Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pumpkinnapper is Here!

The time has come! The Wild Rose Press has released my Regency Halloween comedy novella, Pumpkinnapper.

Buy link here. Note, depending on your location, the link may not yet be active.

Join the fun as Henry the man and Henry the goose spar over heroine Emily's affections while they try to capture the foul pumpkin thieves.

The day's events:

September 30:

3-5 PM Eastern time: I'll be at the Classic Romance Revival loop
9-10 PM Eastern time: I'll be at The Wild Rose Press loop. I'll drop in all day, but I'll be there for sure at this time.

You must join the loops in order to post.

And enter my CONTEST--Find Me a Hero! Prize is a PDF copy of Pumpkinnapper. Contest runs through October 31. Details on my Contest page.


Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled and a jealous goose. Oh my.

Last night someone tried to steal the widowed Mrs. Emily Metcalfe's pumpkins. She's certain the culprit is her old childhood nemesis and the secret love of her youth, Henry, nicknamed Hank, whom she hasn't seen in ten years.

Henry, Baron Grey, who's never forgotten the girl he loved but couldn’t pursue so long ago, decides to catch Emily's would-be thief. Even after she reveals his childhood nickname--the one he would rather forget. And even after her jealous pet goose bites him in an embarrassing place

Oh, the things a man does for love.


"Emily, even with Henry, formidable as he is--" Hank glared at the goose. The goose glared back "--you need protection. I will send over some footmen to guard the place."

"No. Turnip Cottage belongs to Charlotte's husband. What will the townspeople think, with Lord Grey's servants about my house?"

Her refusal increased his fury. The sight of her hand on that damned goose's head didn't improve his mood, either. He balled his fists as his patience thinned and something else thickened. "I'll find you a guard dog. You must have some protection out here all alone."

"But I have Henry." She patted the goose's head and the bird snuggled into her hand. Again.

Heat flooded Hank, part desire for Emily's touch, and part desire to murder that damned goose, who was where he wanted to be. His insides groaned. "Very well, then, you leave me no choice. I will help you catch the culprits."


He changed his voice to the voice that either melted a woman or earned him a slap in the face. "Who knows, mayhap we would enjoy ourselves as I lie in wait with you." I would love to lie with you.

Her eyes widened. Had she understood the innuendo?

"I cannot stay alone with you, and you know it," she said, her voice severe.

"You are a widow in your own home and no one will see. I will make sure of it."

"No." She marched back into her cottage and slammed the door. Henry smirked and waddled away.

Hank grinned. He would be back, whether she liked it or not.

Thank you all,


Linda Banche

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal

Lady of the Stars--4 stars from Romantic Times, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press

Pumpkinnapper--Regency Halloween comedy, available from The Wild Rose Press

Website Blog Myspace Facebook Twitter

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Do, Again?

Being a romantic, I am always thrilled when the subject of weddings come up. I love to listen/talk about weddings. Dresses, flowers, music...vows, receptions and cake!

Oh yes, don't forget the cake, erhm hint though, don't fall for the save the top for the first year does not freeze well. Eat that baby up then and there, or find some interesting game to play with it. ~whistling angelically~

Yep, I love weddings. However, I don't feel the romance in vow renewals, per se.

Wow, doesn't that make me sound like a grumpy grump. Wait, let me explain.

I love vow renewals, just not the public ones. Huh? I'm getting there, I promise.

See, I think of renewing ones vows is a very personal thing, far more so than a wedding. Odds are, this is the partner I've spent 20 or more years with. This is the love I've gone through heck and back with, the lover I've trusted with all of my fantasies and sometimes interesting desires. This person is the match to my soul and over the years our connection has grown larger than I could ever imagine.

For me, I can think of nothing more romantic than finding a beautiful spot in this big wide world were my love and I could sprawl out and tell each other all of the reasons we love each other, warts and all, including things I would not say in front of anyone else. Now that for me, is a vow renewal.

Okay, I hear ya, shouldn't we do this everyday? Heavens yes, but do we? Or do we some days chase our tail to the point of exhaustion and flop into bed with a "Hey, I love..." snort, snoring ensues.

How about the flip side to that, do we overuse that love word? Say it every time we leave the house or room? Has it become a non word?

Probably not, but hey, you never know.

So tell me, what would be your perfect vow renewal?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Romance of Trail and Seneca

Tomorrow, Thursday, September 24th, is the release day for my erotic romance novel, STALLION OF ASH AND FLAME, from Siren-BookStrand.
Yep, I’m galloping with excitement.
If you can’t tell by the title and cover, my hero, Trail, is a stallion shapeshifter. The story is also told from his viewpoint because he arrived before my mind’s eye more than ready to talk.
This is a story I fell in love with by degrees. For me, as a writer, often it’s magical love at first sight with no lessening of that feeling as I pen away. In this case, the more I’ve worked with Trail and Seneca and on the plot, the more my love grew. This happened throughout the writerly process, including the final line edits.
Since I haven’t gotten a clear picture of what excerpts to use for STALLION, I’ll just start at the beginning of the story, an r-rated excerpt I think.

