Thursday, 5 March 2015

Writing Seasonal Stories by Linda Carroll-Bradd...

Good morning, lovely readers!

Today, I have the lovely Linda Carroll-Bradd visiting to talk about writing seasonal I have only written one seasonal story I am looking forward to any tips! Linda is giving away an ecopy of her latest release to one random commenter - good luck! Take it away, Linda...

One of my favorite aspects of writing stories around a holiday theme is doing the research to find something unique. Last year I wrote short stories in response to publisher calls for anthology submissions to include Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day themes. An added benefit of seasonal stories is that a word count is provided and the turnaround time from story submission to anthology publication is relatively short.

Often my plotting process is aided by the specific requirements of a sub-genre or locale. Knowing the holiday also helps with writing the weather. My recent inclusions in anthologies have been western historicals. I have always been fascinated about the 1800s and how the society was enriched by lots of cultures coming together. I make sure to create characters from different ethnic backgrounds, as well as people coming from different social strata within the US. Because most of my stories have small town settings, these people would be shopping at the same stores and worshipping at the same church. Therefore, learning about the various traditions becomes a natural part of the plot.

Then the fun begins, and I get to research an interesting custom or tradition related to that particular holiday from within that ethnic group. For example, in When My Heart Knew part of Cowboy Kisses, my hero was of Scottish and Welsh descent and grew up on a dairy farm in Scotland. Then he was orphaned and an uncle brought him to his cattle ranch in Texas. As Valentine’s Day approaches, he remembers a tradition from his mother’s family of carving a lovespoon with symbols that are specific to the courting couple and presents one to the heroine. I enjoy making the romantic experience between each couple special.

Tomboy Maisie Treadwell meets her match in cowboy Dylan MacInnes. From the moment they meet, the sparks and words fly. Of course, if she hadn’t knocked him down and caused an ankle sprain, their relationship might have gone more smoothly. To avoid damaging the reputation of the family’s boarding house, Maisie is ordered to be at the mercy of meeting Dylan’s demands. When they discover a shared interest in adventure stories, a bond is struck. Soon, Maisie can’t wait to spend time reading aloud to the virile man confined to a bed. Until the afternoon she overhears him explaining that his demands were meant to teach her a lesson. Can Dylan find a way to gain her trust again?


Mr. MacInnes stood in the doorway, balancing on one foot with a rough-cut tree branch under his left arm as a crutch. “Ready for me?”
Many times Maisie had been in a boarder’s room with that male present. But never had she felt flushed like she did now. Was that guilt? Or some other feeling? Quickly, she set down the volumes and ran a hand over the quilt, wondering if he’d be bothered by daisies and summer ferns. “There’s a chair by the window and I can find a footstool.” She swept a hand in that direction. “Or I’ve brought an extra pillow for resting on the bed.” What was she saying? The man knew why the pillow was there.
Mr. MacInnes stared at the bed with a narrowed gaze and then shook his head. “Let’s try the bed.”
“What?” She jerked and stepped back, knocking her heel against the wall. Heat flamed in her cheeks but she fought against covering them with her hands.
He pressed his lips together then spoke. “I meant could you help position the pillow under my foot?”
“Of course, sir.” Maisie lifted the pillow and waited as he limped across the rag rug and eased down onto the quilt-covered mattress.
The bedsprings creaked under his weight and he scooted until he was centered in the bed. Clasping both hands under his knee, he lifted and then jerked his head. “Okay, slide it under.”
Maisie jumped forward to comply. “There, how does that feel?”
“All right for having a sprained ankle.”
The mention of his injury shot guilt through her. “I want to tell you how sorry I am that I ran into you and caused this.” She gestured at his foot and accidentally bumped it.
“Damnation, girl.” He sucked in air through clenched teeth.
“Oh, I’m so clumsy. I’m sorry again.” She wrapped her arms around her middle to keep from causing another accident. She watched his tight expression relax and breathed out a sigh of relief. “And I’ll be thanking you for not revealing to my mother my type of attire when first we met.”
Mr. MacInnes cocked an eyebrow. “She doesn’t know her daughter dresses like a man and rides alone on the prairie.”



As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

Linda’s Links:

Website                  Blog                  Facebook                  Twitter                                    Goodreads


One electronic copy of Cowboy Kisses will be awarded to a random name chosen from those who leave a comment and include an email address.

Comments?? Questions??

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Welcome contemporary romance author, Calisa Rhose...

