Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tough Times Call for Tougher Authors

If your author's life is anything like mine, you might be ever so tempted to just pull the covers over your head and never leave your bed.

The Rainy Day Fund you scrimped and saved and clipped countless coupons to create isn't earning enough interest to pay for a First Class stamp. Every time you log onto a writer's loop, there's dismal news about a publisher who isn't paying, a magazine distributor that shuttered its doors and left newsstands alarmingly bare, or word of another market that's dead/dying.

Whatever should we do?

Throw off those covers, get out of bed, put on our big girl panties, and get to work! One foot in front of the other. One word at a time.

When times get tough, the tough keep working. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that there's going to be light at the end of that dark tunnel soon ... light that isn't the proverbial train!

What's your strategy to cope with all the dismal news?

May the Muse be kind!!

Susanne Rose
Lucki In Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette
"The Christmas Promise," a Wild Rose Press Champagne RosetteKeep the spirit of the holidays going strong and take advantage of this bonus offer: Just send an e-mail to the author: with “The Christmas Promise” in the Subject Line. You’ll have to read the story first so you can identify the secret recipe when you send your e-mail. Santa will send you a copy of the secret recipe. "Forever Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Inspiration for the Writer's Soul

Writing is hard. It’s a tough business filled with highs and lows, and countless hours of isolation. Your non-writer friends and family won’t understand “why” your novel isn’t published yet. They don’t understand the publishing business and there’s no use trying to put it into perspective. They won’t get it. Think back to the first minute you decided you wanted to write a novel. At that time, did you have any idea what time and effort you would expend to make that dream a reality? One of my favorite quotes is by Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Writers tap into their innermost fears, desires, and pain and instill them into their characters. Where else can you kill off your enemies and not go to jail for life? I can admit to exacting revenge on the ex-husbands of two of my daughters. I’m looking forward to plotting the demise of my boss very soon. Then there’s the romance. I am very much in love with my husband and I wouldn’t dream of cheating on him in real life, but I do take great pleasure in creating a hero who…well, never mind. You get the gist.

And why do I write? Because I can’t NOT write. Writers are driven to bleed onto the blank screen, painstakingly eking out every word, every sentence, every scene. So take heart. Whenever you feel like giving up, remember each of us goes through the same doubts, fears, highs and lows. You aren’t alone.

2009 CAPA Nominee
2009 EPPIE Finalist

Carol Ann Erhardt
My Website
Inside the Writer's Mind
Keeping Hope Alive
White Roses in Bloom
SRN Writes
Ohio Romance Authors

Friday, February 20, 2009

Congratulations to Francesca!


image    image

“MUCHO CALIENTE! – Wish upon a Latino Superstar” voted LASR Best Book of the Year 2008

This week started with fabulous news. My romantic comedy, “Mucho Caliente!” has been voted Best Long Book of the Year 2008 by the famous US review site, “Long and Short Reviews”. I nearly fell off my chair when the email arrived, but didn’t, which was just as well since I’d already fallen down the stairs twenty-four hours earlier, and have since been hobbling around on crutches with a badly sprained ankle.

“Mucho Caliente!” is set on the Spanish island of Ibiza and was written several years ago, making its recent publication and success all the more meaningful to me. The book was prompted by a chance sighting of a mega-handsome, Latino superstar at an Ibizinco beach bar, who was dancing up a fiery salsa with a beautiful blonde woman. The moment kick-started my imagination; I flew home to Switzerland and began a Latino love-fest on the page.

I’m the sort of person who is compelled to share my enthusiasm with other people. While writing the book, each day, as soon as I’d finished my chapter, I’d email it to some of my closest friends and was thrilled when they began emailing me back, asking me to hurry up and write another chapter because they couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. For the following eighteen months, my friends and I lived vicariously through Gemma, my heroine, enjoying madcap, rollercoaster adventures, living a shamelessly romantic love affair on an idyllic island in the sun with my imaginary Latino superstar, Emilio Caliente. I couldn’t write the story fast enough, and by the time I wrote “The End”, Gemma, Emilio and the rest of my characters had become as real to my girlfriends as they were to me.

