Grab your favorite beverage, relax, and let me tell you a story…

After Midnight - Black Phoenix #1

Re-edited, revised edition October 2013

Join my Street Team!

Help me promote my books and get the word out about upcoming appearances and releases

Dangerously Sexy Suspense

January 31, 2011

2010 Best Book Nomination

Doing the happy-happy dance as I've just found out that
NOT WITHOUT RISK has been nominated for
Long and Short of It's Best Book of 2010!

I keep pinching myself, but it's true!
They even gave me this wonderful banner to prove it. ;)

January 30, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 01/30

Today my six is from my woman-in-jeopardy story,
NOT WITHOUT RISK, available now from

The Wild Rose Press

The first forty-eight hours of any investigation are critical. After those first crucial days, trails tend to go cold. Once cold, dead isn’t far off.

One hundred and two hours after Detective St. John was gunned down in his hotel bed, Justin sat on a case colder than Becky O’Riley the night he tried to go a little too far in the backseat of her daddy’s ‘79 Chevy. The first forty-eight hours had been and gone long ago. Were he to get them back, he was less than certain they would be any further enlightened about what brought a Boston narcotics officer three thousand miles to his death.

Don't miss out on more Six Sentence Sunday fun.
Find the list of all the fantastic six's at the official site:

Oh, and mark your calendars! Six Sentence Sunday will be celebrating its first anniversary on February 27, 2011. And if that isn't exciting enough, a little birdie told me there will be prizes.
What could be better than SSS and prizes?

You don't want to miss it!


January 27, 2011

Spotlight On... Laura Hogg

Welcome to 'the keyboard' Laura, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks for the welcome!

Let’s see, I’ve been married for 21 years to a younger man, and I have a daughter in college. Most of the work I have out is historical or paranormal fiction, romance, but I sometimes venture from that. Oh, I also play a little guitar and piano and hope to be in a band again someday. During the day, I work in a school, and at night, I edit for an epub and work on my own novels among other things.

Wow, you're a busy lady. How did you start writing?

I wrote poetry and songs as a young girl and a teenager then books when I was grown. I finally submitted them for publication in my mid-thirties. My mother was a writer and inspired me.

Describe your writing in three words.

Romantic, adventurous, passionate.

How many books have you published?

Five books, five short stories (paid—I have some free one out there), one novella, one short story collection, and other work coming out.

The 12th Kiss:  Historical Romance, Wings Press

Descent into Darkness:  Historical, Moon Gypsy Press

Emma the Outlaw:  Western Short, Eirelander Publishing

Copacetic:  Historical Short, The Wild Rose Press

Baby Vamp:  Historical Short, The Wild Rose Press

Romeo vs. Juliet:  Time Travel Romance, The Wild Rose Press

Romeo vs. Juliet II: The Questrist:  Time Travel Short, Eirelander Publishing

Isanne's Revelation:   Medieval Inspirational Romance, White Rose Publishing

The Experiment:  Time Travel, Willow Moon Publishing

For the Love of a Queen:  Post-Apocalyptic Romance, The Wild Rose Press

Why, My Love?:  Sequel to For the Love of a Queen, Eternal Press

Double Vision:  Paranormal Romance, Aspen Mountain Press

Deadly Karma:  Three paranormal tales, Melange Books

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Margot ~ a Victorian-set novella
coming soon with
Melange Books.

What if a courageous pioneer who is called to inspire a generation becomes a victim of hatred and prejudice by the one who loves her most, leaving her stunned?

This is the time when women who pursued intellectual pastimes were considered a waste of reproductive energies, the time of Victoria, Dickens, and Courbet, when women kept their mouths shut. An impoverished orphan, Margot, decides that she must be among those to lure society out of their illogical expectations of a female’s potential, so she gathers her talent and convictions with the intention of proving them wrong. She banks only on her intellect and the passionate love of her life, Brad, a man who went from London’s filthy streets to one of Britain’s most opulent and inspiring situations.

