Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG: That First Draft . . .

It’s ugly. It’s raw. But it’s done.


There’s nothing like the feeling of finishing that first draft. Finally, there’s proof that all the hours, days, months of pounding away at the keys has produced a viable (you hope!) product. Your first instinct is to hide its ragged edges as quickly as possible beneath a shiny new revision.

Noooooo!!

The absolute worst thing a writer can do is toss out that first draft - aside from the fact that someday we might be a Stephen King and every one of those x-ed out pages could be worth their weight in hard cover gold! I used to type directly over my original draft when making edits – FOR SHAME! Not only would I be up that creek with our favorite name if anything happened to that only copy, but what if by the time I finished, I decided that original scene in Chapter Eight was the stronger way to go? And think of all the valuable material you’re tossing when it comes to extra content – deleted scenes, alternate endings, etc. Words are something that should never be thrown away. That clip of dialogue or description may be out of place and destined for delete – but what if there’s a perfect home for it in Book 2? What if you take out of that section thinking its repetitive then find out it’s the only place the future plot twist is set up? Yikes! Save that draft and save your sanity!

Even if that original draft never gets used except to take up space on your hard drive or in the Cloud, someday you might want to look back to see how far you’ve come. It could be that monument to your evolution, the Cro-Magnon edition of your best seller. Of course then someone would steal it and publish it to embarrass your family and publicist, but that’s a high class problem, isn’t it?

I have the original manuscript of my first attempt at a novel (deservedly in a box in the closet, all 600+ pages painstaking typed on a Smith Corolla). I have the notebook with my handwritten copy of the first book I published complete with chocolate stains from the hands of my then two-year-old. They’re in the museum of my personal writing history. I take them out occasionally and smile. Sometimes I use them to horrify the new generation of writers who aren’t sure how to use lined paper or correction tape. But mostly, I just go through the pages and remember how and where they were created and how far they’ve brought me in this career I pursued because I can’t NOT write.

Think before you delete. You might make the Smithsonian weep to think they could have used that in your exhibit!

Now, on to UNLEASHED BY SHADOWS-revision . . .



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!


Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting will be Charity Bradford, S.A. Larsen, AJ, Tamara Narayan, Allison Gammons, and Tanya Miranda!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

20 Questions with Rosanne Bittner: Getting to Know Your Favorite (or soon to be new Favorite!) Author


I’d almost forgotten how much I loved historical romances . . . I hadn’t read one in forever. Where had they gone, all but swallowed in a sea of plaid and ball gowns? One of my first loves was the Western, watching Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, and Maverick as a child, getting lost in Lonesome Dove and How the West Was Won. John Wayne, with his iconic saunter, was my hero. Thank you, Rosanne Bittner, for reminding me.

Rosanne and I started out in romance together (okay, she had a head start and was kind enough to mentor me) with the same publisher, Zebra, when westerns ruled a sprawling romance backdrop. We were ‘80s ladies. Our covers toted cactus, six guns, and half-shed prairie dresses. Our heroes were tough, gritty men and our women (and readers) loved them with a fierce determination. Then the publishing landscape changed, as it always will, brushing off the sand and searing sun to move to Regency London and modern million dollar lofts making the western into one of its ghost towns. Thank goodness for the return of the backlist to bring readers – and authors! – back to that first love. And leading the charge is the Romantic Times dubbed “Queen of Western Romance,” Rosanne Bittner with OUTLAW HEARTS.

Give a big “Yee Yah” and welcome back Rosanne Bittner as she takes on my getting to know you 20 Questions . . .

1. Blue jeans or party dress? Always blue jeans over a party dress! But I’m still a party girl, so the jeans have to be worn with lots of “glitz!”

2. Spa or gym workout? A spa day over a gym workout. I’d rather be pampered than sweat my buns off!

3. Early bird or night owl? I am definitely an early bird. Up at 5:00 am every morning, even if I’ve been writing till 2:00 a.m. that same morning.

4. TV at home or movie night out? Prefer TV at home so I can lie around in my PJ’s while watching a movie.

5. 5 words you’d use to describe yourself? Passionate, energetic, opinionated, dreamer, hard worker. 


6. What would you do if you had a free afternoon? I would just sit in my garden and watch the birds and rabbits or put earbuds in and listen to my favorite music (which is sound tracks from big, big classic westerns – or really, really good Christian music like the Gaithers – or Bon Jovi. I know, that’s a really wide range!

