February 28, 2011

Bringing the Past to Life

By Lisabet Sarai (Guest Blogger)

Ever since I began reading (which was not long after I got out of diapers), I've loved historical fiction. As a child, I couldn't get enough of ancient Egypt or imperial Rome. Give me a tale set in medieval France or colonial America, Moorish Spain or Druidic Britain, and I would disappear into that other world for hours or even days. My mother would despair of getting me to do my chores or persuading me to go outside and play. The historical realms that I visited seemed far more real than my family's three bedroom ranch house or our grassy back yard.

I still enjoy a well-crafted tale centered in another time and place. In fact, I think I appreciate historical fiction more deeply now that I understand how difficult it is to write it well. I love reading Anna's posts about the life in the American West - the people, the places, the daily trials and dangers. Even in her non-fiction, she makes the past come alive. The amount of research she must put into her work strikes me with a kind of awe.

A successful historical novel should transport you back to the past. You should see the sights, smell the smells, experience the sensual delights and the painful inconveniences of the time in which it occurs. Of course, you've also got to get the details right. However obscure the period that you've chosen, there's bound to be some reader who will be an expert on that time, that dreaded critic who will throw the book at you (literally!) when your characters in twelfth century England drink tea, or your Aztec prince wears robes of silk. I remember long rants on one list I belong to, because a well-known romance author mentioned a spinning wheel in a period before they'd been invented. (The ranter was an individual with extensive knowledge about textiles.)

Immersive description and obsessive accuracy are not enough, though. To write convincingly about another historical period, you need to have a sense of how people thought, what they believed, how they behaved - the unspoken rules and assumptions of their society. I've read some erotic romance set in eighteenth century Europe in which the characters acted, and interacted, in ways that were far too modern to be believable (particularly in the area of sexual expression). These books were entertaining, but they didn't really deliver on the promise of a genuine historical experience.

The best historicals that I've read also capture the cadences and vocabulary of speech in the period. The most engaging historical romance that I've read in a very long time is Erastes' homoerotic Regency novel, Standish. I could almost believe that the story really had been penned by an author of the period, rather than a modern writer. Another writer who excels at capturing the tone of a historical period is Louisa Burton. The stories in her Tales of the Hidden Grotto series range freely through history, from pre-Roman times to the modern day. Each segment does an exceptional job anchoring the reader in a particular time and place.

Most of my own work thus far is contemporary, though I have taken a few stabs at history - with great trepidation! Incognito has a subplot, revealed in a secret journal, that takes place in Victorian Boston. I had a wonderful time doing research for this, particularly in the area of costume. I had actually lived in the historic district of Beacon Hill for a year, so it was easy to bring the setting to life. Monsoon Fever is set on a tea plantation in British India just a few years after the first World War. This was much more difficult to pull off, even though the time period is more recent. I've never visited Assam and even if I could discover what was going on in Europe or America during the 'teens, extrapolating to a remote colonial outpost required considerable imagination to fill in the factual gaps.

I've been doing research on and off for a planned paranormal set in what is now Cambodia, during the period of Angkor Wat (about 1100 AD). Despite having visited the site and read a number of books, I'm still having trouble getting a sense of what life was like for the Angkor-era Khmer. Majestic monuments of stone don't seem to help me to understand the people who built them. I know that until I reach this level of understanding, I won't be able to write the book.

One of my favorite historical pieces is my novella Shortest Night, which is set in Elizabethan London - during William Shakespeare's time. In fact, the Bard himself is a bit character in the story, whose tone and plot borrow a bit from the great comedies. Shortest Night is an erotic romance which has both M/M and F/F subplots. I thought I'd finish by giving you a (PG-rated) snippet from this bawdy romp.


Hugh banged his tankard on the plank table. "A toast! To the newest Lord Chamberlain's man, Ben Hastings! Long may he tread the boards! " The dozen or so members of the Company present cheered and drank deep.

Ben just blushed. He knew that the opening had gone well. He'd mastered his revulsion and done a credible job as the benighted Titania. He remembered the thrill of the applause, the shouts and the whistles, as he curtseyed, hand in hand with Oberon. He could still feel Hugh's fingers entwined with his own; the vivid recollection made him a bit breathless and queasy. He wasn't used to this much excitement.

