July 31, 2009

The Friday Record - Draco and Draconian Law

I have found a new little book of historical fact to add to my library: CURIOUS EVENTS IN HISTORY by Michael Powell. It contains information on more than three dozen historical events, including The Trial of the Pig, The Battle of the Bees, the Murderer from the Mayflower, and The Man Who Walked Around World. I just bought the book, so I have only read a couple of the stories and only one mentioned above. I might add, the book is on the smallish side, with only 140 or so pages and each topic is typically only two pages long, with short paragraphs (In other words, a quick, easy read).

One I read with interest was The Unfortunate Death of Draco.

According to the book and a few websites, ancient Athens didn't have a written law book. Basically, the nobles, or “eupatrids...made all the legal decisions and were the enforcers of the law.” (Powell, page 11). But without a written record of the laws, they became arbitrary and inconsistent. In 621 B.C., the people were fed up with oral laws that changed at the whim of the person pronouncing them. So, Draco was drafted to codify the laws. Powell says, “He didn't create the laws; he merely standardized them and then wrote them down.” About.com says, “Whether or not it was intentional, when Draco codified the laws, it brought to public attention Athens' outrageous and archaic penalties.” Death was given for not only the most heinous crimes, but also lessor ones, including stealing food.

According to Plutarch in “Life of Solon”, "And Draco himself, they say, being asked why he made death the penalty for most offenses, replied that in his opinion the lesser ones deserved it, and for the greater ones no heavier penalty could be found."

Dictionary.com says Draconian as a word came into use in the 1800's and defines it as:

1) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Draco or his code of laws.
2) (often lowercase) rigorous; unusually severe or cruel: Draconian forms of punishments

Even with Draco being responsible for the written law, Powell says he was respected among the people. In 590 B.C., a testimonial was to be held in his honor. The custom at the time, to show respect, was to throw one's cloak or hat at the honored person. However, there were so many people in attendance, that he was smothered by a pile of linen....literally. “By the time he was rescued from beneath the enormous pile of discarded garments,” Powell says, “Draco had suffocated to death.” (12)

So, I think I have to agree with Powell's title for this story, Draco did suffer an Unfortunate Death.....

I'm trying to think what question I can ask for today's discussion. Asking for the most unusual death you've heard about seems a bit macabre and I don't want to gross people out. So, maybe we can do with the title of the book....curious events in history, what's one you've heard about?

I'll draw for a winner from those who comment.....and the lucky winner will receive a copy of Deanna Raybourn's novel “Silent on the Moor.”

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Booksigning - August 15
Learn more at:

July 29, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Parmesan Fish Fillets

This is another delicous, quick recipe to make and it's a lighte fare for the hot summer days (except for having to heat up the oven for a few minutes of cooking time).

Parmesan Fillets

1 tablespoons each olive oil and lemon juice
4 tilapia fillets
salt to taste
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to broil. Mix olive oil and lemon juice, then brush both sides of the fillets with mixture. Salt to taste. Place single layer on a non-stick baking sheet (or spray with cooking spray). Sprinkle fillets with cheese. Broil until fish flakes and is a golden brown color, 3 to 4 minutes.

To keep as a low-calorie meal, serve with couscous and vegetables.

Leave a comment and you could win a copy of RESCUE ME by Christy Reece. (Be sure to leave your e-mail if you want to win.....if I can't contact you, you can't win the prize). Comment hint: What's your favorite seafood dish?

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Booksigning - August 15
Learn more at:


July 27, 2009

Guest Author - Nicole North

Heat it Up With Sexual Tension
By Nicole North

Devil in a Kilt (in Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures): A trip to the Highland Games turns into a trip to the past when modern day psychology professor Shauna MacRae touches Gavin MacTavish's four-hundred-year-old claymore. What she finds is a Devil in a Kilt she's had erotic fantasies about for months. Can Shauna break the curse imprisoning this shape shifting laird and his clan before an evil witch sends Shauna back to her time?

Since Devil in a Kilt is erotic romance, I needed to include several hot sex scenes in the story. But today I want to talk about what comes before sex—sexual tension.

Sexual tension is the “want it but can’t have it” factor. The intense attraction and heightened awareness of another person. The excitement, the anticipation, the passion. Chemistry. When two people feel a mutual, unfulfilled desire. In most cases, the longer they wait to fulfill that desire, the more the sexual tension increases… until it is almost unbearable.

