser off section of the city. Sorry, no joke here. Have you seen “Treme?” They mean business on that show.

*** I can’t say enough about New Orleans. Yes, it’s full of positives and negatives. It’s a cliché setting for numerous books and movies. But here’s the thing… it NEVER gets old.

Keep an eye out for updates on Gutter Princess! COMING SOON! 


Original article found here

Friday, March 28, 2014

What Your Story May Inspire

For the past several days I’ve been hard at work on the edits my Wild Rose Press editor sent for historical romance novel, Traitor’s Legacy. While written to stand alone, this novel is the sequel to Enemy of the King.  Both are set at various times during the American Revolution. The hero of Traitor’s Legacy, British dragoon Captain Jacob Vaughan, was the ‘bad boy’ in Enemy of the King, but a humbler alpha male by the end of the story. His multifaceted character fascinated me, as did his illustrious lineage, so it was a no-brainer when choosing the next hero. But how this novel came to be is a story in itself, as is the unfolding buzz surrounding it.

Early summer 2012, I received an email from an ardent enthusiast of Enemy of the King, entreating me to write a sequel and set it in Historic Halifax, NC. My fan, now friend, Ann See, invited me and my husband, Dennis, to visit the historic area. She was particularly eager to have Person’s Ordinary, the oldest original stage coach stop on the east coast, featured in the story. Interestingly enough, I had begun the sequel a few years earlier and then shifted it to the back burner because the setting I’d chosen, a plantation along the James River, was too remote to incorporate the events I needed to unfold during this adventurous romance. I also wanted to include the intriguing element of espionage which played a key role in the revolution. As it turned out, all this and more awaited me in Historic Halifax as I came to learn the history of this oft overlooked ‘mini-Williamsburg’. Speaking of which, Ann was also responsible for my meeting with the head historian of Williamsburg, a godsend for what I can only describe as profound research.

Despite my renewed zeal, I got waylaid by suffering the worst writer’s block of my life when I failed to listen closely enough to the characters. Once I did, the flood gates opened and I finished the tale this fall. My editor loves the story and Ann is delighted. The good folk of Historic Halifax are rallying to organize an all-out book signing for Oct. 11th that will include tours of the old town and Person’s Ordinary, reenactors, period music, and sumptuous refreshments. Historical groups, book clubs, libraries…and enthusiastic individuals  are involved in the preparations. The Bureau of Tourism for Halifax County is on board and various media sources have been alerted, including PBS. Flyers are going out, posters going up, and a billboard contemplated. Adds for the signing are being placed in magazines and newspapers. There’s talk of inviting the state governor, senator, and congressman to the event. What will ultimately come of it all remains to be seen, but I’m wowed by how excited people are to reconnect with their colonial roots. Traitor’s Legacy has become a rallying point for this rich and vital era.

So I say, onward and upward. You never know what your story may inspire.

Traitor's Legacy will be published in August. Exact date TBD.

***Submitted by Beth Trissel. For more on me, visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Where Do Our Story Ideas Come From? -- by Vonnie Davis

Writers get asked this question--or something similar--all the time. And why not? A peek into a creative mind can be interesting. I'd like to ask Bob Dylan how he composed memorable lyrics to create awesome protest songs or Beethoven why certain notes gifted us with timeless masterpieces. Imagine having the artist Monet explain how he chose certain colors and brush strokes to paint his beautiful flowers. I could chat for hours with Shakespeare or Walt Whitman or Carly Simon. So when someone asks me where my stories come from, I am both humbled and a shade embarrassed. Humbled that anyone would want even a tiny peek into how my mind works...and quite embarrassed to explain how it does.

Three years ago, I noticed a pea-sized lump in my left jaw where my upper and lower jaws connect. Odd, I thought. I can feel the jaw joint on this side of my face, but not on the other. About a month later, this lump had doubled in size, and I began to have some concern. Then headaches started, along with a constant earache on that side of my head. So I called my general practitioner. Upon examination, he claimed the lump was closing my left eye too. An MRI showed I had a grape-sized cyst in my saliva gland. Surgery was scheduled to remove it.

The surgeon claimed, "A simple four-hour operation with an incision starting behind my ear, coming over the top of my ear, along the front of the ear and my cheek, over my jaw bone and three inches down my neck to remove the cyst and I'd be good as new."