"Speech, speech!" Hugh called. "Give us more of your dulcet tones! Wench! Another round of ale, and be quick about it." The slender blond serving girl pushed a few wayward curls back under her cap and headed for the hogsheads.

Ben stood, a bit unsteady on his feet. He'd lost track of how long they'd been here, how much ale he'd consumed. He folded one hand over the other, as if he was back in grammar school, and tried to decide what to say. Hugh caught his eye. Unlike Ben, the dashing leading man seemed none the worse for drink. His dark eyes sparkled. Black curls tumbled over his forehead, a dramatic contrast to his pale Irish complexion. In the sweltering tavern, he'd opened his doublet almost to the waist. Ben noticed matching jet ringlets on his chest, matted with sweat. The actor was smiling encouragement, but the puckered scar at the left corner of his mouth gave all Hugh's smiles a slight sardonic cast. Still, Ben read kindness in Hugh's face, and something else, an eagerness that Ben didn't fully understand.

"I thank you for your congratulations, gentlemen, and also for your forbearance in overlooking my many mistakes over the last weeks. I hope that I can continue to do the Company proud."

The barmaid returned with a loaded tray. Someone stuck a full pot into his hand. "Drink up, boy! Build your strength for tomorrow's performance." Ben took a sip of the viscous, bitter liquid. He swayed back and forth, seeking his balance as he tried to continue. "I especially want to thank - hic - Master Hugh, who's given so much of his time to showing me the ropes…"

"Nonsense, boy. I've enjoyed it." Hugh stood beside him, an arm around Ben's shoulder. Ben leaned against him, grateful for the enhanced stability. "I'm looking forward to working with you more closely." Ben lurched forward, spilling some of his ale on the earthen floor. "Umm...I... you..."

Hugh pried Ben's fingers from the tankard and set it on the table. "I think that you've had enough for tonight, Ben." He signaled to the tavern maid. "Girl! Have you a room where my friend can lie down?"

Ben was conscious enough to note the odd expression on the wench's face. Sympathy for him, he thought, but a steely resentment aimed at the man supporting him. Can't you see, he wanted to protest, that he's my truest friend here? Lips pressed together into a thin line, she gestured impatiently to Hugh.

"Upstairs. No one's using the front room tonight. It's four pence, in advance." Hugh dropped a few coins into her palm. She turned and led the way through a dingy corridor to the narrow stairway. "Turn right at the landing. I don't suppose that you'll be wanting a fire, with the night so warm."

"No, we'll be fine, child." Hugh beamed at her. Ben could see that he was trying to win her over with charm. "But do send up two gills of your best sack, will you?"

"Very well, sir. I'll be up in a moment."

Ben heard Harold Warwick's gruff voice , and then the roar of laughter coming from the taproom. For a moment, he wished that he were back with the remainder of the company. Hugh held him tight around the waist, but someone he didn't feel stable or safe.


The worlds of the past are at least as complex and diverse as the fantasy settings some authors concoct. I love getting lost in them. My own halting attempts at bringing the past to life have taught me how difficult a task this is. My experiences as a reader, though, convince me that it's worth the effort.
BIO: A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published two single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two well-traveled felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).

February 26, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

"Siren's Call"  by L Reveaux 

They have been with us for centuries...beguiling us with their beauty...tempting us with their charm...

Seducing us...and evolving...

Take a late night stroll with Rick through the French Quarter, preferably on a night when the moon is rising—along with the heat level—and watch as The Lady Ryze steps under a street light—and sets the night ablaze…

A sensuous, paranormal short story 

L. Reveaux

February 23, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Corn with Basil

I'm one of those people whose idea of vegetable side dish is...open can, heat it up. But my niece, Joa, really likes to cook, try new recipes and make up some of her own. She passed this vegetable side dish on to me.  Enjoy.

