Celebrate This Blog!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Cat has a book!

For a number of years, my "cat" has been an active blogger- www.confuciuscat.blogspot.com- and twitter personality -@confuciuscat. Now he's a literary giant with the release of a new ebook. 

Translated from the original Catspeak, Confucius Cat says, is a hilarious and profound collection of the advice and observations of the wise and wonderful feline philosopher. 


Praise for Confucius Cat Says...

"A purrrrfect book for anyone who loves to laugh."
- Ravenous Readers

"Hilariously funny and wise. A must-read book..."
-Wanda Wienen Kruse
Book Reviewer

Confucius Cat knows all and has generously agreed to impart his wisdom to the world in this compendium of his best advice and observations.

More Praise

 "If you're a cat lover, buy this book."

Book Reviewer

"Fun, quirky cute book for cat lovers everywhere."
Busy Happy Mom
Book Reviewer

I hope you'll check it out. It's only 99 Cents. Plus, all author proceeds for May, June and July will be donated to the American Humane Society. After that it's my intent to choose another animal charity. Both Confucius and I are strongly committed to animal rights and hope we can donate a huge amount to charities close to our hearts. 

Also today! My book ENTANGLEMENTS is FREE on Amazon. She was driven by love. He was bound by duty. Together they were sucked through a vortex into danger. Get it before it goes back to full price!  http://amzn.com/B005R0RPPG

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Today, I’m blogging about my one of my most recent releases, JASON’S ANGEL. In case this title

sounds familiar to you, the story was previously released in A HISTORICAL COLLECTION, a Victory Tales Press anthology.

I’m excited about JASON'S ANGEL being released as a “stand alone” story, selling at only .99! I’m giving away two copies of JASON’S ANGEL over the next two days! Please leave a comment along with your contact info and you will be entered—it’s that simple.

Jason’s Angel takes on several issues with the society of that time. The story takes place just as the War Between the States is winding down. Jason wears Union blue, but speaks with a Georgia accent. To make things even more difficult, he’s half Cherokee, half Scottish! When he’s wounded and winds up at a Confederate hospital, there’s only one thing kind-hearted Sabrina Patrick can do…

Writing Jason’s Angel wasn’t easy. My conundrum was the fact that for me, the Civil War was such a tragic time in our history that I wasn’t sure if I could see that my characters reached their “Happily Ever After” ending that I wanted them to have. The only way I could see to do that in this case was to make Sabrina Patrick’s compassion so great that she saw beyond all boundaries of gray or blue, and didn’t think of the hero, Jason McCain, as the enemy, but first as a wounded man who needed her help.

Since Jason and another fellow Union soldier had been captured and are being held in the hospital

where Sabrina volunteers, she knows that they will both die of their wounds if she doesn’t do something more than let nature run its course in those deplorable conditions. There is nothing she can do but bring them home, away from the inhumane treatment they are receiving from their guard and even from some of the hospital staff. No one is more surprised than her Aunt Emmaline, who is none to happy with Sabrina’s decision.

The only thing that could make matters worse is to find out that not only is Jason wearing Yankee Blue, he’s a southern boy, born and bred in Georgia—only a few miles from where Sabrina’s home is situated. What could make him fight for the Union? As Sabrina finds out more about Jason’s devastating past, she begins to understand. Because he is half Cherokee, his family has been shunned, and unimaginable tragedy has followed. Can his restless soul find peace in Sabrina’s sweet love for him?

I will leave you with a blurb and excerpt from JASON’S ANGEL.

BUY LINK: Cheryl's Amazon author page:

Jason 's Angel by Cheryl Pierson

Two wounded Union soldiers will die without proper treatment. Sabrina Patrick realizes they won't get it at the Confederate army hospital where she helps nurse wounded men. She does the unthinkable and takes them to her home.

Jason McCain’s pain is eased by the feel of clean sheets, a soft bed, and a touch that surely must belong to an angel. But what reason could an angel have for bringing him and his brother here?

It was only a brief touch of their lips, Sabrina told herself, and should not have caused the waves of trembling heat to rush over her. His lips were firm and strong. And she kissed him back.
He’d reached up and gently pulled her to him. As if he’d sensed her concern over Desi being in the room, he’d glanced to where she sat talking to Eli, once more engrossed in conversation, and when Sabrina had started to protest, he’d squeezed her shoulder in silent reassurance. And she had kissed him back.

He’d been so gentle and—oh Lord, had Eli seen that kiss? She had responded heartily to his brother. She had not pushed Jason away or protested in the least. She had welcomed it. There was no doubt for either of them. She had definitely kissed him back.

As she pulled away, she opened her lids to find him watching her. His dark eyes smoldered with desire. But it didn’t scare her. It excited her.

Good Lord. She stood quickly, her head spinning so that she almost missed her first step toward the door. When had she last eaten? That had to be the cause of her unsteadiness. But why was her heart pounding so frantically? It was only a kiss. One kiss.

But she had kissed him back.

Remember to leave a comment and your contact info to be entered to win one of two copies of JASON'S ANGEL to be given away on Sunday evening!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Love at first sight

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Would you be shocked if someone you know was swept off her feet by a man she just met, and after a few hours in his company would let him kiss her?
What if she is so attracted to him she wonders how his hands would feel over her body? What if he feels the same attraction?

Is it possible in real life?
Is it acceptable in a romance book to let them share a sex scene?

Attraction can’t be explained and varies from one person to another. If you are a writer would you insist on letting the love story develop slowly?
If you are a reader would you be upset to see your heroine give in too quickly?