Chances of it being cancerous? Nil

Recovery time? A week.

The cyst was cancerous. Recovery time? Eight months. Was I sold a bill of goods, or what?

My recovery required returning to the doctor every other day to have fluid drained from my face and neck. I looked like an ogre. And felt as if I'd never heal. You see, they'd cut off three-fourths of my salivary gland and it was, to quote the surgeon, "angry as hell and shooting out spit, thus the constant fluid build-up." Well, gee, thanks for mentioning that possibility. Or that my left cheek and ear would forever be numb.

But enough complaining. After all, I am cancer free--and very lucky. By now, you're asking what does this long tale have to do with story ideas?

Well, you see, about a month after surgery, when I was emotionally at my lowest--remember the surgeon had given me a one-week recovery time--two golden spots started glowing in the back of my head. Brain cancer, thinks I. The doctors at the cancer institute were wrong; they didn't get it all. It's spread to my brain. I was frantic, googling for signs of brain cancer. No where did I read about yellow, glowing spots in the back of one's vision.

It took me time to work up nerve to call the cancer institute to tell them I needed an appointment and why. I had the number in my hand ready to dial when the two glowing spots blinked.

Eyes??? These are eyes? Heck, I didn't need to call an oncologist. I needed to call a shrink!

So, for the next few weeks, these glowing eyes stayed with me--waiting, watching, willing me to talk to them. Well, I might be crazy, but I'm not crazy enough to talk to things I shouldn't be seeing in the first place.

Then one night, the eyes left my head and moved to the foot of our bed. A huge bear formed around them. Now, I have an odd philosophy about characters. I believe they only reveal themselves to writers they believe will tell their story. So I was surprised to see this ginormous bear staring at me from the foot of my bed. "I'm sorry, but you've come to the wrong writer's house," I told him. "I don't write children's stories." He shook his head. "Oh, you're not that kind of bear?"

He shifted into a Scott, wearing a kilt and sporting oodles of muscles.

"I'm sorry, but you're still in the wrong writer's bedroom. I don't write paranormal. Contemporary, historical and romantic suspense, but nothing paranormal."

"Aye, lassie, but ye will." He motioned for me to slide over closer to Calvin, who was snoring away, and then Kilt-Man lay beside me. "Let me tell ye the story of how bears came to be extinct in Scotland." And he began telling me this miraculous tale. I fell asleep snuggled between my sweet husband and my new hero, Creighton Matheson. When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I did was google "are bears extinct in Scotland"...and chills skittered up and down my spine.

Creighton's story is the first book in A Highlander's Beloved Trilogy, followed by his two younger brother's stories. Look for A Highlander's Obsession in August from Random House's LoveSwept line. You'll already know how the writer came up with the story idea...or how it came to her when she was recovering from cancer. And how Creighton charmed her one night with his Scottish burr.

To pre-order, go to

To learn more about Vonnie's writing, go to

Monday, March 24, 2014


By Brenda Daniels

That was a question posed on a morning talk show last week. Maybe because the UN declared March 20th International Day of Happiness. Or, perhaps, it's the never ending Despicable Me II  song, Happy being played on TV and the radio. Yeah, the stupid song got to me, too. I've been known to dance around the room when I hear it.  Only the dogs are witness to these spasms.

Writing makes me happy. My family and friends makes me happy. Kittens and puppies turn me into a puddle. These are standard answers to the question. Heck, dogs are probably the easiest animals on the planet to please. Forget cats, they choose to be happy on their own terms.

Have you ever watched a toddler? Give a child a plain, cardboard box and let them use their imagination. Simple happiness in a simple object.

One of the PBS reality shows really hit home when a few modern families were packed off to farms and asked to live in the 1800's. The kids were spoiled and sullen. Mom wasn't thrilled with the lack of modern conveniences. Dad was just kind of lost. When it was over and they returned to their real lives, the children were bored, Mom missed the closeness of evenings with the family and dad got back to the business of  making money. The bottom line is, you don't need much to make you happy.