Corn with Basil


1 large bag of frozen corn
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder


In a medium saucepan melt margarine. Add onion and celery. Cook until soft. Add corn, basil, salt, and garlic. Cook 10 minutes, or until corn is done. Remove from heat and serve.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

February 21, 2011


by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Last August, I suddenly found myself residing unexpectedly in Budapest, Hungary. I rented an apartment and committed to spending a year here, where I dedicated myself to writing, and doing a whole lot of inner growth.

While my internal exploration has its own particular challenge, as a writer, I can only say this—what a dramatic city in which to put pen to paper!

Long ago, Budapest was actually two cities, Buda and Pest, separated by the beautiful Danube. Now one, there are famous bridges connecting them. Right in between, in the middle of the Danube, lies Margaret Island, named for a king’s daughter who became a nun and later sainted. The remains of her convent still exist at one end of the island. The rest of the area holds a serene tree-filled park, hiking trails, an Olympic size swimming pool, a hotel with underground thermal baths, nightclubs and restaurants, even a padded running track. The Hungarians love Margaret Island…as do I.

Despite Hungary’s bloody thousand year history—from the ferocious Attila the Hun and the Mongol invasion in the thirteenth century, to the Ottoman wars in the sixteenth century, to Nazi control during WWII, and the virtual prisoner-like existence under a Communist regime and Stalin’s brutal puppet Mátyás Rákosi —like the grand lady she is, Budapest has managed to preserve her beauty, grace and dignity. And her romance. What a passionate and dreamy city to live in!

For exercise, I walk every day, rain, snow or shine. The sheer magnificence of the architecture of this city dulls any sense of cold or wet. I am mesmerized by the old villas that dot the landscape not two streets behind where I live. It amazes me that these huge mansions once housed only a single family and their servants. Now they are mostly embassies, one after the other flying their country’s flags. All along the streets of Budapest even the most insignificant apartment buildings are adorned with statues of angels, faces of cherubs, ornate rococo medallions. There is never a day that passes by when I don’t spy something else adorning a building I’ve strolled by several times.

I live near Heroes Square, and a block from the city park that houses a medieval castle, a lake, a zoo, and the famous palace-like Szechenyi Baths. Oh, these awesome thermal spas and baths! They are all over the city (Hungary has the greatest reserve of thermal mineral waters of any place on earth). Szechenyi (pronounced Say chen ee) is the most famous. In addition to the outdoor pools, the myriad of indoor baths have various water temperatures—take your pick. Wander into one room and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into ancient Roman times. Another room and you are in an elegant Grecian Temple. These are public baths, well maintained, and inexpensive for the patrons. The price for a day? Around $15, including your own private cabana for changing. There are hotels housing private spas and baths throughout the city that are dramatic and luxurious, usually free to hotel guests, and a bit pricier than the public baths to those not staying at the hotel.

Many refer to Budapest as the Paris of the East. Really? After spending less than a year here, I think it should be reversed: Paris should be called the Budapest of the West!

If you ever have a chance, or have not done so, do not miss Eastern Europe, especially this venerable city (look me up, I’ll show you around). Having been married to a German citizen, I am familiar with both the East and West. I much prefer Eastern Europe. There is a wonderful, aristocratic sense of the old here that is still captured in the hearts of the people.

Hungarian women are beautiful. They are sensual long into their ‘later years’. With all these baths and spas and mineral treatments around (there are three aestheticians right here on my street!) the care the women take of themselves is ingrained in them as part of their culture. Even during the restrictive Communist era, I am told the women still found a way to have their facials and attend the baths (If you want to get a visceral, bird’s eye view of the terrible reign of Communism in Hungary, I urge you to read Kati Marton’s Enemies of the People. Riveting).

Budapest is a romantic city, filled with passionate people who love the arts, culture and each other. With so much rich history here, I do hope one day we will broaden our publishing horizons and include areas such as Budapest as a backdrop for romance novels. With its wonderful past and historical detail, the possibilities for excellent romance stories are endless.

I don’t know how long I will live here, perhaps this year, perhaps whenever, but etched in my heart is an incredible city, complex in its history and its people. Whatever I do, wherever I go, Budapest will remain for me, one of the most romantic cities on earth.

What about you? What is your favorite romantic city you like/or would like to write about or wish to visit? Leave a comment, ask a question…I’ll be in and out to respond. Thanks for coming by.

