Descriptions for heat levels in book list

------holding hands, perhaps a gentle kiss
♥♥ ---- more kisses but no tongue-- no foreplay
♥♥♥ ---kissing, tongue, caressing, foreplay & pillow talk
♥♥♥♥ --all of above, full sexual experience including climax
♥♥♥♥♥ -all of above including coarser language and sex more frequent

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Anne Rice gives advice on writing

This video discussion by the well-known author might inspire someone who is wanting to write but hasn't started yet. Lots of great advice! There are some authors who really do try to encourage others. I have a couple videos like this, by successful authors, who do their part to help others with the things they have learned. One of the things about writers that I've seen-- they encourage each other and a dog eat dog world of competition is not how it is.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Charlene Raddon and Marrying Jenna

I am happy today to have as my guest, romance author and a friend, Charlene Raddon as she discusses her story that will be an anthology of short stories due out March 15.

            I’m very grateful for the opportunity to talk about the western anthology Rain and I are participating in, Rawhide n’ Roses. We have some truly great authors joining in on this project, and making our anthology not only one of a kind, but a super good read. I, for one, can’t wait to get the book and read what all the others wrote.
            Writing short stories is my forte, but I have to admit I found writing this one a surprising amount of fun. Of course it helped to take a book already written and simply create a short sequel to it. I’m talking about my western romance, Taming Jenna. My short story is titled Marrying Jenna, which seems to pretty much say it all, except Branch and Jenna’s wedding day doesn’t at all go the way they planned.
            Branch is dressing for the ceremony and looking forward to having Jenna as his wife when he looks out the window and sees her galloping out of town in her wedding dress, with a gun belt around her waist and a Stetson on her head. The church lies in the opposite direction so Branch is pretty sure that’s not her destination. So, what is? And why on earth is she riding off outfitted for a gun battle on this particular day?
            You’ll have to buy the book to find out. Here’s a brief excerpt:

            People froze in place. Wagons halted. Not even a dog barked. Everyone gaped after Jenna as she sped past.
            Where in damnation was she going? The church was in the opposite direction.
            Chuckles and exclamations of amazement drifted up to the window as people recovered from their shock. Dogs came alive and raced, barking, after the galloping horse.
            Cursing, Branch rushed out of his room and down the outer stairs. He leaped into his saddle and tore after his head-strong fiancĂ©. Blasted woman! More obstinate than a mule mired in mud. But, confound it, she was also giving and loving, with a mind as clever as a fox. Whatever she was up to, he’d find out, and soon.
            Then he’d bring her back, paddle her behind—certainly not for the first time—and drag her to the church. Come hell or high water, they would be man and wife by dark.
            Once he spied her fleeing figure he let up on the reins, preferring to keep her unaware of his presence until the right time to reveal himself. She headed toward the town of Heber, then veered off into hills dense with quaking aspen. Mumbling more imprecations, Branch followed.
            Finally, she slowed. Through the trees, he saw her dismount and edge through the brush. Branch halted his horse beside hers, jumped down and followed. An old cabin soon became visible in the distance.
            Before he could catch up with her, Jenna shouted at the shack, “I’m here, you low-down, stinking skunks. Send the marshal out before I set fire to that hovel you’re hiding in.”
            Marshal? Branch frowned. He was the marshal.
            If you enjoyed my excerpt, be sure to look for the book on March 15 at Rawhide n’ Roses will fulfill all your western dreams, historical and contemporary.
            Charlene Raddon’s first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when a vivid dream drove her to drag out a typewriter and begin writing. Because of her love of romance novels and the Wild West, her primary genre is historical romance. Kensington Books originally published five of her novels which are now available through Tirgearr Publishing.
Find her at:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Finding inspiration

When a writer is looking for inspiration, where is it to be found? I read an interesting article on one aspect of this in a magazine I get every month--the Romance Writers Report. It’s a professional magazine for writers who regard what they are doing as a career, a profession, and important in their life. It delved into another aspect of where we find inspiration and what focus means for the creative person.

Written by Erin Quinn and Kris Kennedy, the article was titled, “That’s my book she wrote!” and deals with how often great ideas for books come at the same time. They do that because the writer is out paying attention to the world and suddenly they see a story. I’ve had it happen. Most writers have likewise. Then… the article said, you look at someone else’s recently published book and realize a lot of the elements are in your own. Could be title, characters, setting.  This isn’t copying the other writer. It happens at the same time— simultaneous.