7. Your favorite book(s) from childhood? All the Nancy Drew books – most favorite of all is A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich. An unforgettable story about a woman who gives up her dreams and follows her husband to Nebraska when there was virtually nothing there but tall grass. It’s a very memorable, tear-jerker love story.

8. Something quirky about you? I love to “doodle,” especially filling in the holes in words on things where it doesn’t matter if I mess it up – like filling in the “o’s” in “doodle.” I also love to color in coloring books because again, I’m “filling in” something. Yes, I’m weird.

9. Favorite comfort food? Dark, dark chocolate, especially with almonds in it. 

10. Fiction hero you’d would run off with? My beloved Jake Harkner. I ran off with him 22 years ago and we’re still together.

11. Favorite books I could read over and over? This sounds like bragging but it really isn’t – to this day if I pick up one of my Savage Destiny books to check something out, I end up reading it all over again – any of them from #1 to #7. I wrote those books over 30 years ago and to this day they are still my best sellers and when I read them I feel like someone else wrote them. I have no memory of how or when I wrote them myself or how I managed to follow so much history so well. They read like Michener’s CENTENNIAL. The other book I can’t ever put down is my own OUTLAW HEARTS, which is why being able to write the sequel DO NOT FORSAKE ME meant so much to me. And now I’m writing a third “Jake” book that’s coming in 2016 – LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE. I can’t get enough of Jake.

12. Plotter or free range pantser? Definitely free range pantser. I don’t do outlines or synopses. I tell my editor in one paragraph or so what the book will be about and after over 60 books she knows I’ll come up with a good story. I don’t even worry about the required goal, motivation and conflict. Those things just naturally come into play as I write.

13. Live to write or write to live? It has ALWAYS been “live to write.” For years I worked full time so that was my income, but then the writing income became primary and I quit to write full time. However, I would write for nothing just to be able to share my stories with others. I love, love, love writing. It is never work to me. It’s a pleasure, and it sometimes affects me emotionally because I tend to take on the emotions of my characters. They become very real to me and I can’t wait to get back to the computer and re-join them.

14. Do you have a set writing schedule? No. I “cram” write – Every spare moment. Mostly I write into the wee hours of the morning because that’s when it’s the most quiet and when the best ideas come.

15. How do you get back on the horse after a rejection? I had probably 100 rejections “back in the day” when I first tried writing. They made me very angry because I knew they were good stories, so I just kept sending out and sending out over and over. I wrote one book after another and had them all out there circulating all the time until I finally sold the 9th book I had written – which became my classic SAVAGE DESTINY 7-book series.

16. First person you call when I get a sale? My husband of 50 years. He has put up with a lot and lives like a widower when I’m writing. He’s a very patient, very honest, very good man.

17. What’s your biggest hurdle to getting words on the page? None. I can’t write fast enough to spill out all the books I want to write. I did go a few years without selling anything but that was because I was trying other genres. Once I decided to go back to what I love the most – the “Old West,” I pumped out a book in two months and sold it within another month. I’ve never gone back to trying other genres.

18. How do I get in the mood to write “those” scenes? Oh, Lord, I’m usually so in love with my hero that I can hardly wait to WRITE those scenes!! Pretty embarrassing to say, but I’m not writing “about” the heroine. I AM the heroine and loving every minute of it!!

19. What’s on your desk? A lot of junk. My laptop should be on my desk but for some reason I end up writing on my kitchen table. I feel like I am closer to my poor lonely husband who is nearby in the living room watching TV. And for years I never had an office and sat up into the wee hours writing in the kitchen. I guess I can’t quite get over that habit. It just feels natural and more comfortable.

20. What’s next? My next book is out right now – OUTLAW HEARTS (June 2015) and DO NOT FORSAKE ME (July 2015). Next will be “Jake” #3 – LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE – in September 2016. In between, THUNDER ON THE PLAINS will be reissued in mass paperback in September 2015 – WILDEST DREAMS will be reissued in mass paperback in December 2015 – and all 7 of my SAVAGE DESTINY books are now available from Amazon in print with new covers! For those of you who have old copies of those books that are falling apart, or those of you new readers who have never read the series, you can finally get them in print again – and all my books are available as e-books also.

Be sure to check out my Website and my Blog for the latest happenings and what’s coming. I am also on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest and a zillion other social networking sites. Enjoy!


Outlaw Hearts
by Rosanne Bittner
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook | Kobo Books | All Romance
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Release June 2, 2015
Published by: Sourcebooks
Length: 576 Pages

Fall in love with the epic, sweeping romance of Bittner's beloved Outlaw Hearts, called by New York Times bestseller, Heather Graham, "a wonderful, absorbing read, with characters to capture the heart and the imagination."