Thank you for hosting me today, Rachel! It’s a very special day for me, for my book. I want to share a new excerpt with you as a gift. It doesn’t seem to matter what else I write, the current book out always seems to be my favorite. LOL

Today is the birthday of Risk Factors so here’s the blurb and excerpt.

A sweet, sensual story of trust, hope and love.

Publisher: Kensington-Lyrical Press

Editor: Piper Denna

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 3-Steamy sensual


Pages: 160

Length: 56,873

Publication: Re-released March 2014

Cover artist: Valerie Tibbs

Love, like life, is not without risk.


Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales,
Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being
considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife
vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps.

Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material
because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for.

Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away
from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him,
leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their
daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having
her feel the hurt of being left…again.

Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove
she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv--and himself--enough to play
the possibilities?

WARNING: Happy-ever-after mixed with four-legged friends.


“Glad you’re here, Con. The crew’s extracting the driver from the truck. I have a family trapped in the car, and a shitload of cows blocking our efforts at every turn.” Fire and Rescue Chief Dillan Reed yelled for someone to “get those rubber-neckers moving” and snatched up the radio as it growled on his hip. He issued directions into the device, and whirled back to Connor. “It’ll be a while before the driver’s free. They’re getting the jaws to cut him out. Gotta empty the car before we can move the semi. Hell, I hoped for a smooth R and R when I took the call.”

Connor McKay shifted the weight of his emergency pack to the other shoulder. He trailed after Dillan, toward the grinding noise of rescue equipment, allowing time to take in the full scene. The stench of fuel and cow manure from the overturned truck and trailer assailed his senses. Cattle lowed and milled on one side of the roadway.

He followed Chief Reed around the twisted semi and stock trailer blocking most of the two-lane road. Another helicopter hovered above the multi-injury accident, preparing to land. His flight nurse had latched onto the first patient, and pumped the resuscitator with a steady hand. Every emergency worker preferred a smooth rescue and removal, but that was rarely the case. “What can I do?”

“There’s three occupants still in the car ground units and Flight Five are waiting to transport. We need them out before the truck rolls. Those damn straps securing the cab of the truck slipped once already, so we’re trying to get a crane in for backup. The first responders have everything under control at the moment. Jump in where you’ll be most helpful.”

Dillan snapped curt orders into his walkie-talkie as Connor left to weave around firemen in various stages of procedures. Focused on his destination, he wound his way toward the car in which paramedics operated. An unexpected bump halted his steps, followed by a grunt that drew his attention to where he’d been walking. A woman sat flat on her fanny, legs stretched out on either side of a Husky-looking dog.

An apology tickled his tongue before it promptly took a hike when she rose to full height and stared at him with the prettiest eyes he’d ever seen.

“Hey! Didn’t you see me--the dog…” As her gaze latched onto his, her voice stuttered to silence.

“Are you all right? I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.”

She barely reached his shoulders, but she came across as larger than life when her crystal-blue gaze scanned him as thoroughly as a security wand at the airport. Easy to look at summed up her symmetrical features and smooth complexion. Hair the same yellow-gold shade as Janna’s Barbie dolls’ ruffled in the wind, allowing the sunlight to catch in the deeper copper strands throughout.
Small, pink latex-covered hands clutched a syringe tightly. Who was she? He didn't recognize her from any other scene. Maybe a local nurse? Someone he'd likely never see again, therefore, probably forget by the time the day was over.

A flowery scent carried on the breeze amid rank fumes, and Connor glanced around. No flowers in sight other than dandelions. The sweet smell had to be hers. Damn. “Sorry.” His stomach muscles tightened of their own accord, punctuated with a quiver in reaction to her womanly fragrance. Suddenly he had a strange sensation of developing an elephant's memory.
* * * * *


Also, Risk Factors is on Authorgraph. Get your copy signed.

Author Bio:

Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams.

These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him over 30 years ago. After raising three amazing daughters, she spends her days loving her granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, reading and writing.
When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other writers.

She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders  and firemen, as well as, the occasional ‘other’ hero- and their sexy female counterparts; those sassy, stubborn heroines.

Find Calisa at her website/blog
In honor of our birthday, I’m offering a copy of my ebook to one commenter. Share what your favorite genre is in comments and Friday I’ll choose a winner by

Thanks again for having me, Rachel!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Welcome Crimson Rose author, Amie Louellen....

Hi Amie! So great to welcome you back to my blog - it's been too long! Looking forward to catching up and hearing all about your latest release, Southern Hospitality. Let's kick off with my questions...

