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

After Midnight - Black Phoenix #1

Re-edited, revised edition October 2013

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Dangerously Sexy Suspense

April 24, 2013

Spotlight On... Regan Walker

Welcome, Regan, can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Well, I was raised in California and though I’ve lived in the east, I consider myself a creature of the West, its attitudes, food, health focus and its weather. My career was not as a writer, at least not the fun stuff like I write now. I began as most authors as an avid reader. In my case it was and is historical romance. I love a novel that takes me into the deep past, into a meaningful historical event (not the ones that use history as a “wallpaper” background). So when I began to write romance a few years ago, it was those kinds of stories that I was hoping to write. One of my readers said she always feels smarter after she had read one of my novels. I smiled at that because what she is referring to is that there is a lot of history and historical details in my books, even my two short stories.

Tell us about Against the Wind and where we can find it. 

Against the Wind is the second in my Agents of the Crown trilogy, Regency historical romance novels that center on the Prince Regent’s demands on the three heroes. The idea came from my early love of mysteries and spy stories and my knowledge that all branches of government have their own agents. It wasn’t much of a stretch to conceive of the Prince Regent asking a few of his subjects to take on “special assignments.” Kings have been doing it for centuries. Hence my trilogy features heroes who have been asked by the Prince Regent to take on a unique task. First there was Racing With The Wind, and the British Lord who masqueraded as the Nighthawk, the thief of Napoleon’s secrets. Next is Against the Wind, the story of Sir Martin Powell, the agent for the Crown in France who has come home to England for one last assignment and meets his love in a bordello. The 3rd in the trilogy—Wind Raven--takes place on a schooner and in the Caribbean in 1817, and features a rakish sea captain and a pirate who plied the seas around Puerto Rico at the time. I’m writing it now.

You can find Against the Wind on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Against-Wind-Agents-Crown-ebook/dp/B00BXIJ6QM) and you can see the trailers for all three novels on my website, here: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/novels.html.

What is the hardest scene you had to write in this piece?

Probably it is the one where the heroine, Katherine, Lady Egerton (“Kit”) discovers Martin plotting with the villagers planning a rebellion and believes the man she loves, the man she has given herself to, is a traitor to the Crown. Getting that sense of betrayal right and the angst over what she should do was challenging.

Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with? 

That would be Lady Mary Campbell from Racing With The Wind, the bluestocking hoyden who has nothing but disdain for the “rules” of the haute ton. She doesn’t fit with the other debutantes but wants adventure and likes being among intelligent men. She finds her match in the Nighthawk. Both appear in Against the Wind as secondary characters.

Describe your writing in three words. 

Ooo, interesting and hard to capture in three words. How about “historical, adventures and love.”

How do you approach your writing, are you a plotter or a pantser? 

I envy the true plotters and desire to be one of them. But right now my writing is a bit of both really. When I begin, I have the idea for the story and a few characters and the title. Then scenes come to me. Usually the first chapters are pretty easy to write. I might know the ending, even the ending scene, but the middle is all pantster.

What’s next for you? 

When I finish the 3rd in the trilogy—Wind Raven—there’s the prequel to write—To Tame the Wind, the story of the parents of the brothers who are the heroes in books 2 and 3. It will be set in the late 18th century in England and France. The hero is Simon Powell, an English privateer and the heroine is Claire Donet, the only child of a French nobleman and a pirate. I have the idea for the story but have not begun to write that one yet. And finally, I have the idea for a Christmas reunion of the Agents of the Corwn—it will be set in Scotland. You can get a hint of it from my short story, The Holly And The Thistle. Both of my short stories feature some of the characters from the trilogy.

Where can we find you on the web? 

Author website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/
Author’s Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Regan-Walker/e/B008OUWC5Y
Regan’s Romance Reviews blog: http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450403.Regan_Walker

Is there anything you would like to ask our readers? 

Oh, yes. For my readers I’d like to know what they hope to see in upcoming books. And for the rest of those who have not yet read one of my books, I’d like to know what it is that draws them to a historical romance.

A night in London’s most exclusive bordello. Agent of the Crown Sir Martin Powell would not normally indulge, but the end of his time spying against Napoleon deserves a victory celebration. Yet, such pleasure will not come cheap. The auburn-haired courtesan he calls “Kitten” is in truth Katherine, Lady Egerton, a dowager baroness and the daughter of an earl as elusive as she is alluring. She flees a fate worse than death. But Martin has known darkness, too, and he alone can touch her heart--as she has touched his. To the English Midlands they will steal, into the rising winds of revolution.

“Under cloak of darkness, love will find you. Fearing the dark, you will never find love.” —Unknown Chapter 1

London, April 1817

She is dead.

Katherine, Lady Egerton, stared at the still form lying on the bed. Beloved sister, friend of the heart…Anne was gone. One minute she was struggling for breath, the next she lay silent and still. The only person in the world Kit loved more than life had left her.

They are all gone now. The sudden solitude tore at her heart.