From the article: “In the scientific world, they know all about it. It’s called the theory of multiple discovery, and it’s the notion that many scientific discoveries and inventions are made independently and almost simultaneously by multiple scientists and/or inventors…” 

I hadn't thought of this happening with books but had heard of it happening a lot from my inventor, consultant, innovator husband. It is why in his world, there is often a rush to get a patent and why they consider lab notebooks critical to proving their work wasn’t copied.

This issue of potentially being influenced is a lot of why I almost never read romances-- even though I would enjoy them sometimes. The advice in the article was-- read a lot of them before you begin writing your own. I did that. Then-- quit reading them at all while writing. That subtle influence, where you don’t know from where it came, is why some consider it best not to read in the genre in which they write. 

I suppose some writers are not easily influenced. I don’t know if I would be. I do know that these days, when I am not writing or researching, I stick to non-fiction—a lot of it. It is what interests me as that's from where new ideas will come. I am writing romances and don't want ideas from others who are also writing them. 

When I hear of an interesting romance by someone else, I buy it but store it for the future. Who knows I might change genre—or come to a time I write less. For now I concentrate on my own plots, characters and settings helped along by non-fiction and what’s been going on in the world—or happened next door.  Yep, nobody who knows a writer should consider themselves surprised if they find some aspect of their life in the next book… But if the writer is ethical, it won’t be clearly obvious who it was by name. Save that for non-fiction.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guest Author-- Susan Horsnell

I am happy to have the talented and diverse Australian writer, Susan Horsnell as my guest today as she discusses a new anthology. Hi Sue--


15 Western Romance Authors are currently working on a fabulous anthology which is due for release on March 15, 2014, the book is titled:
Rawhide ’n Roses
(A Western Romance Anthology)

Each story in the anthology will be a showcase of the author’s individual writing style and will hopefully encourage the reader to purchase full length novels of the author’s they like. Every story will have a Western Romance theme but there will be everything from old west romance to time travel and contemporary. Something to suit every western reader’s taste. It will also give the reader an opportunity to discover some new authors. 

I am privileged to be associated with the very best of western writers and I know readers are going to be very impressed by the high quality of this work. The anthology came about from a comment I inadvertently made on a Western Romance Writer’s forum. From this comment the idea snowballed and I found myself nominated in charge of pushing the project forward. I cannot believe I am in such esteemed company and I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented authors. 

Over the next 1 ½ months, the authors will be blog hopping to promote this anthology and their own work. I hope readers will keep an eye out on blogs and social media for the cover release and official book release.

The best part? The culmination of this hard work by so many talented people – The Anthology – will be a steal at just $1.99!

Sit back, grab a coffee and enjoy the excerpt from my short story: 

Petticoat Patrol
by Susan Horsnell

“Sissy, for heaven’s sake. Stop that damn wagon!” Lily screeched at the top of her voice. She crouched low over her galloping mare’s neck, reins in one hand and mane grasped in the other. As she drew alongside the wagon, which carried her sisters, she stood up in the stirrups and yelled again. “Stop that wagon now or so help me…”
Melissa, also known as Sissy, pushed her feet down hard to balance as she pulled back hard on the bay gelding’s reins. They all drew to a stop.
Lily lifted the hat from her head and swiped impatiently at the sweat on her brow. It was so hot she thought, if the damn dog was chasing the cat, they’d both be walking. “Why didn’t you stop when I called out?”
“How am I supposed to hear you with the sound of Buck’s hooves and these two tittering in my ear?” Sissy retorted.
The ‘two’ she referred to, as she flung her arm in the air, were their sixteen year old twin sisters – Amy and Emily. They had just discovered the appeal of two local boys and had been excitedly chattering.
“Why are you here, anyways? You’re supposed to be helpin’ Ma put a basket of food together. We gotta spend the night out with Pa watchin’ for rustlers and you know we get hungry.” Sissy pouted. She hated it when she thought her big sister was sent to watch over her. At eighteen years old she felt she was more than capable of doing things without being ‘chaperoned’.
“Ma sent me because she forgot a couple of things when she wrote out the list. It’s taken me all this time to catch up with you.”
“What else does she need?” Sissy enquired.
Lily pulled the list from her pocket and thrust it into her sister’s hand. “I might as well come with you now. It’s only another mile to town and I can help with the supplies.”
Sissy nodded before slapping the reins to get the big gelding moving. Lily urged her mount forward and they began walking at a leisurely pace.
They were in sight of town when a loud crack heralded something had gone terribly wrong on the wagon. Sissy brought Buck to a stop and glanced at her older sister in despair.
As Lily dismounted, the other girls jumped from the wagon. While the older two checked on the suspect wheel, Amy and Emily hovered nervously.
Lily crouched down and shook the wheel. It was looser than a whore in a cathouse. “Almost snapped clean off the axle,” she grumbled as she pushed herself to stand. “Sissy, unhitch Buck and we’ll walk the rest of the way. I’ll drop the horses at the livery and see what I can do about getting it fixed while you pick up the supplies.
Sissy did as requested and the girls began the short trek to town.

