Archive for September, 2012

Let’s Stop the B.S. about D/s by Tiffany Reisz

September 29, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News No Comments →

Hi Romance Junkies!

No matter how many times I blog about BDSM, it never seems to be enough. Another week will pass and another reader will say something about how ‘wrong’ and ‘unhealthy’ the BDSM relationships in my books THE SIREN and THE ANGEL are. For a kinky woman, it’s disheartening to be living a 24/7 D/s relationship that is fun and vibrant and comfortable and happy and to read someone who knows nothing of the lifestyle tell you that you’re somehow doing love wrong.

So I suppose I’ll keep yakking until I’m mute and typing until my hands fall of trying to get it through people’s heads that D/s relationships are just as healthy and valid as vanilla relationships.

D/s stands for Dominant/submissive or Dominance/submission. The D is capitalized because those of us in the BDSM world take the hierarchy seriously. A friend said to me that in a fair and just world the ‘s’ in submissive would also be capitalized. Well, where’s the fun in that? Might as well be vanilla. ::shudder::

 Since I’m in a D/s relationship and have played sub to several very experienced Dominants and sadists in the past including the exquisite Mistress Jeanette, a real NYC Dominatrix. I feel confident that I can tell you what D/s is and what it is not.

Let’s start with what it is not.

D/s is NOT sexist toward women.

Yes, most Doms are male and most subs are female. But Dommes (female Dominants) are awarded as much or more respect in the BDSM community than male Dominants. Not all subs are women. Many gay couples engage in D/s so the Dom is male and so is the sub. And there’s not much in the world hotter than FemDom/femsub (at least to me). Also many straight men have submissive sides. Some men merely wish to be handcuffed and sexually used every now and then by their wives or girlfriends. Some men desire 24/7 dominance from a powerful man or woman. Male and female are not the only genders in the BDSM world. You’re a Dom or a sub or a Switch and that’s what matters most.

D/s is NOT violent.

Yes, you can get hurt engaging in BDSM. But you can get hurt playing soccer with your kids too. Hurt is kind of the point in a BDSM relationship. Maybe you enjoy light spanking. Maybe you want to be caned until you’re black and blue. The operative words here are “you want.” The submissive chooses the level of pain they desire and the Dominant and/or the sadist supplies it. It’s consensual. It’s pre-arranged and negotiated. It is safe.

D/s is NOT something sick and twisted people do.

Get on my Twitter feed. Do I seem mentally ill to you? I have a multi-book deal, a wonderful boyfriend, a stable day job, two silly cats, parents who love me, lots of friends, and no history of mental illness. I’m fine. I’m groovy. I’m golden. I’m totally into being dominated in the bedroom. Being happy and healthy AND being kinky are not mutually exclusive. Most kinksters I know are indistinguishable from the general population. Saying we’re mentally ill because we like to play this kind of bedroom game is as silly as saying football players are mentally ill because they like to run in hot weather and get sacked by giant men. Okay, maybe they are mentally ill. Bad example. 😉

D/s IS a game

It’s a game in the sense that two people are taking on roles, playing them, and enjoying them. The pain is real. The submission and respect is real. The sex and pleasure are VERY real. But the Dominant doesn’t actually own the submissive. Slavery was outlawed in 1865. No one can actually own another person or legally force another person to do their sexual bidding. It’s a willing choice on the part of the submissive to give him or herself to the Dominant. The best part about the D/s game is that as long as the partners are into it, and the scene is well-played, everybody wins.

D/s IS a lifestyle

For some couples, the D/s extends outside the bedroom. How do I know this? I’m in a 24/7 D/s relationship. What does that mean? I explained it some friends recently thusly: “You’d never be able to tell we were D/s if you hung out with us. We have a totally normal relationship. Except in our relationship, he gets the final say on all big decisions. There’s less reason to fight if the argument already has a pre-determined winner.” My boyfriend is the smartest man I know. It’s easy to say “yes, sir” when you trust that person’s judgment implicitly. He makes the decisions based on his brilliance and my input, I accept those decisions, and our relationship trundles on happily. With him in charge, I have less to stress about and more time to write. In case you think this is at all sexist, you should know one thing—making ours a D/s relationship? That was my idea.