I’ll leave you with a few Budapest websites you can check out on your own, but don’t miss this wonderful YouTube presentation of a tour of Budapest set to music.
Szechenyi Baths

Hungarian Parliament

Chain Bridge

Heroes Square

Margaret Island

History of Hungary

Kathleen Bittner Roth is a prepublished author who writes historical romance set in the Victorian period. Her website is http://www.kathleenbittnerroth.com/

February 19, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Crimson Snow
by Cheri Jetton

Teacher Sara Hansen witnesses a shooting and leaves Detroit to stay in her brother’s empty home on snowy Sugar Island, certain she’ll be safe in the remote location. Former homicide detective Daniel Leeds hears a shot and races from his cabin to the property next door, where he finds Sara bleeding in the snow. Though local police believe it’s a hunting accident, he’s not convinced. He allows Sara to recuperate in his cabin where he can protect her, but the arrangement soon begins to feel personal. Though they are drawn to each other, they know their lives are too different. His past has made him a virtual recluse, while Sara is compelled to help inner city youth.

When they’re apart, Daniel realizes the cops have made a critical mistake. He’s willing to lay down his life for her. But is it too late to save the woman he loves from a relentless killer?

Visit Cheri at www.cherijetton.com  

February 16, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Celebration Brunch

On February 7th, my mom turned 70! A year ago, just after her 69th birthday, the family started planning this year’s celebration. I’m pleased to say that all 22 members of the immediate family (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and spouses) were able to come to the February 12th party!!! My mom wanted us to have dinner at a Chinese Restaurant, so we found one that had a private room and a buffet and we arranged for the party there. Since most of the guests were coming from out of town, a couple of weeks ago I decided to host a brunch in my home Sunday morning before everyone hit the road. Below is the menu with links to some of the dishes.

Celebration Brunch:

Texas Ranger Baked Eggs
Baked French Toast
Sausage Gravy and Biscuits
Cheesy Grits
Hash Brown Bake
Sparkling Breakfast Punch
Kolches (store bought)
Muffins (store bought)
Fresh Fruit Tray
Bacon/Sausage (I used the pre-cooked, so they just needed to be heated)

February 14, 2011


No, don't put it in your pocket as the song suggests--give it to your Valentine! Happy Valentine’s Day! What are your plans for celebrating the day of romance? Let the romantic atmosphere stir your soul!

Caroline Clemmons
as I really look.
My name is Caroline Clemmons and I’m  fortunate Anna Kathryn invited me to be a guest on such an auspicious day. Every February 14th, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged in the name of St. Valentine. I hope you find chocolate, flowers, jewelry, a good book, a dinner invitation--and/or whatever suits you--from your significant other.

Since Anna Kathryn and I are both writers, I’m sure she’ll join me in suggesting that every reader give books to those we love instead of candy or flowers. Books are not fattening and won’t wilt. If you're into saving trees, you can even give an electronic download. And what better book to give for Valentine’s Day than a romance? Romance novels offers hope that each of us can overcome obstacles to achieve our happily ever after.

Here's a blatant stab at self promotion. Why not purchase my new books THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE and OUT OF THE BLUE and my novella in the anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES at The Wild Rose Press at www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html, my backlist books SNOWFIRES, BE MY GUEST, THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE and THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND at Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CarolineClemmons, Digi-Books, Amazon, and other online stores.

Please purchase Anna Kathryn Lanier’s books A GIFT BEYOND MEASURE, A COWBOY’S DREAM, SALVATION BRIDE, and the novella THE PRICELESS GIFT at http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=273, Digi-Books, Amazon, and other online stores.

I like the Chinese saying: "To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one."

Now back to our originally scheduled holiday celebration!

The history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint are shrouded in mystery. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. St. Valentine’s day was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted.

One of the three
men called
St. Valentine

The Early Medieval act of either Saint Valentine were expounded briefly in Legenda Aurea (Golden Legend). According to that version, St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. You have to admire his steadfastness even though, because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Valentine and his
There is an additional modern embellishment to The Golden Legend and--as many things are--widely repeated and beloved despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first "valentine" card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, as the jailer's daughter whom he had befriended and healed, or both. It was a note that read "From your Valentine."