1.)          What did you want to be when you grew up?

An attorney. Quit laughing. I really did. Right up until the time I met my husband. Now I can’t imagine my life any other way than how it turned out.

2.)          Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Yes, please. Oh, you wanted me to choose? Well, coffee usually, but right now I’m on a Chai tea latte kick. Yum-mee

3.)          What genre do you typically read? Why?

Although I LOVE romances of all kinds, I find myself reading more and more women’s fiction. I think because I don’t have a desire to rewrite the stories like I do when I read romance.

4.)          Share a favourite childhood memory.

I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was growing up. She lived within walking distance and I probably went to visit her every day. I would walk up to her house and watch TV and just be with her. She would always make me my favourite meal. As I got older, we shared romance novels. I only wish she had gotten to see my books in print.

5.)          Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

Nail polish. I’ve lost count of how many bottles I own. But it is seriously in the triple digits. Just don’t tell my husband, okay?

6.)          What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

Getting started. There’s a push/pull between what I want to do as an author and what the characters demand from me. The quicker I give in to their demands, the faster the story goes.

7.)          Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I do. I write anywhere from 4K to 8K a day depending on where I am in the story and how dirty my house is.

8.)          What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love writing series. They can be fun and engaging, but honestly it’s more fun to write stand-alones. There’s more freedom with characters that I don’t think I can get when having to concentrate on how what I’m writing today will affect the next story. Maybe that’s why so many of my stories are not in a series.

Southern Hospitality

the latest contemporary romantic comedy from Amie Louellen.

Not much happens in sleepy Jefferson County, Tennessee. That is, until Yankee reporter Roxanne Ackerman’s car breaks down there on her way to Memphis, and she somehow winds up as a murder suspect! With no one to bail her out and the local judge on a fishing trip, Roxanne is surrendered into the custody of her ultra-conservative-yet-oh-so-sexy attorney, Malcolm B. Daniels IV, for the weekend.

Malcolm is nearly engaged, running for U.S. Senate, and really does not need this gorgeous, wild woman in his life right now. He just has to show her a little Southern hospitality until he can get the case dropped on Monday morning, and things will finally go back to normal.

But the more time they spend together, the more sparks fly between them. One weekend might be all the time Roxanne needs to work her way into his heart and make his life exciting again. What if, when Monday comes, he doesn’t want to let her go?

~*~ Excerpt ~*~

He never even bothered to look at her. It seemed as if something over her shoulder held more interest for him. Most likely Lila dancing with Miss Gertie’s great-nephew from Hattiesburg. Malcolm was probably keeping an eye on the pair just to make sure the handsome doctor wasn’t copping a feel. 
After all, she and Malcolm were practically engaged.

The thought made Roxanne miss the beat, and she crashed into Malcolm—hard. Her foot, clad in its high-heeled sandal, crashed down on top of his foot—hard.

“Sorry.” She winced. That was going to leave a mark.

“It’s okay,” he replied, just like the gentleman he was.

“I know you might find this hard to believe, but I used to be a pretty good dancer.”

“No offense, but what happened?”

She shrugged. “Out of practice, I guess.”

“Hmmm … I thought dancing was one of those things a person never forgets how to do. You know, like riding a bike.”

“Sex.” Roxanne immediately wished she could take it back.

“I beg your pardon?” He picked that precise moment to meet her gaze.

“You can forget how to ride a bike, but you’ll never … I mean … most people have—” She faltered, the heat from her cheeks mixing with the too-warm Tennessee night to make her light-headed. She couldn’t finish the thought with those knowing brown eyes trained on her. Instead, she focused on the tiny black sutures adorning his strong chin.

“Are you trying to say that sex is unforgettable?” The corners of his mouth twitched.

“Uh … something like that,” she mumbled, hoping the slurred words passed for a real answer. Here she was again trying to make coherent thoughts when her mind was filled with images of … well, sex. And Malcolm. And sex with Malcolm. She didn’t know for a fact if sex itself had ever proven to be unforgettable, but she was certain that sex with Malcolm would be.

Order your copy today!

Click HERE for buy links to all of Amie's books including up-to-date links for Southern Hospitality

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Celebrating Women Writing Women...

Outside the box

 (publication date February 21)

Seven authors, all with impeccable writing credentials, present their anthology called OUTSIDE THE BOX: Women Writing Women.

We've each proved our worth with awards, fellowships, teaching posts and commercial success. We've all self-published to keep our hard-earned independence and our artistic identity. Now we’re teaming up for an ebook collection of our full-length fiction featuring a diverse collection of unlikely heroines. There’s no one genre.  Each novel is a character-led page-turner.