First, here’s the blurb ~

Drojovv Zyan of the V’Trailuc Realm is a man-stallion of ash and flame on a mission to save his world’s crucial Earth portal from the fires ravaging the National Forest surrounding it. Pretending to be the tracker, Trail, he settles in a small southeastern Arizona town. When he gets an eyeful of the beautiful ranch owner, Seneca, he stud lusts after the Earth human, a woman he’s not supposed to take as his Mate.

Trail leaves her alone until her brother is in a bad motorcycle accident and she needs a hired hand. Soon both of them are threatened by a whole horde of enemies. At all costs Trail must protect her. His world depends on it, her world depends on it. And his heart comes to depend on it.

Chapter One ~ Her Hired Hand

Southeast corner of Arizona, Spring 2009

Trail rapped his knuckles on the splintery wood of the ranch house’s front door and made a mental note to replace it. The instant Seneca moved to answer, he gathered her fragrance into his nostrils, then let the blazing rose and gingery spice of her womanly flesh course through him. He suppressed his urge to breathe in her scent more fully. He’d decided to help her and, at the same time, make his cover on Earth look real.

Trail had admired Seneca from afar, mainly at the Saturday night dances in town. Despite the raging bulge of his cock every time he did catch sight of her, he knew she was not a woman to give a man a one-night tumble, so he’d always respected her aloofness toward him.

Even now, his balls ached to give her a mounting she’d always remember. One that would make her call out his name, his real name, Drojovv. One that would make her summon him when he ran as stallion, the way of lovers in his realm.

His was an equine shifter world more advanced in technology than present-day Earth. Since the time of Deluge, after the catastrophic sinking of Atlantis, Earth and his planet-world had been connected by a portal, many of them now. The first portal had been created by renegade Atlantean scientists looking for other worlds to inhabit.

Down, stud, he commanded himself. You’re only here to help a mare in need.

Before she opened the door entirely, Seneca peeked around the edge. The glisten of her bright sky eyes galloped over him. Recognizing him, she opened the door, her gaze meeting his without an ounce of pretense. Still, speculation flickered in their depths. Trail had decided a long time ago her eyes were a type of magic he wanted to explore. However, that could not be his destiny.

“Howdy, Seneca. I’m looking for a job. Mandy saw your ad for a hired hand until your brother can get back on his feet again. I’m applyin’.” He tried a small grin that he hoped looked more friendly than saying, “I want to grab your fine round ass and plunder your mouth until you melt against me.”

“Trail, is it?” She stepped outside, letting the door slam closed. Raising her chin, she eyed him almost fiercely and crossed her arms beneath her plump perky breasts. Hell, she rarely wore a bra, and now her nipples poked her flannel shirt, he knew not for him. The morning chill hadn’t been dispelled by the sun’s ferocious heat yet.

“Yes, ma’am. That’s my handle.”

“Why Trail?” Her tone interrogated him, even though her brows raised revealing her curiosity.

“End of the--” He paused, hoping for an amused glint in her eyes. Nothing. “As in, end of the trail.” Still nothing. “This is where I make my home, end-of-the-trail,” he added.

Trail had the wild urge to grab off his hat and finger the brim nervously like he’d seen in the old western movies he’d watched over and over. Yep, a filly like her would sooner kick his flanks, then race past him. That is, unless he minded his manners.


Her voluptuous dark pink lips formed an O. Trail caught himself wondering if she would respond to him like Maureen O’Hara had to John Wayne when he’d hauled her over his lap and given her ass a good blistering. Or when he’d seized her against him and forced a kiss on her fighting lips.

Stop, he warned himself. Stop thinking like that.

“Well, if Mandy thinks you’re okay, it might work. Are you two an item now? Last I knew she was pining hard for Rick.”

Trail watched her become aware she chatted friendly-like with him. She halted, searching his face. Dominant little mare, he thought, with that stubborn chin and that fiery gleam in her eyes. Yep, she’d nip his withers as soon as look at him.

“Nope, we’re just coffee-drinking buddies. Mandy is still chasin’ after Rick. My bet is she’ll get him roped real soon.”

Seneca nodded, her loose hair taking on a life of its own. He swallowed, watching the long smooth strands of coppery red dance in a lazy rhythm.


Have a Wonderful and Wild Autumn...
May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

STALLION OF ASH AND FLAME ~ coming from Siren-BookStrand, September 24th ~ A man-stallion of ash and flame on a mission to save his world’s Earth portal must save his Mate, a human woman forbidden to him ~ ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Man With No Name.