Courtly devotion
The day first became associated with romantic love in Geoffrey Chaucer’s works in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called "mechanical valentines." A reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines. In the early 19th century, paper Valentines became so popular in England that they were assembled in factories. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century.

Vintage Valentine
In the United States, the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by an enterprising woman named Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father operated a large book and stationery store, but Howland took her inspiration from an English Valentine she had received from a business associate of her father. Intrigued with the idea of making similar Valentines, Ms Howland began her business by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England.

Candy with
a Card
In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States, including roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.

Aha! So your see, I am merely following a trend by suggesting you purchase Anna Kathryn's and my books as Valentine gifts. Honest, that's my only reason. I'm not thinking of sales figures or royalties or numbers of new readers. (Yeah, right. Want to buy a bridge while you're at it? LOL)

Fancier Valentine
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year second only to Christmas. Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. No surprise there. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children.

Kid's Valentine
When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities, the figure goes up, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. In some North American elementary schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and are given sweets.

Millions of people now send digital Valentine's Day messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010.

What have you planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Me at work
Caroline Clemmons writes romance and adventures—although her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history. Read about her at www.carolineclemmons.com and her blog at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com She loves to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com

February 12, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

by Skhye Moncrief

Available February 11th in e-book
Available March 11th in print

Sexual espionage never got any deadlier!

As the Blood Wars between psychic werewolves and vampires continue, Commander Goro’s deepest desire, his love, his promised mate, is taken from him in the worst possible manner. He learns she’s given birth to his arch enemy’s child, a deadly rumor for both his honor and her life. If he discovers she’s a sex spy, he’ll have to kill her. Now they must mate to disprove the rumor of sexual espionage. Although he’d postponed that moment of divine completion bonding their bodies through mystic sex and blood exchange to safeguard her from the treacherous game of manipulation—a game he and his intended play with everyone aboard his starship, he has no choice but to mate. Just one problem stands in his way…

Psychokinetic earthling Crazy Darla, manipulator extraordinaire unequaled by none other than Goro, realizes the only way to survive the rumored lie is to run for her life. But there was always something more in her motives than fantasies of delicious sex with the man she’s craved for years. Even though those motives felt carnal. Something else, pure and, perhaps, metaphysical haunted her. Perhaps in his goddess, Destiny? She had to believe in those feelings of love. But to trust is to show weakness in handing over one’s fate to another who just might ritually disembowel you.

Who is playing whom in the battle of masterminds? Sexual espionage never got any deadlier. With the secret baby, bounty hunters, an entrancing crystal, and a space opera between werewolves and vampires forcing Goro and Darla into dark secluded corners, pushing them into carnal sexual interludes and dangerous blood exchanges fueled by the frenzied blood lust of were-mates, the future holds both promises and lies in the psychic war. And one wrong move means you’ve succumbed to the deadliest thing in the universe, your FERAL FLAW.

Purchase your copy at New Concepts Publising.

Skhye Moncrief

February 9, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Death By Chocolate

Need a special dessert for Valentine's Day?  Here's a delicious one to share with your the loves in your life.

Ultimate Death by Chocolate


1 brownie mix (bake in 13x9" pan)
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
1 medium Cool Whip
1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag Heath chips


Make pudding & brownies by box directions. In a large glass bowl or trifle bowl, layer 1/2 brownies cut into small pieces, 1/2 pudding, 1/2 Cool Whip. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and Heath pieces. Repeat for layered effect.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Any type of candy can be substituted, Butterfingers are also good.

This recipe from CDKitchen. Serves/makes 14

Additional Chocolate Dessert Recipes:

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake
Decadent Chocolate Delight
Chocolate Cake for Two
Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

February 8, 2011

Some Gender-Specific Word Definitions

THINGY (thing-ee) n.
Female: Any part under a car's hood.
Male: The strap fastener on a woman's bra.

VULNERABLE (vul-ne-ra-bel) adj.
Female: Fully opening up one's self emotionally to another.
Male: Playing baseball without a cup.