Kit smiled sadly, gazing through eyes filled with tears at the frail body lying before her. The brown mouse. Anne’s name for herself. Delicate even as a child, she had not long survived her marriage to the cruel Earl of Rutledge. Kit knelt at her sister’s bedside, assailed by grief and guilt, and reached for Anne’s hand. Could she have done more to save her sister from the dread disease? Could she have done more to protect Anne from the heartless man who was her husband?

Pale in death, Anne was still beautiful. Kit had often sketched that heart-shaped face. Not a mouse, but a much-loved sister with a kind, unselfish heart.

Kit had seen the end coming in the last few months, months through which she’d faithfully cared for Anne. The coughs that wracked her sister’s slight frame had grown worse as Anne seemed to fade before Kit’s eyes. Kit knew she was losing her even as she willed that weak body to heal. The physician said he could do nothing; each time he left shaking his head and telling Kit to make “the poor girl” comfortable as best she could. Kit had tried to save Anne, doing the only thing she knew by giving her syrup of horehound and honey. But such a small measure was not enough. Then, too, her sister had seemed to welcome death.

Suddenly, the room grew cold. Kit felt his presence, a looming evil behind her. She took a deep breath and summoned her strength.

“Leave her and come to me.” Rutledge’s tone was harsh and demanding. Kit had no need to see him to know his face would be twisted in an odious scowl, his lips drawn taut. “It is time.”

“I must see to my sister.”

“You need do nothing. I have arranged for the burial. Come away now.”

Kit knew what he wanted, for she had seen the lust in his dark eyes. What at first had been sideways glances became leers and unwanted touches. Though she’d lived in his home since the death of her husband the baron, Kit had avoided the earl, rarely leaving her sister’s bedside. She had been thinking of a way to escape, but her exhaustion in caring for Anne these last days left those plans incomplete. With meager funds, her options were few.

When she failed to rise at the earl’s direction, his hand roughly gripped her shoulder. She stiffened at the pain of his fingers digging into her skin.

“I have waited long for you, Katherine, enduring that mockery of a marriage to your sister while all the while it was you I wanted, you I was promised. Now I shall have what is mine.”

“No!” She rose swiftly, stepping back as she turned to face him. Revulsion rose in her throat. What did he mean by those words? She never had been promised to him!

His smirk transfigured what many thought of as a handsome face. Hadn’t Anne at first been fooled by his aristocratic features and wavy brown hair? One had only to look closely to see his nature reflected in those thin lips and narrow eyes now focused on Kit. A deep furrow between his brows bore witness to his long having insisted upon having his way. When Kit sketched him, it had been as an attacking hawk.

“What will you do?” he asked smugly. “Where will you go, m’dear? You are alone and without funds. I am the one who has provided food and shelter for both you and your weak sister, though I wanted only you. You are mine, Katherine, and I will have you.”

Terror seized her. Cornered, her eyes darted about like an animal snared in a trap. His tall figure blocked the door to the corridor; the only way out led through his adjacent bedchamber. She fled toward it.

She hastened into the room as he stalked after her, knowing she had but seconds, and her eyes searched for a weapon, something to hold him at bay. At the side of the fireplace were tools, short bars of iron that could fend off a man. But could she reach them in time?

He lunged for her just as she ran toward the fireplace. His body collided with hers, and she fell upon the wooden floor with a thud. Pain shot through her hip. His body crashed down upon hers, forcing the air from her lungs. She gasped a breath just as his mouth crushed her lips, ruthlessly claiming dominance.

Tearing away, she pushed against his shoulders with all her might, but his greater strength held her pinned to the floor. His hand gripped one breast and squeezed. She winced at the pain, but that was quickly forgotten the moment a greater terror seized her: His aroused flesh pressed into her belly.

Violently she struggled, but to no avail. His wet lips slid down her throat to her heaving chest as his fingers gripped the top of her gown and yanked at the silk. Kit heard the fabric tear as he ripped her gown and the top of her chemise, and she felt the cool air on her naked breasts. Frantic, she mustered strength she did not know she had. Twisting in his grasp, she reached for the iron poker now a mere foot away.

His mouth latched onto her breast where he voraciously sucked a nipple. Lost in his lust, he did not see her grasp the length of iron, raise it above him and bring it crashing down on his head. Stunned by the blow, he raised up, his eyes glazed. Kit let the bar fall again, this time with greater force. Blood spattered her chest and face as his body went limp. He slumped atop her.

Kit’s heart pounded in her chest like a bird’s wing beating against a cage. Frantically she shoved his face from her breast and rolled his body to the floor.

Unsteady at first, her breath coming in pants, Kit rose and looked down at the crumpled form lying before her, every nerve on edge as she gazed into that evil face, now deathly pale. Blood oozed from a gash in the earl’s left temple. There was no sign of life, no movement.

I have killed him!