If your hero and heroine have sex on page one, fall in love and have no more problems with each other, then you don’t have a romance story to tell. This is where sexual tension ties into the deep-rooted conflict of your story and plot. Why can’t they have it? “It” can be sex, love, or commitment, etc. What is keeping them apart sexually or emotionally?

Sexual tension is a combination of psychological, emotional and visceral reaction. Your character will get sexually aroused when they’re around that special person, but the emotional excitement and the heart-pounding anticipation are the most important. That’s where the real power punch is. That’s why the reader keeps reading. “Will they or won’t they?” Will they or won’t they have sex? Will they or won’t they admit their love for each other? Will they or won’t they be able to resolve all their conflicts, get married, and stay together forever?

When your heroine experiences sexual tension, she yearns for the hero. She craves his attention, his gaze on her. She wants to breathe in his scent. She wants him to touch her, talk to her, kiss her, make love to her. But he isn’t; not yet. This yearning is strongly emotional and that’s what makes it so powerful.

Sexual tension is like psychological foreplay because it mentally prepares the characters for sex. It also prepares the reader.

Often in erotic romance, the sex happens earlier or more frequently so the tension usually comes from something else, like keeping the characters apart emotionally. They won’t admit their feelings for each other or they won’t make a commitment. But the sexual tension still has to be there and it has to be rebuilt often.

I’ll be teaching the online workshops Writing Hot Delicious Love Scenes in September and Turn Up the Heat! (about how to increase sexual tension) in October. Please check my website for details. www.nicolenorth.com

Do you enjoy reading or writing sexual tension? What about love scenes? In the books you’ve read, do you notice a difference in the amount of sexual tension in erotic romance vs. regular romance? I’ll be giving away a pair of handmade sterling silver and semi-precious stone earrings (made by moi) to one commenter.

Nicole North writes sensual and erotic romance novels and novellas. She is the author of paranormal erotic romance novellas Devil in a Kilt, Red Sage Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures, July 2009; Beast in a Kilt, Red Sage Secrets Volume 29; and (contemporary) Kilted Lover. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, but wishes she lived in the Scottish Highlands at least half the year. Though she holds a degree in psychology, writing romance is her first love. Visit her at http://www.nicolenorth.com/

Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1oOOvTomv4

Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nicolenorthnewsletter/

Book is available at:

B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Secrets-Volume-27/Leigh-Court/e/9781603100076/?itm=1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-27-Pleasures-Leigh-Court/dp/1603100075/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241557838&sr=8-1

Red Sage: http://www.eredsage.com/product.php?productid=138

July 12, 2009

Click to Give - Win a Prize

Click to Give is a quick and easy way to help six causes with a simple click of your mouse. By going to each of the tabbed causes and click on the “Click Here – It's Free!” box you can help sponsor a mammogram for an under-insured woman, help a child in need of health care (world-wide), give the value of 1.1 cups of food to the hungry, help a child attain literacy, help protect 11.4 square feet of rain forest, and give the value of .6 cups of food for rescued animals.
In addition to the free clicks, there are also hundreds of items available for sale in their stores. Not only do you help give to the causes when you purchase these items, you also help impoverished men and women all over the world who are often the craftsmen.

There are gifts for those who have everything. Don't know what to give Great-Aunt Matilda for Christmas? How about donating $14 in her name help feed a rescued horse? Or what about $24.50 for a Sterile Child Birthing Kit for a third world woman (where women often die from a simple infection after child birth)? Or $50 to make a trained mid-wife available for 10 pregnant women and their babies.

Other items in the stores range from jewelry to clothing to household items, many made from recycled material (purses made from rejected rice bags or beads made from magazine pages). The breast cancer tab has a whole shop on “pink ribbon” items.

I wasn't going to give a prize this month, but I think this site is important and want you to visit it. After you've visited the site, come back here and tell me the name of one item (any itme) they have for sale. That will enter in a special drawing for Victorian Bath Salts that I bought from the Click to Give Store.

I'll draw for the winner on August 30th, but those who enter between now and July 31st will have their name put in the pot twice!

On July 13th, I'm leaving for the RWA National Conference in Washington, DC, so won't be blogging again until after the 23rd. If you're attending, I hope to see you there! If you're not, have a wonderful week anyway!