D/s IS a blast

There are some books out there that portray D/s relationships as dark and dangerous. I won’t name any names but I think you know what I’m talking about. It’s giggle-inducing for us real kinksters to read anything where the Dominant is portrayed as damaged and fucked up. We know too many Dominants who are doctors and lawyers and dads and husbands (or wives and mothers) and friends and lovers to think of them as anything other than good people who like a little spice in their love lives. Submissives aren’t weak—they’re men and women who know exactly what they want in the bedroom and aren’t afraid to ask for it. Dominants aren’t abusive—they’re men and women who want to use their desire to be in control to please their sub. It’s a beautiful partnership and nothing to be ashamed of or label as “fucked up.” That’s not D/s. That’s B.S.

That’s it! Got any questions? Tweet me @tiffanyreisz or comment below!

Blurb for Siren

THE SIREN centers on character Nora Sutherlin, an erotica writer and the hottest author in the fastest growing market in publishing. Nora has the entire industry buzzing about her new manuscript. But editor Zachary Easton, who left London for New York to escape a failing marriage and to work with the best young writers in America, isn’t convinced. He agrees to work with the notorious novelist on the condition that she rewrite her manuscript from start to finish within 6 weeks. Nora is determined to show Zach that while she may have a sinful reputation for play, she’s deadly serious when it comes to her writing.

As their partnership deepens, Nora brings Zach to her private club—an elite underground organization in the sexual subculture of BDSM, where Nora is a famed professional dominatrix. But Zach knows a thing or two about punishment himself and with Nora’s deadline looming, he isn’t going to ease her suffering until her book is perfect. After all, Nora understands that pain and pleasure are flip sides of the same page.

Click here to buy your copy of the Siren

The Angel blurb

No safe word can protect the heartInfamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren—whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin—is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora’s lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.

Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora’s protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.

But while her flesh is willing, Nora’s mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora’s past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It’s a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts.

Click here to buy your copy of The Angel

Remembering AB Wallace

September 25, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 2 Comments →

AB Wallace is one of those authors you might not notice right away, but when you do you remember her always. When I first started at LBF Books (now folded within Lachesis Publishing Inc) to do their PR she was the first author to introduce herself and welcome me. Her emails were always upbeat and enthusiastic. She had just released her first title with the publisher, VINTAGE BLOOD AND THE SACRED SCEPTERS. No it’s not a romance, but a great vampire horror book.

Soon after her book was released she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She turned all her attention and energy to beating this awful disease. We emailed on a regular basis through out her treatments, I gave her a nickname, “Little Warrior” because she was so strong both mentally and physically. I found out more about the disease through her emails. We celebrated when she beat the disease and cried once more when it returned a few years later.

She read constantly, but started to read new authors to help her endure her hours of treatments. She bought copies of all Lachesis Publishing Inc authors and quite a few from other publishers. I don’t know if our authors ever knew how much their books helped her during those tough times, but they helped her through her pain.

I’d love to say “Little Warrior” beat Cancer a second time, but she didn’t. She fought it until the end, but a few years ago she lost her battle.

The first October following her death I signed up and ran in the Run For The Cure, a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research. On Sunday September 30 I will be running for the third year in a row this time around with my business partner, Joanna. The sole of our shoes will hit the pavement for 5 KM as we remember our good friend and fellow author AB Wallace.

In honor of our “little warrior” Joanna and I, the new owners of Lachesis Publishing Inc, will be donating the profits from the sale of her book, VINTAGE BLOOD AND SACRED SCEPTERS, to the American Breast Cancer Foundation from now until the end of October. You can pick up a copy at any of the following locations:

Lachesis Publishing Inc , Kindle US , Fictionwise ,BN  and Amazon print

J.A. Garland New Release & Contest!

September 22, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 35 Comments →

Thank you for joining me today. There’s a contest at the end of the post, leave your email in a comment and you’ll be entered to win the Big Bag o’ Swag!