Some discussion on a group loop recently about whether to have both points of view in a story – the hero’s and the heroine’s. Most people seemed to prefer both, with a few who didn’t mind either way. I’m in the latter camp.

Sure, it’s nice to have both points of view. Hey, if a character has something interesting and important to say, bring ‘em on! It’s cool that a writer has the luxury of getting into more than one head and presenting both viewpoints.

It’s not always necessary, though. I’m equally happy with a story that presents just one person’s experience, and I’m fine with that being either the hero or the heroine. It’s the character that interests me more than the convention, really. We view the world around us from just one point of view, always – our own, of course – so a story with one point of view is fine.

The first (and horrendously long) draft of my short story Perfect Strangers spoke in the voices of both the hero and the heroine. It also had more head-hopping than a flea-infested dog pound, but it was a first draft, so I’ll forgive myself for that one. When it came to re-writing it and cutting it right down, it became clear pretty soon that it was the heroine, Anna, who wanted to speak. It was Anna’s head I wanted to be in, her experience I wanted to show, because I think Perfect Strangers is very much a woman’s story, one that many of us would read and say ‘yes, I know what she feels, I’ve felt this way too.’

'Reeling from the stress of a messy divorce and an unhappy Christmas, Anna seizes the opportunity to get away from London and spend a few days in Venice. When a waiter mistakenly assumes a quiet American with tousled hair and eyes darker than hot, sweet espresso is her partner, it seems only right they should spend the day together. Two perfect strangers in a perfect city, Venice works her magic on them both before they have to head back in sadness to their separate lives. It's another year, another Christmas, before they meet again; when they do, they realise that love, like Venice, is 'per sempre...' for ever.'

Of course, you don’t have to have experienced the exact same situation as Anna. It’s the emotional experience, that kind of shared understanding I like when I read the heroine’s point of view.

So what about the hero, this ‘quiet American?’ How do we learn about him? Because in Perfect Strangers, he doesn’t have a point of view.

He also doesn’t have a name.

“And work is?”
“When I’m here, it’s at l’Accademia. The gallery. I’m an art historian.” She pointed ahead of them further up the canal. “Along there. My friend Marco runs one of the departments.”
“Are you working now?”
“No, no, not this time.” Anna kept her gaze focused somewhere in the middle distance. “This is an escape.”
“A lady escaping and I don’t even know her name.”
When Anna looked at him, his smile was soothing winter sunshine. It could be so easy; just for once, to let go of the sadness she’d carried around for so long till it’d become part of her. So easy...but if she let go now, who knew where she would stop? To have a name would somehow make this more real, and Anna had had enough of cold reality.
“Look...I know it sounds strange, but would you mind if we didn’t? I think it might be simpler. Sometimes things are easier with strangers.”
To her relief, he nodded slowly.
“I think so,” he said. “Just one more detail on top of all the others?”
“Yes. Today isn’t about details. Today is different.”

Choosing not to give the hero’s name in Perfect Strangers came quite naturally, as it fitted the idea that this is very much a woman’s story. As well as recognizing the way Anna feels, I wanted the reader to imagine that just maybe this could have been her, with this man, in Venice in the rain. Maybe it could still be day. Who knows? After all, the man in this story is a bit of a fantasy character. He’s not only Anna’s stranger, he’s the reader’s, too. He’s whoever she wants him to be…for one perfect day.

It seems to have worked. One reviewer 'loved getting to know Anna, and how her male companion seemed to be the perfect fit for her as she was for him.' Another said the story 'captured the intensity of the love between this couple so concisely, so perfectly, that you can see why one tiny piece of information could create a ripple that would spoil the perfection.'

One more thing. An editor – not the lovely editor I eventually gave the story to - commented ‘yes, but shouldn’t they exchange names at the end?’ For the life of me, I couldn’t see how or where that would happen. Of course they will know each others’ names, but not on the page. Sometimes it’s better not to say anything. Having him announce his name would have killed the story stone dead, I think. You’d have heard the ‘clanggg’ for miles around. I’m glad I stuck to my guns and left him nameless.

And, of course, in the fine tradition of 'happily ever after,' left him with Anna per sempre...forever.

The video for Perfect Strangers can be seen right now in the list for September at You Gotta Read Videos. If you like it, please vote for it!

Perfect Strangers is available HERE at The Wild Rose press, where you can also read the reviews.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Kiss - A Little Late

I didn't post an excerpt for July's "First Kiss" week blog posts because I couldn't find anything.

But as I was poking around in my Ideas folder, I came across this unedited excerpt, from an as-yet unnamed Regency paranormal. This story is still more idea than WIP. It's the first kiss between the human hero, Ernest, and the paranormal, Ivy. Enjoy.