From the reviews “Mucho Caliente!” has received since it was published in late 2008, it seems that its appeal transcends my close circle of friends. Women everywhere relate to Gemma’s insecurities, to her dreams and steadfast opinion of what romance and love should be. As for Emilio, my reviewer at Long and Short Reviews said it all with: “he is the epitome of what women fantasize about.”

I’ll never know whether the gorgeous Latino superstar I saw dancing at that beach bar in Ibiza is as wonderful as Emilio Caliente. But even if he’s only half as nice, his beautiful blonde salsa partner sure is one heck of a lucky girl!

Wishing you mucho giggles while reading my book,

With love,

Francesca Prescott

Blurb for “Mucho Caliente!”:

“Wishing upon a Latino superstar is bound to end in tears. But when destiny insists on playing matchmaker, what’s a girl to do?

Thirty-seven year old Gemma hadn’t reckoned on being seated next to Latino heart-throb Emilio Caliente on the flight to Ibiza. She’d bravely dismissed her cheating husband’s generous divorce settlement, opting instead for a creatively satisfying, financially independent, bohemian lifestyle on a Spanish island in the sun. Falling in love with a pop music superstar eight years her junior was definitely not part of her plan. Common sense dictates staying away from Emilio Caliente and his cinnamon kisses: his life is in turmoil, his latest single has bombed, the press want to see him naked and his hellacious manager seems increasingly deranged. But surely the chain of extraordinary events that insists on bringing them together is proof that love is oblivious to common sense? Does Gemma dare follow her heart and wish upon a pop star without undermining everything else she set out to achieve?”


Chapter 1

It’s not. It can’t be. It bloody well can’t be! Oh my goodness; it is! It’s Latino heart-throb, Emilio Caliente! Why is someone like him sitting next to someone like me on this flight to Ibiza? He should be up front, behind the curtain, hidden away in first class. Why now? Why him? Why me?

Without so much as a glance in my direction, he’s short-circuited weeks of life changing, positive affirmations. Hiding behind my hair, I clench my fists, shut my eyes and silently recite, “My name is Gemma Talbot. I’m a beautiful, intelligent, newly single woman and I’m taking control of my life”. Yeah, right. What a joke! I’m sweating. I’m fidgeting. I’m finger combing my hair, smoothing my eyebrows and wishing I’d retouched my makeup before boarding.

Can’t he go away for a few minutes and come back when I’ve had time to pull myself together, both mentally and physically? Planes should have an emergency hatch with a twisty staircase from the passenger area down into the hold, so you can get to your suitcase, grab a change of clothes, a more appropriate pair of shoes, and maybe even a change of underwear. There should be a decent sized bathroom with pink, soft-tone lights to flatter your complexion and boost your self- confidence, not that vile, green, fluorescent glare that only emphasises your enlarged pores, your premature lines, your facial hair. There should be baskets of complimentary upmarket cosmetics, sample freebies of the greatest and latest scientific breakthroughs in moisturisers and makeup. Yes, even on a forty-minute flight from Barcelona to Ibiza. On this flight especially.

As it is, the bathroom has just been vacated by a podgy, sweaty, sick looking man, and the thought of following in his footsteps does not appeal. I rummage through my bag, praying that I won’t accidentally pull out a bedraggled tampon instead of a bruised and battered  lip-gloss. I don’t usually look like this. Should I explain to him that, actually, I am quite a babe, even if I’m old enough to be, if not his mother, then at least his big sister? I’m usually impeccable. It wasn’t me who spilled Coca-Cola on my white linen trousers. It was the woman sitting next to me on my previous flight from Geneva. Her fiery Iberian origins led to loss of body control once she got started on the subject of her exasperating Scandinavian daughter-in-law. As for my T-shirt, it seemed to possess that casual, worn-in look when I left home earlier today, whereas it’s clear to me now that it should have been retired months ago and used as a duster. What on earth was I thinking? Oh, thank goodness; here’s my lip-gloss!

My lips taken care of, I fumble through the pocket of the seat in front of me, searching for an in-flight magazine, but there isn’t one. So I grab the emergency procedures card and start studying it with exaggerated interest, then get all flustered again, as though I’ve been caught reading the Special K cereal package.

What must he be thinking? I’m no first time flyer. I’m an air-sophisticate. I shake my long brown hair over my face and sneak a sideways glance at el divino, as the women’s glossies call him. Maybe it isn’t really him. Maybe I’ve just imagined the whole thing, and in reality, seat 12B is occupied by an obnoxious lager lout with spots and halitosis.