We want to prove that fine, original writers are creating work of value and quality. And we want to entertain you.

The anthology will be available for 90 days from February 21, 2015.

 Follow the tour every day to read what each of these great writers has to say about writing and so much more.

BLUE MERCY by Orna Ross

The book: Mercy stands accused of killing her elderly and tyrannical father. Now, at the end of her life, she needs Star, the daughter she fought to protect, to know what really happened that fateful night in 1989. 

The author: Orna Ross writes novels, poems and the Go Creative! book series. The Bookseller calls her "one of the 100 most influential people in publishing" for her work with The Alliance of Independent Authors.

CRAZY FOR TRYING by Joni Rodgers

The book: A regional bestseller short-listed for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. In the 1970s, a troubled young woman heads west to create a new identity and shake off the burden of her mother's radical past, but love and loneliness take her life in an unexpected direction.  

The author: Joni Rogers hit the New York Times bestseller list with her cancer memoir Bald in the Land of Big Hair.  She is also ghost-writer of numerous other bestsellers and founder of the League of Extraordinary Authors. Joni lives in Houston, Texas.


The book: In this work of literary fiction, a brilliant pianist’s career is ended by injury. She turns to a mysterious healer and faces the possibility that her life is someone else's past incarnation. 

The author:  Roz Morris earned her spurs as a ghost-writer, selling more than four million books writing the novels of other people.  She is a writers' mentor and a radio show host, and she teaches writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper. 

THE CENTAURESS by Kathleen Jones

The book: Bereaved biographer Alex Forbes goes to war-ravaged Croatia to research the life of a celebrity artist and finds herself at the centre of a family conflict after she uncovers a mutilated photograph, stolen letters and a story of indeterminate gender, passion and betrayal. 

The author: Kathleen Jones lives in Italy and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.  She is best known for her award-winning biographies, and has also written extensively for the BBC.


The book: Alison gave up the chance to be a prima ballerina when she became pregnant and turned to prostitution to provide for her child, but the tempting hope of a better life may come at a terrible price.

The author: Jane Davis won the Daily Mail Award for her first novel, which secured her a publishing contract. She has now gone on to self-publish four other novels and isn’t afraid to tackle the trickiest of subjects.


The book:  Diagnosed with cancer, Sanjay has no time to waste. Laure is a successful lawyer, Harriet is a struggling freelance writer, and Karen is a single mother of four. Before they can find a soul-mate, they each need to confront who they really are.

The author: Carol Cooper is a London-based journalist and award-winning non-fiction author.  Her debut novel was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards 2014. In her spare time she’s a doctor.

WHITE LADY by Jessica Bell

The book: Sonia, unfaithful wife of a Melbourne drug lord, yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she’s rehabilitating herself as a “normal” mother and maths teacher, it’s time to stop dreaming about slicing people’s throats. Easier said than done.

The author: Jessica Bell is an Australian novelist, poet, singer/ songwriter /guitarist who lives in Athens, Greece. She is Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and author of the bestselling Writing in a Nutshell series. 

Some of the authors have answered a couple of questions PLUS there’s an excerpt!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a fiction writer?

Kathleen Jones:
I originally studied law in order to become a barrister, so maybe that's what I would be now.  But I think I'd probably have been scribbling crime fiction on the back of my papers in court when I should have been paying attention, and my career would have been very short!  I've also lectured in Creative Writing at various universities and I'm currently at Lancaster, so there's a good bet that I'd have become an academic.  The detective aspect of research is what drew me to writing biography in the first place - it's very seductive.  

Joni Rodgers:

My career is actually a balance of writing and editing. For me, writing is like painting and editing is like sculpting—two very different art forms, but you employ the same craft skills to a certain extent. Writing is my soul, but I love helping other writers unpack their stories and discover their voices. 

