January 28, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. It is Saturday and time for Saturday's Salacious Suggestions.  Authors are welcome to post their blurb and buy links and readers are welcomed to find a new romance to read.

Starting next week, I'm going to do genre specific blurbs each week, but for today, it's a free for all, any genre, any heat index.

January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Chow - Red Pepper Soup

Here's a yummy looking recipe, great for a cold winter day, from this week's guest author, Toni V. Sweeny.  If you haven't checked out her blog from Monday, be sure and stop by for Carrying a Theme through Several Generations.

Here’s my famous prize-winning (Beta Sigma Phi Cookbook, 1999) Red Pepper Soup, which was probably dreamed up by some chuck wagon cook on a trail drive who found himself with nothing left but a handful of peppers and garlic.  It's perfect for the holidays, because of its bright color, as well as its zippy taste.

4 medium red Bell Peppers
1 medium yellow Bell pepper
2 small red Serrano peppers (other mild hot pepper such as Hungarian can be substituted)
3 gloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1/2 C whipped cream (optional)
Fresh basil leaves (optional)
Salt/pepper to taste

Remove seeds, stems, and membranes from peppers.  Chop into squares.  Slice garlic.  Boil all until tender.  Run through blender until pureed.  Pour into large saucepan and add salt and pepper to taste and olive oil.  Add chicken broth, stir until well-blended.  Cook until heated throughout and ladle into soup bowls.  May be garnished with a fresh basil leaf and a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

This makes 4 servings.  195 calories per serving.

January 23, 2012

Carrying a Theme through Several Generations

by Toni V. Sweeney

Thanks for inviting me, Anna Kathryn.  Wish I had more of my new WIP done.  It’d be a little more in tune with your Western theme.  It’s called (tentatively) The Lily and the Shamrock and is set in Nebraska.  However, I’ve only gotten through Chapter One, so guess I’d better concentrate on my latest release and talk about it. 

So, here goes.  Ahem…

One thing about writing about a dynasty--it covers a lot of territory and a whole lot of people...centuries of events...millennia of generations...  I took the easy way out.  I decided to write about the beginning and the end of a dynasty--the rule of the kan Ingans of the Emeraunt Galaxy.  My series, The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic (Bloodseek, Blood Curse, A Singing in the Blood, and Barbarian Blood Royal, and soon to come, The Man from Cymene) told the kan Ingans' origins.  My series, The kan Ingan Archives, told of their inglorious end thirty-one hundred years later.  The series didn't start out that way, but--as usual with characters with which I have more than one dealing, familiarity bred contempt—and Aric kan Ingan and his Black Shield friends yanked the book out of my hot little hands, and, in their superiorly militant way, took over.  If they'd let me handle things, the story might have ended differently; then again, knowing my penchant for Unhappily-Ever-After endings, it might have been worse!   As it stands now…

Family sagas are a lot of work because you have to keep track not only of the characters' names and physical appearances, but also of their ages, especially if each novel encompasses a number of years.  Sometimes it's easier to make a tangible chart, a family tree or spreadsheet with all the relationships, ages, etc., so it can be referred to from time to time.  In Sinner, the main character, Aric, goes from age twenty to thirty; the second novel (tentatively titles Exile) opens ten years later and covers five years of his life.  In the third novel, at the age of 46, Aric returns to his  home.  When Aric left, the woman he will eventually wed was six-years-old.  When he meets her again in the third book, she's twenty-two, and his decision to marry her scandalizes his best friend because he's now twice her age.  To add insult to injury, she’s also the best friend’s niece and he’s only five years older than she though he’s fifteen years younger than Aric!  Confused yet?  Age plays a very important part in these stories so I had to keep close tabs on how old everyone was and when.


What is all this leading to?  To the promo for my new book. Sinner, the story of a man who falls in love with the wrong woman. (Don't they all?)  A man who was destined to be the most powerful person in the galaxy until Cupid skewered him with one of those little darts.  A man accused of committing a crime and unable to prove himself innocent because to do so would reveal he's committed an ever greater crime.  It's got plenty of love, sex, and violence.  A real winner!

Check it out.

Blood Sin is available from Double Dragon Publishing. Buy it now HERE

Toni V. Sweeney

The Amazing Author Event continues with Barbara Edwards. Read the Blogs ~ Win the Prizes

January 22, 2012

Anna Katherine's Amazing Author Event

A few years ago, I attended the Northwest Houston RWA’s two-day Lone Star Conference featuring Todd Stone, author of the NOVELIST’S BOOT CAMP. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone wishing to improve writing and editing skills. If you’re unable to attend a workshop, at the very least, purchase his book. Though at first glance it may look intimidating, it is really a very simple to follow, matter-of-fact and easy-to-understand guide.

