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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

character lists

Ever wonder how historical series writers keep it all lined up? Character lists provide help for those of us without amazing logistical skills where tons of facts can be instantly attained at a moment of need. Character lists are helpful even when there is only one book. 

Once in awhile I have even given my hero and heroine a birth month based on the characteristics portrayed and which astrology sign makes that most likely. For those of you with no interest or knowledge of astrology, you might be surprised how often the time when one is born can tell a lot about natural traits. The reason for that is not clear to me, but just I have often seen it to be so. Do not confuse a birth chart with horoscopes.

Below is an example of one from my Arizona historical character lists. It has been added onto as books were written and characters added. When I start writing any book, I add in the new characters and their births-- maybe even deaths of some older people-- death is part of life unwilling as we are to see it come to those we love. 

I have had some reservations about sharing with readers these character lists mainly because if a reader hasn't read the books, the list gives away what will happen. Of course, romance readers already know a HEA is guaranteed. For those of you who don't read my books, this is mostly to give you an idea of what you can do if you ever decide to write stories that follow a family through many years. As the little image says, these books go from 1883 to 1906 or will go to 1906 when the last one is out.

On this list, some of these characters never became more than secondary ones but when putting together a character list, it's better to add them in case somewhere down the line, they get their own book. It happens. I do a second such list that has the basics of each major character in any book I am writing. This doesn't require birth dates but personalities and interactions. Some call this kind of information the bible as such are done for screen plays.


1837          Charles Provo (exact date and place uncertain)
1838          Jeremiah Taggert b. Illinois; James Redman b. Iowa
1839          -
1840                Rose Jarred b. Missouri
1841                --
1842                --
1843                Roman Alexander Oliver b. Kansas
1844                Raul Cordova b. Mexico
1845                Robert Mitchell b. New York
1847                Delbert Sicilla b. West Virginia
1849                Maria Jacinta b. Mexico
1850                Constance Banyon b. Maryland
1851                Wei Song b. California
1852                Samuel Ryker (O’Brian) b. Kansas
1853                --
1854                Cordell O’Brian b. Kansas
1855                Joseph Coburn b. Missouri
1856                ---
1857                James Redman m. Rose Jarrod Missouri; Clint Adams b. Nebraska
1858                Abigail Spenser b. Illinois
1859                --
1860                Vincent Coburn b. Kansas; Frances Johnson (Oliver) b. Kansas
1861                Priscilla Wesley b. Georgia
1862                --
1863                Ellen Buchanan b. Texas
1864                --
1865                --
1866                Asa Taggert b. Utah; Rafael Cordova b. Mexico
1867                Cole Taggert b. Utah
1868                Jesse Taggert b. Utah
1869                Juan Cordova b. Mexico m. Josita;
1870                Raquel Cordova b. Mexico  d. 1869
1872                James Angus b. Illinois
1873                Felipe Valencia b. Arizona
1874                Clint Madison b. Illinois
1875                Eliza Wallace b. California
1876                Gabriel Cordova b. Arizona; Holly Jacobs b. Illinois
1877                Grace O’Brian b. Kansas
1878                Anita Cordova b. Arizona
1879                Alexa Johnson (Oliver) b. Kansas; Lily Jacobs b. Illinois
1880                Wei Zian b. Arizona
1882                Sam & Abigail meet June and m. June and Nov. Tombstone
1884                David Ryker b. Circle R Ranch
1885                Priscilla & Cord talk; Grace arrives in Tucson
1886                cabin—Jan; earthquake May 3; marriage—July
1887                Alice Ryker b. Circle R Ranch
1888                Jesse O’Brian b. Circle O Ranch; Raquel Valencia b. Tucson
1889                Daniel Cordova b. Circle O Ranch Jan.
1890                Ellen m. Robert Mitchell; Jose Valencia b. Tucson
1891                Alica O’Brian b. August Circle O
1892                Roberto Cordova b. December Tucson
1893                Grace leaves for back East; Royce Johnson (Oliver) b. Kansas
1895                James Redman dies Feb. Tucson; James O’Brian b. Circle O, July
1897                Rafe Joins Rough Riders; Margarita Valencia b. Tucson
1898                Rafe mustered out Feb. 15; Grace returns to Tucson June; Marries Rafe Sept.
1899                Donovan Cordova b. November Tucson on the Cordova Ranch; Rose Redman m.Roman Oliver. Tucson
1900               Holly Jacobs meets Vince Coburn in April – marries in July.
1901                Jesse marries Lily
1902                Tyler Taggert b. March- son of Vincent: Joshua Taggert b. April- son of Jesse
1903        -
1904        -
1905        -

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

from Diablo Canyon

The cover is new. It represents one couple, who continue through the book, first as hero and heroine and then as secondary characters in the next two romances.
Diablo Canyon, which began with a dream, became one novella and then three, has been one of my more interesting writing experiences. Its writing brought together fantasy, metaphysics, science, ranch life, and the very human emotion of falling in love. 