Fear choked off her breath as she wiped blood from her face with a sleeve, and with one last look toward her sister’s bedchamber she raced from the room. Footsteps sounded down the hall. Alarmed at the prospect of encountering one of the earl’s servants who would summon a constable, Kit knew she must find a place to hide, and there was nowhere to hide in the house. Quietly stealing into her bedchamber, she grabbed her cloak and reticule, stuffing inside it the one piece of her jewelry that could be sold to sustain her, and fled the dwelling.

Out on the street, she paused to draw her cloak tightly around her, desperate to cover her torn and bloody gown. Where could she go? Who would shelter her in the state she was in, given the deed she had done?

Only one name came to her.

Willow House.

As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors thought her suited to the profession of law, and Regan realized it would be better to be a hammer than a nail. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.

Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.

April 21, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday


The sign affixed to the door read Conroy Photography. Justin rapped his knuckles twice into the center of it. Behind him, the unusual quiet of the street unnerved him. The absence of everyday sounds—like traffic, barking dogs or children at play—tightened already-tense muscles. Made him wish he had strapped his Glock to his side before he‘d left his home. The thought disappeared the moment the door swung open.

Paige Conroy stood in the doorway, framed in the light from the room behind her. Gone was the woman he‘d met that morning, a woman who‘d exuded a surprising strength and professionalism. In her place stood a woman who unnerved him more.

Her hair hung down and fell in long, loose curls over her shoulder, nearly to her waist. The fingers of her left hand were tucked in the front pocket of a pair of faded jeans, worn white at the stress points and ripped at the knee. Old, comfortable jeans that fit her like a second skin, drawing his gaze down her long length of legs and to her bare feet. He took his time studying those feet, their red toenails and silver toe ring that he found ridiculously sexy. Enough time that when his gaze returned to her face, he found her frowning at him, her arms crossed before her.

“Sergeant Harrison, isn‘t it? Can I help you Sergeant Harrison?”

Her tone was ice cold, her stance forbidding. He‘d expected this, had been prepared for it even. But he had not been prepared to discover that beneath her outward appearance of strength, in a face washed clean of make-up, was a frailty that had been missing that morning. Dark shadows and small lines of fatigue ringed her eyes.

The urge to pull her to him and offer comfort surprised him. She was unusually tall for a woman. He stood six-foot-three and even with her feet bare, she nearly looked him in the eye. He liked his women shorter—blonde and petite. Paige Conroy was neither, but the thought of her in his arms, their bodies lining up perfectly, chest-to-chest, pelvis-to-pelvis, warmed his blood.


“I need to talk to you.”

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April 20, 2013

Book Giveaway for NOT WITHOUT RISK

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Not Without Risk by Sarah Grimm

Not Without Risk

by Sarah Grimm

Giveaway ends May 03, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

April 19, 2013

Welcome Vonnie Davis!!

Please help me welcome the lovely, talented Vonnie Davis. Vonnie is a dear friend of mine whom I met through our mutual publisher, and she's here to talk about her new release, RAIN IS A LOVE SONG.

Sarah, I’ve been looking forward to my visit on your blog for several weeks to talk about my romantic suspense trilogy. Each book starts in Paris, my favorite city in the universe. We’re going back for a few weeks in September and I cannot wait. I’ll be doing more research there and also in Berlin for a book I want to write. Or rather a book I really don’t care to write, but the characters simply won’t leave me alone.

Travel anywhere in today’s society carries its own set of risks—lost luggage, airplane malfunctions, pick-pockets, food poisoning and dangerous, devious people like terrorists. In this series, each book has its own romantic couple while the same band of terrorists wreaks their own brand of havoc. The terrorists are known by their macabre calling card—a handprint of the victim’s blood—The Red Hand.

I’d like to share a scene from book two of this series—RAIN IS A LOVE SONG. Today and tomorrow, this book will be a FREE download on Amazon.

Jean-Luc is an agent for the French counterterrorism unit. Gwen is an American visiting her sister in Paris. Jean-Luc works with the sister’s husband. Every visit Gwen makes to Paris, Jean-Luc asks her out. They argue, yet the attraction grows stronger.

This scene has them hurrying to the scene of a Metro bombing. Gwen is a trained crime scene photographer who’s just found out she’s been temporarily assigned to the counterterrorism unit.

Work under him, indeed. Typical bossy man. She’d help, but on her terms. After all, helping this annoying man would make Rhiannon safer. Her gaze slid to his muscled thighs under his black slacks, and her fingers started itching. The dark blue dress shirt only accented his dark features. He was one fine specimen, no matter how annoying. She glanced out the side window as his car sped along the Parisian streets. Hadn’t she promised herself she’d temper her attitude toward him? She exhaled a long, slow breath and forced herself to unwind.

A month. Thirty days of working with Jean-Luc. How could she stand it? Would she be able to keep her hands to herself? Could she fight the attraction? If she focused solely on business, she might stand half a chance.

“I saw on the television that the explosion was at the Metro stop near the Arc de Triomphe. The newscaster said four people were killed and many more injured.”

Jean-Luc’s jaw clenched. He snapped off the radio. “Yes, the reports are correct. Henri is at headquarters fielding the media’s many questions. He’s good with public relations. André and Bernard are on their way to the scene. First responders, of course, were there within minutes.”