Today, I’m going to discuss Drill 42 – Take Three Steps to Story Line, page 121.

I’m a panster, so plotting out a story is very hard for me, no matter how much I want to do so. Drill 42 is more or less a lesson on plotting your story in three easy steps. I don’t see myself really doing this for an entire novel. Still, the ideas presented in Drill 42 are worth going over, because if you get yourself stuck on a scene, this may help you get past the problem.

Todd says, “Your concept of operation—called story line—recounts the major actions and events that occur as your protagonist pursues her objective.” The easiest way to build your story line, accordingly, are in the following three steps:

1. Add one of the four D’s: Does, Discovers, Decides or Deals with. They don’t have to be done in this particular order, but all four should be included in your story and at the very least one should start the story journey.

a. Does: In order to attain her goal, the protagonist does something. In my story SALVATION BRIDE, Laure does something by traveling West as a mail order bride. Every does, Todd says, has a consequence. Her actions to marry a stranger, David, results in the consequence of having to give up her career as a doctor as well as having a marriage of love.

b. Discover: The protagonist discovers new information that impacts her quest for her objective. In Laura’s case, she wants a secure, loving home life. She hopes to find that with David. However, she discovers David still loves his dead wife. Now she must deal with a new situation—she must do something so she can still obtain her objective, a secure marriage.

c. Decide: Your protagonist decides to try something new to reach her objective. A decision is NOT an action, it is a conclusion. For the moment, Laura decides that though the situation is not what she hoped for, she at least has a family (in David and his young daughter) and a home to take care of. She won’t rock the boat and end their arrangement. Odd as it seems, doing nothing is the right decision. Quietly caring for his home and young daughter endears Laura to David in a way she didn’t expect.

d. Deals With: Your antagonist takes action, or an event happens and your protagonist responds or deals with it. Laura witnesses a woman being abused by her husband and steps between the man and his wife. This action causes conflict between Laura and David, the town’s sheriff. It is also a turning point in their relationship.

2. Follow with an and so: When you add a D, insert an and so behind it. Doing this should lead you to another D, after which you insert another and so. This sequence helps build a sense of cause and effect, keeps your characters focused on their objectives and keeps your story in motion. You may also use terms like and, then and but.

3. Expand, refine and cross-check. You need to expand and refine your D’s to get to the level of detail necessary to develop your scenes. You will then cross-check the believability and necessity of each detail:

a. Against research for accuracy.
b. Against your protagonist’s objectives, to ensure her actions are focused on achieving those goals.
c. Against the opponent’s objectives, to see what actions the opponent’s might take.

Then expand and refine the D’s to ensure you can insert and so to connect one series of actions with the next. Also important: the protagonist is doing most of the doing. If someone else is doing it, you may need to look over the scene and make changes.  The protagonist needs to be active, not passive.

Following is an example of the opening scenes in my novella SALVATION BRIDE.

Laura Ashton needs the security a husband will give her, and so decides to travel west as a mail order bride. She then discovers that the preacher came to town early, forcing her to deal with an unexpected situation and so she marries David Slade hours after meeting him, when the plan had been to marry a month or so later. She does not tell him she is a trained doctor until after the marriage and so must deal with his refusal to let her practice. She soon discovers that he still loves his dead wife and must deal with knowing her husband will never love her as a man should love his wife. And so, she decides that the security of marriage, family and home are worth a loveless marriage.

I'll give away one copy of SALVATION BRIDE to someone who leaves a comment.

Are you a pasnter or a plotter? Leave a comment on this lesson and how it might help you and you could win.  

Click HERE for more information on SALVATION BRIDE.

Tomorrow's Amazing Author is Barbara Edward at http://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com

January 21, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Another week, another Saturday.  I'm going to start something new here soon...specific genres per Saturday, but not yet.  I'll actually be out of town, at a casino....whoot!...Saturday, so it's a 'free-for-all.'

Post your blurb, and buy links in the comments sections, then tweet about the blog spot.....send people to check out our stories.

Have a great weekend.