Ernest looked at the beautiful woman standing at the window. She held the curtain slightly open as she looked down the street. His body tightened, and with it came a wave of guilt. His wife had been dead for only six months. Already he was forgetting her, the outlines of her sweet face blurry, overlaid with Ivy's image. What a traitor he was.

At that moment, Ivy twitched the curtains closed and turned back into the room. She saw him watching her and she smiled.

He gave a shy smile in return and hastily looked down, his guilt overwhelming him. Even with the guilt, Ivy was still the most breathtaking woman he had ever seen.

Ivy saw the reaction and smiled to herself. She loved his smile, how it slowly lit his too-often sad face with happiness. But how she hated those spectacles. They enlarged his eyes and distorted his face, forcing it out of proportion.

Suddenly, she had an overwhelming urge to see what he looked like without the spectacles.

She walked over to stand before him. Startled, he looked up. Their gazes locked. The smile drained from his face. Had he read her mind? She lifted her right hand to his face, but didn't touch him. She held her hand there, a hair's breadth from his skin.

His breath caught.

She saw desire, pleading, desperation--hope--in his eyes. She moved her hand to unhook his spectacles from behind his left ear. Surprise added to the multitude of emotions in his eyes. Her other hand rose to unhook the other side of the spectacles, and then she lifted them from his head. She folded them carefully and placed them on the table beside them. Without the spectacles, his eyes were a normal size. Why had she not noticed he was an incredibly handsome man?

A rush of caring, tenderness and something more powerful--what was it? Swept over her. Without a single touch, this man had seduced her with his kindness, his intelligence and his caring.

She lifted her hands again and this time she cupped his face. He exhaled slowly as their skin met. Although she was a tall woman, he was taller still. She stood on her toes and brushed her lips across his. His eyes closed as a sigh escaped his lips.

"I know you've had other men, Ivy. But please, don't toy with me." His hands clenched at his sides, and she felt him shudder. "I don't think I could stand it."

"I am not toying with you, Ernest." She felt him relax a fraction. She put her arms around his neck and pulled his face down to hers. "I will never toy with you."

His lips relaxed, and she opened her mouth under his. She could feel tension in the stiffness of his body. His hands were still clenched at his sides. She slid the tip of her tongue over his lips and he loosened a bit. His hands unclenched and he wound his arms around her waist. They slid slowly up and down her back, as if she were a precious treasure that he must handle with care.

And in that last split second before his arms tightened around her and they both plunged relentlessly into the inferno of the kiss, Ivy, who had spent her entire existence toying with men, tumbled headlong, and for the first time, into love.

Thank you, all,

Friday, September 18, 2009


Praying for writing inspiration!
We live in such a busy world – which I think explains why I wake up tired!
My friend, author Elle Druskin who lives in Israel told me that over there they call it TATT – tired all the time – syndrome.

But you know, it’s a good tiredness. I’m doing what I love. Writing, playing mommy, being a wife – okay, so I should probably reorganize that list, but you know what I mean.

I was at a brainstorming session the other night with two other authors and we talked about the partial I’ve been asked to send to Silhouette in New York. All very exciting and one of my writing dreams.

But then as we talked about my query letter, reality hit. I mean what if they like it? What if they say want more? Offer a contract!

Scary stuff. It means I would have to do the whole writing a manuscript, editing etc, all over again. And again.

But that is the beauty of a writer’s life, we get to create new characters, settings and stories all the time. Something fresh and exciting two or three times a year, five if you’re masochistic!

At the moment I’m:
1. in deep edits for my book Hiring Cupid with Samhain
2. editing my partial for Silhouette.
3. thinking – which believe me is tough at times – of a new plot/characters for a book in 50 day challenge starting in – 12 days!
4. playing wife and mother, living thick in house renovations to boot.

But could I give up the writing? Could I walk away?
Not on your life.
A writer’s life is addictive, and it sure beats housework!
But it is a juggle and we have to be either content to live in chaos at times, or super organized. I choose organized, but I must admit that at times chaos actually chooses me.

Like I plot my novels, I plot my life. Write between 9-2, housework between 2.30 –3.30- yes you can see where my priorities are – family time – dinner – sneaking back to the computer for writing related issues. Sleep if I’m lucky, and then it starts all over again.

Last year, I sold four books and so with edits, line edits etc, it was hard to start anything new. The writer in me craved that chance to start all over again. Stories that come in the middle of the night when I quickly jot some notes so I don’t forget, wait a long time sometimes to be fleshed out into something grander than …Angel falls off her cloud.