When writing a fantasy, the one rule is the book must stay true to the world it created but otherwise-- anything goes. Because in Diablo Canyon, spirit guides and even monsters got their own points of view, it may have led to some reader confusion, which might be more difficult for readers not familiar with paranormal thinking.   The spirit guides take on a point of views in the three stories, as they struggle with fulfilling their goals. They operate (sometimes with frustration) through the small, still voice of wisdom. Only a rare human can directly see or talk to them. 

I believe I have a muse (what I call him) but can't say I've heard him arguing with anybody but me-- and a lot of what I believe to be his inspiration is through dreams, coincidences, or my subconscious (and I can pay attention or not). Having this inner voice doesn't block me from seeing the physical reality around me-- nor does he order me to do things. 

My muse or someone like him has been with me all my life. As a small child, I saw him as a playmate. My talking about what the two of us did and that he had a name worried my parents and eventually I quit seeing him. I don't think he left... although might we have different ones at different points in our lives? Regarding this, I don't know-- except in Diablo Canyon, where it was my choice-- the guide job is a lifetime commitment-- and sometimes a frustrating one.

Diablo Canyon involves the paranormal, ranch life, Montana, some unscrupulous humans, and oh yeah, a different love story for each of the three parts (or novellas depending on how someone bought them)-- the last with a rather unusual heroine.  

This is the only story/stories my partner and I published with an option. (When Fates Conspire, The Dark of the Moon, and Storm in the Canyon are offered as novellas without the spice (sensual but all descriptions stop there). Diablo Canyon, with all three parts, has the kind of heat readers can expect in my books-- ♥♥♥♥). This snippet is from the second part-- The Dark of the Moon.

     “What are you two doing here?” Racine asked-- not that she wasn’t grateful.
     “Curiosity,” Remus responded and then looked toward the horseman who had now stopped and was watching them.
     “Who are you?” Pace asked his gaze moving from one to the other. 
    Racine didn't like that one bit. It was disturbing. He saw them and believed he could talk to them. That was not how it was supposed to be. 
     “The bigger question,” Justus said, “is who are you that you see us?”
     “And can talk to us?” Racine added, trying not to sound annoyed and knowing she probably failed. 
     “Well, you aren’t exactly keeping yourselves secret, now are you?” Pace hooked his knee over the horn of the saddle and lit a cigarette. “What are your names?”
     They told him. “Generally we are unseen,” Remus added with a bemused expression.  “It’s not often we run across a human who is aware of the third dimension.”
     Pace smoked. “I didn’t ask for it.” 
     “Heritage then?”   
     He nodded. “It can be inconvenient.”  
     “Get you institutionalized if you aren’t careful,” Justus agreed with a laugh. 
     “So I’ve been told. You already know who I am. Now I want to know why you are here. Not on Aganes’ side, that much is obvious.”   
     “You know the demon's name?” Justus now sounded more surprised than disturbed.   
     “I’ve met up with him before in my… uh work.” 
     “Cole hired you for the job,” Remus said. “We heard that much. He didn’t know all about you though did he? Not all about you.” 
     Pace shrugged. “He could have. He and I have not actually met. He hired me through the investigative agency where I work. Dirk Langston runs it. The thing is, Cole wouldn’t have hired our agency if he hadn’t wanted something more than the usual.” 
     “Why would Cole want that that?”   
     “At the moment, I can only guess,” he said with a smile.  
     “How much does Myra know?” Racine asked, feeling increasingly troubled by this whole conversation. Humans should only be able to see spirits when they died. Pace seemed very much alive. Was he a warlock or sorcerer. 
     “Neither,” he said, as if he’d heard the question she knew she hadn’t voiced. 
     “Your buddy was right. I inherited it. It came down through the men in my family. When I was small, my father taught me not to fear what I was seeing but then added don’t let others know—at least not until you can trust them.” He drew deeply on the cigarette.
     “So it was a gift,” Remus suggested.
     Pace’s laugh held no humor. “It is what it is-- as I have observed a lot with life. The question I have is what are the two of you doing here? I’ve seen the little beauty there around.” He gestured toward Racine. “You two are new.”
     “How much do you really know of the other side?” Remus asked.
     “No more than I have to..."


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Excerpt from 'Lands of Fire' due out November 5th

My Arizona historical series grew from its first book, Arizona Sunset. I knew with it that I had a second with Tucson Moon but had no idea there would end up being seven-- if that's all there will be. Although they have continuing secondary characters (who might have been hero or heroine in earlier or future books), each book stands alone.  

Echoes from the Past introduced three brothers. The youngest of these gets his own romance November 5th in Lands of Fire-- Book 6 Arizona Historicals: The Taggerts. This is not just a love story of two people but also of the Southwest and its beautiful desert. 