COMMUNICATION (ko-myoo-ni-kay-shon) n.
Female: The open sharing of thoughts and feelings with one's partner.
Male: Scratching out a note before suddenly taking off for a weekend with the boys.

BUTT (but) n
Female: The body part that every item of clothing manufactured makes "look bigger."
Male: What you slap when someone's scored a touchdown, homerun, or goal. Also good for mooning.

COMMITMENT (ko-mit-ment) n.
Female: A desire to get married and raise a family.
Male: Not trying to pick up other women while out with one's girlfriend.

ENTERTAINMENT (en-ter-tayn-ment) n.
Female: A good movie, concert, play or book.
Male: Anything that can be done while drinking.

FLATULENCE (flach-u-lens) n.
Female: An embarrassing by-product of digestion.
Male: An endless source of entertainment, self-expression and male bonding.

MAKING LOVE (may-king luv) n.
Female: The greatest expression of intimacy a couple can achieve.
Male: Call it whatever you want just as long as we end up in bed.

REMOTE CONTROL (ri-moht kon-trohl) n.
Female: A device for changing from one TV channel to another.
Male: A device for scanning through all 500 channels every 5 minutes.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

"A story full of emotions... hurt, loss, and betrayal, turning it into a story of love, family, and happiness. A seasonal read, A Gift Beyond All Measure delivers on it's title." ~Talina; Night Owl Reviews

February 7, 2011

Guest Blogger - Ilona Fridl

Writing a Series:
A Cause of Separation
Ilona Fridl

I just sent back the galley for the third book in my Dangerous Times series and felt like I lost a friend. These characters I lovingly tended and caused to grow are now out on their own. Oh, I'm able to talk to people about them and learn how they're doing through reviews and sales, but a door has closed on a relationship I've had with the Shafer family these past few years.

I've already moved on to a new set of characters and problems, but this series was my first. The best thing, my characters will live and bring joy to others like they did for me.

The first book, Silver Screen Heroes, was a romantic suspense set in Hollywood in the 1920's. The second, Golden North, was my murder mystery in 1920's Juneau, Alaskan Territory. Bronze Skies is my third and final installment featuring the son of the original hero and heroine as a young Army Air Corps lieutenant, serving in the Eleventh Army Air Corps during the Japanese invasion of the Aleutians in World War 2. It's basically a war story with suspense.

I'll give you the blurb and an excerpt. Here's the gorgeous cover by Rae Monet. It'll be out soon at The Wild Rose Press.


Lt. Tom Shafer is an Army Air Corps pilot, who answers the call of his country a short time before World War II. His life is complicated when a bully back home in Juneau, Alaska harasses his girl. Can he fulfill his job to his country and his love?

Pam Wright has to put up with war's homefront problems and unwanted attention from a man who is obsessed with her. Can he take advantage of her knowing her man is so far from home?


A week after the surgery, Tom sat propped up in his bed, quietly reading the morning newspaper, when a bright ray of sunshine lit up the ward with her golden hair and sky-blue eyes. The beautiful vision headed right toward him. “Tom! Oh, Tom!” She latched her arms gently around his neck and gave him a careful kiss on his cheek, which changed when he turned his head and gave her a full kiss on the mouth. Lord, she tasted sweet! Then he glanced over her head and saw his mother pulling the side curtains closed between his bed and the others in the ward.

Mom gave him a half-smile. “You don’t want to make the others jealous.”

Tom looked around. “Where’s Dad?”

“He left with Uncle Josh, and Em and Dave for New York, before we heard about you being shot down. Aunt Muriel sent him a telegram. What happened? The Army doesn’t give out much information. We didn’t know what we would find.” Her voice wavered at the end as she drew over a chair next to them. Tom moved over, and Pam sat on the bed. He told them what he could about the battle and since, leaving out the fact that the soldier he'd helped was Vic. His mom and Pam gazed at him, glowing with pride.

When Tom noticed his mother was pale, although there was some color coming back into her face, he asked, “Mom, are you all right?”

Gazing at her hands, she nodded. “Now, I am. We just arrived here by air.”

His mouth gaped open. “You set foot in an airplane? You said something about a goon’s age when I offered to take you up a couple of years ago.”