But no. It’s him, pop music’s Latino superstar, looking a little dishevelled and not quite as glamorous as on his album covers, calendars and posters, and obviously wearing some kind of hastily thrown together disguise. However, if the other passengers on Iberia flight 243 to Ibiza are fooled by the navy blue baseball cap, the wraparound sunglasses, and the prickly, chestnut coloured, three-day beard, a connoisseur like me is not. I am the princess of pop music, the FM queen. I know my pop stars.

It may seem sad that at the ripe old age of 37 I’m still addicted to bubblegum music. At my age, most people seem to have either moved on to cooler, more sophisticated musical spheres or remained faithful to the likes of Céline Dion, Phil Collins and Sting. Not that I dislike Céline Dion, Phil Collins, or Sting. They’re great. But when it comes to music, I’ll always be a teenybopper at heart. Boy bands may be passé, but they still do it for me. I’m a sucker for cheesy harmonies and all those slick, over-choreographed, step-step-shrug moves.

Crazy as it may sound, my taste in music was one of the irreconcilable differences that destroyed my marriage. I think it was an overdose of step-step-shrug that finally pushed my husband a step too far. He went and dumped me for an older woman.

Richard left me for Wilhelmina, a poker-faced, peroxided tart from Munich, whom I only ever saw from a distance, yet whose sense of style made quite an impression nevertheless: black leather trousers, sequinned sweaters featuring cartoon characters, daredevil heels and a hairstyle presumably influenced by lion tamers in circuses. Interesting choice for a conservative stick-in-the-mud like Richard. They probably have sex while listening to Metallica. “Yawohl, mein schnitzel, das ist SO gut, ya, ya schneller bitte, schneller."


Well, they’re welcome to it. They can have Metallica and schnitzels, with or without noodles. Screw them! I’m going to Ibiza to get myself a new life. But please, God, right now, give me something cool to say to Emilio Caliente. Send me instant smooth moves, oodles of charm, irresistible flickety hair.

I try to arrange myself a little more prettily, cross my legs. I’d offer him my best profile, but doing so would require odd contortions, since it’s the one against the window. I rub my nose, making sure there isn’t anything embarrassing hanging off the end.

He takes off his baseball cap and his sunglasses, removes his brown leather sandals (hairy toes, I notice), checks his phone for messages, then switches it off and puts it in the duty-free bag by his feet. He then turns to me, gives me the once over, let’s-see-what-we-have-here, oh-yes, oh-well, never-mind-then, graces me with a quick smile (Yes! This is good! Initial contact established!), puts his sunglasses back on and closes his eyes. So much for contact...

It’s almost eleven when we take-off. The flight has been delayed for nearly two hours. Most of the other passengers are either dozing or flicking through the kind of magazines you tend to buy at airports when you’re bored and need cheap, easy distractions. Even I have a copy of OMG! magazine in my duty-free bag. But now, with Emilio sitting next to me, I’m a little embarrassed to pull it out and have him think I’m mentally deficient. 

A bored, exhausted flight attendant passes down the aisle with a basket of boiled sweets. I smile at her smugly, willing her to believe that I’m travelling with Mr. Caliente, that we’re a couple. But as she reaches our level and I lean over to grab something to combat potential gorilla breath, the plane hits turbulence, causing me to knock the basket and most of its contents all over Emilio Caliente’s crotch. Both the flight attendant and I freeze, but Emilio doesn’t stir. Is he asleep or is he deliberately ignoring what he thinks is a desperate plea for attention from his moronic, past-her-sell-by-date neighbour? What kind of a person doesn’t acknowledge an unfortunate accident? Why can’t he just smile politely, say “no harm done”, and offer me a cellophane wrapped windfall?

It’s now obvious to the flight attendant that we are not an item. She pulls a face at me, suppresses a giggle and discreetly points to the multicoloured sweets decorating Emilio’s khaki clad, drawstring secured, rather impressive crotch. "Do we leave them or pick them up?" she articulates silently.

I shrug, mortified, then shake my head. Better to leave them there than disturb the sleeping  demigod and have him open his eyes to find four unfamiliar hands groping his testicles.