“What kind of bomb did they use? How did they get it on the Metro?” Although there were security cameras mounted everywhere, there were no bag checkers. People were free to carry on whatever they liked. During her previous trips, there were mothers with strollers, dragging carry-ons instead of diaper bags. Shoppers had bags. Most young adults used backpacks.

Jean-Luc changed lanes again and turned onto a bridge, or pont as the French called them. “I’ll have more accurate news on the type of incendiary device once we get there and I see things for myself. Niko and I were part of the investigation team in London after the Metro explosion in oh-eight.”

“Is that when you both worked for Interpol?”

“Yes. You asked about the bombing site. The Metro stop for the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées is the Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile sortie, or exit. It’s always very crowded. They chose their target well if they were aiming for maximum damage.” His phone rang and he took the call.

While he spoke in rapid-fire French, she loaded a new roll of film in her camera and taped her recorder under her top. She clipped the microphone to her neckline.

Jean-Luc approached the Arc de Triomphe and stopped at a barricade set up around the area. He buzzed his window down and extended his badge, ordering the policeman to grant him access. Once the barrier was moved aside, he zipped his car beside others parked in a haphazard fashion.

“Let’s go. Stick close by in case something else happens. We have to be prepared for anything, is that clear?”

Although she had the urge to throw him some attitude, she also knew now wasn’t the time. People had died. Others were injured and horrified. She’d do what she could to help. “Tell me what you want done, and I’ll do it.” She opened the door and got out, slinging her bag over her shoulder and hanging her cameras around her neck.

Jean-Luc grabbed a bag from his trunk and, taking her hand, started jogging toward the cordoned-off Metro entrance.” I want you to take pictures of anything you see, no matter how insignificant. You’ve got good instincts, so use them. A word of warning. We don’t know if there are more bombs planted somewhere, although first respondents have searched the area.”


“I’m serious. I want Rhiannon to grow up with a mother. Understand?” They reached the concrete steps leading down to the Metro. “I’m not hearing what I want to hear.” He squeezed her hand in silent command for her response.

“You’ll have my cooperation. I promise. I’ll be careful.”

The doors at the bottom of the steps gaped open. One hung askew where it had been blown off several of its hinges—or yanked off as frightened passengers stampeded from the interior. Officers stopped them both and then flagged them onward as soon as they saw Jean-Luc’s badge.

A bank of turnstiles blocked their entry. He placed a hand on the post of one and jumped over the turnstile. Turning, he grabbed Gwen around the waist and lifted her over. They hurried toward the interior.

The normally pristine white tiles on the walls lining the many corridors were streaked with soot. Jean-Luc kept his hand on the small of her back as he hurried her through the maze of corridors. The escalator to the lower level wasn’t moving. Piles of debris carpeted the lower steps as they ran down them. She started taking pictures.

Her companion halted for a second, surveyed the scene ahead of them and cursed. On a tile next to the entrance to a loading area was a bloody handprint. She snapped several shots of it from different angles, hoping the multiple views of the handprint might give a clue as to the height of the person who left it. If the terrorist were short, then the heel of the handprint would be heavier in concentration of blood than the fingers. She panned the area, her shutter whirring as she shot pictures of everything in rapid succession.

Jean-Luc wrapped his hand around her wrist. “Let’s move on.”

They ran down the final set of steps, illuminated only by emergency lighting, and turned.

She wasn’t prepared.

Her eyes couldn’t take it all in at once. “Dear God,” she breathed.

Skeletons of white and green passenger cars sat on end, jackknifed against each other. Windows were blown out. Mangled steel polluted the loading area. Rubble of rail cars and body parts littered both sides of the tracks. Pools of blood streamed toward cracks in the concrete. Many of the gold and orange tiles on the walls of the station were blown off. Gaping holes marred the arched ceiling that was once white. Fluorescent light fixtures dangled. She shuddered and swallowed bile. I had no idea it would be so ghastly.

Huge emergency floodlights were powered by snakes of coiled cords. Firemen tugged on fire hoses, spraying down the wreckage. Shadows, moving and immobile, were everywhere. Her eyes darted from silhouette to silhouette and her skin crawled. She’d have nightmares about this. I don’t want to be here.

In the eerie silence, a controlled kind of pandemonium ensued. Medical personnel treated those less seriously injured. Gwen assumed those severely hurt had already been evacuated. Other passengers, not yet released, huddled, hugged and cried in hysteria. A few waded through the debris in silent shock, their eyes wide and vacant. Smoke blanketed the dim area. An unholy stench hung heavy in the air. She reached in her shoulder bag for a tissue to cover her nose. Her stomach lurched. I’m going to be sick.

Jean-Luc’s arm wrapped around her waist and turned her against his solid chest. “Are you okay?” His narrowed eyes surveyed the scene around them while his arm pressed her to him. He was fracturing himself for her benefit. Part of him was the comforting male; another was the expertly trained agent—no doubt observing, evaluating and developing his investigation tactics.