Instinct Blurb:

Lone wolf, Rory Archer, never failed a single mission. Now the hunted instead of the hunter, Rory unwinds a twisted trail leading back to Amber Arlington, a spirited Halfling tied to a world of Shadows. Bound to vows initially forged out of necessity, Rory and Amber’s relationship surges into more than either of them bargained on. Scrambling to identify their attacker before joining the casualty list, Rory is faced with doing the unthinkable, or watching Amber turned into a slave for his species.

Author’s Name: J.A. Garland
Author’s Website:
Email Address:


Bio: I am a full time firefighter in the state of California, an addicted trail runner, a connoisseur of all things cheese puff, and an author for BURST Books. When I’m not slogging through the obstacles at a mud run, you can find me hunched over my computer unleashing demons, vampires and werewolves upon the world.

Instinct Excerpt:



San Francisco, March 13, 0700 hours

Anxiety prickled Rory’s chest before fanning out to raise the hairs on the back of his neck. Dropping quickly, he pressed his torso and legs flat to the ground. Prone was never first pick, but a small silhouette was the best concealment the area offered.

Lifting his head, he scanned the beach. Early morning waves rolled onto the shore, a salty surf leaching down to darken the sand. He twisted, angling to look overhead. No birds, no surfers, no stray animals. Nothing.

The absolute absence of activity confirmed his instincts.

Rory sprang to his feet in a protective half-crouch and turned, just in time to see a man come out of nowhere. Lowering his head and steeling his body, Rory head-butted his attacker square in the gut.

“Shit!” The man grunted, expelling an angry rush of air as he hit the sand.

Rory resisted the urge to leap back into the fray. He’d been in enough fights to know men with tunnel vision didn’t live to fight another day. Giving himself a buffer, he took a few steps back. “I’m not here for you.” This wasn’t the Otherkind Shadow whose dossier he’d spent the better part of the evening memorizing.

Who was this man and why was he tangling with him?

“Do yourself a favor and stay down,” Rory growled while looking around. Several distant figures headed their way from the north and the south. It was entirely possible they weren’t friends of the man who’d tried to jump him. They could be nothing more than the early morning runners they appeared to be. But other runners never made him feel this on edge.

Just what in the hell was going on?

“You might not be here for me, Wolf, but we’re here for you.”

Today, I’m giving away an eBook of my urban fantasy novel, Instinct. Please be sure to leave your email addy in your comments for a chance to win the big Bag o’ Swag. Bag includes: Instinct eBook coupon, monogrammed coffee mug, tote bag, keychain flashlight, magnetic “chip clip,” jelly belly tins, fridge magnet, Lula’s chocolates, pen, zombie soap and more! Good Luck!

How Stories Turn to Myths by Hope Ramsay … Plus a Giveaway!

September 20, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 8 Comments →

At the ripe old age of five, I was a flower girl at my cousin’s wedding.  I even have a fading photo to prove it.  As you can see I wore white gloves, and that dress was made of baby pink silk organdy.  I had a white wicker basket filled with flower petals, and right before the ceremony the other flower girl, the groom’s cousin, dropped her basket and all her petals were lost.

So they had to “borrow” petals from my basket.  And I remember Aunt Annie telling me right before I was sent down the aisle that I needed to dole out my petals very carefully so they would last all the way to the altar.  After all, the bride needed to walk on rose petals.

Apparently I took this admonition quite seriously, because I picked each petal out of the basket singly before dropping it to the white runner in the church.  It took me some time to make it all the way to the altar, and the bride had to wait.  But my flower petals lasted.

The family tells this story whenever we get together.  There are many others stories to go with it that have almost assumed myth-like stature because they have been repeated so many times.  I hated this when I was a teen, but now that I’m a member of the older generation, I have embraced my family storytelling role with both arms.  I have gleefully embarrassed my share of young ‘uns.

Every family has stories like this.  But when you live in a small town, sometimes these family stories also become community stories that can trap a person in the past.  This is exactly what happens to the hero of my latest book, Last Chance ChristmasWhen Stone Rhodes was eighteen he married Sharon McKee under some rather interesting circumstances.  The folks in Last Chance just kept telling the story of Stone and Sharon’s marriage over and over again, until it becomes part of the small town’s lore.  That might not be so bad, but, sadly, Stone loses Sharon in a car accident after only fifteen years of marriage.