Grinning, the flight attendant carries on down the aisle, offering what’s left in her basket to the other passengers.


“Mucho Caliente!” is available in print from: and Barnes and

It is available as an e-book from:

BookStrand, Mobipocket and All Romance Ebooks

For further information, please visit my website at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The "Art" of Bean Soup

Most of the time authors are artists free to create whatever we choose on the blank "canvas" of paper or computer screen. Most of the time.

In these tough economic times, some of the projects we tackle are far more like Paint by Numbers kits or "Couch Paintings," created to match the client's decor.

I'm working on several short fiction pieces that follow a strict "formula" to improve cash flow. When I started, I felt boxed in by the strict writer's guidelines requirements. The "boss" of the esteemed firm of Me, Myself & I insisted I approach them as a challenge rather than as an artist's strait jacket.

I'm almost finished with the first draft. So far, the "boss" seems to be right. I'm hoping to rise to the challenge, satisfy the "boss" (not to mention the editor,) and get paid for coloring within the lines.

Are you changing your work habits because of the rough economy?

May the Muse be kind!!

Susanne Rose "Lucki In Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette "The Christmas Promise," a Wild Rose Press Champagne RosetteKeep the spirit of the holidays going strong and take advantage of this bonus offer: Just send an e-mail to the author: with “The Christmas Promise” in the Subject Line. You’ll have to read the story first so you can identify the secret recipe when you send your e-mail. Santa will send you a copy of the secret recipe. "Forever Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Meet Tara Manderino

Today we welcome Tara Manderino to the SRN blog.
Always a daydreamer, author Tara Manderino loves to create stories and situations for the people running around in her head. She first began writing in third grade when she realized she couldn't afford her reading habit.
Tara resides in her native town in southwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not writing her own stories, or reading, Tara likes to bake, watch old movies, and do a variety of crafts.
Tara, we’d would love to get to know you.
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
What's your favorite genre to read?