Sue Horsnell's BIO

I was a Nurse, a career that spanned more than 35 years. During my career I specialised in caring for people with Alzheimer’s type Dementia, an area that fascinates me despite how heartbreaking it can be. My dear father-in-law is unfortunately afflicted with this disease and now resides in a Nursing Home. In the not too distant future I am hoping to pen a novel incorporating some of the stories I have heard from these amazing people. Part of my career was with the blind and I also cared for severely disabled children for a while too.

When I retired 4 years ago I decided it was time to get the stories out of my head and onto paper. From there I just hoped my stories were interesting and well written enough to attract readers.
 I am married to the love of my life, we have 2 wonderful adult boys, and 5 amazing grandchildren. We also play substitute Mum and Dad to a beautiful, adopted young lady. We reside in sunny Old, Australia in the midst of a Blackbutt Forest. We are surrounded by the peace and quiet of Mother Nature and wildlife abounds. It is a dream come true location for us.  

For Image:            


Monday, February 17, 2014

guest author today-- Carol A. Spradling

My guest author today is Carol A. Spradling. Time travel is a popular subject as don't we all wonder what it'd be like to switch to another period in the past-- or even future. So she is here today and I am on her blog. It's one of the cool things about the romance authors-- how supportive they are of each other.

Carol's Bio:
As a youth, I loved reading Trixie Belden books. She was great—smart, witty, and surrounded by good-looking guys. What’s not to like? While in my teens, I discovered the answers to that question when I heard someone mention a romance novel she had read. Her shallow breathing and flushed face was enough to pique my interest. A trip to the bookstore was in order. I read with wide-eyed amazement. Trixie never spoke of such occurrences! 

Other than the obvious, I found myself trying to appreciate what my friend had enjoyed about this book. Yeah, there was the hot guy and beautiful woman, but the book as a whole frustrated me. Why did it take 380 pages for the couple to admit they loved each other? To me, this is where the story began. Much to my sadness, I found this to be the writing norm. 

That was several years ago, don't ask how many.  ;)  I still love a good romance, as well as the mountains of North Carolina.  This is the High Country, after all.  We have skiers in the winter and Kilt-wearing Scot descendants in the summer.  Now that the Forever Time Travel Romance is nearing a close, I'll have to start a new series with a local influence.  Hmm, has anyone every skied while wearing a kilt?

Until I get to a new book idea brewing, you have to hear about my latest release.  The Highwayman's Grace is the third book in my Forever Time Travel Romance Series.  The series is about 4 sisters.  Grace is the youngest and meekest of the four…or at least she was the meekest.  When her older sister forces the family time travel gift on her and then abandons her in the middle of nowhere, all she wants is revenge, until she meets highwayman Ethan Tanner.  Take a look. 

The Highwayman's Grace blurb:
Grace Blackstone never wanted to be a time traveler.  She also didn't want to be abandoned within reach of a notorious highwayman.  A chance meeting with the outlaw leaves her vulnerable to more than her new ability.  Having seen behind the wanted man's mask, Grace is confused to find another man claiming to be her rescuer.  

Highwayman Ethan Tanner has one goal in life, to destroy Bennett Brown.  He has faced gunmen, and braved the elements, but a young woman who seemingly appears out of nowhere terrifies him.

A rainy night brings Ethan and Grace together in more ways than one.  She will have to trust him with her secret, and he will have to trust her with his life, but are they willing to release their pasts in order to have a future together?

"You are agreeable to this?" Ethan asked, wanting to know her honest opinion.  He tried to keep his tone flat, giving her a chance to revise her decision.

She walked toward him, looking as uncertain as he felt.  "I'm not sure I know a better option," she said.