I used to read historical by Heather Graham, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey. So often the hero raped the heroine in chapter one, and then it takes a whole book for her to forgive him although she was attracted to him during the rape scene. Very unrealistic in my opinion. Yet, we are talking about old bestsellers.
Forget raping. It gives me nightmares to even mention it.

What if the hero and heroine share a good, perfect sex scene, they can’t wait to repeat, because they fell in love, but the next morning they discover one of them lied about his real name, and the lovers are suddenly a Romeo and a very angry Juliette?

I am asking all these questions because I want your help and your answers. Have you read good books—I insist on the word GOOD—where the love scene happens too early?

HER GREEK ROMANCE  http://tinyurl.com/6lnbcuv
Sun-kissed Grecian playboy meets his match.
Attorney Ashley Sheppard comes to Greece to fulfill the
wishes of her ailing grandfather. He wants her to do everything she can to save
the Pink Villa, a house he jointly owned with his lost love.

Playboy Stefano wants to destroy the crumbling villa that
brought only heartache to his late grandmother for so many years. He wishes to
build a resort on the property. But first, he wants to check out the opposition
before he faces her in court. Using his middle names, he arranges an
introduction and convinces her to take a sunset ride on his yacht.

Their physical attraction sizzles. He aims to seduce her,
and Ashley is in vacation-mode enough to let herself be seduced. The next
morning when she realizes she's slept with the enemy, she's ready to shred Stefano
like lamb and serve him up with mint jelly.

Will the heavens align for the grandchildren of thwarted lovers?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beautiful Settings

One of my great pleasures in writing a new story is researching the setting. If I'm really lucky I visit the place I plan to set my book. In pursuit of research, I've visited Ireland twice for my paranormal series, the Italian Amalfi coast, which features in a contemporary romance I have coming out with Carina in September, the Island of Jersey in the English Channel for Unbreak My Heart and most recently Greece, the setting for my next book.

My most recent release is set partly on the Italian Riviera in Riomaggiore (pictured above), one of five small towns that make up the Cinque Terre or five lands. These are beautiful multicolored towns that are stacked precariously up the cliffs in small bays on the rocky coast.

I would have loved to physically visit the area but didn't get the chance. Instead I researched Riomaggiore on the Internet. What a treasure trove of information there is available to writers these days. I even found a video shot by a tourist who'd walked around the town, giving a virtual tour.

In my latest book, my Italian hero grew up in Riomaggiore and his family still lives there. My contemporary romance Oceans Between Us is available on Amazon for 99cents.

Oceans Between Us

He's a wealthy Italian celebrity used to dating beautiful women. She's a guesthouse cook without a penny to her name. When tragedy brings them together for a few weeks, an unlikely romance blossoms. But he has commitments that take him back to his jet-setting life, while her future lies in a remote English village. Is it possible for two people from such different walks of life to find a way to be together?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My time In Europe by Stephanie Burkhart

I knew when I was teenager I wanted to see the world as a young adult, so I joined the Army at 18. I signed up to become an MP (military police) and I did my basic and MP training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama. I loved Alabama. I was there from July-November 1986. In December, I was on the plane to Germany.

Silly me – on my first paycheck in Germany I received $8.00 for COLA. Heck, I thought they were giving me money to buy cokes. My sergeant told me COLA was Cost of Living Allowance. Go figure.

I loved my time in Germany and had a chance to visit several countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, and Denmark. In fact, I was married in Nykobig, Denmark.

In 1997, I had a chance to visit Poland on a USO tour. I remember it was a a town near the German border and there was a pottery factory in the town which was famous. The pottery was all hand crafted, with white and blue motifs. I remember seeing above ground gas pipes and several horse and buggy carriages carrying coal. The trip only lasted a day, but I was grateful for the opportunity.

My travels while stationed overseas in the Army have inspired my international settings. I haven't been to Warsaw, Poland, so I took some fictional liberties with the setting. The National Stadium is a real place and currently under construction. It's going to be a 56,000 seat soccer stadium. In "A Polish Heart," Darrin Riverton is an American architect hired to look over the designs and construction of the stadium. Darrin looks upon his trip to Poland as an adventure. He's a "the glass is half-full kinda' guy," but it's Sofia, his interpreter, who really helps him find his heart.

"A Polish Heart" is a 99 cent story with a "sweet" contemporary international setting. Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back?

Question for you: What country would you like to visit that you haven't been to?


Sofia pulled up to the front of the hotel and put the car in park. Darrin turned to face her. The fringes of her lashes cast shadows on her cheeks, softening her expression. He reached out and gently took her hand in his. Her touch sent warm tendrils of desire through him. With the other hand, he cupped her cheek. She closed her eyes, and drew in a sharp breath before opening them again.

Lightly, he rubbed his thumb against her jaw.

"May I kiss you?" His voice was low and husky.


He leaned forward, his lips feather light, touching hers with tantalizing persuasion until she opened up to him. He kept the kiss slow, thoughtful, enjoying the hints of berries and currants that lingered from the malbec. He pulled away gently.

"That was nice," she whispered.

"Call me tomorrow."

"I will."

Darrin opened the door and stepped out. He waved to Sofia and she waved back as she drove away.


5 Stars, Joy Cagil, Amazon Reader
Darrin, on the other hand, is much impressed with Poland and everything Sofia is part of. Luckily, the Almighty seems to have a hand in this simple, straight, and heart-warming tale of romance, to make the reader feel satisfied with the ending.