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

July 8, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Peanut Butter-Chocolate Fudge

I love easy, and nothing can get much easier than this recipe. Cook, stir, pour and chill. That's it.


1 6-oz package semi-sweet chocolate morsels (1 cup)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup powdered sugar

Cook chocolate morsels, peanut butter and butter over low heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture melts and is smooth. Remove from heat.

Add powdered sugar and stir until smooth.

Spread into an 8-inch square pan and chill until firm.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

July 6, 2009

Welcome to Legend!

Hi there! I've been looking forward to guest blogging here, since I met Anna Kathryn at Jennifer Johnson's blog a while ago. Small world, huh?

Which is just what I'd like to talk to you about. Or, more correctly, small town. My newest novel, Where Her Heart Is, was just released by Resplendence Publishing. I'm already getting email from readers who enjoyed it...sighed over it. Yay! Happy, dreamy sighing about life and love in our make-believe small town of Legend, Tennessee.

I was so glad to write this story of Betsy, who was a secondary character in my first Ladies of Legend novella, Midnight in Legend, TN, in the anthology Ladies of Legend: Finding Home. That four-story anthology was the first book in the Ladies of Legend series.

I loved petite, blonde, hugely pregnant Betsy--but I wasn't sure about her husband Mike McClain, who was in that story, but always at the edge of things. I didn't describe him, and he didn't have any "lines." I think I was making him expendable in case I wanted to kill him off--so Betsy could have a romance novel of her own. Well, she got a romance novel, but I didn't have to do anything too unpleasant to Mike. Because he's in this novel too. Here is the blurb:

Two years ago, Betsy McClain gave up on her husband and her hometown. She packed up her baby daughter and moved to the City. Now she's temporarily back in Legend, Tennessee. But when Betsy agreed to this house-sitting job, she didn't know her favorite room was being renovated, or that her handsome almost-ex-husband was the carpenter.

After his wife and baby left him, Mike McClain was forced to grow up. Now he considers himself Mr. Responsibility. LizBeth Ann soon falls in love with her big handsome daddy, who takes her for picnics and is her "date" for little girl tea parties. But though Betsy, with her big blue eyes and cascades of golden blonde hair, looks like an angel, she seems determined to treat him like the devil. How can they let go of the past so the little family can have a future?

Janet Eaves, Jan Scarbrough, Maddie James, and I have a lot of Ladies of Legend stories for you. They're all listed in order at the Legend website.

Legend, though fictional, is a typical small town. There is no shortage of story lines or interesting characters! I feel as if the "people of Legend"--the ones I created, and the ones my co-authors created, are my friends. I hope you'll come to feel that way as well.

What is your favorite story (book, television show, or movie) set in a small town--and why? A randomly chosen commenter will win an electronic copy of Where Her Heart Is. Late Monday night or early Tuesday I'll list the winner's name here, so be sure to check back.

Many thanks to Anna Kathryn for inviting me to be here today, and letting me introduce you to Legend.

Magdalena Scott
"Try a romance novel on...for sighs!"
Welcome to Magdalenaville Blog

July 3, 2009

Win a $10 The Wild Press Gift Certificate

Win a $10 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate at my website. Just comment in the guest book. July's question: What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? You can also tell why. http://www.aklanier.com/ The guest book link is at the bottom of site's HOME page.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

July 1, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Salmon Patties

I can never remember if I've posted the recipe before or not. But a very quick look at my archives doesn't show this recipe. I got it from my mother-in-law years ago (twice, because I lost the first copy I wrote down). I like it becuase it's easy and filling.


Mix one large can of salmon with chopped onions, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn meal and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Shape into patties and fry in a small amount of oil on both sides until brown, 3-5 minutes on each side.

I serve with mashed potatoes and green peas.

Happy Canadian Day to my Northern friends, and Happy Fourth of July to my fellow USA friends.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

June Contest Winners

Congratulations to all my contest winners:

Pam P. won the June Summer Reading Give Away from the Roses of Houston Blog, http://rosesofhouston.blogspot.com/, that I was giving away...12 romances just in time for the summer.

Theresa won my guestbook contest, a Cowboy Lovin' Basket.

And Rita won my blog contest, the inspirational plaque!

I'll be setting up my July contests in the next few days, so be sure to stop by my blog and website to see what's up!

Anna Kathryn