In Last Chance Christmas we find Stone six years after the death of his wife.  He’s the chief of police struggling to raise two daughters– a teenager named Lizzy and a precocious seven-year-old, named Haley, who has an imaginary guardian angel.  He’s hanging on to the memory of his late wife.  And at the same time, his family and community are not helping him let go.  Over the years they’ve substituted the myth of a storybook marriage for the truth, and the truth is so painful that Stone has hidden all the photos of his late wife and locked down his emotions.  He has even refused to let his daughters put up holiday decorations.

Enter photojournalist Lark Chaikin, who arrives in town intent on digging up the truth about another community myth, this one involving an unsolved murder that took place forty years before.  The mayor wants Lark booted out of town, but Stone is sworn to uncover the truth.  Pretty soon Lark is tearing down all the myths and helping Stone’s daughters put up holly and tinsel.  But can Lark and an imaginary angel also heal Stone’s broken heart?

Readers who want to learn the source of the Sharon and Stone “myth” might also want to read my e-story, entitled Last Chance Bride.  The story turns back the clock to 1990 when Stone and Sharon are high school sweethearts.  It’s Watermelon Festival time in Last Chance, and Sharon is the Watermelon Queen.  In a few weeks she and Stone will be leaving to attend college in Columbia.  But then Stone changes his mind, and all of Sharon’s carefully laid plans begin to unravel.  Will she and Stone break up?  Or will she defy her mother and find a compromise that will save her relationship with the love of her life?

So, does your family/community have any stories that have been told so many times they have assumed a myth-like status?  Please share. To celebrate the release of Last Chance Christmas, I’ll be giving away a copy of the book to one lucky commenter.

Two-time Golden Heart Award Finalist Hope Ramsay grew up on Long Island, but spent every summer with relatives in South Carolina.  Her relatives have inspired many of the South Carolinians who bring the town of Last Chance to life in her novels Home at Last Chance, Welcome to Last Chance and Last Chance Beauty Queen. Her latest novella, LAST CHANCE BRIDE, an e-book original published in September, is followed by the mass market paperback and e-book editions of her new novel, LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS, also publishing in September.

Buy a copy of the Last Chance Bride

Buy a copy of the Last Chance Christmas

Check out Hope Ramsey Webpage –


Why I Write About Love by Jennifer Dawn

September 20, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 7 Comments →

Why I Write About Love

Once I got a sweet taste of my deepest heartfelt desires, everything else just left a bitter flavor in my mouth. Looking back now, it’s easy to recognize that writing about love had been there all along. Sometimes though, I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face.

At age eleven, I had a terrible crush on the guitar player from Huey Lewis and the News. Chris was his name and he sported thick dark brown hair and dreamy eyes. I genuinely adored him and spent countless hours daydreaming about how we would meet, fall in love and share our first soft kiss. Unable to contain our marvelous adventures in my head any longer, I pulled pencil and paper from my red backpack I used for school and began writing them down.

Creating those stories gave me tremendous pleasure until the day my mother stumbled upon the pages hidden under my pillow. I never realized they were missing until I heard her laughing with a friend as they came into my room cackling over my active imagination. Shamefully I took the pages and later destroyed them. I would not write again from my heart until high school.

At sixteen, my best friend Shannon Williams was driving down a back country road with her little sister. She ran a stop sign and was t-boned by an old Ford truck going way too fast. Standing next to her hospital bed, I prayed with my entire being for the bright green line on the heart monitor to keep going, but the triangular blips gradually became smaller and less frequent until all that was left was a flat line. My dearest friend was gone forever and the pain inside my heart, unbearable. I sat down and wrote a series of poems to honor the love I had for Shannon. In the little churchyard cemetery where she was buried, I sat on the grass and read them to her.

I didn’t write again until much later in my life. I married and gave birth to a son and daughter within three years of each other. My husband and I were good friends, but nothing more. Loving my children too much to leave, as the years ticked by, I lived a solitary existence. Ashamed to admit I was miserable and slowly dying inside while keeping up appearances: to the outside world I had it all.