5 Stars, Vikki McCombie, Amazon Reader
This is an excellent read. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

5 Stars, Maggie Toussaint, Author of "Muddy Waters" and "Murder in the Buff: It was refreshing to read a sweet romance. I particularly enjoyed the international setting.

5 Stars, Carolyn Smith
Stephanie Burkhart writes a sweet romance filled with heartwarming details. Through her writing, the reader sees the important aspects of any life. At the end of this book, I was left with a happy smile and a sigh of contentment. I'll certainly be reading more of this author's books!


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007AS29AO

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164429

Find me on the web at:






Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reviews vs Critique

“A review is NOT a critique.” The lady sitting next to me said in a firm tone as I listened with the utmost interest. You see the lady I had the privilege to chat with, is a well-known reviewer who has reviewed NY bestsellers before I even started writing novels, hence every word coming out of her mouth about books --yes every word-- was worth listening, understanding, pondering, and applying. Considering the number of participles—ing words--I am glad this post is not a submission to be reviewed.

“So how do you compare critique and reviews?”

“You don’t.”

“Ah.” I wasn’t going to argue and ask silly questions.

“A critique is done on a work-in-progress. The critique partner is expected to carefully read the submission, analyze it, dissect it, and point the author to the things that need corrections. A critique is not about flattering your best friend, it’s about being honest and helping an author improve her writing. No one except you and your CP is going to read the comments. But a review is a very different thing.”

“So what exactly is a review?” I said to encourage the famous reviewer to elaborate on reviews.

“Remember a review is done on a book already published. A reviewer cannot change the book by giving advice, therefore a reviewer should abstain from saying negative things about a published book. A good reviewer should restrict herself to highlight the points she likes in a book.”

“Do I understand you right? A review should always been good?”

“Yes, a review is supposed to help sell the book. Therefore a good reviewer will abstain from mentioning things she doesn’t like. Remember, reading and judging a story is so subjective and will depend on the reader’s taste. What I don’t like as a reviewer, another reader may like. A good reviewer should never destroy a book with nasty comments.”

“Interesting. You have a good point here. So what do you do if you really think the story is poorly written?”

“If I have nothing good to say about a book, I don’t review it.”

“What if you have committed to review it and discover mid-way, you don’t approve of the writing?”

“If I am already committed to review it and my employer is expecting a review, I will grade it, give it a 2 or a 3, but I will still say something good about it. Let’s face if there was absolutely nothing a reader may like about that book, the publisher wouldn’t have published it.”

“So you have never trash a book?”

“Never. By trashing a book, one would trash not only the author, but also the editor and the publisher. Trashing a book means that the reviewer is a bad reviewer who has a streak of nastiness and should not be allowed to review books.”

“Wow, I like that. I wish you could review my books.” It never hurts to try to get a review when one is guaranteed good review.

“Nope. I never review authors I know or met before,” the lady said with a peremptory tone and a sweet smile.

Have you ever received a bad review? I did from readers determined to hurt my book and promote others' as is the case with this last review I received on Amazon from 'Not Telling' who wrote: "Skip this and go find real Greek romances by Sarah Morgan and Abby Green." Two HQ Presents authors. If she likes Harlequin romances why is she reading my books?! I read Sarah Morgan. She's a wonderful writer, USA Today bestselling author, and 2012 Rita Finalist. Wow, to be compared to her, even in a negative way is fabulous, but the reviewer has no right to promote her authors on my review and denigrate me in doing so.

In that case, remember your book is good but your reviewer is bad.

Example of great review:
Amazing! By LAS Reviewer: "Babies in the Bargain was just amazing! It started out very dramatic and got my attention from the first paragraph."

Unforgettable By Seniorcitizen
"This is a five star plus from Mona Risk. Pulled me in within the first chapter of Right Name, Wrong Man, and kept me hooked. And oh, that night in Paris in a Heavy rainstorm - I just had to re- read it several times for the sheer pleasure of it. I couldn't have imagined it any better. "

Highly recommend this book!! By Brenda
 "LOVED This story!!! Very well thought out and flowed so perfectly!"

Breathtaking Setting for a Scintillating Romance!"The tenderness melded with fiery passion in 'Her Greek Romance' is perfect for that gorgeous setting."~Beth Trissel

Monday, May 21, 2012

Addicted To Research

Old Enough To Know Better by Joan ReevesHi! My name is Joan, and I'm a research-aholic.

That's right. I confess I have a problem with research. More specifically, in saying no to reading research books.

Unfortunately, there's no 12 Step program for those of us who pull a research book from the shelf and get lost in its pages. Quite simply, research is addictive.

My Obsession

I love to research with a "real" book, meaning a print one. I find print books are perfect for armchair research. Curl up in a big chair, flip through the pages, stopping when an interesting passage catches the eye. Unfortunately, I usually can't stop reading because I find everything interesting when I'm fascinated with a subject.

Cheese, Wine, Army Intelligence Agents

For example, take my romantic comedy Old Enough To Know Better. The hero, Sean Butler, had been in U. S. Army Intelligence. Of all the research I did into that compelling subject, only a paragraph or two of background and Sean's habit of assessing what the heroine said as either truth or lie made it into the finished book. But, oh, what a fascinating subject. The Army Interrogators like I made Sean are the first to disdain torture and water boarding as seen in the news. They will flat tell you that the guys that did that were not with the Army.

Sean was also a vineyard owner. Despite everything I learned about the Texas Wine Trail and growing wine grapes in the Lone Star State, only a couple of sentences ended up in the book.