This is what happened with my soon to be released Christmas story TO KISS AN ANGEL. I in fact dreamed this story 7 years ago while in hospital for an extended stay. Lying in bed – eating grapes – watching the clouds pass by, I wondered what would happen if an angel fell off her cloud to earth…and fell in love? Seven years Angel waited to be created… And now she has her own story – well hers and Clark’s

Here’s an excerpt
By Jane Beckenham

“Gather round, Angels. I have a job for you,” Angel Beatrice’s voice boomed across the heavens.
Reluctant to give up her prime position on the fluffy white cloud, Angel 459 nevertheless knew a command when she heard it. Shame. The day was sublime with clear blue skies rolling on forever. The perfect day for a snooze before harp practice she decided.
Stretching her arms skyward, her wings fluttered their own protest as she came alongside that cute Angel 007. She smiled at him, only to have Beatrice cough rather loudly.
“Right, there’s a job for one of you. A chance to get your very own cloud, so to speak, a chance to have another shot at earth,” Beatrice advised.
A collective ooh bounced across the bulbous cloud where the angels congregated.
Angel’s heart raced, excitement buzzing to the very tips of her fingers. Her wings flapped repeatedly.
“Settle down, Angel 459,” Beatrice countered. “The job isn’t yours, yet.”
A twitter of giggles and flapping wings circled Angel. Damn it. “Oops sorry Big Bopper,” she whispered. She had a habit of giving people nicknames, and knew for a fact that the Almighty kinda liked it, but that was their little secret. “Didn’t mean to say that.” At least not out loud, she added with a secret wink.
“Sure you did, Angel. You’re always speaking without thinking,” 007 piped in.
“Am not.”
“Angel 459, please step up.”
Beatrice directed her clear gaze towards Angel. “You are 459, otherwise known as Angelica?”
Angel nodded.
“Then step forward, girl, don’t dilly dally. You’ve a job to do.”
A job. A job. She’d got it. A chance at earth! But the big prize was a new cloud. Closer to the big guy. Angel couldn’t help a little skip for joy as her wings flapped and she glided towards Beatrice. The other angels fell back.
“Angel 459, your job, should you choose to accept it...”

So if you find yourself juggling, and your life in chaos, just remind yourself to put aside some time each day just for you, for your passion, for your dreams. Or simply just because you deserve it. And if you’re a writer, then jog that overcrowded brain of yours. You write because it’s an intrinsic part of you. Because this is YOUR dream.

Happy writing and reading everyone
Jane Beckenham

The Music of my Writing

When I sit down to write I almost always plug my ears with music. It helps to focus my mind on what I am doing, blocking out the rest of the house, and it puts me in the right mood for the scene I am writing or the story that I am creating.
I have my own office in the house, thanks to my hubby, but with two girls, two hamsters and one cat it is far from quiet. When I have time to sit down with my computer and write I have to focus myself and block out the house.
Music is my method.
I turn it up and I can ignore the squeals of my girlies as they run about and the rolling hamster balls that crash into my feet. Even the incessant meow of the cat who thinks she needs to be fed ten times a day, doesn't get through when I'm truly focused.
But music does more than just block out my life.
Music enhances the mood for my writing. If I am into a scene where my heroine is angry and, perhaps, looking for revenge, then I might listen to something like Pink or The Offspring to get me into that reved up mood. Not sexy but mad and energetic.
From Treasure of Flowers: ""How dare you speak of my father that way." Outrage bubbled inside of Violet at her father’s character being dragged through the mud again."
If I am writing something soft and sexy I like to listen to Micheal Buble or Journey. This brings me down to a happy place where I can write words of love and romantic desire.
From Treasure of Flowers: "As he drifted off to sleep, he breathed deep the scent of their lovemaking and pulled her soft form closer. Not only was this woman taking him to a treasure, she was turning out to be a treasure herself.
If I am writing something hard core and erotic I will plug in Finger Eleven or Seether to make me feel right for the scene.
From Dreamed Destiny: "His mouth ravaged hers in a desperately hungry kiss. His tongue forced her lips apart and mated roughly with hers. He was angry and he was rough, but she didn’t care. Her body went white hot and she wrapped her hands around the back of his head, encouraging him, asking him for more. She wasn’t ashamed, she didn’t care that she didn’t really know him."
I could write without music to focus me and set the mood, but it wouldn't be as much fun. For me music is a dimension that, unfortunately readers don't get when they read a book, unless they add it themselves.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The romance of uniforms

Photo by Juhu from Wikimedia CommonsYesterday I was chatting on the phone to a girl-friend. She mentioned her significant other was doing a plumbing job and had put on his overalls. 'He looks really good in them, too,' she said.

I agreed that men in overalls are sexy. Then I admit, 'Men in any kind of uniform are sexy to me. A paramedic in his greens, a musician in his tux, a doctor in a white coat, a policeman.'

'Face it, you're easy,' she said, and we both laughed.

Afterwards I considered the romance of uniforms. What is it that I find so

I suppose the following:

Military Uniforms - Army, RAF, Navy - these men are trained to protect me.
Police Uniforms - these men are trained to protect me and to assist me.
Paramedic uniforms - these men are trained to help me.