The following is a snippet, with one more edit still due; so this might change some by the time it comes out.


    “You have a gift with horses, I hear,” she said trying to find something to say that didn’t leave her feeling like a fool. That wasn’t it.
    “Maybe,” he said. He was looking down at her. Being so close to him made her even more aware of how very tall he was. She’d never been near a man that height. It was a bit intimidating.
    “You think you can teach me to ride?” That was another dumb comment. She was furious with herself for having lost her wits.
    “If you want.”
    “I should want.” Again, she was annoyed at what she was saying. Of course, how could she instead say he was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen, and would he pose for a painting?
    “Ma’am, the horse will react to what you feel.”
    “Oh, you mean if I don’t want to ride him, he will sense it?”
    He nodded. “They feel you. You need to feel him too. Then it will work.”
    “How do I do that?”
    “Come.” He turned and led her back down to the corral. Jethro had come to the rails as soon as he saw him. Jesse reached out and stroked his forehead. Or she guessed they called it that.
    Jesse turned back to her. “Put out your hand.”
    “He won’t bite me?”
His smile softened as he shook his head. She didn’t know why she knew she could trust him, but she did. She held out her hand and let the soft nose of the horse sniff of it.
    “Good,” Jesse said. “Now pet him gently.”
    She liked the feel of the horse’s face. He seemed not to mind her touch. “I thought he might be as afraid of me as I am of him.”
    “That’s why you let him sniff of you. He knows you don’t mean bad by him.”
    “They can tell?”
    “More than most humans.”
    She looked up at him. His smile was a little crooked, faint as before, but it seemed warm. He liked being with the horse. She felt their joined energy. It was beautiful.
    “I might as well tell you now, ma’am,” he said.
She stopped petting Jethro. “What?”
    “I am dumb. You will figure it out sooner or later. I do better with horses than people.”
    “But you can talk.”
    She remembered then what Holly had told her. ‘Jesse is... slow in how he thinks.’ So, he saw that as stupid. “You don’t seem stupid to me,” she said.
    “Not yet, but I will.”
    “Why?” She could not believe any of this, not after seeing him with the horse, and then looking up into his eyes. They were intelligent and seemed to speak without words.
    “I can’t reason, lady, not like you.” He shut his mouth, and she saw the muscle jump in his cheek. He was clenching his jaw. Clearly, he hadn’t wanted to say what he had. Why had he?”
    He smiled then. “Because we will be working together on the... horse.”
    “You read minds?” She smiled then. Feeling finally relaxed, she reached out again to pat Jethro’s nose.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

And then it gets complicated

 David Bannister is known for being slick and good at his work as an investigative agent. He's come to Portland, gotten undercover, ended up very uncovered and begins to have his life threatened. What's going on? This piece is from Bannister's Way-- contemporary adventure romance set in Oregon with some secondary characters from an earlier romance. Did I mention he has an ex-wife? *s*


     On one of the dark narrow lanes, he became aware of a car coming up fast behind him. He looked in the mirror, trying to assess the make of the vehicle, but its headlights were on bright and nearly blinded him. Veering to the right, he angled as far as possible to the edge of the road, leaving more than adequate room for the vehicle to pass. Too late he realized it had no intention of passing.   With the powerful vehicle coming straight for the rear of his motorbike, he swerved sharply and felt his front wheel leave the edge of the road. For a moment he thought he had control, and then the bumper of the larger vehicle tapped his rear fender, and all control was gone.
     His only thought, as the bike went over, was to roll off the pavement and away from the bike. If he landed on the roadway, whoever had hit him could too easily back and finish the job. Landing hard on one shoulder, he pitched into a somersault that left him winded and flat on his back.
     He levered himself up, looking for the car. All he saw were disappearing rear lights. His motorcycle was lying at a sad angle on the low bank of the road.
Son of a bitch, he thought, still feeling the shock of the fall and scarcely able to believe it had happened. Was it a careless driver or had someone just tried to kill him? Shakily he got to his feet and walked to his bike. With the rear fender pushed into the wheel and broken spokes, he wasn't going to be riding it anyplace soon.
     Rubbing his arm, he debated if he had pulled a ligament or something more serious. His shoulder hurt and reaching up, he found a bleeding abrasion where the shirt had ripped. Still shaking, he took longer than usual to unfasten his helmet and secure it to the damaged bike. That helmet had probably saved his life or at the very least stood between him and another ugly head injury.
     Forests on all sides of him, the nearest house at least a block away. He wished his role here hadn’t proscribed no cell phone and tried to think how far back Bonie's house might be, but he couldn't even remember the roads he'd taken down the hill, let alone had any hope of making it back up them.
     When he began to walk, he discovered he'd twisted his left ankle. Limping, he smiled grimly at his realization that this was the perfect ending to an already tough day--painfully walking in the dark, on a road he didn't know, heading for no place. The story of his life. What kind of a life was that?