United by chance, bound by fate, consumed by passion.

Miranda Hayes has lost everything-her family, her husband, her home. Orphaned and then widowed, desperate to find a safe haven, she sets out to cross a savage land alone...until chance brings her face-to-face with notorious gunslinger Jake Harkner.

Hunted by the law and haunted by a brutal past, Jake has spent a lifetime fighting for everything he has. He's never known a moment's kindness...until fate brings him to the one woman willing to reach past his harsh exterior to the man inside. He would die for her. He would kill for her. He will do whatever it takes to keep her his.

Spanning the dazzling West with its blazing deserts and booming gold towns, Jake and Miranda must struggle to endure every hardship that threatens to tear them apart. But the love of an outlaw comes with a price...and even their passion may not burn bright enough to conquer the coming darkness.

About Rosanne Bittner



Aptly title THE QUEEN OF WESTERN ROMANCE at the 2015 RT Convention, USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California—and are often based on Rosanne’s personal visits to each setting.

Rosanne's stories are deep love stories, often family sagas told as a series. It is the hero and heroine’s love that holds them together through the trials and tribulations of settling America’s western frontiers. Rosanne absolutely love the Rockies, the Tetons, the Sierras, and the wide-open plains, prairies and desert land west of the Mississippi. In her books, she strives to tell the truth about the settling of the West and how it affected our American Indians, as well as the gritty depth of what our brave pioneers suffered in their search for free land and a better life.

Rosanne lives with her husband and two sons in Michigan and is a member of the Nebraska and Oklahoma Historical Societies, her local southwest Michigan historical society, Women Writing the West, Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America, the national RWA, National Rifle Association and a local charity group called the Coloma Lioness Club. 


My Review

In reading OUTLAW HEARTS, Rosanne's re-release and introduction to two new books following the same gutsy hero and heroine, I found everything that makes a historical work Рthe larger-than-life stoic hero with a dark past, the determined heroine forced from naivet̩ into survival mode by tragic circumstance, the gritty, gun-toting, tobacco-spitting, cuss-word tossing streets only the brave (or foolish) dared tread after dark, and the miles and miles and miles of nothing but the lonesome howl of a raw, unbroken land. Her prose pulls you into that world with meticulous but non-intrusive detail until you feel the callouses, smell the scorch of coffee over an open fire, experience the freedom, exhaustion and sheer terror of taming a wild and unpredictable west. Now, I find myself eager to shake the dust off my own Dana Ransom books and get back in the Western saddle.

Y’all come back next month when we celebrate the release of DO NOT FORSAKE ME, the next book in the trilogy, by interviewing Jake and Miranda Harkner!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Heat Wave GIVEAWAY Hop!

Nothing like winning cool things when the weather heats up . That’s why a group of author/blogger friends and I have banded together to fan the flames of summer with FREE stuff any romance reader would love.


There’s nothing I like better on those long, lazy days off than a cool drink and a hot book. You provide the beverage of choice and I’ll help with the reading material by offering a $10 Amazon gift card. What’s your pleasure? A romantic beach read? An adventurous trip through history? Suspense to chill your blood when the humidity rises? A walk on the paranormal dark side in the middle of that sunny day? Take your pick. Start by entering below.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to visit all the Hop sites for your best chance to collect sizzling prizes! The contest runs from June 21st to 28th.

To pour on the heat, here’s a freebie sample from my dark paranormal Shape-shifter romance UNLEASHED BY SHADOWS, now in final edits . . .




The well-dressed crowd pushed as close as they dared, high on the adrenalin thrill and raw violence. Anticipation electrified the air, a pheromone compliment to the blood already shed. Even knowing what they were about to see, having experienced the jolt, the shock, the wild intoxication of it during the first two rounds, the concept was still unique enough to spike feverish excitement. The illegal factor brought some. The chance of watching mortal combat enticed others. But the whisper, just the glimmer of possibility that what they were seeing wasn’t staged reeled them and their fat wallets in and held them captive. 

Lights in the dressage ring went dim, bringing those in the bleachers to their feet so they could see over the mob straining against the fence. A deafening cry rose from the spectators as spotlights swirled and finally fixed upon two massive figures loping out into the center of the ring. Breaths caught in amazement as light glinted off the feral red of their eyes and glittered in the strings of drool threading off ferocious fangs. The hunched shoulders, thick with muscle, matted with bristling hair, claw-tipped hands curled and ready to shred anything within reach belonged in a Sci-Fi movie or circus freak show. Animals, monstrous and dangerous . . . at first glance. Until amazed eyes traveled down those heaving chests to Wrangler jeans and work boots still mudded from the docks. 