Anna Kathryn

January 19, 2012

Theodora from Whore to Empress

That's a really good title, but I didn't use it on the blog I just posted at Hearts Through History....mmmm, maybe I should go change it...but, well, that's too much trouble. Still, why don't you pop in and read about a woman who came from next to nothing to be one of the most powerful women in the world. Maybe the movie Pretty Woman isn't as much of a fantasy as we all think it is.....

Empress Theodora

The Amazing Author Event: Read the Blogs -Win the Prizes
Jan. 19. Linda LaRogue - http://lindalarogueauthor.blogspot.com 

Anna Kathryn

January 18, 2012

Wednesday's Chow - Jake’s Fried Rice

This week's guest, Amber Leigh Williams (Rogue Secondary Characters) shares a special recipe from her husband.  Enjoy.

Anyone who knows us as a couple is aware that my husband is the cook in the marriage. He even works in the restaurant business! One day out of the blue, he created this amazing fried rice recipe. We have shared it with both sides of our family and everyone loves it. We’ve never shared it with anyone outside of the family – this is a first so we hope you enjoy Jake’s Fried Rice….

Jake’s Fried Rice

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves: 2-3

1 8-oz. box Zatarans® New Orleans Style Yellow Rice
1 pkg. smoked Conecuh Sausage
6-7 extra-lg. eggs
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot, begin boiling water for Zatarans® yellow rice (NOTE: Use ½ cup less water than the box recommends). While waiting for water to boil, begin chopping bell peppers and sausage into small bites. When water boils, let rice simmer covered for 25 minutes, stirring often. At the same time rice begins to simmer, begin cooking sausage in a separate pan. In another pan, use vegetable oil to begin cooking bell peppers. Stir both pans often to keep sausage and peppers from burning. Take peppers off heat and drain when they become soft. Brown sausage to your preference before taking off heat and draining until non-greasy. Set sausage and peppers aside. When rice has 15 minutes left to cook, whisk eggs together, pour into a large pan and scramble them, seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste.

When rice is done cooking, use a strainer to drain all excess fluids. Using a large pan or wok (usually the same pan eggs are cooked in), combine the scrambled eggs and rice. Stirring often, let rice cook a bit longer. Add bell peppers and sausage and mix well. Serve in bowls and enjoy!

Amazing Author Event - Read the Blogs - Win the Prizes
Jan. 18. SG Rogers - http://childofyden.wordpress.com 

January 16, 2012

Rogue Secondary Characters

by Amber Leigh Williams

Don’t you just love rogue secondary characters? While writing my first western romance, Blackest Heart, I thought I had secondary characters under control. That is until my critique partner practically begged me to write the story of at least one of the heroine’s older brothers. I’m a firm believer in giving strong secondary characters a satisfactory story of their own. The whole western romance venture had been somewhat of a writing experiment. Not only had I never written a western, I had never written a novella. Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off. Blackest Heart was quickly contracted by my publisher for their new western line, the 1st Place Novella in the 2009 More Than Magic Contest, and the subject of most of my fan mail. Writing against the western backdrop with characters as rich as the Ridge family siblings was also sinfully fun. I decided my CP was right and a short jaunt back to West Texas through the eyes of my muse and western characters was in order. 

My CP dropped heavy hints that she wanted to see Stella’s “good boy” brother Casey find love. Probably because I drop not-so-subtle hints in Blackest Heart that he has a thing for the “bad girl” of Wayback, Josie Brusky. Writing Casey’s story (Bluest Heart) taught me a lesson about writing the so-called “bad” character. Josie saunters into Blackest Heart with a reputation. Confronting that in Bluest Heart was a daunting process. None of my previous heroes or heroines came into their respective stories in a negative light. The contrasts between Josie and Casey, however, fell to the wayside within the first few chapters of the first draft. On the page, they automatically clicked despite the conflict surrounding them. Much of it has to do with their tender backstory and underneath the reputation Wayback has built around Josie and her family lies a heroine readers sympathize with.

When my western editor contracted Bluest Heart, I found it increasingly hard to sleep at night knowing that the oldest Ridge brother, Keefe, was the only one of his siblings who didn’t have a story of his own. The process of converting him from the “playboy of Wayback” to hero material was a challenge, one that I couldn’t resist. While Josie’s like tendencies were a struggle to morph into the role of heroine, Keefe turned out to be a blast—probably because I threw the bad boy a curveball in the form of Stella’s Yankee talent agent, Calli Morlani. Keefe, the bronc-busting cowpoke, allowed me to explore the sexy cowboy hero one more rip-roarin’ time from a fresh angle, rounding out the Ridge trilogy in an exciting way with Bet it on my Heart!