“Have you ever seen anything so terrible?”

He kissed her hair, almost in an absent-minded gesture. “Yes, in London.” His hand rubbed up and down her back. “Take a deep breath, sweetheart. We have work to do.”

Learn more about Vonnie and her writing at her website:

Don't forget to pick up your FREE copy of RAIN IS A LOVE SONG!

Friday Quickie

25 quickie facts about Shannyn Schroeder:

Birthday? Feb 28
Favorite color? green
Favorite animal? monkey
Siblings? 3 brothers
Favorite drink? Diet coke
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Lemon (you have to get through the sour to get to the sweet)
Favorite author? Too many to choose – right now, Ruthie Knox, Shannon Stacey, or Jill Shalvis
Favorite dish? Chicken Fajitas
Ice cream flavor? Chocolate fudge brownie
Favorite Season? Summer
Plotter or pantser? pantser
Hobbies? baking
Dream vacation? Hawaii or Australia
Favorite TV show? Again, too many to choose from – right now, Shameless (LOVE the Gallaghers)
Musical preference? country
Pet peeve? Stupid people
Favorite place to write? Anywhere
Favorite song? Unchained Melody
Odd family fact? I’m the only one among my siblings that was a planned pregnancy
Unforgettable moment? The look on my boyfriend’s face when he proposed in the middle of a party, I told him ‘no.’ (it was April 1st and I always warned him not to ask in public). I did eventually say yes.
Favorite Superhero? Batman
Spicy or not? Yes, for everything from food to books
Cat or dog? Big dogs
Favorite candy bar? Cadbury milk chocolate
Favorite guilty pleasure? Nighttime soaps – like Dallas

Summarize your book Twitter style – 140 characters or less:

For movie buffs – The Back Up Plan meets The Bucket List

The nonmovie version – A lonely teacher tackles a list of summer adventures before trying to get pregnant, but falls for the sexy bartender who acts as her wingman

Available Now:

To learn more about Shannyn Shroeder and her writing, please visit her web site:

April 17, 2013

Mid Week PIC Me Up

For my friends who could use a smile this week

April 15, 2013

A Man to Trust by Cheryl Yeko

A Man to Trust
by Cheryl Yeko

The battered survivor of an abusive marriage, Angela doesn’t mourn her husband’s death in a drug deal gone bad. But she’s not sure she can survive losing her heart to the handsome detective who believes she’s a criminal, too.

Tasked with Angela’s safety after she’s targeted by an unknown enemy, Jake discovers the beautiful widow is not what she seems. He soon realizes that trusting her goes hand-in-hand with desiring her, and passion and duty collide.

Now it’s up to Jake to keep Angela—and their chance at happiness—alive.

Finalist in the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Contest



Jake walked around and opened Angela’s door. He squatted next to her and shook her gently to wake her. She gave a moan of protest, then her eyes fluttered open.

For a moment, he lost himself in her warm emerald gaze. She smiled at him. “Jake,” she murmured.

He returned her smile, unable to resist the need to cup her sweet face in his hand and brush his lips across hers. “We’re here, babe.”

He knew the moment she recalled the night’s events. The moment she remembered he was an ass. Her gaze turned icy.


Cheryl Yeko is an award-winning author, and lives in Wisconsin with her husband Patrick. She loves to read, play piano, and spend time with family and friends. She enjoys novels with fast-paced action and steamy romance, protective alpha men and strong heroines.

Cheryl belongs to several writing groups, and is a member of RWA, as well as Pro-Liaison for the Wisconsin Chapter. Cheryl is also an Acquisitions Editor for Soul Mate Publishing. As an Editor, she welcomes Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica.

Cheryl is thrilled to be able to add author/editor to her resume and would love to hear comments from readers.

April 10, 2013

Mid Week PIC Me Up

Today's theme: Men in Towels


April 7, 2013

Fun Stuff!

Like most writers, I'm always looking for new, fun ways to engage my readers and guess what? I've come up with two things that I hope you'll all enjoy. First up - My Street Team

What's a street team? I'm glad you asked.

 I’m looking for a few good readers to help me spread the word about my books. Membership is easy, free, and comes with perks.

 Being a part of my street team will give you the opportunity to:

  • win ARCs, cover flats, and other books
  • Exclusive excerpts and sneak peeks
  • Exclusive contests
  • Exclusive goodies
  • An invite to my private Yahoo group specifically for my street team
  • And of course a package of swag (bookmarks, trading cards, etc..) with each new release

There will be more 'perks', but since I'm still ironing out the details, I can't really share them right now.In the meantime, if you are at all tempted to join up, please do! It's easy and painless, the form to do so is HERE.


The second bit of fun is my brand new Reader Group on Facebook. This first group is for my Black Phoenix Series , where readers can chat about the books, the band, heck, photos of how you imagine the characters to look have even been shared. This group is meant to be about you, my readers, but I do drop in from time to time and join in the conversations.