Not animals. But not men, either. 

Was it just amazing theater presented for the exclusive few? The audience didn’t care. The carnage was genuine. The chance to wager and win big real. 

The pair paused instead rushing forward to lock in battle. Waiting. The arena grew quiet as shaggy heads lifted to test the thick air as if the heavy breeze conveyed an unsettling message. They began to growl and weave warily, not liking what they scented. The spectators stained to see. 

But the figure striding boldly into the ring to meet the two behemoths wasn’t fierce or frightening in look or attitude. The cocky strut, the taunting grin, the sleek gleam of tanned flesh on brawny arms. Just a man? 

The beasts drew back in confusion, looking toward handlers who stood in the shadows, not sure what to do when confronted with such a vulnerable opponent. But the slight figure showed no hesitation as he flung fists high as the first hard rocking chords of “Fire Your Guns” shattered the humid air. 

Chanting started small and built like a squall out on the Gulf, rolling in louder and louder. 

“Gunslinger! Gunslinger!” 

The fighter responded to their cries with a sudden echoing roar. His hands gripped the front of his tee shirt as his head fell back, and he was lost within a flash of dazzling light. And when blinking eyes adjusted, they went wide to see standing in the small human’s stead a creature covered in a thick red-gold pelt, lupine features lifted in a savage howl. 

Right. Before. Their. Eyes. 

Same clothing. Same black armband. Same widely planted stance. As if he’d transformed from man to beast right in front of them! 

And the audience went wild.


Happy Summer (if it ever stops raining here in Michigan!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG: How’s that Career Plan Going?


I laughed when I saw this on Facebook, and then I looked harder. Half the year’s gone, and the smooth road I imagined for myself has turned out to be more American Ninja obstacle course than that quick road race.

Some days I long for the simple years when I first got published, when ignorance was bliss. I’d open my notebook and write my stories, type them up and send them to my editor in a big honking box, then I waited to see my book there on the shelves where I bought my groceries, did my shopping and got my gas, and no one knew I was the author. Writing was my job, my ONLY job (other than raising those two kids!). And I loved it! It was intimate, personal, mine!

Now, writing occupies the LEAST amount of my time. There’s the 9-to-5, blog, website, FB, Twitter, Goodreads, Pintrest, etc. to maintain, groups, loops, a grandson (hey, no complaints about that!), numbers, rankings, reviews to obsess over, contest judging, critiques to do, art fact sheets, back blurbs, book trailers, playlists, hosting and guesting on other sites, Hops and giveaways (and that’s just my To Do list this month!). And I LOVE all those things, too. But some days I miss it being just me and that notebook.

When a career plan goes from perma-press to natural cotton, it takes some extra effort to get all the wrinkles out, but there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing what went into making it look smooth to the casual observer. And burns a lot more calories.

Part of my current busyness is getting my Touch of Midnight vampire romance series dusted off and ready for repackaging with ImaJinn Books (now an imprint of BellBooks). Written during those simple paper manuscript times, the first three books haven’t been in print for 20 years, and to get them ready for a July book-a-month relaunch of the entire series, I’ve been swamped with art fact sheets, scans, copy edits and proofs coming in practically every week (a high class problem to have, but an exhausting one!) that leaves next to no time to get my current WIP finished. Finding time to do both (AND all the rest!) has been frustrating, to say the least. But I’m getting there, pedaling hard and coasting downhill when I can.

How’s your career plan looking at this mid-year mark? Smooth sailing or motocross moguls?



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!


Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the June 3 posting will be M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

“Take Five” with Pampered Pets Mystery Series authors Sparkle Abbey!


One of the very best things about working with a new publisher is new author friends! Since being contracted by BelleBooks (writing contemporaries as Dana Ransom for Bell Bridge Books and vampire romance as Nancy Gideon for ImaJinn) my Kindle runneth over with exciting, heart-tugging, and downright hilarious reads. 

As a lover of all things fur, fin and feather, how could I resist titles such as Desperate Housedogs, Get Fluffy and Kitty Kitty Bang Bang in the Pampered Pets cozy mystery series by Sparkle Abbey? Right off the bat, I’ll solve the first mystery – Sparkle Abbey is actually TWO writers. I don’t want to spoil everything so I’ll let the authors “Take Five” with a little Q & A.