I do miss spending writing time with those Ridges, but they are available as both ebook and audio books from The Wild Rose Press, Kindle, Nook and AudioLark. Blackest Heart is also featured in the paperback anthology, The Way Back Home, along with two other western romance novellas….

Thank you for hosting me and the Ridges here, Anna Kathryn! Looking forward to sharing a western-themed recipe on Wednesday. Until then, I’ll leave you with the book trailer for Bet it on my Heart. For more on the Ridge trilogy, including bonus material and book trailers, visit me on the web at www.amberleighwilliams.com! Enjoy....

The Amazing Author Event: Read the Blogs - Win the Prizes 
Jan. 16. Maggie Toussaint http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com 

January 14, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Okay, it's time to post your blurbs again!  Last week we had over 30 great books promoted.  I sure hope y'all got some readers from that.

Just leave a comment with your blurb and links to buy the book!

Don't forget about THE AMAZING AUTHOR EVENT.  
Roseanne Dowell - http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com is today's author!

January 12, 2012


Starting Jan. 12, thirteen AMAZING AUTHORS will host a blog tour.  Visit each author's blog and read through their post carefully. At the end of the tour there will be a test - but instead earning an A or, gasp, an F, you can earn PRIZES:  amazing stories by these AMAZING AUTHORS, as well as some other cool giveaways.

Caroline Clemmons starts the Amazing Event today. http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com 

January 11, 2012

Wednesday's Chow - Potato Chip Bake

This week's guest, Katherine Grey shares a family favorite for Wednesday's Chow.  Check out Katherine's Monday blog, Anti-New Year's Resolutions, too.

Potato Chip Bake

1 cup of water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray
1 white onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 green pepper, diced
*1 pound bacon, sausage, or ham (If using bacon or ham, dice it. If using sausage, crumble it.)
12 large eggs
1 8.5 ounce bag of kettle cooked potato chips (I use Lay’s brand.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil or use cooking spray in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, and your choice of meat from above, season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions and green pepper are soft and meat is done, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and 1 cup of water together. Lightly crush the potato chips into the egg mixture and let stand, stirring occasionally until the chips are soft, about 10 minutes.

Prepare a 12 x 9 x 2 pan with cooking spray or 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Combine egg and chip mixture with the meat mixture and pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until eggs are firm and top is golden and slightly crisp.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings

*If using bacon, precook the bacon a bit before adding the onion and green pepper.
**I’ve also added sliced or quartered baby cremini or button mushrooms.

Katherine Grey
IMPETUOUS available now
THE MUSE coming 2012

January 10, 2012


Starting Jan. 12, thirteen AMAZING AUTHORS will host a blog tour.  Visit each author's blog and read through their post carefully. At the end of the tour there will be a test - but instead earning an A or, gasp, an F, you can earn PRIZES:  amazing stories by these AMAZING AUTHORS, as well as some other cool giveaways.

Here's the AMAZING AUTHORS lineup:

Jan. 12.  Caroline Clemmons - http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com 

Jan. 13. Beth Trissel - http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

Jan. 14. Roseanne Dowell - http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com 

Jan. 15.  Cathie Dunn -  http://cathiedunn.blogspot.com 

Jan. 16. Maggie Toussaint http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com 

Jan. 17. Patsy Parker - http://plparker.blogspot.com 

Jan. 18. SG Rogers - http://childofyden.wordpress.com 

Jan. 19. Linda LaRogue - http://lindalarogueauthor.blogspot.com 

Jan. 21. Karen Nutt - http://kmnbooks.blogspot.com/ 

Jan. 22. Anna Kathryn Lanier - http://annakathrynlanier.blogspot.com/ 

Jan. 23. Barbara Edwards - http://barbaraedwardscomments.wordpress.com 

Jan. 24. Ginger Simpson - http://mizging.blogspot.com 

January 9, 2012

Anti-New Year’s Resolutions

Every year most people I know make New Year’s Resolutions with the very best of intentions.  Some people resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, handle their money better, take better care of their health, etc.  I have to admit I’ve resolved to do all of these except quit smoking (I’m not a smoker) at least once in the last 10 years or so.

We all start out doing well, but then something happens to throw us off track and those well intended resolutions become a thing of the past, something to be forgotten about and never mentioned again, well until the next new year.  I read somewhere that a study was done and 78% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail.  I don’t know if that’s supposed to offer comfort for those of us who fall off the resolution wagon or if it’s supposed to shame us into getting back on.