Readers in this series group are often treated to exclusive content relating to each book, and special goodies and giveaways exclusive to the group.

Join my Reader Group HERE.

I hope you'll consider joining one, or both, of these fun groups. I'd love to have you! 
Oh, and if you can help me spread the word, I'd really appreciate it.

April 6, 2013

How I Start A WIP

As a writer, the question I get asked the most is ‘Where do you get your ideas?’. And if you’re interested, I answered this question in an older blog post. You can find it HERE.

The second most popular question I am asked is ‘Once you have an idea, where do you begin?’. This question is actually a bit more difficult to answer, but I’ll try. Story ideas come to me all of the time. The trick is being patient enough to wait and see if the idea has legs. What I mean is, some ideas come to me like a butterfly, then flit away just as quickly. Then there are the ones that stick, the heroes who won’t stop talking to me, even at three in the morning, that question that hangs in the air, day and night, that I feel compelled to answer. These are the ideas with legs. The ideas that force me to put pen to paper - or more and more often now, fingers to keyboard – and begin writing. These are the ideas that become my works in progress, or WIPs.

Once I’m ready to begin writing, I….heck, I’d love to tell you that I have a series of questions I ask myself or an outline I’ve worked up, but that’s not how it works for me. You see, I’m what they call a pantser – which means I write by the ‘seat of my pants’. That’s right, I don’t have much more than a title (which I can’t seem to begin without), and my hero and heroine’s name. If the idea came to me in the form of a question, which it sometimes does, then I have a bit more. If it came to me in the form of the hero’s voice in my head, nagging me to get on with it and tell his story, then I may only know how it ends. After all, heroes aren’t always prone to tell you how he got himself in the position he’s in, just how he wants that story to end. LOL

But, if the story idea came to me in the form of the opening scene (which is usually how they come to me) then I don’t know much at all. Maybe just what kind of person the hero/heroine is. And that’s when the fun begins for me, the moment I sit down and just begin typing. Letting the story unfold as it may, discovering the events that take the characters from the opening scene to the happily-ever-after. Yup, I just dive right in. No character sketches, outlines, or blurbs. Not until I’m farther into the story – like half way. For me, knowing too much before I begin spoils the fun. A complete outline before I’ve written a single scene, and I’ve lost the excitement, feel as if I’ve already told the story. Odd, I know, but true.

So that’s how I start a WIP. I get an idea stuck in my head, think on it a bit, then take myself and the voices in my head to my laptop and start writing. Does that make me sound a bit unhinged? Probably. However, I believe on some level all writers are...but that’s a different blog post.

April 5, 2013

Back Where You Belong by Vonnie Davis

Have you ever met someone with whom you instantly connect? Within minutes you feel as if you’ve known this person all your life. Other times, you can’t warm up to someone, no matter how hard you try. And occasionally you meet a person who turns you into someone who can say the silliest things—a real foot-in-mouth character.

But what if this person is a man and you’re a woman? What if something about his demeanor makes you act out of character? What makes that happen? Hormones? Pheromones? Reaction to testosterone? I’ve taken such a scenario as the beginning to my novella—Back Where You Belong.

So allow me to share the opening of my story…

What the hell? 

Tyler Desmond whirled away from the shot he was about to make at the pool table to grasp for whatever caused the sudden, stinging pain at the back of his neck. When his fingers closed around a dart, he yanked the offending object out, searching through the crowd in the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk for the bastard who dared throw one at him.

His cousin Billy Wayne leaned in close as if to examine the dart’s point of entry. “Damn, that’s gotta hurt.”

Tyler’s eyes narrowed on the culprit. The object of his wrath stood about eight feet away, her face glowing red like embers in a branding fire and eyes mushrooming when his gaze zeroed in on hers.

He handed his cue stick to Billy Wayne and growled, “Not as much as one female’s about to. You can be damn sure of that.”

Three women, her friends no doubt, scurried back to their table, leaving her to face him alone. He slowly sauntered toward her, gathering his words as he approached. He’d cut many men to size with his acidic tongue. This woman would be no different.

 Nervous hands clasped and unclasped and then fiddled with curly blonde hair. Then, as if to prepare herself for their inevitable confrontation, she squared her shoulders.

Good move, lady. You’re going to need a dose of courage for I plan on giving you a verbal thrashing you’ll never forget. 

He extended his hand, the offending dart lying in his palm. “I believe you lost this…in my neck.”

“Crap, yes, I did.” She plucked it from his hand. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hit you.”

He placed his hands on his hips and glared into her blue eyes. “Really? Then who the hell were you aiming for?”

The woman had the audacity to giggle. “I…I wasn’t aiming for anyone. You see, Carrie Jo”–she jerked her thumb toward the table of women behind her–“bumped against my elbow just as I was shooting. She was horsing around, calling me ‘Dart Demon.’”

His gaze ricocheted toward the gaggle of women, all nodding and smiling. Two did a finger wave. He scowled as a dull ache settled behind his eyeballs. When Dart Demon leaned toward him, he got a whiff of her perfume and fought to ignore its beguiling, flowery scent.

