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, January 26, 2016

from Bound for the Hills

Usually my excerpts have been from books already published. I am, however, writing on a new one, tentatively due in March, the seventh Arizona historical. Here is a snippet from its rough draft, which means it might change some before it gets to the final stage.


    With late afternoon, she unpacked her father’s journals, the box of receipts and invoices. She stacked five lined tablets along with pencils and pens with ink. She had not known the journals existed until months after her father had hung himself. Her desire to find a reason for his suicide, the strange certainty that someone had been in their home the day of the funeral, all had led to her searching the house, but only when her summer school classes had ended did she have time to put more into it. A place by the pantry that didn’t look like the wall around it had led to finding a panel of sorts. A fingernail into what only appeared to be a groove in a door frame popped it open.
     Inside had been four journals and boxes of billings and business papers. When she opened the journals, she could not make heads nor tails of what they were saying. Her father wrote with a fine hand but the words hadn’t made sense. It didn’t appear to be a foreign language but… Why would he go the trouble of creating a secret cupboard, fill journals with gibberish, and then gather all these papers? Her desire to figure that out as well as a need to get out of San Francisco, to try something different, had led to the abrupt decision to leave town without telling anyone.
     She kept thinking her father had a reason for killing himself but what? He had worked for the Hemstreets for many years and seemed happy with what he did. The last few years though she’d been wrapped up in teaching, she’d paid less attention to what must have been his growing depression. Did the evidence he amassed relate to his decision to take his life? She felt tears in her eyes but brushed them away. She’d cried enough over his death. It was time to do something about it, do something with what he’d apparently left in secret knowing only she would find it.
      As the sun began to sink in the west, she lit a kerosene lamp, ate a slice of bread with butter and then poured herself a sherry to sit on the porch. A roughly hewn bench was along one side and from it, she could enjoy the changing colors and how they transformed the lake from blue to purple and then a fiery red. Sipping the sherry, she thought about her life and how many changes she had known in her twenty-nine years.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bannister's Way

Some books are more fun to write than others. I have to say that my contemporary romantic suspense, Bannister's Way fell into that category. The heroine is a professor, a sculptor, has a home on the Tualatin River, an area I'd love to have had a home, and has all the frustrations common to artists. The hero was a secondary character in Desert Inferno.  The books underlying themes went to art theories, questions of ethics, a mystery, a great villain, several sites in the PNW that I have loved, and a couple who had separated years before but the spark between them had never died. As secondary characters, there were four delightful, old ladies, very different sorts each of them. I have had artists as heroines a time or two and always enjoy the stories when that is the case.


"I'm Dr. Lawrence, but you can call me Raven as that feels like me. You are in Life Drawing 301. If you are in the wrong room, leave now. If you belong here, I want your registration cards. As the basket comes past, put them in it. No chatter now. Listen up. I want to explain to you something about the class you've registered for."
  David only half listened as he heard her tell them about the value there was to be had from taking seriously a study of fine art, how throughout the ages great artists have seen the study of the body--the musculature, the bone structure, in short the anatomy--was important to make their work come alive. They must take seriously the study of the nude--
   Whoa! What had she just said? Nude! Who said anything about... nude? And then he knew and wished nothing so much as that Vance was nearby where he could get his hands around his throat. A good dodge, a natural way in, his friend had said. Friend, hah! He'd kill him!
   He barely heard the rest of Raven's instructions. It was impossible. No way under this earth or above it could he take off his clothes in front of all these people! He looked at the students, at their interested gazes in a new way. They must know he was the model, the guinea pig, the sacrificial lamb, the... No!  He would not strip. It was out of the question. No way could he do it.
    Raven's voice broke through his thoughts. "At one time, I wouldn't have had to say what I am going to next, but times have changed and so have people. There will be no commenting about the model, nor any jokes." One of the girls giggled in what to David seemed a nasty way. He stared at her, wondering how such an innocent looking young woman could have such a perverted giggle. He looked back at Raven, who was looking over the students. "You will at no time treat the model with less than respect. You will not touch him. This is a serious class. If you behave as though your time here is a joke or an opportunity for voyeurism, you will be kicked out of the class. If it happens soon enough, you might be able to just drop it. If it’s too late, you will get a failing grade.”
    He felt angry at her for the position in which he found himself, then he remembered her uncertainty, the many opportunities she had extended, trying to give him a graceful way out of it. Except he hadn't known what it was. He remembered her question--are you sure you know what you're doing? His own confident answer--of course.
    He stared down at his scarred boot and thought again of Vance--the man who called himself friend, who had to be somewhere snickering, laughing at the ultimate stunt. This was the worst of the tricks to which Rich had ever subjected him. David's breathing wasn't coming easily as he considered how it would feel to be nude in a room where everyone else was clothed, of being stared at--intimately.
    It is for art, he reminded himself. Everyone knew about the old masters, their works. Michelangelo’s David. Rodin’s Age of Bronze. He'd seen nude paintings on museum walls but never thought about the flesh and blood models who had posed for those works. The thought of being one of those models had never entered his head.
   He’d almost turned down doing this just on it being as a model--a fully clothed model. Only his interest, in what had appeared to be an unsolvable case and the knowledge that his ex-wife taught the class, had persuaded him. Now what was he going to do?
    He looked at Karen... that is Raven, as she shook her head at a student's question. She glanced over at him, her eyes dark with concern. He couldn't let her down, but he wouldn't take off his clothes either. No case was that important… but was something else?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Her Dark Angel

While I am writing the seventh Arizona historical, I've also been trying to put together a board which indicates how the contemporary suspense romances fit together. Although I've indicated some of these characters appear in several books, this is the first time I've tried to show how that works using the arrows. Each book stands alone but sometimes a secondary character seems so interesting that they just have to have their own book. That kind of writing goes fast since I already know the characters from their earlier appearances.

I suppose some might think Her Dark Angel would be supernatural given all the vampire books out there. It's not. It's just the heroine's nickname for the hero.


          He felt like slapping himself. "I shouldn't have said it that way."
          "I know," she said, stepping back into his arms, "but you wouldn't be my dark angel if you always responded with a smile and a sweet comment."
          He laughed. "Dark angel?"
          "It's what I started calling you when I first met you. Dark for that wicked side of you I felt so tempted by and angel for that face that can look so innocent when it suits your purposes."
          "And I call you sweetness," he rebuked.
          "With equally good reason." She reached up and kissed him before she turned to look down at her daughters, waving when they saw her. "Do you think I should send them up to Mother and Dad’s for a few weeks?"
          He tried to think. "They should be safe here with Roberta and Johnny... although. Damn, I don’t know. Are you sure you have to go?"
          He had hoped he and Katy could take a week-end together, a week-end that would cement their marriage, make them man and wife in every way, but it didn't look like anything was going to be easy for them.
          "We should also tell my mother we are married," she said. "You know what that will mean?"
          "I shudder to ask. Is she going to prove more dangerous than Brudder?"
          She laughed. "Not quite, but you might think so."
          "Okay, tell me the worst."
          "Well, first she'll be upset, but the next thought that will cross her mind is the need for a reception."
          He felt a cold chill. "A what?"
          "You know exactly what. Likely a dinner and reception where people come and congratulate us on our wedding, unorthodox as it might have been."
          "Are you sure she'll want to do that? I suspect she'd rather forget I existed and that wedding isn't going to please her one bit."
          "Too true, but that isn't why she'll want to have a big affair. She'll want everything to look proper."
          "Where it comes to me, impossible."