So, go out and hug your family and friends. Play with your pets. Write, paint, sing, or dance. Whatever makes you happy.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


By Morgan Mandel, guest author

I believe you can and should be able to tell a book by its cover. However, for various reasons that doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, there are perfectly wonderful books out there which go unnoticed. That’s because their covers don’t match what the author delivers.
The books that are noticed are the ones with covers that promise readers exactly what they’re looking for, with no guessing involved. In this fast-paced world, most readers are looking for instant gratification. They want to know immediately if a book is a genre they like. If they can’t tell right away, it’s easy enough for them to pass that one by in favor of another which fits the role.
My romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, is still my most popular book. I believe I owe that mainly to its cover. Without it, the book would not get a second look. From the girl’s outfit, right away you can tell it’s a contemporary novel. From the girl’s jaunty pose, and the use of pastels, you can guess it’s a lighthearted read. Yes, there are tense moments in the story, but all in all, I believe the book lives up to readers’ expectations.

For my romantic suspense, Killer Career, I chose black and red colors. The girl’s expression is grim. She’s holding file folders, which hints at her occupation as an attorney. I could have reinforced the romantic element by placing a couple on the cover, but the focus of the story is on the mystery or thriller aspect.

Now, some authors think it’s a good idea to mislead readers by enticing them to read a book which turns out to be quite different than its cover. That might work in the short-run, but it’s a very bad idea. Readers have good memories, and will remember the deception. A torrid love scene on a cover emphasizes hot romance. Vintage clothing hints at an historical setting. A kitten and a cute building might promise a cozy mystery. You get the idea. The point is the cover should match what’s inside.
Can you think of novels with great covers that live up to their promise? Or, maybe some that don’t?
Thanks for hosting me today at Smart Girls Read Romance!
Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel, Author

Morgan is a former president of Chicago-North Romance Writers of America, and former library liaison for Midwest Mystery Writers of America.
Her ever popular Girl of My Dreams, is a reality show romance; and her more recent romantic comedy, Her Handyman, features a handyman, a rich, quirky artist, and a crazy canine whose toy lands in the toilet. Morgan’s presently working on a sequel to Her Handyman, called A Perfect Angel.
Morgan’s romantic suspense, Killer Career, about a lawyer’s dangerous career change, and Two Wrongs, Morgan’s debut mystery, are both set in Chicago.
For all of Morgan’s books, see and her Amazon Author Page:

Connect with Morgan at: her websiteblogFacebook Page, and on Twitter @MorganMandel.     

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Busy Life!

Hi all,

My, time passes so quickly I can't believe it's my turn to blog again. Where does the time go? But, I'll be glad to see old man winter ride off into the sunset. I want flip flops and beaches. Of course, there isn't a beach close to me, but I'll settle for warmer weather.

Just a heads up on what's going on in my corner of the world. The most important thing is I've been writing up a storm and reading every thing I can get my hands on. No matter how hectic life gets, stop and read a book.

I sometimes just need to recharge my batteries and a good page-turner does that for me. I love melting into a story as the real world fades away. I've been so busy reading Romantic Suspense that often I have to change the genre and pick up something completely new and exciting.

Recently I read a Young Adult and a Sci-fi. I usually don't go to those places, but I thought I needed something different and I was delightfully surprised. I loved both books and will again go to the far side of the reading spectrum and tip my toes into something completely different than what I normally read. I think it spruces up the brain and gets the creative juices going.

If you feel a little stale, take my advice and wonder over to something you'd never thought of reading before and see if you don't walk away with a new perspective on that genre. Also, don't be afraid to live a little dangerously and read that different 'kind' of book.

Happy Endings,
Geri Foster

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


March is Women's History Month and I thought I'd share an article with you that was published in the May 13, 1955 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine. I first saw it in an email sent to me by my sister-in-law. Most recently though, it was shared with us on NCIS, Season 02, Episode 02, The Good Wives Club. Enjoy and try not to laugh too hard.

An Actual 1955 Good Housekeeping article.

The good wife's guide
  • Have dinner ready.  Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return.  This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.  Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself.  Take 15 minutes to rest so you"ll be refreshed when he arrives.  Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking.  He has just been with a lot of work weary people.