“Just between us,” she began, her voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper, “she’s had too much to drink. Good thing I’m the designated driver tonight.” Her hand rose in a swearing gesture. “Honest. Nothing stronger than diet soda. See, Carrie Jo and her boyfriend are fighting again. They’re just not suited for each other.” Her blonde head shook once. “Ever notice how opposites attract? It’s the strangest thing, isn’t it?”

She pursed her lips, giving him no time to reply before she charged ahead like his prize Brahman bull. Evidently the woman didn’t need to breathe to talk.

“He likes rap music and she likes country. He likes to play video games while she runs marathons and works out. He’s a slob and she’s a neat freak. Yet, they can’t keep their hands off each other. The chemistry’s there, but not the compatibility. Know what I mean?”

Tyler inhaled and opened his mouth, ready to start his tirade. But before one angry word could roll off his tongue, she commenced her nonsensical rambling again.

“That’s not why we’re here though. We’re here to celebrate. I sold an article to a magazine. My first!” A smile, brighter than a hill country sunrise spread and niggled at one of his faint, long-forgotten memories.

“Isn’t that just too wild?” She pressed a hand to full breasts that strained a T-shirt imprinted with: I’m the strong, silent type. 

Silent? Are you freakin’ kidding me? 

“People keep telling me I have writing talent, but I’m not so sure. I guess you could say I have a lot of self-doubt.” Her blue-eyed gaze locked on his as she pursed those pink lips again. “I’m just not good with words, you know?”

Right, and I’m not good with raising cattle. The dull ache in his head ratcheted up a notch.

“I’m prattling, aren’t I? I am.” Those blonde curls bobbed again, and he wondered if they were as soft as they looked. “I prattle when I get nervous. Normally I’m quiet.” Nervous hands rose and fell. “Most days you can’t get a word out of me.”

Just my damn lucky day then, isn’t it? 

While shooting pool at the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk, rancher Tyler Desmond takes an errant dart in the neck. Ready to retaliate, he’s instead captivated by the blonde who threw it. Tyler isn’t interested in opening his heart, so why does he kiss the verbal buzz saw? Just to shut her up? 
As a teenager, Lacy LaRoche had a secret crush on Tyler. When the dart brings them face-to-face, all she can do is chatter—until he kisses her. But Lacy didn’t come back to Texas to fall in love. She’s hiding another secret: her roommate surreptitiously videotaped Lacy undressing and posted it on the internet. 

When Tyler’s daughter is bullied at school, Lacy must reveal the truth and face the emotional damage of cyberbullying. Over-protective of his daughter—and his heart—Tyler must learn to trust again. Can two scarred hearts find their way back to where they belong? 

This is a free download until Saturday, April 6th!!
Run, don't walk, to Amazon and snatch up this fantastic story!

And make sure you check out Vonnie's WEBSITE to learn more about her and her writing!

April 4, 2013

Welcome Guest Blogger: Calisa Rhose

I am super excited to be here today, Sarah! This has been a fast and fun tour for my latest release, Risk Factors.

I want to talk about submissions today. This book, as many of you may have heard, has been submitted for consideration two times. The second time was the lucky one. I’ll walk through the process this book took that last time I bit the nail and submitted it.

I had just finished some revisions on a story I titled Perfect Dr. Viv and I loved that story and wanted to see it homed with a good publisher. I’d heard of Lyrical Press, Inc, had been to their site a few times and thought they would be a nice publisher to write for some day. I don’t remember specific dates but on or about February 11, 2012 began that day. My now super editor, Piper Denna, was doing her first annual blog pitch at the Word Wranglers blog.

I tweeted and emailed the pitch since one of my critique partners is part of the WW blog and I support my cps whenever I can. There were some seventy hopefuls who pitched their three or so lines to her, many being asked for a partial or full. I thought why not put PDV in there and see what happens? I was scared stiff when Piper asked for the partial. It wasn’t ready! So what if I had already submitted it to another publisher the year before and then took it back, it obviously wasn’t ready or I would have sold it then!

Ok, this is the beginning of why I’m writing this post today. I didn’t send my three chapters right then like others had. In fact I didn’t sent it that day or the next--or that week even. It needed a few more edits, tweaking here and there. By March I had almost talked myself out of submitting it at all. My friend and staunch supporter, YA author, Harley Brooks pushed me to send it. She’d read it and thought it was perfect to submit. So, I sent the partial.

Now let me say that when an editor asks for your writing--SEND IT. After all, isn’t that why we do pitches? Is that not what we authors strive for? To get our writing in front of an editor? Especially an editor we chose before they chose us? Don’t make excuses. JUST DO IT. We writers…we can come up with a gajillion reasons why we shouldn’t hit the send key, can’t we? I see you nodding out there. We’re writers, making stuff up is what we do.