"I hate to admit it," he offered, "but this might be the best way to keep you safe."  He reached his hand to her, hoping she saw his action as an open gesture, without concealed intent.  "As soon as I can find a way out of this," he tried to assure her, "I'll grant you your freedom.  I promise."

"I hate to intrude, but I am in a rush," the pastor interrupted.  The clergyman pointed to the lower section on the paper, and Ethan obediently signed the document.  Strangely enough, his hand didn't shake as he affixed his name above Grace's.

"Fine.  Fine."  The pastor sanded the wet ink, and then opened his Bible.

"Ethan Tanner, do you solemnly promise to take this woman, Grace Blackstone, as your wife, providing for her and protecting her all of your days while in the sight of God?"

The words weighed heavy on Ethan's shoulders.  All of your days.  He had just promised Grace he'd find a way to free her, now the pastor asked him to affirm to the contrary.  Deep red and purple abrasions encircled her throat next to the collar of the dress she wore.  He hadn't seen them before, but Addie assured him, these marks were not isolated incidents.  He'd swear an oath to both God and Grace, and hope that one pledge wasn't contingent on the other.

"I promise," he said. 

The minister turned to Grace.  "Grace Blackstone, do you promise to accept Ethan Tanner as your husband, abiding in his household and obeying his commands?"

Grace nodded slowly as though unsure.  She lifted her eyes to Ethan and her chin rose assertively.  "I promise."

Addie sniffled behind them, and Ethan cringed.  This had been an impromptu ceremony.  What would she have done with a year to prepare?

"You are husband and wife," Pastor Whitten proclaimed.  "May your life be filled with many children.  Now that this is done, I'll be on my way to the Clancy farm to discuss the details for tomorrow."  He touched the signatures with his fingertip, folded the paper, and then placed it inside his Bible.  Tucking everything under his arm, he waved to them in passing.  "Good day," he said, and then disappeared through the opened doorway.

Ethan stared awkwardly after the minister, not completely certain what to do next.  He supposed he should take his wife and sister home.  His wife.  When he started out this morning, he hadn't thought his day would end with a marriage ceremony.  He glanced over at his bride.  She was caught in Addie's tight embrace, being rocked from side to side. 

Lavender oil should soothe her abrasions, but he doubted her internal scars would heal as easily.  Other than give her time to forget what had happened to her, he didn't know how else to help her.  He looked to the bruised skin at the cuffs of her sleeve, feeling as responsible for her pain as if he'd personally clamped the constraints against her delicate skin.  He'd taken two vows tonight, and while he wasn't sure how, he planned to honor them both.  Whether successful or not, one thing was certain, no one would lay a hand to her again while he lived.  But more importantly, Bennett would pay for what he did to this woman…his wife.

See what I mean?  Grace and Ethan are a perfect match.  Wait until you see them in action.
Purchase and Contact links:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Need for a Satan

With weather, power outages, returning from a trip, I've been busy, but the newest novella did get started. It just stopped partly due to life interfering but also as I decide how to deal with spiritual evil. For me, it's not hard to write about human evil. It's easier to see-- but what about the other side? What about what some call Satan? If there are spirit guides and higher level spirit beings who aim to do good, then won't there also be those on the dark side? Mankind, in all religions, has wrestled with that question.

I might not be able to decide in my own life what I believe about this question of spiritual evil, but for this novella, I have to make it real or the first novella has no real meaning. But then how far do I want to take it for what the humans know, how they fight it, and what is actually out there... It's not as easy as writing a straight out romance although this one will have more romance.  

Yes, I know-- fantasy is fantasy but I like to keep my stories grounded in what might be... and that is where the question lies-- What might be?

You might almost say it's not just love of Satan to fulfill various religions' needs, but a necessity as they are faced with what I am. If there is one-- there is the other. What is the other? How much can it really do?

Photo is of Devil's Tower in Wyoming.The Native American legend goes that the vertical claw marks are from giant bears. The legends vary, but my favorite is that three girls were out playing and giant bears came to get them. The girls ran to a rock and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. The rock rose and as it did, the bears' claw marks created the grooves. When it reached its full height, the girls were turned into stars in Pleiades.  

This place is considered sacred to many of the Plains tribes. When you walk around it, you find prayer cloths tied to branches. There is a Native American encampment nearby.