I did similar research about Stormy Clarkson, the heroine of Old Enough To Know Better. Stormy was a college history professor who taught a class about frontier women who won the west by cooking. She was an artisan cheese maker. In the opening scene she's demonstrating how to make mozzarella cheese. That opening scene and a bit of another scene where she talks about Home on the Range: A Culinary History of the American West by Cathy Luchetti, a simply wonderful book, is all the background that made it into the book despite all that I learned about how frontier women accomplished everyday cooking tasks.

Since I learned so much about artisan cheeses, I decided to include the recipe for mozzarella in the Bonus Features of Old Enough To Know Better so anyone who wanted to try it – and it's easy – could cook up a batch in her own kitchen.

Post Script

One side benefit about doing so much research for books is that I learn a lot about many different subjects. As a result, I'm in great demand when it comes to board games. Anyone for Trivial Pursuit?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Where Would You Go and When?

Where would you go and when if you could travel in time? I’ve always been a fan of time travel.  One of my favorite old movies was The Time Machine with Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux.  My preference is the older version as opposed to the newer one.  I grew up imagining myself stepping through a portal (consciously or accidentally) and ending up somewhere vastly different from the world today! My mind was thrilled by movies like Planet of the Apes or Twelve Monkeys.  Over the years, I’ve read more time travel books than I care to count (dollar-wise). 

Where would I go?  I know my choice sounds like a religious journey, but I think I would travel back to the time of Christ and try to find him, but I doubt I would enjoy the Roman era.  Too much violence from a historical standpoint. I could easily find myself thrown into the gladiator arena as an entrèe for an assortment of wild beasts or a hacking post for some testosterone-charged sadist bent on crowd approval by beheading poor old me. Hmmm, perhaps another time would be a better choice.

Vikings have always interested me, more from the viewpoint of those invaded as opposed to the invaders.  I love history dealing with the incursion of the Vikings and their escapades.  But then again, I could find myself a slave toiling my brief life away in captivity to a brutal group of unfeeling warriors.  Another time perhaps.

All of my stories to date (other than a few short reads) have dealt in some fashion with time displacement.  Even my vampire story deals with a female who is entombed for 600 years, awaking in modern day. She has her own trials to deal with as she strives to fit in.  And my most recent, a SciFi romance, wherein the heroine awakes 200 years in the future aboard an alien starship bound for parts unknown.  How would I handle those situations if they presented themselves?

Again, think hard.  Where would you go and when?

My 99 Cent E-Books - Time Travel!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Killer Career

For almost 39 years I worked as an administrative assistant (formerly called a secretary) at a lawfirm in Downtown Chicago. I'd get up everyday, walk to the train, then open up my laptop computer during the ride, so I wouldn't waste valuable writing time. Before I knew it, I'd reached the station, and had to trudge to the office.

At first I kind of liked what I was doing. Then, before I knew it, the years had gone by. I came to realize I was at a dead-end job. I had no hope of advancement at such a small lawfirm, unless I wanted to become a lawyer, which seemed awfully dull. Not only that, after so many years, it had all become utterly boring. Still, I'd stuck it out for so long, wasn't a kid anymore, and had no intention of leaving until I could retire and get my insurance paid through Medicare.

I didn't realize it at the time, but a lot of my frustration at being stuck in a dead-end job manifested itself in my romantic suspense, Killer Career.

In that book, the heroine is an attorney, not an administrative assistant. Unlike me, she takes initiative and gives her partner notice she's leaving the firm to follow her ambition to become a writer. Many obstacles stand in her way, one being the prospect of hurting her partner's feelings. He doesn't take kindly to her being mentored by a handsome bestselling mystery author. Also, some unexplained deaths have occurred, similar to the ones in his books, leading one to wonder if the bestselling author writes fact or fiction.

By the way, I lost my job about 1 1/2 years ago. I still have to pay for my insurance, but it's worth it. Losing my day job is the best thing that ever happened to me, since now I can devote more time to what I really want to do, which is writing.

You'll have to read Killer Career to learn whether the job change was ultimately a good or bad thing for my heroine.

Killer Career on Kindle: http://amzn.com/B002PDOPPG

Nook link:

For Excerpts and more buy links for Killer Career, as well as my other three books, come on over to http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com/ 

Monday, May 14, 2012


If romances set in the contemporary West float your boat, I have the book for you! Most of my books are set in Texas, usually with a rancher as the hero. Since I live in North Central Texas amid cutting horse and cattle ranches, I see cowboys on a daily basis. Writing books set in the West appeals to my sense of history as well as my location.

On a trip home to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex from our hometown of Lubbock in West Texas, we were in a hard downpour as we drove from Post toward Snyder. I remembered a high school teacher’s story of seeing a watertight Volkswagon swept off the road up onto the high railroad bed that runs beside the highway. The family inside the VW emerged safely, but their car eventually floated away on the swiftly moving floodwater. My teacher’s old leaky car was safe, so he could help the flood victims.

West Texas Caprock Near Post
Every event sends an author’s mind playing “what if” with story ideas. That day, instead of worrying about our car being swept away (my husband is an excellent driver and we were in a heavy car), I started playing around with the flood and what if a woman were swept away and had to walk toward safety on the raised rails and what if a rancher saw her... You can see how this story emerged to become BE MY GUEST.