All of the above may also be involved in high stakes, life and death situations. And the other men in uniform? The overall boys? The overall uniform suggests competence and skill and commitment. Men who are masters in their craft.

So yes, all uniforms are sexy to me.

How about you?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Katie Reus: if it's TBB, it must have an HEA...

First I want to say thanks to Jane and all the other lovely authors at Happily Ever After for having me! I was wracking my brain thinking what to chat about. Should it be heroes, heroines that are TSTL, HEA’s, what’s in my TBR pile, then I thought…wow, I not only write in acronyms, I think and speak in them too. The other day I was talking to a non-writer friend about how the heck was I going to get my hero/heroine their HEA and she immediately asked “what the heck is HEA?” That’s when I realized I might have a problem. After I explained it to her she asked if there were more ‘romance acronyms’ out there and when I said yes, she wanted to know all of them. Now her favorite is TSTL (which is a fave of mine too). These are the romance acronyms I use on a semi-regular basis.

POV = point of view
HEA = happily ever after (which I must have in a romance!)
HFN = happy for now
TSTL = too stupid to live
HI = Harlequin Intrigue (my fave category line)
EC = Ellora’s Cave (my fave erotic romance publisher)
TBR = to be read
TBB = to be bought
KISA = knight in shining armor
NYT = New York Times
RS = romantic suspense
MS = manuscript
RT = Romantic Times
TT = time travel
WIP = work in progress
YA = young adult
ARC = advanced reading copy (I just got one in the mail!)

Okay, that’s just a starter list. I know I’ve missed more than a few, but I hope I added some new ones to your list. So, what are your favorite acronyms in romance? Whether you prefer HEA’s or HFN’s, thanks for stopping by today!

Katie Reus fell in love with romance at a young age through books she’d pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later, she still loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. When she’s not plotting or writing, she loves to travel with her husband. She writes romantic suspense, erotic romance and light paranormals. No matter the genre, Happily Ever After is always a must.

For more information you can find her at or

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Let's welcome LaVerne Thompson today. LaVerne, thank you for sharing your new release with us. We wish you many sales on Day in the Sun.

Those of us who live in modern financial industrial societies take so much for granted. We’ve got so many rights it takes lawyers, judges and government to keep ‘em all straight. Even to order a cup of coffee can take half an hour to go over all the various selections. And how often have we stood in that walk-in closet going now what am I wearing today: pants, shorts, dress, slacks, jeans, shirt, buttons, no buttons, red, brown, black, green it goes on and on. But what if you didn’t have the right to choose?

What if your profession was determined before you were born? What if you couldn’t choose something as basic as the person whom you’d spend the rest of your life with, have children with? What would you do?

I thought this is something some cultures still deal with all the time, but what if beings from other worlds had to face this problem too. What would they do if they wanted a happily ever after ending?

Run. Hide. If you can.

Day In The Sun
By LaVerne Thompson
part of the Last Summer Anthology

Mainstream Romance: Science Fiction/Futuristic, Interracial/Multicultural
ISBN: 978-1-60435-436-2
Cover Artist: Shirley Burnett
Editor: Lara Parker
Word Count: 24,370
Release Date: September 10, 2009
Buy Link

If you run from love can you hide?

As a member of the ruling class on her planet, Callie had no say in who she would marry. Her mother made the decision for her. She’d never even met the man she’d be bound to for the rest of her life. Her parents left her no choice. She fled her planet and would-be husband for a chance to live her life as she chose.

Landing on the back water planet earth, Jaran had one plan: to find Callie his reluctant bride and decide if he wanted to be married to her. No woman should be worth this kind of trouble. But it didn’t take him long to realize he wanted her by his side. But she ran from him once already.

How can he convince her to stop running long enough to love him?


The shrill cry of a sea bird flying overhead woke Callie from a sleep filled with memories. When she opened her eyes, the sun hung much lower on the water than it had when she’d closed them, turning the horizon golden. Her first conscious thought picked up on the threads of her dream that was no dream. Her father had helped her. He got her off their world and sent her to an unknown universe. Unknown that is to all, but a select few, like her father. More man of science than business, he studied the stars. Years ago he’d discovered a planet in another universe that had a sun and inhabited humanoids similar to themselves.

At the time, her mother thought his interest in less advanced cultures an interesting little hobby, but since no profit was involved promptly forgot about and dismissed the discovery, as did everyone else. But her father had continued to study the planet with the blue atmosphere and its inhabitants, and knew she would be able to fit in there. And she did.