In bed at night, alone and empty I escaped into my head where a true love greeted me. The stories I created during the long nights, I later wrote down. The only time I felt safe enough to escape into my writing was on the numerous cross country flights required for my business. I passed the hours gleefully lost and madly typing on my laptop. But when the flight ended, so did my contentment. I left my heart behind and begrudgingly accepted my reality.

My experiences eventually led me back full circle to that kid who took the time to write down a love story she dreamed up. I no longer cared about the mother who laughed at me, the husband who ignored me, and the dozens of “friends” who judged and criticized me. If I didn’t follow my heart, without a doubt I would die.

I ran with all my might and jumped straight off the cliff of dreams. I was certain of my success and instead, I lost everything: my husband, home, career, horses, friends, two unborn babies, my pride and what was left of my self-esteem. That should have been enough to make me give up. It should have killed the fighter inside me who still dared to hope for a better life.

But it didn’t. Instead, I found the deepest strength like a fire in the blood running through every vein in my body. It burned hot and restless. I refused to be beaten. I refused to accept my fate. I refused to give up. I would survive and not just survive, but I would come back stronger and better than even I dared to believe. For the first time in my life, I made the choice to live.

I committed to pursue my dreams, and stopped apologizing for who I am. The day a random email announcing a fiction writing contest found its way into my inbox. Without thinking, I signed up. Minimum word count for entries was 50,000 and I had no idea if I could write that much. I ignored the fear and doubt. It no longer mattered that I was a single mother with three kids who had never truly been loved. I would never forgive myself if I didn’t at least try.

Amidst screaming kids, incessant demands, living with my sister and running out of money, I wrote The Upside of Hell. I certainly understood the hell elements of the book, but I flipped it the bird, turned it around, and dared to love big anyway. I still believed in true love and even if I never found that in a flesh and blood man, I could still be with him vicariously through my writing.

Turns out books are like tattoos and one wasn’t enough. I went on to author Jennifer’s Letters, existing purely on faith and dreams and ignoring criticism for not falling back into a “real” job. Doggedly, I just kept writing, believing, writing, loving and then writing some more. Slowly, over time I ceased to care about being alone in this world because a miracle happened and I found myself between those many pages.

It took thirty years for this full grown woman to figure out what a blonde, freckle faced eleven year old girl already knew. I was born to write and it could only be about love. I would never have discovered joy living an unexceptional life, ignoring what was really in my heart. I thank God every day that I never gave up.

Now, like all good love stories you may be wondering if I got the guy in the end.

Love never failed me. Not long after my second book was published, I met the man I had been dreaming about my entire life. The love I enjoy today blows every one of those fairy tales out of the water. He too is a writer so not only did I find a best friend and lover, I now have all the love, support and encouragement I ever wanted to pursue my dreams.

Read more from Jennifer at



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Read my book, The Upside of Hell, at

A Death Defying Act by Chris Redding

September 19, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 5 Comments →

Bystander CPR

I once talked to a woman who had saved her daughter by doing CPR.

I had goosebumps when I spoke to that woman on the phone. Why did she call me? Because my day job is to teach people CPR. She learned at my hospital from one of my instructors.
Now, let’s talk about bystander CPR. What is CPR?

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. It is compressing the chest of someone in cardiac arrest, so that blood pumps through their body. Most importantly to their brain to keep the cells from dying.


Sure. Anyone can do it. My twelve year old could walk you through it.

Why does the blood have to pump? Because brain death begins at 4 minutes of the brain not getting oxygen. That is less time than it takes to heat up a Lean Cuisine.

In ten minutes brain death is certain.

But if you perform CPR on someone in cardiac arrest (heart stopped), you will push that envelope. You will keep that person’s brain cells alive.

Because on police cars and ambulances are devices called AEDs. Automated External Defibrillators. They are found in malls and airports, also.

Contrary to popular belief (and reported in the NY Times) an AED does not restart your heart. When a heart initially goes into cardiac arrest, it actually doesn’t stop dead. It quivers for awhile. An AED will stop that quivering in hopes that your natural electrical rhythm, the one that keeps you heart beating, will take over and make your heart beat.
If you do CPR for the ten minutes it may take for an ambulance to get there, you will be keeping that person’s brain alive and keeping them viable so an AED can do its job.

Pretty neat, huh?