I really am a romance junkie. But under that, I think I love nearly every sub-genre – suspense and paranormal being my favorites. I have to have my happily ever after at the end.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
If I’m faced with writer’s block, and it does happen now and then, I try to write through it. That means while I can usually get several hundred words down in an hour during my normal writing time, I might get a hundred. They’re usually garbage, too. The good part is that eventually something clicks in the brain and I get past that really nasty part. I find the longer I stay away from the writing, the harder it is to face it.
Also, I’m one of those people that absolutely freezes looking at a blank page. Hate it. So now when I write, I have to trick myself. I usually divide even my rough drafts into chapters. So now, when it’s time to start a new chapter I tack on the heading at the bottom of the old one and continue on from there. After I’m a few pages into the chapter, I cut and paste the new chapter into it’s own file. It’s rather silly, really, but it works.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I’m working on a series of books set in mid-1870s America. I am having an absolute blast with them. When I finish the current one, number five, I’m going back to polish the first and see if I can find a home for them. They’re a little different from my regencies, but they would have to be because the whole mind-set of the time was different. The books are probably heavier in adventure than my others too, but great fun.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
First, I love all of my heroes in my books. They all share very similar traits in one way or another. I value intelligence, humor and integrity – something they all have.
What do you do for inspiration?
Now that is something I wish I knew the answer to! I’ve been struck by ideas in the oddest places and at the strangest times.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I find research quite dangerous actually. I love it and can just get sucked right into it. There are times I literally have to pull myself away from it and get writing. Most of my research is via the Internet for my historical fiction. The Internet is an amazing tool for research as long as you hit the reliable sites. I’ve found old dance instructions from the Library of Congress, train time tables from the various RR sites, maps, and the NY times articles from the era I research is invaluable. The best part is that I never have to leave my computer. As I said, though, it can just suck the time right up. There’s always the thought that ‘maybe I’ll find something else….’
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Once I get past the shock of a blank page and the knowledge that there is a deadline, it helps.
It’s one of the reasons that I love writing with the Endurance Writers online group. We meet in Yahoo IM, set a timer, and go. There’s that rush to see how many words you can get down before the time is up.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
I first submitted my paranormal romance when my then crit partners decided they didn’t want to see it anymore. J They were extremely helpful in getting me on track, but I felt like I was torturing them by saying look at this again. After they had nothing else to offer that was really going to change I decided to toss it out there and see what the editors had to say.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
These are kind of related. The worst advice I had ever received was that each section of my writing had to be the best I could make it before moving on. Chapter one should be perfect before moving on to chapter two, and so on. Talk about writer’s block! I did develop it quite often then. Heaven forbid something changed further down the road (writing) because then you had to back and fix the previous parts.
The best advice: Just write. Throw those words on the page and go from point A to B and don’t look back. That was an amazingly freeing concept to me. When it’s all done, you can go back and fix what needs fixing. Obviously, I am not an Isaac Asiminov who’s first draft was his last.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I always have some type of outline. It’s not very formal, or very pretty but it does keep me on track. Actually, I’m rather upset right now because I can’t find the outline I had for a current book. I had put the writing down in December when life got crazy and recently picked it up again with the thought of finishing it. Fortunately, I do remember where I was going and what the ending was to be. The bad part is that I’m trying to figure out where I was going with the chapter in between. I’m untangling threads now and am confident that by the time I get to the edits it will all be perfectly clear. But you can be sure I’m writing it down again (and I don’t just mean in the story!).
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I just joined a small online group, but haven’t actually had a chance to participate yet.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My first published work was Soul Guardian, a paranormal romance between a vampire and a psychic. It still holds its place as one of my favorites.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
Definitely email. I am an email junkie. Sad, but true. I have this compulsion to check my email at least half a dozen times a day. All right, it’s probably much, much more than that. ( While I check on email a lot, I don’t play with my website nearly as often as I should. It needs a major overhaul, and I’m working on it, but in the meantime, everything about my books is up at my current site:
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Either at my site, Amazon, or the publishers’ site. For my regencies that would be Also, I have a few book trailers on my site.
*When did you start writing?
I started writing in third grade and never put it down. At the time, the coolest thing was to see my handwritten words on the yellow tablet written with a blue Bic ballpoint pen. I just had to write because even at that age I realized that I couldn’t afford my reading habit!
*How, why and when did decide you wanted to be a published writer? How did you go about it? What did you do to achieve this end?
I don’t know that there was a definite time that I could say that I wanted to be a writer. I just had a compulsion to tell stories. I love stories and love sharing them. At some point, it dawned on me that that was how some people actually had their names on books. Once I decided to become a writer, I took writing classes in college and read nearly everything I could get my hands on that dealt with writing. Here’s a good point – in the end, you can only learn so much. You have to let go of the research and jump in.
*Who is your target audience? What motivated you to start writing for this audience?
Women who want to read romance, but not worried about there being a bedroom scene every few pages. I also like to think the books are about adventure as much as about romance. Think Romancing the Stone. I have to admit, that like most writers, I probably started writing for this audience because that’s what I wanted to read.
*What are your main concerns as a writer? How do you deal with these concerns?
I always hope that what I’m envisioning in my writer’s brain is making it to the reader. I love to tell stories and want the reader to see what I’m seeing, and hopefully, enjoy it as much. That’s one of the reasons I try to test certain sections of the story with others, particularly not with any one who might be in a crit group, but a reader.
*Do you write everyday? How does each session start? How do you proceed? How, where and why does it end?
I try to write everyday. There are days it simply does not happen because there are simply too many other things going on, or I am so drained from work that looking at another word will make be crazy. On the other hand, there are days that I will sit at the keyboard and write until I literally fall asleep there!
*What is your latest book about? How long did it take you to write it? Where and when was it published? How did you chose a publisher for the book? Why this publisher? What advantages and/or disadvantages has this presented? How are you dealing with these?
My last published book was released in June (2008) – Dere’s Demons. It’s a regency historical published by Awe-Struck. Where I was submitting the book was never an issue since I have two other regencies listed with Awe-Struck, an ebook and POD publisher known for that genre.
While Dere’s Demons focuses on a missing artifact, I just simply could not resist commenting on the times, something I’ve done in all of my regencies. In Dere’s Demons, which takes place in Manchester, not London, I simply had to comment on the factory working conditions, especially as they pertained to women and children.
*Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult?
I don’t know that any aspect is more difficult than another. To me, they’re all the same and the elements have to be woven together.
*Which aspects of the work did you enjoy most? Why is this?
Another tough question! I love all of it –- I just like one part better than another on a given day. I love coming up with the characters – actually, I just listen when they come calling. The research is fun, and then learning where I can go and not go and still be historically correct could be limiting, but it’s not, instead it presents a way for me to think outside the box.
*What will your next book be about?
That’s a tough one. I have several rough drafts here waiting for me to do something. One is a paranormal, and four are set in 1874 America. I have to admit the historical ones are begging to see the light of day, which means that I have to tell the regency bouncing around in my head that it simply must wait.
Dere’s Demons Excerpt
“I wondered if you have any news of your brother. Surely he would have sent word by now.”
She gave him a tired grin. “Obviously, you do not know Collin all that well if you believe that.” She took a sip of her tea. Real tea. Something she had not had in years. She closed her eyes for a moment to savor the taste. It was much richer than anything she could recall.
He watched her drinking and her reactions. “Is there something wrong with the tea?”
Her eyes snapped open. “Heavens, no! It’s lovely.” She gave him a reserved smile. “Was there anything else, my lord?” That did not seem much of a reason. Still, she was glad for it had got them inside and this delightful tea.
“I had not expected you to leave your home so quickly.”
“It seemed the best thing to do, my lord. I have not heard from Samuel, so I can only assume that Lord Hawke has taken possession.”
“He has. I am puzzled about something. He seems to think that Collin is in possession of some items.”
Jane set her tea carefully on the table. “I did not remove anything of import,” she said thinking guiltily of Evangeline’s doll.
“May I have another cake, Jane,” one of twins interrupted in a whisper, at least he assumed it was to be a whisper, it was rather loud.
Jane looked at the plate in front of them. She could see why her sister was tempted. She was herself. With true regret, she gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head. She had to remember why they were here.
“Please, Jane.” That came from the other twin.
Before she could answer this time, Brayden did. “Of course you may,” he told them. Turning to Jane he said, “It is far enough to dinner that it will not spoil their appetite.”
Jane couldn’t even answer. She was sure of that! It also served as a reminder of why she was here. She sat up a bit straighter in the chair and placed her cup on the table. “I have some business I would like to discuss with you, my lord.”
Now that was intriguing. “If you think we can trust the moppets with the rest of the cakes, we can go to my study.”
She raised stricken eyes to his. She had not wanted them to take more, and certainly she needed him to think well of them. “They will not touch any others,” she assured him, and stood.
“It was a jest,” he said, standing also, and guiding her to the room across the hall. He couldn’t help but notice that she did not smile in return. Whatever was bothering her was weighing heavily indeed.
Ushering her into the room, he gave her a seat in front of his desk. Rather than sitting behind it, he hitched one hip on the edge, so that he was fairly close to her. He noticed her rough hands again as she twisted them together.
“Come,” he told her. “It can’t be that bad. What can I do for you?”