  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him.  His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

  • Clear away the clutter.  Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

  •  Gather up schoolbooks, toys paper etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by.  Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.  After all, catering for  his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Prepare the children.  Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and , if necessary, change their clothes.  They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.  Minimise all noise.  At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum.  Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Listen to him  You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time.  Let him talk first-remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Make the evening his.  Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other placees of entertainment without you.  Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal:  Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stay out all night.  Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Make him comfortable.  Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom.  Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes.  Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don' ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember,  he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness.  You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place

Now that we've had a glimpse into a part of our history from a galaxy far, far away, I'll move on out of here. Happy Women's History Month and I'll see you in April.

As always, comments are welcome.

Love and hugs,

Friday, March 14, 2014

Life is Hard...Especially if You Write Books

When I first started writing years ago, I gave up once a week. I wrote a page and enrolled in another writing class. Or read a book. I threw away more material than I saved. Someone posted a picture on my FB page of a desk, a typewriter and crushed and discarded paper half-way to the ceiling. That was me. 

That is still me. Only now, I'm not discarding paper. I simply have a worn-out "Delete" key on my keyboard. Writing a novel is a hard task. Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And there are many slings and arrows in the writing game. As many negatives as positives.Yet, for all of its challenges, I love writing. I'm passionate about the written word. Very little gives me more pleasure than reading a good story well written by an author with a powerful voice. It inspires me to try to do the same thing.

Somewhere along the way, I finally overcame that urge to give up until the past year or so. Now, seventeen books later, writing a book is still hard and I wonder if what I'm putting out now is any better than my very first book. For sure, my passion for it is waning. I’ve had to ask myself many times if it’s worth it. 

Some part of me must think it is because I continue to take classes and read books on the craft. In the writing biz, you can never let yourself stop learning. Toward that end, I’ve even broken down and bought a new laptop.

And as further proof that I haven't totally given up, I’ve gone ahead and had the cover designed for THE CATTLEMAN, Book #2 of my SONS  OF TEXAS trilogy and sequel to THE TYCOON. Knowing myself, I won’t spend the money on cover design, then not finish the dang book. God willing, I'll have it out by June.

The setting is North Central Texas. The characters are complex and flawed, but I’ve tried to make them heroic at the same time.

I’ve managed to get the blurb written, although this is probably not the final iteration.

“Ever since a disastrous marriage at a young age, Pickett Lockhart has kept his emotions under tight control. These days, he’s preoccupied anyway with learning to be the general manager of the vast Double-Barrel Ranch in Drinkwell, Texas. Still, his older brother’s marriage and looming fatherhood has aroused a distant envy within him to have a wife, kids and home of his own and he has a willing woman who’s in love with him. But he can’t get married, even to someone he loves. His divorce cost him and his wealthy family a bundle, leaving him with a paralyzing fear of getting into another financial trap.
Amanda Breckenridge has been in love with Pic for as long as she can remember. They were high school sweethearts until he eloped with someone he met in college. After that, Amanda left Drinkwell. Her father’s illness brought her back to town and a revived relationship with Pic. But Pic’s mother has never thought Amanda good enough for him. Knowing Pic is drawn to beautiful women, she tries to destroy their relationship by sending a friend’s stunning daughter to the ranch to tempt Pic. Can Amanda and Pic’s bond survive his mother’s plotting? Or the unexpected career opportunity that falls into Amanda’s lap?”

So, there it is. Except for being sexy and steamy and having a happy ending, it isn’t your typical romance. Most of my books aren’t. Let me know what you think of this one.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Amusement Park Ride by Paty Jager

A writer is on a continual roller coaster.

There are the days when you ride on a euphoric cloud of the words spilling from your brain and fingertips in melodic harmony. Stretching the characters, moving your emotions, and enriching the story. Then there are the days when you are lucky to get a page written whether from outside forces or your own internal locked creativity. Those days and sometimes weeks you struggle with self doubt, fear, and mock your stupidity at thinking you could be a writer let alone a published author.

Then something sparks within again, or someone hands you the key to unlock your doubts and fears. And you're riding on that amazing carpet that takes you to another world and lets you bring that world to life for others.

This past week reminds me of when I was thirteen and my younger brother dared me to get on an amusement ride with him. I don't have a constitution that deals well with things that whirl and twirl. But I wasn't going to back down and let my younger brother prove he was right. So we climbed on the ride, and about three spins in, I was feeling a bit green. I looked at my brother. He was pale, green, and looking ready to hurl. I yelled, "Sing a song." He started singing, "Baloney, baloney how I like baloney." I started laughing and we ended the ride neither one of us losing all the cotton candy and junk we'd eaten. And feeling triumphant.