We are our own worst enemy! LOL

So once I got the nerve to hit send I waited. And waited. For three more months. I waited twelve nerve racking weeks. Yeah… Don’t do as I did. My lovely Harley kept emailing, asking if I’d heard anything. Nope, not yet. I’d say. Finally she asked “Didn’t she say to email if you didn’t hear back soon?” My hiding gig was up. Yes, Piper had told me that when I sent her the partial. So in May I emailed to ask if she had gotten to my partial. She asked me to just send it to her again to expedite things, which I did (right then this time) and waited…all of twenty-four hours maybe, before she asked for the full. By now I was ready to send it to her (I’d already wasted three months, remember), so I sent it the next day and prepared to wait a while. I’m not pushy, I know these things take time and I can be patient (or at least appear to be :-) ).

I think it might have been three days later (a Thursday?) that she emailed to let me know she was almost finished with another ms and mine was next. I was stunned when I got another email on Tuesday that she was going to request a contract for me. The next email after the contract was a title change suggestion and Risk Factors was born.

The rest, as they say, is history. :lol:

The point of this is Risk Factors came out March 4, 2013 and I’m ecstatic! But had I sent the partial to her right away, had I followed up even two months sooner, I might have had a 2012 release date. Then again, maybe not, but I definitely would have had less ulcer-inducing, nail biting worry over the whole process.

So as a writer (and an editor), I just want to say--if you are brave enough to take the challenge and request an editor look at your work, be brave enough to follow through in a timely manner and let what may come happen. It’s better to know one way or the other as quick as possible what the outcome will be, than to sit on a possible good thing and risk losing it altogether as I almost did, without even giving my book or my editor a chance to meet.

I’ll leave you with a sample of the book that almost wasn’t. :-)

Love, like life, is not without risk. 

Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps. Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for.

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

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

It was close to five o’clock and Viv wanted to go home. Winter hadn’t reached the Midwest yet, but from September through October the temperatures often dipped and dove sporadically, before diving for the long winter ahead. There’d been a slight chill in the air that morning and she hoped for a few more weeks of warmth before harsh weather moved in.

She looked forward to a hot soak in the bathtub, but Skittles was due for pick-up first. Connor had assured her he’d pick her up, or have his father get her before five. She glanced at her watch again. Four-fifty-six. She didn’t mind staying late if she needed to; it would be a shame to leave the nervous animal alone another night.

She opened the small closet to put the dust mop away.


With a start, she spun and her hand caught the broom handle on her way around. Gasping, she grabbed uselessly, horrified as the cleaning tool flew sideways from the closet. In slow motion she saw it shoot out against Connor’s shoulder and fall with a sharp snap onto the tile floor.

“Oh! I’m so--so sorry! Are you hurt?” Instant heat rushed up her neck and she bent to reclaim the errant broom to shove into the closet. She slammed the door and leaned against it on a sharp breath.

“I’m fine. You worried your killer broom might attack again? You might consider putting a lock on the door,” he said with a crooked smile.

Puzzled, Viv looked around and realized with total humiliation how it appeared she’d trapped the broom inside the closet--when in actuality, she wanted to climb through the door beside the instrument and hide.

“Of course not. That would be silly. I didn’t expect you right now.”

“It’s two minutes of five. I told you I’d be here for Skittles. Is it too late?”

Right. The skunk. “No. I’m sure she’s more than ready to go home. Do you have the pet carrier to put her in?” She probably didn’t need to ask when Connor stood empty-handed before her. He lowered his head and she knew he’d forgotten it, fought back a smile at his forgetfulness.

“Sorry. I drove straight from work and didn’t think about it.”

“No worry. I have one you can borrow.” Which meant he’d have to see her again. She’d definitely need to see him again.

“Thank you. I’ll bring it back tomorrow.”

“Oh, there’s no rush. I keep a few on hand for emergencies.” She led him back to the cage where the skunk still huddled, and got a carrier while he opened the cage to retrieve his daughter’s pet. As he lifted the black fur ball out, Viv set a pink case next to him.

He hissed under his breath and almost let the animal loose. Viv opened the cage and held it upright for him to lower the skunk down inside and shut the door. Once he stood with the pet taxi, she detected a smear of red on one finger.

“She bit you?” Skunk bite, rabies, germs…

“It’s fine. When she’s scared she tends to nip a warning like a cat.” Connor’s lack of care concerned Viv, however.

“I should clean it with antiseptic before you go.”

“I’ll tend it when I get home.”

“But, it may have germs…get infected.”

“It’s not the first time, and her rabies vaccination is current. Thank you, but it’s not necessary.”

Viv stopped by a cabinet on the way to the front reception area to grab ointment and a Band-Aid.

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

Author Bio:

Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.

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

Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com

Twitter@CalisaRhose,  Facebook/Calisa Rhose,  Goodreads, Amazon and Pinterest

Thank you for letting me take over your keyboard, Sarah! I’d like to leave your guests with this question-- What was the biggest risk you have ever thought of taking, or did take, in the name of love? 

April 3, 2013

Mid Week PIC Me Up

I may not write about them, but that doesn't mean
I don't love cowboys.
My, I can see where that lyric came from:
"Save a horse..."