When we were there, we slept in our van in a National Park campground at its base. Despite its name (as you might imagine the Native American peoples have a different name for it that involves generally Bear in one form or another), I detected no sign of evil...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Focusing on what matters

One of my problems, and I would guess that of many creative people—I love to do too many different kinds of things. There are creators who totally get into one medium and nothing else exists. They paint, sculpt, photograph, or write. Anything other than their 'one thing' amounts to a hobby. They are dedicated to one method of expressing themselves.

For me I have had times (which never lasted more than a few years at a time) where all I did was one kind of creative pursuit—painting, sculpting or writing. When I am extensively into one, that’s pretty much it.  The closest I have come to mixing mediums was a period where I painted and sculpted a lot. The painting was all of the human form as were the sculptures—hence they went together and in many ways were romantic.

It doesn’t require a lot of gathering information when painting or sculpting. You are in the moment. It's all about what you see, the medium you are using, your hands, the material you are shaping. For me there wasn't a lot of thinking about it. It was being there and doing it. I would say those two forms of art are very Zen in how a person feels when in them.  In short, they take you out of the world, and into the creative process, which is why many like doing them so much. Me too.

Just to think of having an easel, canvas and my paints in front of me makes me want to start a painting. The recent snowfall would have been great inspiration. Fairy tale scenes out my window, lush shades of white, soft snow, still falling. I feel the brush in my hand, the mixing of the paints, and the laying down colors on a canvas-- how to capture the shadows on the snow, how to make white come alive as snow does. It’s a wonderful feeling especially when it works.

Sculpture was the same. I never worked from a model. It was just the clay and me. Knead it, feel the texture and then watch as the shapes within come to life. Clay is organic which is why I preferred that which I could fire to the more plastic sort that would lead to bronzes. The whole process was organic as I added water to keep it malleable, shaped it and began to see what part of the human condition it would depict this time. I think about both—but for now I don't do them. There is a reason.

Writing does not go well with either—at least writing like I do.  Writing is everything when I am doing it and I’ve been doing it for some years now, putting aside the enjoyment of painting or sculpture. Maybe if I had a studio, I could manage all three, but I don’t think so. I think writing is about not so much going within—although there is that. It is about looking around and absorbing what is out there to capture it in words. If it wasn’t, the writer would constantly make themselves the star of their books. That might work for some but it’s not what I do.

For my writing, the ideas come from outside me, from other places. The characters, what happens in their lives, where they end up, they're not who I am, nor who I want to be. They are what the story needs-- or the story is what they need.

Sure there will be pieces of me and my thinking in them but I don't think of them as me at all. I am not living vicariously these experiences-- I am the voyeur observing and then finding a way to depict that energy with the right words. To me writing a romance is all about an energy-- the energy of life. It's what makes romance have value for readers who also don't want to live it. They want to have that energy internalized. The best romances give that to the reader. It's where writing is like painting and sculpture with transferring an idea, an emotion in a way others can share it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

True love means?

 Venus and Buddha slowly emerge from the seas snow..

Loss of electricity means a lot of what I regularly do does not happen-- like writing on the new novella. We do have wood heat. We have lots of candles, a kerosene lamp, camping gear if required. What we didn't have was internet, as our hot spot which works great on trips is no help when you live where there is no cell phone coverage.

So with the battery from the trailer, I am able to be on once in awhile. We actually had a very nice generator... that is we thought it was very nice until it stopped working. Lucky we have the big RV batteries. Hopefully the power guys will get it back up. They keep saying in 48 hours-- except they've been saying that since Saturday night... Makes you not have much faith-- that and there are these scattered outages across the valley.

So in times like this, I have backups-- things I found interesting but hadn't run. They're easier than writing something longer that might get lost...

When we think about falling in love, which is what romances are ALL about, we are torn as realistic human beings-- unhappy or happy ending? Well a romance will have a happy ending. It's mandatory. But does life? Sometimes my best answer is-- how do we define happy?

There is the beginning...

There is then the other side-- I recently saw a set of articles on Ted Turner who is turning 75. I mean, my gosh, this guy is the romantic hero of today. He's complex, not easy to be with, has a tortured past, and has had a lot of romances. The most famous was with Jane Fonda. As soon as I mention her name, I know how many righties will scream their rage (It's as bad as talking about Custer to a leftie). Okay, I get it but you know nothing is as simple as some want to think it is.

To see that whole story, you have to look at the videos alongside where she talks about their love and what went wrong.. or did it since they had a marriage that lasted 10 years.  How do we see that? Happy ending? Or not?