Friday, February 13, 2009

Daffodils and Pink Roses

The scene is a classic in romance: the hero, smitten with the heroine's charms, presents her with a bouquet of flowers.

Ah yes, flowers. Every woman likes to receive them--I know I do. They're pretty, they smell nice, and they mean the presenter has been thinking of you.

But why do flowers figure in courtship? According to sociologists Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa, authors of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, there may be a genetic basis to the behavior. Genes' survival depends on passing themselves to the next generation. A woman needs to know if a man possesses the resources to support their children. A man has to proclaim he is a good provider. Voila, flowers.

Pretty as they are, flowers have no survival value. You can't eat them, wear them or save them for the future. When a man presents a woman with flowers, he shows he possesses sufficient possessions to spend valuable resources on something nonessential. The behavior also demonstrates his generosity. He is willing to part with his hard-earned money to buy those worthless flowers.

But then, we are more than our genes. I like daffodils and pink roses. My husband buys me pink roses all year long. Now, in February, the first cut daffodils are arriving here in New England. He goes out of his way to find them for me. For as long as we've been together, he has brought me flowers. Why? We're married. He no longer has to prove anything. But he still brings me those flowers, and the specific flowers I like because he wants me to be happy. Is love part of our genes, or beyond them? Do we care?

Which brings us to our Happily Ever After. And I do enjoy those daffodils.