Excerpt from Crazy for Trying by Joni Rodgers  - Tulsa weaved on shaky sea legs down the narrow aisle to the cramped lavatory. The door closed behind her with a hydraulic hiss. Tulsa leaned against it, not knowing where to set her bulky purse or her bulky self.
She remembered being on an airplane when she was small. Her mother had nudged her inside and closed the door, leaving Tulsa alone in the dim, steel-walled closet. She was afraid to sit down, thinking if she flushed, a trapdoor would swing away and ka-roosh her right out the bottom of the fuselage, under the sucking scream of the jet engines and into the vast, silent atmosphere. She tried to go standing up like she’d seen a man in the park do once but emerged with her pants and kneesocks damp and her chin trembling.
“Mom,” she gulped, “I was—I was—”
“You know what, Tuppy-my-guppy,” her mother said, “I have your burgundy cords in my bag, and I’m thinking they’d be a little more seasonable when we get to San Francisco. Comfort-wise. Would you mind changing?”
“I don’t mind,” the guppy gratefully shook her head.
Grown-up Tulsa closed her eyes, missing the scent of baby powder in low-heeled shoes.
Alexandra Firestein: “A woman has no reflection so pristine as her mother; no stronger ally, no greater enemy—except, perhaps, herself.”
Tulsa hitched up her dress, did what was necessary in the cramped space, and then washed her hands, trying to avoid the mirror. She wrestled her gigantic purse onto the sink, took out her Noxzema and wiped away the smudgy raccoonish remains of her mascara. She rubbed at a smear of blush above each sallow cheek and scrubbed her pudgy neck where the brocade pattern of the seat cushion had left a bold red imprint while she slept. She prodded her heavily padded bra, trying to push it back to semiroundness. Her hair looked like a bad night at the Ice Capades. Her forehead showed signs of premenstrual breakout.
She was ugly.
Tulsa savored the mouth-watering sting of it; it was her uniqueness, her red badge of courage, the only familiar thing left in her world. Someone at some time had opened some tiny puncture wound on her, and by carefully continuing to peel around the edges of it, Tulsa was able to open it wider, just enough to prevent it from healing. She had nurtured it through a spotty childhood and into raw red adolescence. It had become easier to lay the wound open during high school as others rushed to reaffirm her worst fears about herself.
She was asked out only once, and not by one of the three boys in her class who were taller than she was. Radley Baenmeier was the ill-fated short boy who waited for her after assembly the day Dr. Fursthort called her forward and gave her a certificate for getting the highest SAT score in the history of Lighton Valley Christian Academy. The good doctor was scowling because Tulsa was about to graduate with a D average and was known to cut classes early and often. What’s more, the girl was a Jew—a hell-bound, Christmas-concert-shunning Jew—and that mother of hers was a pestilence, God help us, a threat to decent people. Tulsa ran the gauntlet of spattering applause to the front of the auditorium, nicked the embossed certificate from his chubby fingers, wriggled out of a damp handshake, and dodged behind the heavy stage curtain. She hid, heart pounding, in the velveteen forest until everyone was gone.
But Radley Baenmeier waited for her.
Congratulations, he told her and did she suppose, he wondered, would she maybe want to go see a play or something sometime, because his mom would drive them on Friday, you know, if Tulsa wanted to go see Othello, which the state university theatre department was doing, and it might not suck, you know, so…you know. Would she? Did she want to go?
Tulsa wanted to go. Truly she did. Radley was a known brain and not completely unattractive. He was almost as tall as she was and smelled like he’d just taken a shower with Dial soap. Tulsa thought she could stand being driven by Radley’s gushy mother and sitting close beside him for two Dial-scented hours in the aching, artistic dark of Othello. But somewhere between Desdemona’s passion and Iago’s deceit, she became convinced that this must be an elaborate practical joke and someone was about to pour a bucket of pig’s blood on her head just like in Carrie, and then she got terribly thirsty and crept down the back stairs to make her way miserably home in the snow. Radley never spoke to her again. He just schlubbed over to the other side of the hall when he saw her, and Tulsa just quoted Alexandra Firestein on the archaic, meat-market practice of dating. It was easier that way. For a girl who looked like she did.

Excerpt from The Centauress by Kathleen Jones

In every tragedy there is the accidental moment – choosing a particular seat on a train, turning down the wrong road, deciding to take a lift from the 89th floor – the arbitrary, pivotal moment that means destruction or survival...

Afterwards they sent me a phial of ash and it goes with me everywhere.  Every night before I go to sleep I hold it in my hand and close my eyes and try to visualise a face that is gradually becoming more and more remote.  The glass is cold and hard to the touch, but it warms in my fingers and I like to think that somewhere in it there is a flake of skin, a fragment of bone, a few remaining atoms of the person I loved.  Flesh of my flesh; bone of my bone.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Women Writing Women (February 20, 2015 for 90 days) £7.99/$9.99 from Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and more. More information on
1st Prize- brand new kindle pre-loaded with the book
10 runners up prizes – A Digital swag bag