First, meet Sparkle Abbey.



Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They’ve chosen to use Sparkle Abbey as their pen name on this series because they liked the idea of combining the names of their two rescue pets – Sparkle (ML’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). The authors co-write the bestselling Pampered Pets Mystery Series which focuses on the wacky world of precious pedigrees, pampered pooches, and secrets in posh Laguna Beach, California. The main characters and amateur sleuths are Texas cousins, Carolina Lamont, a pet therapist, and Melinda Langston, a pet boutique owner. The first books in the series, Desperate Housedogs, Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, Yip/Tuck, Fifty Shades of Greyhound, and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo have received rave reviews. Midwest Book Review calls the series, “A fun and sassy mystery!”

The next installment, coming in June, Downton Tabby, is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. The authors love to hear from readers so stop by their Website or visit them on Facebook and Twitter to check out all their news.

And now “Take Five”


1. Is there a story behind your unique and uber fun series concept?

There is a story and like most authors’ stories, it begins with rejections. You see we’d both been writing for while and submitting our writing to editors/agents. We’d each had some minor successes: contest wins, nibbles of interest, but no sale. Then we were attending a conference where we had a chance to sit and talk informally with a NY agent who advised us that if we wanted to write cozy mysteries we needed a stronger hook. (Cooking, knitting, antiques, scrapbooking, etc.) We brainstormed ideas and hit a lot of dead ends. Our thinking was that if we were going to do a series it should be something we had some expertise in, and also something we truly cared about. When we hit on the idea of a series around pampered pets, it seemed natural to work together on it, as we’d come up with idea together.

2. Do readers ever catch on to a difference in Sparkle Abbey’s writing voice between Caro and Mel’s books?

That’s an interesting question, Nancy. Our publisher tells us though not exactly alike that the voices are so similar they can hardly tell the difference. At first many readers didn’t notice any difference at all in the voices. We had one or two comments but that’s about it. However, as we’ve had a chance to meet more of our readers in person, there are some who notice a few differences. Because the books have two difference protagonists, the slight difference in voices seems to work in our favor.

3. Do you ever write parts of the other’s book or is it “Step away from the keyboard”?

We edit each other’s books and make suggestions, but we’ve never actually written full sections. We’ve talked with a lot of other collaborators and it seems there’s no one way to write together. The writing team seems to figure out a hybrid that works for them.

4. Ever have stylistic or artistic differences when plotting or with character development? How are they settled?

We have very few differences and we think that’s partially a product of the way we collaborate. However, of course, we sometimes have different views on plot or characters and we’ve always settled the differences by figuring out what is the best solution for the story or character development. Collaborating definitely means setting egos aside!

5. What’s the most fun, the plotting, the writing or the promoting?

We love the plotting! We’re both plotters and love setting up the twists and turns of the story. Although it morphs and changes as we begin the writing, we love thinking through the “what if” scenarios of building a story. This often involves a plotting retreat with white boards, sticky notes, and lots of chocolate.

Extra Credit: What’s next for our daring Pet Detectives?

The next book (out in June) is Downton Tabby which is a Caro book, and up after that is, Raiders of the Lost Bark, a Mel book.

My take on the Pampered Pets series – I LOVE it! It was a toss-up whether to start with dogs or cats. The cats may have won out but I was quick to go right from there to the dogs. What delightful reads! The characters are as unique and eccentric as their pets. The dialogue is quick and snappy. You can’t read it without a smile. I adore Caro and Mel and their madcap (and wonderfully drawn!) friends who make you feel like part of the neighborhood. The clever twists and turns of plot snatch you up and take you on a hands in the air ride. A good thing you don’t have to get off – the next installment is just a One Click away. In fact, Downtown Tabby is enjoying its cover reveal today over on Goodreads.

It’s a dog’s (and cat’s) life and I’m thrilled to be a part of this one!

Friday, May 8, 2015

It’s a Big Deal! FROM THIS DAY FORWARD just $1.99!

What a thrill to have my Dana Ransom contemporary FROM THIS DAY FORWARD selected by Amazon to be part of their Big Deal promotion in May! Enjoy this original romance for only $1.99 just in time for Mother’s Day!


Amazon Big Deal!

Can two broken hearts make a perfect match?

Widowed on her honeymoon, Robyn Lee pours all her unfulfilled dreams of a happily-ever-after into her wedding planner business, hiding her own heartbreak by making perfect memories for couples beginning the loving future she was denied. The last thing she needs is for the brother of her dream client--whose endorsement will guarantee Robyn's success--to rock the boat . . . and her regimented world. 