And it is easy. Just find a class. Sign up and attend. Call your local rescue squad. Call your local hospital. Someone near you is offering a course. Go to to find a class near you.

Do it. Save a life.

Because heroes are trained, not born.

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works for her local hospital. She has been an American Heart Association CPR instructor for more than 18 years. Her latest thriller, Incendiary is available now.

What if your past comes back to haunt you?

Chelsea James, captain of the Biggin Hill First Aid Squad, has had ten years to mend a broken heart and forget about the man who’d left her hurt and bewildered. Ten years to get her life on track. But fate has other plans.

Fire Inspector Jake Campbell, back in town after a decade, investigates a string of arsons, only to discover they are connected to the same arsons he’d been accused of long ago. Now his past has come back to haunt him, and Chelsea is part of that past.

Together, Chelsea and Jake must join forces to defeat their mutual enemy. Only then can they hope to rekindle the flames of passion. But before they can do that, Chelsea must learn to trust again. Their lives could depend on it.


Buy Incendiary here:

Other titles:
Blonde Demolition
A View to a Kilt
Corpse Whisperer
The Drinking Game

Thanks for having me today

Love + Chocolate = The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

September 19, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 6 Comments →

Love + Chocolate = The Sweetest Spell By Suzanne Selfors

How do take the fairy-tale formula of peasant girl meets prince and make it even more romantic? In my opinion, you add chocolate.

Because look, I appreciate a good-looking man, but there are days when I can’t deal with men and I’ve never had a day when I couldn’t deal with chocolate. I’m passionate about it. I crave it. I LOVE it.

So with this sweet idea in mind, I wrote my first fairy tale, which is also my first true romantic novel. My hero is Emmeline Thistle, a lowly dirt-scratcher who is shunned by her people because of her club foot and her mysterious birth. She discovers that she has the magical ability to churn cream into chocolate, a delicacy that is a legend in her kingdom. Because she’s the only person who can create this concoction, Emmeline suddenly finds herself desired by everyone.

Bring on the men.

There’s this guy named Griffin Boar, a peasant boy whose gorgeous good looks make him arrogant beyond measure. There’s the prince who may be charming but are his intentions what they seem? And then there’s the adorable Owen Oak, a dairyman’s son, and while Emmeline longs for him, she feels unworthy of his affection.

Who will Emmeline choose? When faced with the temptations of sudden fame and wealth, will she give up everything she believes in, or will she listen to her heart?

I hope you enjoy her journey.

You can find me at

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September 18, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 8 Comments →

It is a novel about the siege and conquest of Constantinople, the greatest city in the Near East; for a thousand years a Christian city until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 after an epic seven week siege. The story is told through by people on both sides of the wall, Turks, Greeks, Italians. People like Gregoras, maimed and exiled, reluctantly returning to the place that had taken everything from him. By his betrayer, his brother, Theon. By the woman they both love, Sofia. And by another woman also seeking her destiny in the flames, the sorceress-assassin, Leilah.
Through these and others, from peasant to emperor, I tell the tale of one of history’s greatest battles.

What was the journey like writing it?

Simply extraordinary. I fell in love with Istanbul almost at first sight. Then when I began to study its history, realized the power of the city, then, still, I had to begin. And quite quickly I realized that I wanted to tell the story from both sides of ‘the walls’. I felt the present inhabitants are descended from both attackers and defenders, both equally passionate about their causes and about the place. Also, my technique is not just to write ‘history’ but to involve vibrant characters in the extraordinary events. We – writer and reader – see it through their eyes and become involved because, hopefully, we care about what happens to these people. We all know that Constantinople is conquered – but what will happen to Gregoras or Achmed or Sofia? Not knowing keeps it thrilling to the end. It certainly was for me so I hope it is for the reader.

Any character I really love and why?

You are asking me to choose between my children! Whenever I am writing, or re-reading that character whoever it is becomes my favourite for that moment. I know all the effort I put in to make them as they are. This book is filled with leading roles, since it tells the tale from multiple viewpoints, and a villain appeals as much as any hero.
Forced to choose? I have a soft spot for my morose Scot (and real life figure) John Grant. I am still a little in love with Leilah, the sorceress-assassin. But Gregoras, the wounded core of the story moves me the most. There’s something about redemption that is very powerful to me.