I’ve been on an adventure with several other authors that has been exhilarating and turbulent, but as long as I remember to sing “baloney, baloney, how I like baloney” I can laugh and not cry and come through this experience, knowing I tackled a difficult situation and have grown from the experience.

Have you had a time in your life when you needed to sing the Baloney song?

Monday, March 10, 2014


Thanks for having me here today, ladies. I’m excited about my new book, THE DUKE’S QUANDARY, which released today! This story is the second book in my Marriage Mart Mayhem series. The first book, THE ELUSIVE WIFE, was the story of Jason, Earl of Coventry.

THE DUKE’S QUANDARY, for those of you who read THE ELUSIVE WIFE is about Drake, Coventry’s best friend. The story is about a shy, socially backward, somewhat clumsy botanist, who is forced by her aunt and trustee to travel to London and stay with Drake’s family for the Season. The inspiration for this story actually came from a 1971 move with Walter Matthau and Elaine Mays, entitled “A New Leaf.” Elaine Mays plays a character similar to Penelope in my story. However, the stories themselves are not similar.

An interesting facet of my research for this book was the information I got online about The Linnean Society, which is the organization my heroine, Penelope, belonged to under a man’s pseudonym. I wrote to the PR person at the society, and she gave me some interesting facts. One of which is that author Beatrix Potter offered a scientific treatise for the organization, but because she was a woman, she was unable to present it.

Since there are still another five books in the series, two of which will release this year: THE LADY’S DISGRACE (October) and THE BARON’S HOMECOMING (December), I found it necessary to keep quite an extensive list of characters. If my character in THE DUKE’S QUANDARY visited Coventry, I needed to know the name of the butler at his estate. I imagine as the series continues, my list will grow quite long.

Thank you for stopping by today and visiting. I’d like to offer an autographed copy of THE ELUSIVE WIFE to one US commenter, or an ebook copy if the winner is international. If the winner has already read THE ELUSIVE WIFE, I will offer a copy of another of my books.
Callie Hutton

Buy links: Amazon:
Barnes & Noble:

Author Callie Hutton

Callie Hutton always knew those stories she made up in her head would be written down one day. There was nowhere else for them to go. After years of writing articles and interviews for magazines and company newsletters, she decided to tackle writing a book. That was back in 2010. Now with twelve books under her belt, and seven more contracted, the relief at having somewhere to tell those stories is wonderful. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, adult children and three dogs.

Author Social Network links:
Twitter: @calliehutton

Remember to leave your email in your comment to be entered for a copy of Callie's  THE ELUSIVE WIFE.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Reading—Writers Do It

Reading—Writers Do It

Once upon a time, I had pneumonia. Man-oh-man, was I ever laid low. So I read. That’s what bookworms do when they get sick, you know. They read. A lot.

I’d read every single book in the house that even remotely interested me. That’s lots of books, folks. We sold 42 cases of books before we moved to that house, which didn’t even make a dent in our library (my husband is a bookworm, too). But there you have it—I had nothing to read.

My daughter read romance novels. I’d never read one, nor was I about to start. I read mystery, fantasy, historical novels, and good old shoot ’em up westerns. But not romance. She convinced me to try one. So I did.

I hated it. I still remember the book to this day and no, I won’t tell you the title or the author. My daughter gave me another book and I told her I refused to read it. She informed me that you can’t judge an entire genre by one book, and said if I read five romance novels and still felt the same way, then okay.

Eh. She was right and I knew it. We’ve all read stinkers in every genre, and what we consider stinkers, others think is the greatest thing since hot air. The second book was marvelous. It was Kathleen Eagle’s Fire and Rain. I was duly hooked and read over a hundred romance novels in the next month. That book is still one of my all-time favorites.

Then this dream happened. Yep, I dreamed a story. The next three weeks, I pounded away at the keyboard and wrote 200 pages of my first book. I’ll never forget the utterly confounded look on my husband’s face after he read the first couple chapters. “This is actually pretty good,” he said, shaking his head. “Are you going to finish it?”