Margot has enemies: the beautiful Sophia who has decided that Brad will be hers, and Brad’s powerful father, Henry, who threatens to destroy his son’s future if he does not give up his foolish notions of marrying the orphan girl, Margot. Brad abdicates a financial empire, stepping into dreadful poverty for the sake of his zealous love of Margot.

Margot has a plan until Brad discovers her secret past and viciously turns on her. She is left struck with devastating sadness, but she will discover that she truly has a voice after all.

Have you noticed your voice has changed as you’ve gained experience? If so, how?

My critique partners have really helped me and still do. Less passive writing etc. but as for style, I still write romantic and adventurous work. My mother taught me about the supernatural. That, and my music tend to slip into my work often. So, maybe my voice hasn’t changed all that much, but thanks to other lovely writers, I have learned a lot and like to continually grow as an author.

What advice would you give to the new/unpublished author?

Please don’t give up. It’s tough in the beginning. Take the best advice you get and apply it to your work. Throw out the rest. Mean people can be wrong!

And often are! What has been your highlight of your career to this point?

The first book contract I was offered (for The 12th Kiss.) There’s a little bit of the supernatural behind that (but not actually in the book itself).

Intriguing. You'll have to share the story with me one day. Do you have a favorite vacation spot or place you’d like to visit but haven’t yet?

My husband’s family is from Scotland, and I’d love to go there, that and France. I got my degree in French but never even had enough money to go to Canada. Or…Wales, where I hear they have the world’s largest bookstore. Books, books and more books. I’m going to learn to speed read so I can read even more.

Where can we find you on the web?







Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

I love to host other writers at my blog, Travel the Ages. Please contact me if you’d like to be my guest there.

Oh, a question. What do you think is the next big trend in romance?

Okay, thanks so much for having me here!

Thanks for visiting with us, Laura.

January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

A sudden thump sounded against the door, then a second time, louder than the first. Paige jumped, her pulse skipping as the sound came again and again. She screamed when with a resounding crack, the front door swung in and slammed against the inside wall.

The man stood, framed in the doorway, one arm raised and holding the door against the wall to keep it from swinging back at him. His glasses were gone now and the sight of those eyes looking at her, staring at her from a stranger’s face, actually made her feel faint.

Her breath clogged in her lungs. Her body began to tremble even harder. She’d seen those eyes before, staring down at her as she slept. She’d thought she’d dreamed them, but here they were. Eyes so blue that had she not known better, she would have believed they were colored contacts.

“It can’t be,” Paige whispered, clutching her cell phone so tightly her fingers went numb. “You’re dead.”

“Put down the phone, P.C.”

Not Without Risk

available now from
The Wild Rose Press

January 24, 2011

How to make a book trailer

For a while now I've been tossing around the idea of making a book trailer. Why haven't I made one? Honestly, every time I decide to do it, I realize I'm totally unprepared. How exactly should I go about putting one together? Is there a system? A secret that those who have made one know and I don't?

My confusion (along with an overwhelming feeling that I was in over my head) caused me to go out and do what I do best when I have questions... Seek out the answers.

Here's what I have learned so far from those who have made book trailers:

1)  Come up with about 20 short lines that tell your story. Difficult, yes, but necessary. We’re supposed to be able to give an elevator pitch—a summary of our story in a few short sentences. You know the one, the answer to the most asked question: “What’s your story about?”

So use the same hints for your book trailer that you would use for an elevator pitch.

The main one: don’t get lost in the details.

I’ve also heard: Focus only on Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

2)  Photos. Royalty free stock photo sites are the place to get these. I use iStockphoto.com for all of my photos, but there are a lot of them out there to choose from.

These sites can be tricky to navigate and narrow down what you’re looking for. Sometimes reducing the number of words you use in your search helps. Also, once your find a photograph with a subject that works for you, search through the other photos in the set or by that particular photographer.

3)  Now I always thought you needed to use Windows Movie Maker to create a book trailer, but I’ve learned that’s not so. Not that you can’t use it, but you can also put everything together in PowerPoint. Then you simply download free PowerPoint to video software. Who knew?