There are a ton of stories like this which leads to many writers writing only unhappy endings as though that's the reality of life. Is it? Are romances not possible to end in a happily ever after?

When I write a book like 'Tucson Moon' I have to believe this couple could make it work. Whether they end up with a lifetime of fifty years, which my husband and I will have if we last until next September, or whether it means an intense love that fills the skies with its energy.. who is to say...

The story of Cord and Priscilla, and yes, I believe it's their story (give or take a lie or two) will end when the book does. Does their story end there?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

puncutation or not

Snow, snow and more snow, with a follow up of freezing rain. How nice. Our big concern now will be losing power or flooding as this snow will begin to leave Sunday with temps up as high as 44° F-- after a high of 24° F Saturday.

Fast melt not good when you have 12" of snow.

Snow coating every tree and branch, when followed by freezing rain, may break branches.

No traffic on road. Wonder why.

I'm happily ensconced at my computer starting the novella that will follow the story in When Fates Conspire with some of the same characters, more of a romance, this time of an older couple, and a battle of evil against good. Should be fun. Definitely good until the power goes out. Luckily that's why we have a generator out here ;)

 as long as the hay doesn't run out, they don't mind

Right now, the article below is particularly funny to me. One of my books was recently slammed by an  English teacher saying I didn't have enough commas. She said she taught her students to use a comma everywhere you would pause naturally in reading as it would lead to more clarity. And then along comes this article.

I wouldn't go so far as to say no longer but what I was taught back in my own high school years, when we did diagramming of sentences, certainly didn't fit what the teacher told me should be done now. We were taught--

Comma sets off clause not needed for clarity of sentence.

Commas set off opening clauses like those starting with if or when.

No comma for an ending clause.

Comma between two sentences joined by a conjunction.

Comma to set off parenthetical elements.

Comma between contrasting elements (which I would have thought used a semi-colon-- but they are also thought no longer needed by some because a few misuse them.

Comma separating identical words.

Comma setting of direct address-- Sonny, get out of my way!

Oh wait, some don't like exclamation points either.

When writers are going to be dinged by reviewers for using improper grammar, it might help to know what is proper-- except who decides that!

The snowflakes are really large this morning which I guess means snow, ice, snow... what a sandwich. Did that need a comma?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

And it's all about ____ or is it?

 the comforter on the sofa is for the cats as it traveled with them to Arizona and back as their consistent comfort-- we all need that sometimes, right?
Boy have I been getting lessons in human nature and that includes my own. I've had some experiences that challenged me to live what I claim to believe or admit I never did except when it was words. 

At night, I've had dreams where I'd wake thinking-- is that it? Is that what life is about? I love those kinds of dreams even the scary ones (and there've been a few of those too). I ask for them. Nighttime is when I can let go of my expectations and the chaos in my head and let whatever comes-- come.

During the day, I also am happy for the experiences -- negative and hurtful or enriching and empowering. I have learned that when I live it as I claim to believe-- it all works better. I think the whole set of experiences is part of grasping what life is about-- which for me always reflects into my writing-- especially of the books.

There are writers, some very successful, million selling writers, who write whatever the market wants. They will literally sell their souls-- okay figuratively-- to be successful. If they know readers want it, they will try to deliver it. There are other writers who have something inside themselves that needs to come out through their words and stories. They will stick to that even if not as successful in terms of money.

So my latest dreams have encompassed events in them, but more important was what I was left with when I woke. Here are the questions with which I've been left to ponder.

In the first dream, I woke thinking-- what if there is no one truth for life? What if how you live, what you believe is how it will be?  So you believe life is dust to dust and all biology. You can live it that way and at least until you die, it's how it will be. Or maybe even then. What if we decide that and even then it can be dust to dust.

OR what if you are a wiccan and you believe in learning spells, use of potions, rituals, and maybe even are part of a circle. You live it that way, follow the Celtic traditions, use the incantations (never forgetting that what you put out you get back three times) in responsible ways and it works.

OR you are a Christian/Buddhist/Hindu/Islamist and you live your religion as true to its essence as you can. Prayer is answered. You feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. It works.

Might it be why we end up with so many people thinking they have the truth. We have assumed that there is one truth, but maybe there literally is not. There are many. If you live one of them totally, it will be true-- for you.