“I started it—might as well finish it,” I told him. Of course, I never, at any time in my life, wanted to be a writer. Nor had I ever once finished a project that wasn’t a paying job. We had several closets full of yarn, cloth, and craft supplies to prove it. Needless to say, my husband was skeptical.

Along about that time, it came to me that I had absolutely no idea how to write and I joined our local chapter of Romance Writers of America. They actually took me seriously and treated me like a real writer, even though I wasn’t and knew in my heart that the book would likely never be finished. Still, they weren’t daunted and pushed me to learn, learn, learn. Which I did.

Two years later, I wrote The End of that book (which will never see the light of day). It’s my learning book, where I found out that I’m no good at angst and drama, that my strengths are action and humor. Including slapstick, which puts some people off. Sorry about that—it’s who I am. So I figured since I write silly stuff, I’d start off silly in the second book. A rock ’n roll writer, not trying to be a virtuoso. The book finaled in the Golden Heart and is now Much Ado About Madams, the second book of the Hearts of Owyhee series.

That’s my early writing journey and so much has happened since. But you know what, people helped me every single step of the way and they’re still helping me. Yes, I’ve helped a few others but on the whole, it would be very hard to give back what I’ve been given and am still getting.

But back to reading. Once I started writing, I read even more voraciously, but when a publisher actually bought a short story, the reading suffered, because that’s when my passion turned into work. Writing to deadline, social media, promotion, graphics, proofing one book while writing a proposal for a future book and writing the current manuscript. You see, things get a bit busy.

This bookworm had no time to read. It’s a sorry state of affairs. During the past year, I’ve made an effort to read more and not just because I need the reading fix for my addiction, but because I honestly think it’s a words-in/ words-out thing. No reading, and my writing well runs dry. Read a book—any genre—and we’re rockin’ and rollin’ again. So it goes.

I hope you don’t let life get in the way of your reading like I did. So tell me, what’s the last book you read that you absolutely loved?

Hearts of Owyhee series, ♦♣ Sleight of Heart ♠♥
'Twas the Fight Before Christmas (Wolf Creek, Book 9: A Wolf Creek Christmas)
A Gift for Rhoda (Wishing for a Cowboy) | A Flare of the Heart (Hearts and Spurs)

Sunday, March 2, 2014


By Caroline Clemmons

If you heard a roar, that was March coming in like a lion. On a cold, blustery day, what’s better than snuggling down with a book? Okay, chocolate and a book, but I’m trying to cut down. Yesterday was 81 degrees here in North Central Texas. Tonight we are forecast to dip to 16 degrees. No wonder everyone is sneezing, coughing, and grumbling. 

One of the tasks authors have is judging contests for upcoming writers and other published authors. It’s a job of mixed emotions. Some of our other blog members and I judge for the Yellow Rose RWA’s Winter Rose Contest, and many of us also judge for the national Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest.

For unpublished authors in the Winter Rose Contest, the judge is given the first twenty five pages plus two pages of criteria to consider and score. Some of the as yet unpublished authors are so good that I want to read the rest of the book immediately. Reading these is exciting and I want to cheer for this story.

Other entries make me cringe in sympathy for the person who thought his or her story was ready to be judged. My job then is to point out ways to improve the writing without crushing the writer. This is delicate and many judges have been too harsh. But there’s a system in place for that.

Each entry has four judges. When final scores are tallied, the lowest score is dropped. No matter how much judge’s training and instructions, some people are not tactful. Or maybe the judge had a bad day and takes it out on the scores. Dropping the lowest score evens the scoring. For instance, last year one entry had three scores near perfect and one with half that score. Really?

Published authors submit copies of their book. This is sometimes a fun job. I get to read without feeling I’m slacking on my own writing. Once in a while, I wonder how in the world this book became published. Most of the time, though, this is a chance to feed my need to read. Yay!

Once again, criteria are judged for each book. Did the plot make sense? Was it a romance? Were the characters well developed. There's a score sheet and, once again, the lowest score is dropped.

The Winter Rose Contest always needs readers to help judge the published contest. If you would like to be a judge for next year’s contest, please tell us your email in a comment and you will be entered in our contest coordinator’s data base.