Famous 6666 Ranch, Guthrie, Texas,
won at cards with....Four Sixes
I love the topography just below the Caprock area. My favorite is around Benjamin and Guthrie with the red clay ravines and the 6666 Ranch. But I also love the land between Snyder and Post where the Caprock is visible and the highway passes over little creeks and a fork of the Brazos River.

Along Highway 84, the railway is on a high roadbed with bridges over the many creek beds and river branches. Looking at the landscape, one would never suspect the danger during a hard rain. The creeks and rivers look sleepy and innocuous, but become raging torrents during a storm. Water rushes toward them with amazing force, sweeping every thing in the path along in the flood. It's a scary sight, and that's where Aurora O'Shaughnessy finds herself.

How I would look if I had my way.
Since I have trouble controlling my weight (or trying to), I wanted a heroine who could eat all she wanted without gaining. Not all fiction, because my mom could and my brother can. Sigh. I always wished I had looked like a young Maureen O’Hara with thick auburn hair. My grandmother and uncle had red hair, but I started blonde which turned mousy brown then darker brown and is now...ahem...enhanced by lovely blonde highlights. ;-)  You see how I created my heroine, Aurora O’Shaughnessy.  If I can't look this way, at least my heroine can.

Rancher at work

The hero, Will Harrison, is a rancher. Easy peasy. I know a lot of ranchers and an image popped into my head. But I needed to make helping Aurora more difficult, so I broke his leg. No, not me personally, but I created a fall which left him with his leg in a full cast. And what is it about a cast? You can’t get it wet! Yet he had to get Aurora out of the floodwater and to safety.

Cover model Jimmy Thomas portraying Will Harrison
(I took the wildflower photo.)

Here’s a blurb for BE MY GUEST:
Aurora Kathleen O’Shaunessy comes by her flaming auburn hair naturally, and this independent city woman has an inner fire to match. Nothing stops Aurora--that is, nothing short of a Texas flash flood. This super-organized businesswoman might be running from the past, but she’s using this journey to stop and smell the roses--rather the spring flowers in bloom across the Texas prairie. A brush with two rough men doesn’t faze her. But a handsome rancher with a precocious daughter makes her rethink her plans.

Rancher Will Harrison rescues her from the raging waters and she’s his guest for the next thirty-six hours. That’s long enough for Will to fall head over heels in major attraction, and he has a hunch she might feel the same. He has a plan to keep her around until he convinces her to move out of the fast land and in to his life forever. He plans to ask her to marry him at his birthday celebration. First, he has to save her from two rough kidnappers who have other plans for Aurora.