Sighing she took her thermos out of the small bag at her side, gulping down all of the water, still cold in spite of her hour in the sun. Standing up, she put the thermos back in her bag and draped it across her shoulder. She shook the sand off her towel and wrapped it around her waist, before reaching for the coin on the chain around her neck. More than a piece of jewelry or her good luck charm. It also carried the last of the technology from the ship’s database before she destroyed it. Her father warned the ship had to be destroyed; it could be used to track her. If she ever wanted to return to her home world the necklace held the means for her to contact him. But deep in her heart she knew she’d never use the knowledge, for better or worse, so far better, earth was home. She kept the technology as a link to her father.

Callie bent down to pick up her sandals, when she straightened the movements of a swimmer some ten miles out in the water caught her attention. She hadn’t noticed him before. Even from that distance she could tell the body in the water appeared to be male. She wondered if he’d swum out from the beach or from the boat anchored even farther behind him, either way it was an unusually long swim. Although she didn’t need to do it, she raised her hand above her glasses as though to shade her eyes, but really lowered her sunglasses to better see him. The glasses and lens weakened her vision range. It was still vastly better than humans but without the glasses it would be sharper.

Without the covering over her eyes, the figure out in the water became clearer. She blinked, my gods! The man must have swum ten miles already, and still had more to go. Mesmerized, she watched his arms glide out of the ocean. Long lean fingers sliced effortlessly through the water. Shoulders and biceps bulged with the necessary muscle and strength allowing everything to work together for him to swim at the speed he did. If she didn’t know better she’d swear he was one of the mermen from Farris Pei. But since she could see no fins, she was fairly certain it was a human male out there, just one in exceptional shape.

Callie didn’t realize she moved until she stood at the edge of the tide. Stationing herself at a place on the beach where he would be able to see her, she waited for him to come to her. As the distance closed between them the more of him she could see. The sun glistened off hair so blonde it was almost white, but she couldn’t quite make out his facial features. The way he moved struck her as odd, he almost never seemed to raise his head to breathe as he swam.

Finally, he reached a point where he could stand in the water. At least six feet four inches of perfect man rose out of the ocean, water reluctantly dripped from a body fashioned by a loving god’s hand. Broad shoulders appeared first narrowing into a slender waist. With each step, the ridges of his abs rippled as he moved, the remaining droplets glistened off skin bare to the waistband of his swim trunks. He raised his hands to push wet shoulder length hair back and away from his face, revealing a face sculptured by a master craftsman, one without flaw.

“Oh, Mercy!” When his head snapped up, she knew she’d said the words out loud, and he’d heard. Eyes the color of sapphire stones found on this planet, zeroed in on her. Callie could do nothing but take a step forward as he continued moving in her direction. The warm tide slapping at her ankles helped to bring her back to her senses. She stopped, refusing to let the current drag her out to him, or his eyes pull her closer to him. Planting her feet into the hot sand, she didn’t flee. Not this time.

She knew what he must be, men on this planet did not look as he did. Off worlder, someone hired by the Narinds to find and bring her back. Well she wasn’t going. No one, no one could make her. There were a few people on the beach; he couldn’t take her in front of witnesses. Because he’d have to use force to get her to leave earth.

His presence could only mean one thing. Her father’s plan hadn’t worked.

Award Winning Best Selling Author of Sensual Romances
Red Rose Publishing
Freya's Bower

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day - Celebration of the Working Man/Woman/Child

I learn something new things everyday - history is something I learn as the interest arises. This morning, I popped on the net after feeding the brood I had milling around and the first thing I saw was this article on the origin of Labor Day.

Right here in Illinois - Pullman, back in 1893, workers [men-women-children]walked off the job in protest and other unions followed. They wanted higher pay and lower rent which had been cut and raised due to hard times. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Well, President Grover Cleveland declared their strike illegal and used the military to break the strike and their spirits.

This ruined all chances of Cleveland being re-elected, but congress being on the side of the workers rushed to declare a national holiday for them. A year later, 1894, congress set in stone that the first Monday in September be Labor Day.

lol - every few years, I double celebrate the day. My youngest son was born on Labor Day back in 1993.

Happy Labor Day!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How to Make Unpalatable Historical Facts Into Romance...

How to Make Unpalatable Historical Facts Into Romance…

by Gem Sivad

Telling the story of men and women of previous eras includes an honest look at the conditions in which they lived. I write historical western romance, and in order to achieve a sense of realism, I do quite a lot of research into the cultural and mechanical deficiencies and imperatives of the day.

For example, to write about a woman in 1880 Texas, I have to move their mentally. If my character is a good cook like Lucy Quince, (Intimate Strangers) I need to know what kind of stove she would have used. Once I learn that, I have to research what kind of food was available, how it was obtained and preserved, and basic preparation facts.

Lucy Quince wakes up with no memory, abandoned for dead. She makes a life for herself cooking in a small restaurant while she waits for someone who knew her to make a claim.