Through the lens of his camera, photojournalist Kyle Travers has witnessed all the ugliness life can offer. Still reeling from the death of his coworker in the field, he sees the frilly job of photographer at his sister's wedding as an annoyance--until he meets the steely organizer who protects her broken spirit almost as fiercely as he does his own--making him wonder if two fractured halves can make a stronger whole. 

Because spring turns thoughts (and deeds!) to romance, here’s a glimpse of Kyle and Robyn as that first big thaw begins to warm things up . . .
“How’s the coffee?” she asked, impatiently. The nonverbal suggestion was Drink up and hit the road. Contrarily, he took a small sip.

“It’s good. Strong and black, just the way I like it. Just the way I need it to get out of bed in the morning.”

He saw her get all edgy at that reference, as if struggling not to imagine him getting out of bed. Or in bed. And he smiled at her, looking smug and lazy and as inviting as rumpled sheets. And because he had her running scared, she blurted out the next sentence without forethought.

“Last night was a mistake.”

His expression didn’t alter as he studied hers. “I’ll say.” Then, just as she began to relax, he added, “Next time I’ll put the chain lock on.”

A shiver of desperate tension rose up through her. “There won’t be a next time, Kyle.”

Who was she trying to convince with that staunch claim? He didn’t believe it, not after the way her mouth had followed him down to the sofa cushions. She didn’t believe it, either, not when he could see the way her hands clutched at the wedding photo.

He could do one of two things. He could be a gentleman and back off to a cautious distance or he could plunge full steam ahead to rock her off her safe pedestal of grief.

He was a full steam ahead kind of guy.

“Why? I know you liked it and I know you like me. Admit it, Robyn. You’re crazy about me, and it’s driving you crazy.” 

“I am not!”

“Yes, you are.”

“I’m not! I find you the most insufferable, rudely arrogant man I’ve ever met!”

“And you love it, don’t you? Come on, Robyn, you do. Because I’m not predictable. Because you can’t write me off in a nice little column in your protocol book. Because I make your heart race and your palms sweat and your mouth water.”

“I think you’re describing symptoms of the flu. That’s what I was suffering from last night.”

He laughed with more confidence than he was feeling. “I don’t think I was making you sick to your stomach. I think you’re just scared to death of what would have happened if Judy hadn’t walked in.”

“You’re wrong!”

“Am I? I don’t think so. And I don’t think you think so either. And I can prove it to you.”

He took a quick step forward and he could see her sway, part of her wanting to yield, part of her wanting to run. He’d never seen so much panic in another’s eyes. It gave his conscience a nasty yank, but it didn’t stop him. He was, after all, no saint.

The moment his head dipped down, hers ducked too, causing his nose to collide with the top of her head. The sudden, swimming pain of it caused him to hesitate, but not to retreat. His grip on her tightened even as her palms were levering against his chest, pushing. But her fingers clung.

“Kyle, don’t.” There was so much anguish in her tone. A gentleman would have relented but she already knew he wasn’t a gentleman.

“Robyn, don’t be afraid,” he said into the soft spill of her hair. “Don’t be ashamed of what you’re feeling.”

“Kyle, please . . .”

“He’s gone, Robyn. You can’t bring him back. You can’t keep hanging on.”

“I don’t want to let go.” But at that moment, she did, releasing all the pent up emotions, all the festering grief. She leaned into the soft, faded fleece of his Pistons sweatshirt and sobbed like a baby with a broken heart. Instantly, his arms enfolded her, all thoughts of passion overwhelmed by those of care. Then it hit him, and hit him hard. 

When had he fallen in love with Robyn Lee?

Happy Spring and Happy Reading! Make today a Big Deal and look for these other contemporaries under my Dana Ransom name:


  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG: Spring Has Sprung - Renew, Revive and Rejuvenate!

Spring is the time to shake off the shackles of winter inactivity, to throw open the doors and windows, breathe deep, and start cleaning. For me, it’s going from this:


To this:


For me, the harbinger of spring has always been my Mid-Michigan chapter of RWA’s Retreat from Harsh Reality in April. For three days, we writers gather to relax, brainstorm, critique, reconnect with our friends and our projects, and refocus our energies in a laidback atmosphere that over the past 30 years has gone from dorm rooms at the local university to posh accommodations at a lakeside resort. While we’ve always featured fabulous speakers and casual workshops and events, the main attraction for me has always been a place to Retreat. To get away.