4)  Do you know what type of music fits your book? Search for it at a royalty free music site. This is important, as a lot of people choose to use songs from the radio or a CD. Don’t do this! It is copywritten to the songwriter/band and you can get in trouble for using it without permission. Always use music from free music sites or that you made/recorded yourself.

5)  Once you have your trailer completed to your liking, don’t forget to upload it to Youtube. Which brings me to a handy tip I've learned about using Youtube to promote:

When you upload your video, there will be a box titled Desciption. The first thing listed here should be the link to whatever you are promoting. Most people don't do this, they rely on the viewer to remember the site link shown in the video. Sure, if the viewer is truly interested, they'll remember it but why not make it easier for them to find you?

So, insert that link. If the link you want to promote is a buy link, shorten it using a site like bitly. If the site you are promoting is your website - perhaps a page on your site where they can read an excerpt of your book and find a buy link- keep it so that people recognize/see your name of your website and book title.

Follow this up with a brief description of your video. Try to come up with something a bit catchier than just title and author. Maybe throw in your tag line followed by title and author. You need to make the trailer description enticing in whatever way you can.Hook the viewer into clicking 'play'.

Great advice, yes? Now I just have to go make one.

Do you have a book trailer? Go ahead and link it in the comments. And while you're there, any further suggestions?

January 23, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 01/23

Welcome all! First off I want to thank everyone who stops by and comments every week.
It really does make my day.

This week is the continuation from my work-in-progress, Midnight Heat. If you recall last week, Dominic has just apologized for walking out on Becca three years ago.

“Dominic, we… I can’t give you anything for the pain until after the scan.”

It was his turn to sigh. “It doesn’t matter.” There was nothing she could give him that would help.

Except for forgiveness.

Never gonna happen, mate.

For those of you who'd like to join in the fun, it's easy. Published or not, just pick six sentences from anything you'd like, WIP, recently contracted work or even something available for purchase.
Post them on your blog on Sunday.

Be sure to link your blog to the Official Six Sentence Sunday site:

January 21, 2011

Ah, the kiss...

Can a kiss really be perfect? Is ‘true love’s’ kiss actually powerful enough to wake the dead? Does anyone really know? I don’t.

What I do know is that there is something very powerful about a kiss. Think about it. In movies as well as books, the anticipation of the first kiss is…WOW.

You know what I’m talking about. Heck, you probably vividly remember your first kiss. (I know I do)

The heightened sense of awareness.

The wonder.

The SweeTarts…

Sorry, that was my first kiss. Yuck!

Wikipedia states "Anticipation is the central ingredient in sexual desire." That sounds about right. Which is why we authors do all we can to make that first touch, that first kiss as great as it can be. To get everything just right.

I love writing the first kiss. When I hit that moment in the story, I think I’m just as nervous as my characters. Okay, the characters aren’t necessarily nervous, but I usually am.

It’s a very important moment in the story. Sometimes it’s slow and passionate. Sometimes a bit edgy and heated. It can even be possessive and a bit rough—like staking a claim. Whatever else it is, a kiss is always emotional.

Sure, the emotion doesn’t have to be sexual or even pleasant. Take for instance the kiss of death from Godfather II. But as a romance author, these pleasant, sexual emotions are the ones I aim for.

Not just in the hero and heroine's first kiss, but in every kiss between them. And not always with a kiss on the lips. After all, a kiss doesn’t have to be on the lips to provoke an emotional response, does it?

My first book has just such a kiss in it. The hero finds himself so moved by a press of the heroine’s lips to his shoulder, that he is rendered near speechless. Why? You don’t really think I’m going to tell you, do you? LOL

For your chance to find out, stop by The Romance Studio today and enter their Book-A-Day giveaway. Up for grabs is an electronic copy of NOT WITHOUT RISK.

January 20, 2011

Spotlight On... Liz Arnold

Today I have fellow The Wild Rose Press author Liz Arnold with me at the keyboard. Welcome, Liz, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, Sarah, and thanks for hosting me today. You have a great blog. I love visiting and I’m honored to be your guest.