Sighing, she said, “I didn’t want to take the time to go by ship. I was worried about you.”

Pam squeezed his hand. “She used both of our airsick bags on the way over.”

At Tom’s chuckle, his mother added, “We’re going home by ship, of course.”

A clomping of boots on the linoleum floor made Tom look up as a familiar face peered around the curtain. “Ken! You old dog! You made it through. What are you doing here?”

Ken shook Tom’s hand. “I had a few days' leave, so I thought I’d see how you were. But you have company―”

“That’s all right.” Tom made the introductions. “Ken saved my skin when I went down. The Japs were shooting at me, and he strafed them. I didn’t get a chance to thank you, buddy.”

Mom put a hand on Ken’s shoulder. “We all thank you.”

“Shucks, ma’am, Tom would have done it for me.”

Tom looked steadily at Ken. “What happened?”

With a grim line to his mouth, he replied, “We wiped them out. They fought to the last man, and at the end the ones left either were captured or committed suicide. I’ve never heard of anything like it.”

Pam shook her head. “Those people are fanatical, and that’s why this war scares me. Both the Nazis and the Japs seem to be power mad.”

Interlacing his fingers with hers, Tom said seriously, “That’s why we have to defeat them.”

Ken gazed at Tom’s cast. “When did the doc say you’d be ready to fly again?”

Some of that frustration came over Tom. “I should know in three weeks. I tell you, Ken, if it wasn’t for stopping to help―that soldier, I wouldn’t have gotten shot.”

Ken hesitated, then sighed. “Well, you never know.” Putting his hand on Tom’s shoulder, he said, “Hope to see ya back. You have lovely company, so I’ll hightail it out of here.” With a tip of his cap, he bowed.

Pam nodded. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Ken.” Mom agreed.

After he left, a male nurse came in. “Captain, it’s time for your walk.” Turning to Pam and Mom, he advised, “You can wait for him in the atrium. That’s downstairs to your right. He has to get out twice a day on the crutches.”

Mom gave Tom a kiss on the cheek. “We’ll be waiting. Come on, Pam, there must be some-where we can get coffee.”

Tom reluctantly watched the two walk away as the nurse gave him a robe and helped him swing his leg off the bed. A growing concern in his gut bothered him. What if I can’t get back to flying? What earthly good will I be to anyone? Since I started flying, it's all I ever wanted to do. He gave a resounding crack to the plaster cast with his fist―and immediately reacted to the pain in both his hand and his leg.

I want to thank Anna for this opportunity of using her blog. I'll be in and out responding to comments.

You can check my Web site at: http://www.ilonafridl.com/
I'm on FaceBook and Good Reads

February 5, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions - The Texan's Irish Bride

Warning: Explicit sex.
Why hadn’t Ma been more exact in her descriptions of what went on between man and woman? She’d only told Cenora to wear her best nightrail and be prepared to raise it and do as her husband requested. Ma had promised it would be a bit rough the first time, but after that a pleasant enough thing. Oh, but the part about a rough first time had Cenora scared half to death.

She knew how men were built, of course. Hadn’t she helped Mrs. Murphy care for a string of Murphy boys? What a difference between a babe and this man, though. Nigh long as her arm, his willie poked against her side.

She shivered again in fear, but then her man did something with his tongue on her nipple and she forgot to be afraid. Warmth pooled in her belly and she writhed about like one of the snakes good St. Paddy drove out of Ireland. Saints forgive her, she couldn’t help herself. Her husband’s pleasuring created yearnings she never dreamed existed.

She pulled him to her, crushing his head to her breast but he skimmed his mouth lower across her. His tongue dipped into her belly button and she fought to keep from throwing her legs around the man. No doubt he already thought her and her family wild, heathen people. What would he think of her if she gave in to her pagan impulses?

He moved back to her mouth, then trailed kisses along her shoulders. Though she vowed she’d let him tell her what to do in this coming together, her hand brushed his manhood and she saw him close his eyes and gasp.

“Does that please you?” she asked and, though afraid he would think her too bold, moved her finger across the top of the shaft.