As writers, moms and dads, students, 9-to-5ers, etc. we get so busy with the busyness of day-to-day we often forget to just take a minute to step back and breathe. To let mind and body rest so we can invite inspiration back in on the next inhalation. I was lucky this spring to not only attend our Retreat, but to escape altogether for a weeklong trip to visit my critique partner in AZ. Every morning I was able to get up early (still on Michigan time) and take my coffee to a special office niche to watch the desert come alive around a trickling fountain. Can you say peaceful oasis? Because the WiFi was limited, I couldn’t download the proofs I was supposed to be doing or engage in Social Media. So I found myself pulled back into the W-I-P I’d been struggling with, and before the week was out had four chapters complete and the rest of the book solidly plotted. Amazing what the mind can do when distractions are limited to the beauty of nature. Le sigh . . .



I know we can’t all pack up our troubles and tensions to escape for a week. Sometimes finding even a few hours is difficult enough. But take time to make time. Find a quiet place in the sun to watch the world move around you and let mind and spirit wander. Seek out like-minded souls who awaken the passion in your writer’s heart. Then it becomes that much easier to not just grow where you’re planted . . . but to thrive.

Because in Spring thoughts turn to Romance, I’m excited that Amazon selected my w/a Dana Ransom contemporary title FROM THIS DAY FORWARD for their Big Deal promotion. Starting May 8, it’s available for just $1.99 (!). Take a copy to the beach or the deck or someplace you can dream and lose yourself between the pages.





Can two broken hearts make a perfect match?

Widowed on her honeymoon, Robyn Lee pours all her unfulfilled dreams of a happily-ever-after into her wedding planner business, hiding her own heartbreak by making perfect memories for couples beginning the loving future she was denied. The last thing she needs is for the brother of her dream client--whose endorsement will guarantee Robyn's success--to rock the boat . . . and her regimented world.

Through the lens of his camera, photojournalist Kyle Travers has witnessed all the ugliness life can offer. Still reeling from the death of his coworker in the field, he sees the frilly job of photographer at his sister's wedding as an annoyance--until he meets the steely organizer who protects her broken spirit almost as fiercely as he does his own--making him wonder if two fractured halves can make a stronger whole.

Nancy Gideon, writing as Dana Ransom, is the award-winning author of over 55 romances in a number of genres including historical, contemporary suspense, and paranormal. She works full time as a legal assistant in Southwestern Michigan, and when not at the keyboard, feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin, and fowl. She's also written under the pen names Rosalyn West and Lauren Giddings.





Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
IWSG awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG will be Eva Solar, Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop!


Spring is here and it's time for a big giveaway from Laughing Vixen Lounge. 11 shops have come together to create one amazing Prize Pack ($280+) full of Jewelry, Perfume, Clothing, Vintage and much more! Many of the shops offer items perfect for any book lover along with lots of other unique, handcrafted and custom designs.


The Fabulous Spring Giveaway is open worldwide. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below. Please visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog and the Main Giveaway Post HERE to see the full prize list, participating shops and daily features during the giveaway.


Since Summer is right around the corner the giveaway theme is Vacation Memories. Each of our participating shops, and many of our blog sponsors, will be sharing some of their favorite vacation photos with you.
So far my spring vacation has taken me from poolside in Oro Valley, AZ (yes, that backdrop of the Catalina Mountains was hard to take!) to lakeside at our Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America retreat at Bay Pointe Inn, Gun Lake, MI and from 89-degree cloudless skies to 33-degree snow flurries all in the space of a mid-month week in April. 





Relaxing, exhausting, revitalizing and awesome! And both provided fabulous shopping ops from wine in Tombstone to books by my favorite authors.

Even though I couldn’t take you along in my carry-on bag, I can share the Spring Has Sprung excitement via this wonderful giveway!


Giveaway runs May 4th - 18th. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. See full details HERE.


And Other Big News!

Because Spring turns thoughts to romance, I'm thrilled to announce that Amazon has selected my w/a Dana Ransom contemporary FROM THIS DAY FORWARD as part of its Big Deal promotion! It will be available for just $1.99 (!) starting on May 8th - just in time for Mother's Day.



Can two broken hearts make a perfect match?

Widowed on her honeymoon, Robyn Lee pours all her unfulfilled dreams of a happily-ever-after into her wedding planner business, hiding her own heartbreak by making perfect memories for couples beginning the loving future she was denied. The last thing she needs is for the brother of her dream client--whose endorsement will guarantee Robyn's success--to rock the boat . . . and her regimented world.