My next project?

I am just finishing up a novel about William Shakespeare’s fight choregrapher, ‘Shakespeare’s Rebel’. Set in London in 1599-1601, it revolves around the Globe Theatre, swordfighting styles, the first production of Hamlet – and the mad Earl of Essex! Great fun!

My writing day?

There are few ideal days left any more with an 8 year old around! I like to get up early and be in my hut with a vat of coffee by about 7am. (‘Hut’ doesn’t really do it justice by the way. It’s a cedar octagon in a forest.) If its first draft I fill in the blank pages till about lunch time. If its later drafts I can tinker all day. My wife – or son – has to drag me out!

The challenges of historical romance?

You have to balance their time with your own. You can’t go too ‘olde worldy’ because you are writing for modern readers. But you also can’t get too anachronistic. I try to develop good characters who will act according to their hearts but within the frame work of their age. Luckily, human desires don’t change that much. Just read Shakespeare.

Ten Reasons to Love….by Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock and a giveaway

September 18, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 34 Comments →

Ten Reasons to Love….

A Catherine Mann book (as per Joanne Rock, Cathy’s long-time critique partner)

10- The unexpected… Cathy loves to turn convention on its ear and she’s always looking for ways to make her stories different.

9- Emotion- You’ll never be short-changed on the emotional end of a Cathy Mann story!

8- A heroine who can hold her own. No other kind could deal with the strong heroes in her books.

7- Quick wit. No matter the situation these heroes and heroines find themselves in, one of them will crack a joke to make you laugh out loud even when all seems lost.

6- Fast pace. Buckle your seat belt on page one, because these stories move.

5- A real world. Cathy writes stories so real you can hear, taste and smell them! Whether we’re digging through the rubble to save a heroine caught in an earthquake, or strapped into the back of a cargo plane, we are present to every moment thanks to her sharp, vivid writing.

4- A few treats for devotees. All of Cathy’s books stand alone, but she manages to work in a few references to previous and future stories that will make hard-core fans smile. I love finding the quick nods to other characters.

3- Dialogue. If you meet Cathy in person, you’ll soon discover she’s no slouch as a conversationalist. She brings the same snappy way with words to all her books, deftly crafting conversations that keep the story moving.

2- Action. Whether she’s writing a military story or a steamy Desire, Cathy writes an action-packed read!

1-A hero who is smart, stubborn and strong…. A Catherine Mann hero makes us want to fall in love all over again!

Look for all this and more in Cathy’s latest, GUARDIAN.


Ten Reasons to Love….

A Joanne Rock book (according to Catherine Mann – Joanne’s long time critique partner and BFF)

10) A lush world to luxuriate in – Joanne’s books are a feast for the senses.

9) Enchanting heroines we can identify with – their quirkiness and inner insecurities echo those feelings we all have.  Then through the journey of the book we see how those traits, how our own traits, are actually strengths.  A Joanne Rock book makes you feel good about yourself!

8) Dashing heroes! Joanne’s heroes know how to have FUN!  Reading a Joanne Rock book treats a reader to the best date ever. J

7) Sizzle – whether her heroine has a secret hobby of pole dancing or chronicling a great aunt’s erotic diaries, Joanne’s books tap into inner fantasies and make them seem delightfully accessible.

6) An entertaining and unexpected supporting cast – Joanne’s secondary characters are as fascinatingly well-drawn as her hero and heroine, with a backstory, wardrobe and quirks all of their own.  Joanne may come across as quiet in person, but that’s because she’s a people watcher, soaking in everything around her.

5) Smart Plotting! Joanne’s a college professor and, wowsa, she puts those academic credentials to work in creating tightly woven plots, often interlocking two fascinating romance storylines – and sometimesa suspense thread as well.

4) Versatility – Joanne writes contemporary steamy, historical and young adult romances – and she does it all damn well.  She’s won numerous awards.  Her first contemporary novel – LEARNING CURVES – won an RWA Golden Heart Award.  And her medieval novella in THE BETROTHAL was nominated for an RWA RITA Award.