He closed his eyes again. “More than I can tell you.”

“Your willie is lovely and soft on top, not at all as it looked.” Though the length was hard and long, the velvet tip surprised her.

“My what?” He opened his eyes in question.

“Your willie. This,” she said and touched his man part again. She smoothed her finger around the top in a small circle.

He seemed to hold his breath, then he grasped her hand. “Lord have mercy, woman. You’d best stop before I get ahead of you. Let me pleasure you more.”

He suckled her breast and his hand slid to her privates. Gently he pushed her legs apart and slid his finger inside her. When his thumb brushed against the nub of her womanhood, jolts of delectable joy radiated through her being. She heard herself pant and moan, knew she thrashed her head to and fro, but lost the power to control herself. In and out he delved and her hips kept time with him. Each movement increased her delight.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, how could anything feel better than this?

Oh, no, now she’d taken the Lord’s name in vain, and under what libertine conditions? Sure and she’d have to do a penance but she no longer cared. When she thought she would explode, he slid on top of her and the tip of his shaft nudged against her.

“Slide your legs around me,” he commanded, sounding as breathless as she felt.

Now wasn’t that what she wanted to do anyway? She wound her legs around his waist and he put a pillow at her back. He slipped into her and the force of it pushed her against the pillow. Oh, it would never work, no matter what he said. He was too large.

She marveled when she stretched around him, felt him fill her and push deeper. Surprised he could get that big thing inside her, she had a few moments to enjoy the feel of him. Then he pushed into her and she would have screamed for him to stop when pain tore at her, but his mouth covered hers.

Before she could break his kiss and demand he stop or she’d split in two, the pain lessened and a new sensation took over. Wave after wave of pleasure shot through her and she met his thrusts with her own. No longer could she see or think, only float on the bursts of ecstasy surging through her, building inside her.

When she thought she might expire from delight, fireworks burst in her head and she almost shattered from pure pleasure. A final spiral of joy exploded in her and she drifted back to earth as Dallas collapsed beside her. He cradled her to him, gasping and spent.

“Dang, you’re a fast learner.” He kissed her hair softly.

The buy link for THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE is www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html

Thanks for stopping by. Y’all come back.

Caroline Clemmons writes romance and adventures—although her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history. Her latest releases include THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, OUT OF THE BLUE, and SNOWFIRES.  Read about her at www.carolineclemmons.com and http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com. She loves to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com

February 4, 2011

Guest Blogging Today

Today I'm guest blogging and posting about the most important line in your story....what is it?  And what should it do?  Stop by Patricia Preston's blog to find out! 

Anna Kathryn

February 3, 2011

January Winner - February's Prize

Congratulations to Kenna for winning the drawing for January's prize Five romance books:

Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick
Duchess of Sin by Laurel McKee (autographed)
Countess of Scandal by Luarel McKee (autographed)
Running Hot by Jayne Krentz
Unspeakable by Laura Griffn (autographed)

For February, I'm giving away some more books....six this time:

THE WILD ROAD by Marjorie Liu
INDISCREET by Carolyn Jewel (autographed)
RUNNING HOT by Jayne Ann Krentz
Just leave a comment on any post made during February to be eligible.
Anna Kathryn Lanier

February 2, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Sweet Potato Minestrone

Well, Old Man Winter has decided to take up residence, hasn't he?  It's even going FREEZE in Houston three nights in a row!  So, here's yet another soup recipe to help warm things up.  It's from TASTE OF HOME SOUPS Recipe Cards cookbook.  Sweet Potatoes are a really good source of Vitamin A and fiber and Cabbage is has lots of Vitamin C, of all things!

Sweet Potato Minestrone
From Taste of Home


4 cans (14-1/2 oz) beef or vegetable broth
3 cups water
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
6 cups shredded cabbage
7-oz pkg small past shells
2 cups frozen peas


In Dutch oven, combine broth, water, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add cabbage, pasta and peas. Return to a boil; cook 8-10 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are tender.

Makes 14 serverings

February 1, 2011

Guest blogging today

Join me at Vintage Vonnie as I blog about Plotting....a subject I don't know a lot about, but instead turn to the experts for advice.