Excerpt ~

Her head and back hurt something awful. She’d been up and on her feet before dawn, baking biscuits and bread for the breakfast crowd.

“Whew-ee, Quincy, it sure is hot in here.” Roberta came through the swinging door, fanning herself with the white lawn handkerchief she always carried. “It’s halfway through morning. Why do you still have that oven going?”

Quincy Smith wrinkled her nose and blew a strand of hair from her eyes. Her brow glistened as the heat from the baking rolls wrapped her in steam and the smell of cinnamon.

“Do we do this for you to practice your social skills or to make money?” Roberta made an impish moue at Quincy’s wry question and rolled her eyes.

Patiently, her partner in the Robin’s Nest CafĂ© explained, “The cowboys have a love for sweets. It’s easy to pinch off some of the dough to make cinnamon rolls. It cranks up the heat in the kitchen some, but since it never cools down much anyway, and fixing food for men who will buy it is our business, stop complaining…”

In the course of writing about the Old West I’ve found some very detailed research sites devoted to information such as: The Food Timeline FAQS: 19th century American foodways. ~ ~

Looking at the changing fashions and how they were adapted by Western women has also brought me to some interesting sites, one of which is named, 19th Century Fashions ~ ~

Women who traveled to the West brought with them the stiff, restrictive clothing of their Eastern counterparts. But, the impractical nature of the many layers that made for difficult maneuvering, quickly brought about necessary modifications. Such is the case with Naomi Parker, recent arrival to Flat Rock, Texas when she encounters half-Kiowa bounty hunter, Charlie Wolf McCallister (Wolf’s Tender).

Excerpt ~

He’d been waiting for her first challenge and it pleased him to cut away the iron trappings that compressed her flesh as he would cut away the false trappings of her society. He drew his blade and once again pulled her to him.

“What are you going to do, cut my hand again to punish me?” Her words were derisive, not the respectful tone of a squaw. It occurred to Charlie right then that Miss Naomi Parker wasn’t exhibiting the usual white woman’s fear of him.

In one motion, he cut through the fabric of her clothes—the dress, the chemise underneath, and the lacings of the corset that constricted her flesh. He stroked his finger down the pinch mark that marred her flesh, pleased to see pink flesh and rounded breasts spring free. “Don’t wear one of those damned things again.”

Apparently struck dumb, she said nothing when he shoved the cut material wide, pushing it off her shoulders, to the floor, where the corset landed with a loud thunk. She stood before him in nothing but cotton drawers.

So, telling a story set in 1880 Texas, is a composite of the 19th century West, and includes defining the roles of the residents… the sheriff, the rich ranch owner, and the local saloon riff-raff—but also the society ladies, ranch women, homesteaders wives, and town floosies.

Since my primary objective when I write historical romance is to explore a relationship between lovers, my inquisitive mind has to ask, Did these women really have no influence, no autonomy, no freedom?
I think they had influence and as much freedom in their lives as they chose to demand or command.
Progress in obtaining, indoor plumbing, gas lights, coeducational schools, and the right to vote were the product of female preachers, unsung female political leaders, noted writers, and savvy wives who were partners in western settlements.
The most distressing, but challenging task for me in writing western romance is to make sure that my heroine is not a prisoner of circumstance.
No one wants to read about some poor woman who is stuck with an abusive husband and six kids unless I can help her get rid of him and let her use her wits, seductive skills, and courage to take charge of her individual destiny.
Whatever the setting or genre, when writing romance, the success of the tale rests in the grit of the girl and the mesmerizing strength of the man. But a fascinating detail can make the entire read something to remember and ponder later.

A Brief Overview of the Women’s Movement in the 19th Century

1791~The Rights of Women (DĂ©claration des droits de la femme) written by French woman Olympe de Gouges, had a unique perspective. Gouges suggested that females should share equal status with males, an idea which caused immediate consternation.

1792~ Vindication of the Rights of Woman written by Mary Wollstonecraft the next year in Britain was considered feminist literature, but was still published in Boston and Philadelphia the same year it appeared in England. Wollstonecraft argued passionately for a woman’s “God given rights of civil and religious liberty.”

1848~ The Declaration of Sentiments, principally authored by Elizabeth Cady Stanton was written at Seneca Falls, New York at a convention attended by 300 hundred men and women who had come together to discussthe social, civil, and religious conditions of women.

1852~ The Rights of Women were discussed at the Syracuse Convention and suggested that women were linked together by a history of biology that superseded laws and cultural conventions. This outrageous notion prompted the London Times to suggest that the most “volatile segment of society …are women insurrectionists.”

You can learn more about Gem Sivad at Gem’s Place. ~ ~

NOTE: There are some mighty handsome, skin-showin’ cowboys over at Gem’s blog if yer in the mood for some lookin’ and apprciatin’.