I didn’t keep a single resolution I made in January 2011 so I decided to take a different approach this year.  Instead of setting myself up for failure once again, this year I’m resolving to keep doing the things that are working for me.

  1. Setting monthly goals – By setting a monthly writing goal, I don’t feel so overwhelmed. Instead of saying I want to write two complete manuscripts this year, I say I want to write x amount of pages this month.  It seems to help me stay on track if I have a bad day or two where the words aren’t flowing.

  1. Exercise 4 days a week – I’m not one of those people who love to exercise.  In fact, I hate doing it, but I have really bad knees (4 knee surgeries in 4 years) and exercise helps keep them limber.  By exercising only 4 days out of the week, it gives me an out if I don’t feel like doing it on a particular day.

  1. Take time for me – Okay I didn’t do so well with this one after Impetuous was released at the end of August because I spent a great deal of my free time trying to promote my book.  I plan on getting back on track with this after January.

  1. Take a day off from anything writing related once a week – I usually don’t even turn the computer on on Sundays.  It’s a day for me to spend time with family, do things I haven’t gotten to during the week, or on occasion, spend a lazy day on the sofa with a good book.

  1. Stay organized – I’m one of those people who has a place for everything and everything is in its place.  For example, if you come to my desk at work and borrow my stapler and set it down someplace other than where you took it from, as soon as you walk away from my desk, I’m moving the stapler back to its spot where it belongs.  This helps me stay organized both in my writing and every day life.  I like knowing where everything is so that if I need something I don’t have to spend hours searching through stacks of notes or paper looking for that one piece of vital research to move my story forward.
How about you?  Do you have any Anti-New Year’s Resolutions?
Katherine Grey writes historical romances set in London, England during the Regency period.

Her debut novel, Impetuous is available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble

Her novella, The Muse, involving a secondary character from Impetuous will be released later this year.

Katherine loves hearing from readers and other writers.  You can find her at her blog - http://katherinegrey.blogspot.com or
on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katherine-Grey/265375626827267?sk=wall

January 6, 2012

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Looking for a good read?  Check out these salacious suggestions!

Authors - just leave your blurb and buy links in the comments section.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

January 2, 2012

Being gentle with yourself in the new year

By Babs Mountjoy

So often we take the first day of the year as some sort of mysterious wonder date, The Time when everything will happen if we just begin right then

I will lose all the weight I should.
I will dress beautifully and be a style-setter.
I will finish that %#$@ novel if it kills me. (let's hope it doesn't)
I will....take your pick. Save money. Get rich. Participate in sports. Smile more. Whatever it is, we seem to be more convinced it will happen because we're starting at that Magic Date.
Worse, we choose lofty goals during that warm glow of the ball coming down and the sparkling cider. We won't lose 10 pounds, but 50. We won't save $20 a week but $75. We set ourselves up to fail, and then when we do, we lose all motivation and likely put on that ten pounds instead.

I suggest instead that we look at each day as the opportunity to make those changes that we long to see happen. We can be kinder to our spouse. We can put a special note in the kids' lunch so they know we love them all day long. We can skip the dessert and have a piece of fruit. Each day. And if we screw up one day, it's not a major loss. We can start again the next day.

Maybe this is just the softening vision of someone who's nearly moved into post-motherhood, or someone who's accepted her own shortcomings. I'm just not as adamant or feminist or hard-and-fast as I used to be. At the same time, despite fibromyalgia and the onset of arthritis and a third family of kids (three with special needs) and a change of career late in life, I've been more productive in my writing this year than ever. I've had three novels published in the last 14 months, and I have four--count them, 4!--novels contracted for next year. So far. Several more are under consideration for 2012, and I have a three-book YA speculative fiction series under contract for 2013 already. But not because I'm beating myself up every day. More likely, it's because I do a little bit every day, and occasionally really let myself go. I invite you to do the same.

Babs Mountjoy writes science fiction and fantasy under the name Lyndi Alexander, and romance under the name Alana Lorens. She's a family law attorney in her day life, and a novelist at night, like a red-caped superhero. :) 

Her romance novel set in a New Mexico brothel, SECRETS IN THE SAND, is available from The Wild Rose Press.

Soon to be released is her new romantic suspense novel,
Who knows what else might come along in the next year? All we can do is stay tuned and encourage ourselves gently to  do our best, forgive ourselves when we misstep, and as Bill and Ted suggested, "Be excellent to each other."