I live a busy life as a writer, freelance editor, and teacher in the mid-west. I teach in a small liberal arts college.

Tell us about MESSAGE TO LOVE and where we can find it.

Audra Wakely’s father has been seized by Spanish authorities and imprisoned for sympathizing with Cuban rebels. Raising the money to bribe officials if necessary, she sets off for Cuba to rescue her father. She doesn’t bargain on the interference of any U.S. officials—that is until she meets Rollins McBride.

Lt. Rollins McBride of the newly designated U.S. Naval Intelligence service is assigned to track Audra on her journey. He’s to arrest Greg Wakely, a U.S. citizen, for treason and gun smuggling. His mission and his heart are taken by surprise by the feisty beauty who sets a stubborn path toward finding her father and proving he isn’t a traitor—no matter what or who gets in her way.

Sizzle, spice, and intrigue heats up the Spanish American War in MESSAGE TO LOVE.

Available in eBook or Print at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon


“It was a dream, just a very bad dream.”

She stepped back out of his hold. Clammy spots of moist heat lingered on her arms where his hands had been.

“I’m all right now.” Audra reached for the door and noticed the sickly sweet odor of liquor on his breath. “You can leave now. I want to go back to bed.” She pulled open the door and gestured into the hall.

“Sorry, but this time you’re going, too.” Rollins strode over to the dresser and pulled out a drawer. “Better pack. We have just under two hours.”

“I’m not in the mood for comedy, Rollins,” she sighed. “I’m really very, very tired. I’ve got to get some rest. Now—”

“Let me make myself clear.” He sounded gruff. “I said we’re leaving, and unless you want to get on a ship bound for Santiago with your shirttails hanging out, better change and get ready.” He made to leave the room. “I hope you have a shawl or something. It’s gotten cooler out, and we have half an hour in a wagon to get to port.” Then he vanished into his own room next door, leaving Audra gape-mouthed in the hallway.

“Who does he think he is?” She growled as she stamped her foot against the cold hard floor. “Infuriating! He is absolutely infuriating!” Audra heaved the door shut with gusto. “These are not my shirttails, either!

Describe your writing in three words.

Compulsive, driven, and passionate.

What are you currently working on?

The current WIP is another historical romance set in Marietta, Ohio in 1790 during the Indian wars and smallpox outbreak there after the colony was established. It’s about a young woman searching for her family and who wants to be doctor but isn’t allowed to practice in Baltimore. She hires a guide in Pittsburgh to take her to Marietta to find her relatives and ends up saving many lives during the epidemic. But the Indians have taken ill as well. Her guide spent ten years as a Shawnee captive and doesn’t want to rescue her when she is taken captive because there is a price on his head, but his affections for her are too strong to leave her with the natives.

Sounds wonderful!  What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?

The romance genre has always appealed to me because it sends a message of hope. We’ve all faced adversity and in the end of every problem, if you will stop and notice you will see that love is what got you through it.

What writers have influenced you the most?

I’ve been a Connie Mason fan for twenty years. Her stories and her research and her heroes are worth every minute of every book she ever wrote.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

I’m crazy about the television series “Castle” starring Nathan Fillion. I’m currently reading the Nikki Heat novel series the television show is about.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I adore football on every level from peewee to pro. Adore it.

What questions are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

I wish someone would ask me if I think romance fiction is addictive and why. I believe it is possible to become addicted to the heavy emotions and the descriptive scenes and the happy-ever-afters that are important to the genre. Is the addiction healthy? Does it promote a distorted impression of love in real life? Honestly, I think it contributes to a distortion of sorts but it also creates an understanding that love takes work and effort and honesty. Those things are always in a true romance novel and should be part of a true love in real life.

I love that answer! So true.  Where can we find you on the web?

My blog is the most active place:   http://www.lizarnoldbooks.wordpress.com/

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

I would like to ask readers a couple of things.
1. Why don’t they try to connect with writers more often?
2. Will they please send me a SASE so I can send them a free bookmark? P.O. Box 1322, Parkersburg, WV 26102

Liz, thanks for visiting with me today.