Through the lens of his camera, photojournalist Kyle Travers has witnessed all the ugliness life can offer. Still reeling from the death of his coworker in the field, he sees the frilly job of photographer at his sister's wedding as an annoyance--until he meets the steely organizer who protects her broken spirit almost as fiercely as he does his own--making him wonder if two fractured halves can make a stronger whole.

Nancy Gideon, writing as Dana Ransom, is the award-winning author of over 55 romances in a number of genres including historical, contemporary suspense, and paranormal. She works full time as a legal assistant in Southwestern Michigan, and when not at the keyboard, feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin, and fowl. She's also written under the pen names Rosalyn West and Lauren Giddings.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow

I love a good surprise, don’t you? When I had the chance to participate in this Cover Reveal, I was as hooked by the blurb (you’ll see why in a minute!) as I was by the anticipation of the book cover. Pins and needles time. And finally . . . WOW! Well worth the wait. Now, if only the book was One Click away like right freaking now!

Without further delay . . . Here’s The Dreamer!


The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow
(The Dreamland Series, #1)
Publication date: May 15th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Fantasy/Sci-fi
Put it on your Goodreads TBR list!

It’s night. Always night. Dreams guard against the evil forged by nightmares. Infinite shooting stars illuminate a moonless sky. A city stands alone, surrounded by a darkened field. On its fringes, a man watches one star separate from the masses and fall. What survives the crash will unveil a secret centuries long hidden.

Molly hasn’t slept well since the night of her twenty-fourth birthday. Being struck by lightning might have something to do with it, but then again, her chicken did look a little undercooked at dinner. Whatever the culprit, her life quickly catapults from mundane to insane as, night after night, Molly is transported through her once dreamless sleep to a mysterious land illuminated by shooting stars.

There, she meets the captivating but frustrating Dev, and together they discover Molly possesses a power coveted by his people—the ability to conjure almost anything she desires into existence. Seduced by the possibilities of this gift, Molly shifts her attention from waking life toward the man, the magic, and the world found in her dreams.

But Molly must ask herself—does something truly exist if you only see it when you close your eyes?

Faced with the threat of losing everything—her job, best friend, boyfriend, and most importantly, that little thing called her sanity—Molly will learn just how far she’ll go to uncover what is real and what is merely a figment of her imagination. 

About E.J. Mellow



E.J.Mellow is a new adult and fantasy writer who resides in Brooklyn, NY. When she’s not busy moonlighting in the realm of make-believe, she can be found doodling, buried in a book (usually this one), or playing video games.

The Dreamer is the first book in her contemporary fantasy trilogy, The Dreamland Series.
Man oh man, May 15 can’t come soon enough!!

Happy reading and FINALLY, Happy Spring!



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG: The Dating Game – Finding That Perfect (Writing) Fit

The first few chapters in a manuscript are like dating someone new. You’re feeling your way around cautiously, exploring, getting to know one another. You’re afraid to reveal too much and at the same time, want to know everything about the other person. Things are clumsy and uncertain. After a few dates you start to know one another well enough to get comfortable, to relax and explore. A month or so in, you establish a relationship rhythm. You know what to expect and anticipate. You finish each other’s sentences, laugh at the same things, know when the other is struggling and how to fix it. 


Writing is like that.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bypass the blind date stage and jump right to the engagement party? Nope. No way to get around the work that goes into building something you want to make last. It’s those first difficult sentences, the take-for-freaking-ever-to-get- through chapters, the stilted dialogue and backstory drama dumps that pave the way for that satisfying conclusion. We just have to get through the hard part.

Serial daters cut and run when the going gets tough. Those who last to the golden anniversaries learn how to reshape rough edges into intriguing curves and inspiring heights.

Before you give up on that W-I-P and dump it like a bad date, maybe all you need is a little more effort and a lot more patience. Instead of focusing on the nitpicky things going wrong (dialogue you can tweak once you find your character’s voice, pacing you can fine tune in the editing stage), concentrate on the things that totally rock (the over-arcing storyline, that perfect scene, the feel of getting comfortable in your character’s skin). Once you quit looking for perfect right now, you’ll find happy together forever. Don’t be afraid to let it mature.

I almost gave up too soon on a prologue that began a bond spanning nine, going on ten books with my “By Moonlight” series. Here’s a glimpse of that relationship that started it all . . .




Serial dater or long term commitment? Where are you in your WIP?




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG will be Suzanne FurnessTonja DreckerToi ThomasRachna ChhabriaFundy Blue and Donna Hole!