3) Her sports heroes deserve a special nod all their own!  Joanne hails from a house of sports minded men – from her husband (a former sports editor) and her three athletic sons.  Joanne puts all those hours spent cheering from the stands to work in creating dynamic sports heroes – and all around muscular athletic guys. Yum!

2) Unique professions for the ladies – from a beer making medieval heroine to a singing telegram contemporary gal.  It’s a delight to see what Joanne will come up with next.

1) Tender emotions – while there’s steam a-plenty in Joanne’s work, her characters still know how to touch the heart with a genuineness that gives the reader confidence in the couple’s happily ever after lasting a lifetime.

Joanne and Cathy have been friends for over 15 years.  What character trait do you look for in a friend?  One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock and GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann.FMI, they can be found online at:

Catherine Mann




Joanne Rock


Keep on Dreaming…Krista Phillips

September 18, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 7 Comments →

My debut novel, Sandwich, with a Side of Romance, released this month.

I’m not sure anyone has fingers strong enough to pinch me awake from my dream! I *ahem* might be seen dancing around my living room with my 4 sweet daughters, squealing, with a big goofy grin on my face. But then again, I leave the drapes closed for that very reason.

Seeing my book in print has been a dream of mine for a long time.

And I have this thing about dreams. I LOVE THEM. Some call me an optimist, some call me loony, but who wants to sit around saying, “Woe is me, nothing good will ever happen” all the time? Depressing, that’s what it is!

I come from a long line of dreamers. My grandpa was a high school football coach and his specialty was going into small, unknown towns with failing football teams and turning them into state champions. And then… he’d move to another town, find another team, and do it all over again.

The dreaming didn’t stop with my grandpa. My mom (and subsequently my dad) took up the mantra. The majority of their dreams were a bit… um… crazy. But it made life interesting. Once, when I was in my early teens, I asked my dad why they always dreamed such crazy things if there was almost no chance of achieving it.

He looked over at me, ruffled my hair, smiled, and said, “Krista, never stop dreaming.”

I know. Not some big, profound answer. He probably said more (most likely excuses for whatever current dream they were working on) but the admonition stuck with me.

I have a ton of dreams. Not all of them are achievable. But, still, it’s fun to dream, to work toward something even if it doesn’t work out in the end.

Because… you never know if you don’t try!

As a teen, I dreamed of finding some guy who would love me and kiss me and make me feel like a princess. (I was very self-conscience and thought I was uglier than sin, so this was a BIG lofty dream for me.) Yeah, I met my husband when I was 17 and we got married 4 months after I graduated high school. We’ll be married 13 years this October.

I also dreamed of being a Momma. I loved kids, and I wanted a bunch! My first daughter was born a year and a month after I married my sweet hubby. I’m now the mother of four beautiful daughters and one angel baby.

And then there were the times I’d walk through the bookstore and look longingly at those shelves, finding the spot in the P’s where my book would be. EEEEEEEE!!!! And you know what? It’s there now! HOW COOL IS THAT!

My next dream? It is by far the most important dream yet.

My dream is to see Annabelle walk down the aisle and get married someday.

Annabelle, by the way, is my princess #4. She was born in 2010 with a rare heart defect and spent her first 10 months of life in the hospital. She received a heart transplant in April 2011 when she was 8 months old.

She almost died more times than I care to remember. She spent three months on the transplant list, getting a little worse every day. And while her transplant was a miracle, the summer was tough, as her new heart almost failed her twice, including once at home including life-flight and CPR and not fun stuff like that.

So yes, my dream, my prayer, my hope, is that my sweet little heart warrior will thrive and grow and be able to meet and marry her prince one day. The doctors can give us no odds. They’ve only done infant heart transplants since the mid 80’s and many of those first transplants didn’t survive, so long term survival rates are unknown. And she has high risks for rejection, cancer and numerous other things.

But I’ll hold onto my dream that she’ll live and thrive and love.

What dreams do YOU have? I’d love to hear them!


Krista Phillips writes inspirational romantic comedy. She believes a sprinkle of laughter (and a wee bit of chocolate) makes everything a little better! She blogs regularly about life as a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, and mother of a child with a rare congenital heart defect at Her debut novel, “Sandwich, With a Side of Romance,” released September, 2012.


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