January 17, 2011


I'm putting together a promotion idea and need your help.
It's quick, easy and if you help me out, I'll enter you in my January contest.

What's up for grabs?
A $25 Amazon gift card.

So, will you help me out? Okay, here's the easy part:

What's your favorite song?

The one that has you turning up the radio every time, no matter what you're doing. The one you replay at least once when listening to your MP3 player.

You know you've got one, let me hear it! Just leave me the title and who it is performed by in the comments.
That's all I'm asking for. Easy, right?

January 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 01/16

Welcome once again to Six Sentence Sunday. Today's post is another six from my hot contemporary work-in-progress, Midnight Heat.

The following is a continuation of last week's post. A car accident has brought Dominic to Rebecca's ER and he's just beginning to realize just how large a mistake he made walking away from her three years ago.

God, he’d fucked up. If he hadn’t been absolutely sure of that before, he was now. Laying here, her touching him as if he were nothing but another patient instead of the man she’d once confessed to love. Looking at him as if seeing him again was no big deal, as if it wasn’t the giant kick in the ribs that seeing her again was for him.

She was coolly professional; calm and unflustered. While he was…“I’m sorry, Becca.”

Don't forget to check out all of the other Six Sentence Sunday posts. The number of authors grows every week so there's something for everyone, I promise. You can find a list of participating authors, HERE.

Thanks for stopping by.

January 13, 2011

QR Codes - What are they?

I've been spending a lot of time online lately and have noticed these nifty little boxes like the one above. What are they? What do they do? And why, oh why, do you see them in all different colors?

Curious, I began my search for answers and guess what? Not only did I learn what they are and what they do, but that I could make my own. Cool!

The little box at the top of this blog post is called QR Code. It's a two dimensional code readable by dedicated QR barcode reader, like the one available on android phones. These little buggers are so cool! They can contain almost anything you want them to contain, from text, to web addresses to contact information. And the reason you see them in all different colors? Because you can 'make' your own in whatever color you want. So, of course, I did. I had to. The temptation to try it out was just too strong.

Do you have a camera phone with a barcode reader? Scan it! See what happens.

Want one of your own? Just search QR code generator. It's easy. It's fun! And it can be used as an interesting way to promote yourself.

January 12, 2011

Story Ideas - Where do they come from?

As a writer, the question I get asked the most is ‘Where do you get your ideas?’. The answer to this question is very simple. It is also a bit complicated. Confused? Hang in there, I’ll clarify.

Story ideas come to me all the time, from lots of different places. Sometimes it is as simple as a line in a song sparking my imagination. Usually a line of dialogue comes to me first. From there, I begin to imagine just who said it, the hero or the heroine. Or maybe it’s something the villain says. I begin to see the scene unfold. (Yes, as odd as it sounds, my stories come to me like movies in my head.) I have written an entire book around one particular scene.

In fact, this is how After Midnight came to me, as the opening scene—a woman, alone in a bar after closing time, playing the piano.

That’s it. That’s all I had. From there I had to figure out who the hero and heroine were. Why is the heroine sitting in a darkened bar playing a piano? What drew her to play again after years of silence? And finally, how does the hero fit into this picture?

However, not every story idea starts with a line of dialogue. Sometimes it begins with a question. For Not Without Risk, it was this question:

What if a killer set his sights on you and the only way to survive was to revisit a past you swore never to look back on?

For me, story ideas that come to me in the form of a question are easier to flesh out than those where I ‘see’ the scene in my head or that begin with a line of dialogue. Why? Because when I have one question, it’s simple to come up with a second question:

What if you then had to trust the type of man experience told you was untrustworthy?

Then, a third:

What if you fell in love with that man, is love worth the risk?

So you see, for me at least, answering the question “Where do you get your ideas?” is not easy. I get my ideas from everywhere - people, movies, a line in a song, or a news report. From there they either become dialogue, scenes, or questions I feel the need to answer.

Still confused? I think I am. Which brings me to my favorite quote — so true in my case.

"Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing." ~ Margaret Chittenden