There is a limit to this thinking in that you might live it totally for you, but there are still the rules of the earth. You can believe all you want that a tornado is not coming straight at you. Can you really change it? Well the greatest seers, which include the one they call Jesus, who may have gotten his training from Eastern seers, did believe that you could. Most of us never live life to that level of certainty though. And the ones who think they are but are ignoring the earthly consequences as they go, they probably are thought balmy by others. They don't get it either. To have your own truth be literally true, there has to be evidence of a physical nature.

Okay that was one dream; and when I woke I thought of the corollary to it-- that we can do whatever we want but only as we go up the scale of understanding what that means. Rules are made to be broken but not by those who don't know why they were ever there. They can be broken as one grows in understanding of why they exist and why it's best to break them. So disciplined living grows into what appears to be freedom-- but really is about growth in understanding consequences and being able to weigh them. 

This fits a lot of the thinking in Christianity which is never actually followed-- or should I say rarely. It's just too easy to follow rules set by an earthly leader and most never get beyond that. But it's not how it's set up-- at least in that one religion.

The second dream fit into the second anthology that I will be writing to follow When Fates Conspire. I have to say that hardly anyone has given the first book a try. I don't know why. Perhaps though books that explore spiritual dimensions within a possible romance just don't suit the average reader in any genre. 

But the wonder of writing is you don't have to stop when readers didn't like what you wrote. You can go on and write the next step. That fits with the philosophy above where we live our truth and it becomes true. A writer's truest truth is not that they get a lot of money for what they do. It's that they write their truth as best they know it to be without selling out. I don't want to find any other way to live my life-- as what I write is part of what makes me who I am.

The interesting part for me is the second novella in this series, for wont of a better word, will be how evil impacts us. I am putting it together in my head, but it seemed, despite my own reluctance to think much about evil, it was the next step in what will be a trilogy. Then came a dream...

Monday, February 3, 2014

my guest today is author, Lyn Horner

A few western writers have come together to create a short story anthology due out the middle of March. I am pleased today to have one of the authors. Lyn Horner, here to discuss her story for this anthology as well as her novel, Dearest Irish, which recently was honored with an important award.


Rain, thank you for inviting me back. I’m delighted to be here and to have you on my blog site today. I hope your followers will stop by and say hi.

Being a contributor to our Western Romance Anthology, Rawhide ’N Roses, is both a joy and a challenge. I don’t often write short stories. It requires a whole different way of plotting and forces one to cut out any “fluff”. I ended up cutting at least a third of my first draft, a painful process as you know. We authors don’t enjoy dumping sentences, paragraphs, even whole scenes for the sake of brevity. However, tightening our prose usually improves a story in the end.

The first book I wrote was 150,000 words long, way too much! After several edits I got the story down to a manageable level, even after adding a paranormal element -- psychic siblings. There are no psychics in my short story, just a case of opposites attract.

The Lawman’s Lady
by Lyn Horner

 Marshal Trace Balfour doesn’t care for schoolmarm Matilda Schoenbrun’s straight-laced attitude. However, a few moments alone with the spinster lady makes him realize she isn’t quite what he expected. It also makes him curious. Why doesn’t she like to be called Mattie? Most of all, what would she look like without her specs and with her hair down?

     “Move aside,” Marshal Trace Balfour ordered, pushing through the noisy throng gathered in the street outside the Golden Slipper Saloon. Their shouts and laughter had drawn him from his office up the block. Among the crowd, he saw the local Methodist preacher, the undertaker and the owner of the mercantile across the dusty street. Several ranch hands, in town on their day off, made most of the racket.
    Trace also noticed the schoolmarm, Matilda Schoenbrun. With her brown hair wound in a tight bun at her nape and wearing a drab calico gown of the same color, she brought to mind a brown jay such as he’d seen as a boy in south Texas. When she spotted him, she threw her shoulders back and narrowed her lips, looking down her bespectacled little nose, setting his teeth on edge.
     “Marshal, please put a stop to this!” she demanded in a haughty voice.
     “Ma’am, that’s what I aim to do.” Touching his hat to her, he shouldered aside a pair of cowboys whose laughter and catcalls almost drowned out the shrieks coming from a pair of females rolling in the dirt. Trace recognized them as saloon girls form the Golden Slipper. With red and purple skirts bunched around their knees, they fought viciously, scratching, biting and pulling each other’s hair.
      He’d rather face a gang of bank robbers than deal with these snarling wildcats, he thought grimly.