An excerpt of BE MY GUEST:
The clock on the dashboard displayed one o'clock when Aurora found herself free to concentrate on lunch in Snyder. Clouds gathered and rumbled with thunder over the West Texas town. Aurora's empty stomach rumbled with them. After a hazardous morning, fatigue overshadowed her usually cheerful nature. She passed by the fast food places before she spotted the family restaurant recommended to her by the dusty red pickup truck facing her, waiting for the space. He sat in the very same type and color truck used by two ruffians who had terrorized her earlier in the morning. Although she knew this man could not be one of those two men, an unreasonable anger bubbled up in her directed toward all cowboys, especially thoseTexas State Trooper a few minutes ago.
    Cars and trucks filled the parking lot. What a lucky break, she thought, when she spotted illuminated taillights and a car backed out of the prime parking slot at the entrance. Aurora saw the lone man in the  in red trucks.
    Her normally pleasant nature turned aggressive and she zipped the Mustang into the vacated park before the less maneuverable truck could occupy the space. The man honked the truck horn at her as she got out of her car. She just smiled and blew him a saucy kiss as she hurried into the restaurant. After all, any real gentleman would have let a lady have the only space in the first place, she told her nagging conscience.
    Her conscience would not be quieted so easily. She must be in shock from her morning encounter. Never had she acted so rudely. Regretting her impetuous actions already, she thanked goodness the exchange occurred with a stranger and not someone she might meet again.
    Seated in the corner booth, Aurora ordered a hamburger, French fries, and a large Dr Pepper. While she waited for her food, she reviewed the items listed under the town of Snyder in her Texas guidebook. Suddenly, she sensed someone standing beside her booth. As she looked up--and up--a huge cowboy with most of his left leg in a cast leaned his crutches against the side of the booth. He slid onto the seat beside her, which pinned her in the booth with him.
    Aurora scooted to the right as far as possible. "Hey, who do you think you are? This is my booth, and no one invited you to share it with me!"
    "Your car's sitting in my parking space, so I'll sit in your booth," he said calmly as he removed his Stetson and ran his fingers through sandy brown hair. He turned in his seat to hang the hat on the hook at the end of the booth by his crutches.
    Aurora blushed when she realized this must be the man whose parking space she mischievously stole. Oh no, how terrible. He must have had to park a long way from the door and hobble in on those crutches. How embarrassing. The one time in her life she acted rudely, her victim turned out to be a man handicapped by a leg cast and crutches. Still, he had his nerve sitting beside her without so much as a "may I."
    Her chin came up defensively. "Okay, I apologize. If you used one of those disability placards on your rear view mirror, people would know you have a problem."
    "Lady, my problem is that you stole my parking space," Will Harrison said coolly. He lifted his left leg so that the cast-encased foot rested on the seat facing them, then swiveled to gaze at her.
    Aurora smelled the cowboy's after-shave mixed with the clean scent of his breath when he turned his face toward her. His stone gray eyes met hers. She saw anger drain from his eyes, replaced by stunned amazement. He leaned toward her.
    Her awakened senses rocketed into response. Each thread on the sleeve of his blue chambray shirt seared where it touched her arm. For a moment Aurora had the astonishing thought that this cowboy might lean further forward and kiss her right here in public. Equally astonishing, but fleeting, came the thought that she wouldn't mind a kiss from this man. Her tongue flicked across her lips and she gave herself a mental shake, unable to turn away from his mesmerizing gaze.
    What can you be thinking? You have absolutely no business falling for some good-looking cowboy out here in the middle of nowhere. Get a grip on yourself.
    Her heart quelled the voice of reason within her mind. Aurora’s her stomach somersaulted from butterflies to flip-flops as she stared into the cowboy's wide gray eyes. She broke his gaze and peered at her folded hands a second before she threw them up in capitulation.
    "Okay, Okay. I just don't know what came over me. I know you saw the parking space first, but I'm on Bubba-overload. Look, it's a long story, but it's been a real killer morning. Once again, I apologize and plead temporary insanity" She placed her hands palms down on the table.
    His gaze raked over her, and one eyebrow elevated. "Well, well. I'm almost convinced there's remorse here. Almost--but not quite. Would you like to explain to me what 'Bubba-overload' is and what it has to do with me?"  
    "Listen, I apologized. Let's just drop it. Okay?"  Surprised at the petulant tone in her voice, she adjusted the dark green scarf that held the hair back from her face
    The man peered at her steadily, his voice polite but firm when he spoke. "No, ma'am, we can't drop it. I think I deserve an explanation after that 'Bubba' line. It sounded very much like an insult to me."
    This man obviously had his hackles up and wanted a full explanation. After her morning's adventures, she found herself impatient with this cowboy, even though her mind recognized his request sounded reasonable. Finally, Aurora swiveled at her waist to face him as much as the limited space allowed. "Oh, well, if you insist. You wore that western hat and were in a pickup truck. At a glance, you looked like the typical red-necked Bubba. All you lacked was a big wad of tobacco bulging in your cheek."
    She raised her hand and shook a finger at the man as if he were a delinquent school boy. "Listen, I've had my fill, and then some, with you guys. You follow me, whistle at me, lean out a truck window to sing to me, shout, or wave to me. I even receive various very rude gestures and get mooned. Believe it or not, I do nothing either to initiate or encourage any of this behavior."
    A skeptical smile appeared and he raised his eyebrows. A flush of color heated her face at the memory of her behavior in the parking lot. She held up one hand to stop any comment he might make before she continued.
    "Oh, I know, I acted brashly with you outside just now. Let me assure you, that's entirely unlike me. In fact, it's truly a first. I've never, ever done anything like that before."
    She shook her head in wonder. "I don't know what came over me. As I said, it must have been temporary insanity due to Bubba-overload."
    She pinched the fabric on the leg of the neatly creased blue denim jeans she wore. "Look at me. My jeans aren't skin-tight. They’re not painted on me."  With a tug at the hem of her hunter-green knit top, she added,  "My shirt isn't too tight, it has three-quarter sleeves, and the neck isn't low or revealing."
    Aurora moved her knees and elevated a foot to display canvas shoes. "I'm wearing my little Keds, not flashy pumps with stiletto heels. All in all, I think I'm dressed very sedately and not at all in a provocative way."
    The cowboy slid his glance slowly up and down her then back to her face before he smiled a slow, lazy smile that lit up his eyes and brought a dimple to his cheek. He reached over to grasp her untouched water glass and took a drink from it, his eyes returning to her face as he sipped the icy water.
    Her own mouth opened as she watched his mouth against the rim of the glass. The tip of her pink tongue slid against her upper lip as the water slid into his mouth. She could almost feel his lips as they received the liquid. To hide the rising turbulence in the pit of her stomach, Aurora glared at him. In vain she tried to avoid thoughts of his stare or the dimple that appeared with his smile.
    She forced herself to concentrate on her defense. "Um, I just drive along in my little blue Ford Mustang, enjoying the scenery and minding my own business. I do nothing to call attention to myself. I even try to be a good sport about the immature behavior some guys display."
    She took a deep breath. "I try to take it all in stride and just keep on schedule but"--Aurora slammed her hands against the top of the table--"this morning, two very frightening Bubbas tried to run me off the highway and hijack me or my car."
    His eyes widened and his mouth gaped, but she continued, "I'm only here because a State Trooper happened by in time to interrupt my abduction. Frankly, that scared the life out of me. The longer I thought about it, though, the angrier I became. By the time I got to this restaurant, I had completely lost my cool."
    Aurora took a deep breath and gazed at her hands. She recalled the fright that consumed her when she realized the two men followed her. Only quick thinking on her part prevented the two ruffians from succeeding at their attempt to run her off the road and get her out of her car. She shuddered to think what might have happened if not for the State Trooper. And never, never would she forget the faces of those two men!
    She waved her hands in a fluttery motion. "When I saw you in a truck the same color as the one that ran me off the road...well...I guess I just went bananas, berserk, crazy. That's why I'm pleading temporary insanity." Aurora leaned back and crossed her arms in front of her.
    At this moment the waitress appeared with their food. Aurora stared in amazement as the waitress set the burger, fries and Dr Pepper in front of her and a duplicate of the order in front of the man beside her.
    The waitress flashed what she probably thought of as her most seductive smile at the man. In a low, honeyed voice, she asked,  "Anything else today, Will?"
    He seemed unaware of the invitation in her voice or the hopeful sparkle in her eyes. "Not right now, Norma Sue, thanks. Go ahead and leave the check now and save yourself time."
    When the disappointed waitress left, Aurora appraised Will. How could he fail to notice the waitress’ blatant invitation?  Had he any idea how attractive he was?  Hold on, this guy might be too good to be true.
    Aurora gazed over he shoulder at the departing waitress. "How on earth did she know what to bring you?  When did you give her your order?"
    "When I came in." He leaned across her to get the salt and pepper. Will paused to flash her a truly breathtaking smile and the bottom fell out of her stomach again. "I also told her you would pick up the check.”

If this story tempts you, I’m happy to share that it’s only 99 cents! What a deal, right? Here are the buy links:



Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One of my favorite authors at 99 cents - by Vijaya Schartz

Today, allow me to present one of my favorite authors, Denise Domning. She writes historicals and medieval romance in particular, and I just discovered two of her 99 cents novels. She is a very talented author, an expert on medieval research, and I love her books.

by Denise Domning
99 cents at Amazon http://amzn.com/B006M3YJRO

A baron and his daughters are dead, slaughtered on the king's road, when the sheriff should have kept the peace.  Can his ungainly daughter solve the mystery of their deaths before the baron's grieving widow and his bastard son wreak vengeance on her father, the man they hold responsible?

" ... filled with vivid descriptions of the period especially the role of single women as pawns to be used, misused, and discarded as necessary.  Denise ... provides her audience with a darker but fuller picture that those Medieval aficionados who demand total realism will relish."---Harriet Klausner, reviewer

Five out of Five Stars
"I loved this book.... Keep up the fantastic work!"--- a reader

Five out of Five Stars
"An appealing heroine, complex characters, realistic dialogue and story, and a credible romance. This one's got it all. Nicely balanced between the credible realism of the period and the characters who inhabit it. An entertaining read."---L. Rosenthal, a reader
by Denise Domning
99 cents at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B006H6BDRA

In 1214 England, Sir Rafe Godsol sees widow Katherine de Fraisney at his friend's wedding. Rafe decides that he will marry Katherine even though he learns that she is the daughter of the man who killed his sire. He will also soon find out that Katherine has vowed to never marry again after an unhappy first relationship that has left her wary of males and still an innocent.

Her father decides to find a second spouse for Katherine. However, Rafe begins his own courting and she finds his kisses quite enchanting. When her father and his chosen beau for her learn that a Godsol is sniffing around Katherine, they plot to kill Rafe. Poor Katherine now realizes that Rafe wanted her for her money and not out of love, something that the landless knight now knows is not true, but doesn't know how to prove to her.

Though adhering to the unwritten guidelines of the sub-genre, [The Warrior's Wife]is an entertaining [M]edieval romance that sub-genre fans will find enticing. The story line works because the motives of the characters ring true and thus lead to relational conflicts, thirteenth century style. The novel will provide pleasure to readers who enjoy a straightforward historical romance. - Harriet Klausner, reviewer

Denise has more 99 cents books and paperbacks in other genres as well. Check out her author page at Amazon HERE

And if you like medievals, I also have medieval romances, along with romantic science fiction, paranormal, and romantic suspense on my own amazon page HERE

Find all about me and my books at:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Change is Good

One of the perks of being a self-published author is the ease of changing things if they aren't working. My second book in the Second Chances series is just not selling like the first. The first, Divorce, Interrupted, almost everyone I've talked to said they bought it for that title alone.

Well, obviously, Someone To Trust is not as "catchy" a title. With a group of ladies this past weekend (writers retreat) I was talking about STT and they all agreed it was just meh. :( Getting someone to trust, someone to love is like every other romance novel plotline.

So, we brainstormed and came up with Dare To Trust. Anyone who has taken a Margie Lawson class knows there are power words; dangerous, deadly, daring, dare. Aha!!

Hopefully by this weekend I'll have the new title on the old cover. I love the cover and it just so represents the story, but something was just off. In the meantime, here is the cover with old title for a little bit longer.

When a sheltered, former abused wife falls for the local carpenter/former Marine she's not sure she can dare to trust another man with her heart. When her ex-husband shows up dead at her back door she isn't sure what to trust; her old memories or her new love.

You can get it at Amazon, BN.com, and Smashwords

Bonus: for the readers of this blog. For a limited time you can get book 1, Divorce, Interrupted for free with a coupon code at Smashwords  MU72Q

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How Does a Lazy Person Effectively Promote?
By Celia Yeary
This spring, I've read no less than a dozen articles about promoting yourself and your book. Most of the articles have been very good, listing concise ways to accomplish the one important goal when your book has a release date. These articles appeal to me just as how-to articles always have. I'm a self-learner. 

I believe I have all the steps memorized. Yet, I find myself turning into a lackadaisical author who loves to write, sign contracts, edit (yes, I like the editing process—if I have a nice editor who doesn't scold me), see a book cover for the first time, but then….the difficult part stares me in the face.

How do I promote this book? As of this month, I have fourteen releases scattered among seven publishers. Some have done fairly well; others seem to sit there. I admit, like most of us, that I have my favorites, those I wish more and more readers would find.

Yet, I wonder if sales would do just as well if I did less solid promoting. Sometimes it seems that way, for often there seem to be no rhyme nor reason to the process.

I'll do my best, though. It's just that at times I really don't feel like working--I'd rather read. And so I do.

Why not?
Mini-Excerpt from Charlotte and the Tenderfoot-A 99CENT Dime Novel

"Wha…what in the world? Oh, Lord have mercy," she murmured, as she brought the buggy to a stop.
A man lay on the side of the road, his legs in the shallow ditch, his head just on the edge face down in the dirt and gravel, with his long arms extended forward. A chestnut gelding grazed calmly nearby. The contents of the saddlebags were strewn hither and yon.

***And that's how Miss Charlotte Marie Dewhurst from Trinity Hill, Texas met William Montgomery from Boston.***

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Monday, May 7, 2012

FREE Today on Kindle

If you like Harlequin Romance and Mills & Boon you'll enjoy Unbreak My Heart!

As a special promotion, this book is Free for three days, May 7 to 9.

Download it for Free today from Amazon.com It's also free on Amazon.co.uk

Andre Le Court first set eyes on Kate Frost when he was two and she was a babe in her mother's arms. He's twenty-five now, and he still remembers the moment perfectly, the moment Kate Frost slipped inside his heart.

His family owned a big hotel, her parents worked there. Andre's father spent years trying to separate his son from the daughter of the hired help. Eventually he grew desperate and sent Andre away to boarding school.

Nine years later, Kate turns up on the doorstep of Andre's prestigious hotel with the paparazzi at her heels and the six-week-old daughter of her celebrity ex in her arms. She has nowhere left to run except back to the place where she left her heart all those years ago.

Andre lost Kate once. He can't lose her again. But he has an image to maintain, a reputation as a successful businessman. A bohemian young woman with beads in her hair is not a suitable wife for him.

In Andre, Kate sees tantalizing glimpses of the boy she adored. But most of the time she hardly recognizes the powerful, successful man he's become, his lifestyle so like that of his despised father.

Can they forgive the pain of the past, accept each other as they are now, and rediscover the childhood love that was snatched away from them?

Praise for Helen Scott Taylor's books

"Taylor's wonderfully creative and lusciously sexy debut will cast its own magical spell over readers."  The Chicago Tribune

"… extraordinarily accomplished debut."  Booklist Top Ten Romance 2009

"This is a beautifully written love story..." Hollie, Coffee Time Romance. CTRR Award

"Set in a rich, imaginative world that beautifully blends fantasy and romance…" Lauren Becker, RT Bookreviews Top Pick

"Her lyrical writing and amazing imagination give you characters you’ll remember for a long time…" Sandy M, TGTBTU

For lots of other quality free ebooks for your Kindle check out

Spring Fling Free Par-Tay.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writing For Love Of Writing

I write contemporary romance. More specifically, I write funny, sexy romance with a cheeky attitude--a chick lit attitude if you will. I love writing, and I love writing my particular brand of book.

A few years ago, I heard a University of Houston Literature professor, who is also a published poet, say that only poets wrote for the love of writing. His reasoning was that poets never make any money from writing so they do it strictly because they love stringing words together.

I disagreed with him then, and I disagree now because I know many, many writers who have written hundreds of thousands of words and have never been published yet they still keep writing. Sure, they submitted to publishers, but they've been rejected time and again -- not because their writing isn't worthy of publication.

Why, Oh Why

What most people in the general public don't realize is that authors get rejected all the time, and I mean professional writers who are well-versed in the necessary skills to write a publishable book. I also mean already published authors and those writers who haven't been published but who deserve to be.

Writers don't get published because of myriad reasons, many of them subjective. Perhaps the publisher just bought a manuscript with that premise or that same setting. Maybe the editor doesn't think the marketing hook is high concept enough or the editor's personal opinion is that no one could ever be caught in the situation that's in the opening scene of the book.

Maybe the publisher has an author who already writes that type of book, and they don't see a need for another author writing it. Maybe the industry is downsizing. Maybe the editor doesn't like women like the heroine of the piece. Or, maybe the hero's name is Brian, and the editor just split from her significant other who is also named Brian. The "maybe's" go on forever.

Give Up?

Sometimes, good writing just never lands on the right editor or agent's desk. That would be the person who "gets" the story. Do authors give up? Some do. Some don't. Writers are motivated to find an audience. They outline another book and start writing. Why? Because they can't not write. They love writing.

Technology Lets Readers Find You

With the new technology of Kindles, Nooks, Sony eReaders, Kobo readers, etc., authors who used to bury rejected manuscripts in the bottom of a file drawer now have another option. They can become an indie author. They can have their manuscript edited, proofread, and adorned with professional cover art and then publish the work as an ebook, print book, audio book, or all three!

Readers can find these indie authors without the big New York publicity machine to guide them. Writers can achieve their biggest goal: having their work read! Indie authors can price their books competitively, as the authors of this blog do, in order to appeal to readers who may not know their work.

I mean, who bats an eye at paying even $3.99 for an ebook when a Venti Cappuccino costs that much, a snack at a food court costs more, and a movie ticket costs much more? So, $2.99 and $.99 are impulse buys. With ebooks, you get a lot of entertainment for very little expense.

My Indie Career

I've published books from my backlist (see Joan's Books) and original fiction as ebooks. In fact, I'm getting ready to publish another one as soon as I get it back from another trip through proofreading. (Look for it the middle of May.) I've been blessed because most of my romance novels have been Kindle bestsellers. They also sell well on the other websites too.

This year, I'll be publishing those same books as print books and as audio books. Every single day, I'm constantly amazed that I can offer my books for sale in this manner, and I deeply appreciate those of you who buy my books and recommend them to others.

P. S.

I think Calvin Coolidge really was right. "Persist. Persist. Never give up." With the help of technology, persistence is now paying off for me--and a lot of other authors.