Thank you all,


Linda Banche

Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal

Lady of the Stars--A legend spanning time, and the man and woman caught in it--Regency time travel, available from The Wild Rose Press

Thursday, February 12, 2009


If you're having trouble forcing yourself out of the warm comfy bed these winter mornings and are firmly convinced the Muse is as frozen as your fingers, you might NOT be suffering from writer's block.

For some people, there's a direct correlation between the season and depression (or a lack of productivity.) This condition is not limited to winter either. If you live in an area where the temperature tops 100 for weeks or months at a time, summer might be your season to suffer the "blues."

Take a peek at this e-How article for some tips that might help:

May the Muse be kind!!

Susanne Rose "Lucki In Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette "The Christmas Promise," a Wild Rose Press Champagne
RosetteKeep the spirit of the holidays going strong and take advantage of this bonus offer: Just send an e-mail to the author: with “The Christmas Promise” in the Subject Line. You’ll have to read the story first so you can identify the secret recipe when you send your e-mail. Santa will send you a copy of the secret recipe. "Forever Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Romantic Roman flowers for Valentine's Day

As a forerunner to Valentine's Day, and with my Roman books in mind, I thought I'd talk about some romantic Roman flowers. Some are surprising. Some are popular even today.

Sweet violet is a pretty, sweet-smelling flower used, like the anemone and the madonna lily, in garlands at Roman banquets. The scent was believed to ward off drunkenness! The Romans loved the scent of violets and even drank wine infused with violets and honey.

Vervain is a dull-looking plant but one which the Romans believed held magical proprieties. Believed to bring good luck, it was used in love potions.

Roman brides used mint for their garlands, and their faces may have been cleansed with a facepack made from the juice of yellow elecampane, because it was believed that Helen of Troy was collecting the flower when Paris abducted her.

Then as now however, the most popular romantic flower was the rose. Roses were grown in Campania for sale and the streets in Rome were red with rose garlands. They were known as flowers of seduction - Cleopatra was rumoured to have seduced Mark Anthony with rose petals. I'll leave it to your imagination as to how!

(Painting by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and drawings of sweet violet, elecampane and mint from Wikimedia Commons.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Buzzed from a conference

Hi friends,

I've been remiss in getting over to SRNwrites this year. It seems like there is never enough time in the day. I'm catching up on several fronts today, but I had such a wonderful time at a conference this weekend, I thought I'd share.

I was invited to Murder in Magic City and Murder on the Menu, two companion conferences in Alabama. I accepted and boy am I glad I did. I met lots of wonderful authors and made some new reader friends as well. I am thrilled at the response to the conference and the enthusiasm with which folks bought my books. It was a major ego rush.

I was in great company. There were six well-known multi-pubbed mystery/suspense writers there: Carla Neggers, Peggy Webb, Kent Krueger, Cara Black, Vicki Lane, and Deborah Crombie. The rest of us were: Meredith Anthony, Jennie Bentley, Peggy Ehrhardt, Terry Griffin, Larry Light, Mary Jane Maffini, Vinny O'Neil, Deborah Sharp, Liz Zelvin, and me. What fun we all had.

And the cool thing is that on the first night of the conference, some of the readers went back to their rooms, looked me up on the internet, and friended me here there and yon. All those social networks are beginning to pay off!

Okay, you're probably sick of me gushing on about this, so I'll sign off. But picture me with a cheesy grin, all right?

Maggie Toussaint

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Time & Money

The only thing as precious as time in the author's life is money to pay the bills.

In this tight economy, more and more publishers delay payment or don't bother to pay at all. Prices go up so much between weekly trips to the grocery store that clipping coupons and making big pots of bean soup doesn't help much. I shudder to open the utility bills even though I keep the thermostat too cool in winter and too hot in summer.

And then there are the "surprises" like spending over $200 to fix the refrigerator yesterday and a vet bill that will top $400 later today.

Wish I could wave a magic wand so I could earn money as quickly as I spend it and collect what's owed me as quickly as I'm expected to pay my bills.

May the Muse be kind!!

Susanne Rose "Lucki In Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette "The Christmas Promise," a Wild Rose Press Champagne RosetteKeep the spirit of the holidays going strong and take advantage of this bonus offer: Just send an e-mail to the author: with “The Christmas Promise” in the Subject Line. You’ll have to read the story first so you can identify the secret recipe when you send your e-mail. Santa will send you a copy of the secret recipe. "Forever Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette

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