* * * **********

Dearest Irish, book three in Lyn Horner’s Texas Devlins trilogy, is the recipient of a 2013 Reviewers Choice Award from the Paranormal Romance Guild (historical category.)

Book blurb:

Set in1876, Dearest Irish stars Rose Devlin, the youngest of three psychic siblings who hide their rare talents for fear of persecution. Gifted with the extraordinary ability to heal with her mind, Rose inadvertently reveals her secret to Choctaw Jack, a half-breed cowboy she finds fascinating. Unfortunately, she harbors another, darker secret that threatens her chances of ever knowing love.

Choctaw Jack straddles two worlds, dividing his loyalties between his mother’s people and the family of a friend who died in the Civil War. Like Rose, he keeps shocking secrets that could cost him his job, even his life. Yet, he will risk everything to save his dying mother, even if it means kidnapping Rose.


Rose regained her senses slowly. Feeling herself rock to and fro, she groggily recognized the loping gait of a horse beneath her. But how could that be?
She forced her eyes open, taking in the starlit sky and the dark landscape passing by. Blinking at the sight, she realized she was seated crosswise on the horse – in a man’s lap. Just like that, the scene in her bedroom with Jack came back to her, and she knew whose chest she leaned upon and whose arm was locked around her.
Panicking, she cried out in fright. Pain lanced through her jaw, reminding her of the blow her teacher-turned-abductor had delivered just before she’d sunk into oblivion.
“Easy now,” the brute murmured. “You’re all right. Nobody’s gonna hurt you.”
She threw her head back to see his shadowed features. “I’m not all right, ye . . . ye kidnapper!” Cupping her painful jaw, she demanded, “Take me back this instant!”
“Can’t do that, Toppah.”
“But ye must! Tye and Lil will be looking for me.” Catching the odd word he’d spoken, she repeated it. “Toppah? What’s that?”
“It’s you. It means yellow-hair.”
“Oh. Well, don’t be calling me that again. Now turn this horse around and take me back,” she again demanded.
“Nope. We’re heading for the Nations. You might as well relax and enjoy the ride.”
“Enjoy the ride, is it? You’re daft!” She pushed at his steely arm and attempted to twist free, but, although his hold caused no pain, it was unbreakable. Feeling smothered and panicky, she shoved at his chest, managing to create a small space between them.
“Be still,” he ordered sharply. “Do you want to fall off and break your neck?”
Before she could reply, another man’s voice sounded nearby, speaking in an unfamiliar tongue. Unaware of his presence until that moment, Rose uttered a frightened cry and instinctively shrank against Jack. His arm tightened around her for a moment. He said something to the other man then spoke softly to her.
“Don’t be afraid, Poe-lah-yee. That’s only Tsoia. He is my friend, my blood brother. He won’t touch you as long as he thinks you’re mine.”
“Yours! I’m not yours!” she shrilled, once more stiffening against him.
“You might not want to let him know that.”
Twisting her upper body and craning her neck, Rose caught a glimpse of the other Indian’s shadowy form. He rode near them and, unless she was mistaken, he led another horse.
“What did he say?” she warily asked.
“He said you screech like an owl,” Jack replied, a grin in his voice.
Rose huffed in annoyance, not liking the comparison. After a moment’s silence, she asked in a softer voice, “And what did ye call me a minute ago?”
“Poe-lah-yee. It means rabbit.”
“Rabbit! I told ye before I’m no scared rabbit.” Although she did feel like one just now, she privately admitted. “Oh, and my hair’s not yellow, ’tis strawberry-blonde. That’s what they’re calling the color back in Chicago these days.”
“That right? Well, I guess I could call you Poe-aye-gaw. That means strawberries.”
“For goodness sake, can’t ye call me by my proper name?”
“I dunno,” he drawled. Poe-aye-gaw is kinda nice, or maybe P’ayn-nah. That means sugar. Yeah, I like that one.”
Sugar? Did he think her sweet? And what if he did? It made no nevermind to her. Snorting in disdain, Rose squirmed uncomfortably in his lap.

Buy Dearest Irish here:


Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and several very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. This hobby grew into a love of research and the crafting of passionate love stories based on that research.

Lyn’s Texas Devlins trilogy blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the mysterious. This series has earned Lyn several awards, including two Reviewers Choice Awards from the Paranormal Romance Guild, the most recent for her 2013 release, Dearest Irish. She is now at work on her next book.

Find Lyn At: