We're taking a break from themes for a while. It'll be a smorgasbord of posts this summer. Your comments can help us determine what type of posts you'd like to see more frequently. We hope to hear from our readers often!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hot Topics -- Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness... by Jannine Gallant

I never do political, simply because I'm in the business of selling books, and I don't want to piss people off. But, the Fourth of July is fast I'm going to say what I think about Independence. Also, please note these are my opinions and not necessarily opinions held by my fellow Roses.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I'm, of course, quoting the Declaration of Independence. This is what our forefathers based our government on. This is what we should all be living by. So, here I go, jumping into the two hot topics of the day.

1) The uproar over the Confederate Flag and all things glorifying the Old South. Honest to God, I never gave this any thought before the proverbial poop hit the fan. I sighed over Gone With the Wind and found it very romantic. I think most people do. That's the problem. We're romanticizing something that was anything but. An entire way of life was built on slavery. What about the right to Liberty mentioned above? I was a history major. I fully realize the Civil War was fought over many things, not the least of which was economics. 150 years ago people had vastly different perceptions of just who was equal to whom. Most of us are smart enough to have progressed. But certainly not all. So, what does the Confederate Battle Flag represent? If you believe what you see posted all over Facebook, many of those in the south are of the opinion it represents their heritage. The group espousing black rights feels it represents oppression of an entire race. I agree with both points. That flag flew in a fight to preserve a way of life that included slavery. So, should people be allowed to fly that flag today? Everyone has the right to the pursuit of happiness in their own private space. So, I guess that means flying whatever flag you want over your home since I'm all about individual freedoms. If you have the poor taste to fly the Nazi flag in your yard, or you choose to fly a Confederate flag or a rainbow flag or a skull & crossbones, that's your business. You should be able to do what you want if you aren't harming anyone, even if people find your actions offensive... But you should also have the common sense to realize that what you do says a lot about your beliefs, and your actions do affect others. People like the crazy-ass bastard who killed nine innocent people because he felt those 150 year old traditions were right and should be followed today feed off these symbols. Do I think the Confederate flag should fly over a government building. Hell no! Do we fly the British flag over the White House? No state government should proclaim by their actions they follow the tenants represented by anything but our current law of the land. What about all those statues dedicated to Southern Civil War heroes. I'm torn here. I respect history. I respect art. I think the people freaking out and acting like we're trying to erase history and cover up the Civil War by taking down statues have lost it. The call to take down statues isn't about hiding our past. It's about not glorifying a war fought to preserve slavery. Do I think all the men who fought for succession were evil? Of course not. I think they were raised to believe something they never questioned. Were they wrong in their thinking? Hell, yes! Do those statues have a place on public property? Maybe not, but my love of history and art would hate to see them go. I see them as art not a rallying cry, but maybe that's just me. As for Gone With the Wind, it's a work of fiction. We don't burn books. You can write about whatever you want. But maybe I won't think the book is quite so romantic anymore...

2) The Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage. I don't even understand why this is an issue. Hello, people, we all have the right to pursuit of happiness. Just because a person believes marriage is between a man and a woman for moral or religious reasons doesn't mean they get to force those beliefs on someone else! Good God, our country was built on religious freedom. Our country is supposed to be based on the opposite of religious persecution. And telling a whole segment of the population what they can and can't do because it goes against your religious beliefs is just that: religious persecution. Our country is based on separation of church and state. One has no business infringing on the other. Call your beliefs what you want: Christian, old-fashioned, traditional, whatever. Live your life the way you want to live it holding any belief you choose near and dear to your heart. That's your right as an American. But let everyone else live their lives the way they choose, too. Discrimination is not okay. As long as you aren't hurting someone with your actions, you are allowed your own personal pursuit of happiness.

So, maybe some people's sensibilities are offended by our individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But we each have those rights. We can each express who we are and what we believe. Be true to yourself...but don't try to force your beliefs on others. I'll get off my soapbox now. I hope you all have a happy Fourth of July as we remember the liberties our forefathers fought to preserve.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Suspense Stories Everywhere! by Rolynn Anderson

The scenery on the north coast of Kauai is too glorious for words, a range of spiked green mountains falling to bright blue seas edged by miles of warm sandy beaches.  Dazzling beauty.  Makes me want to buy a house overlooking Hanalei Bay, taking in the Bali Hai vista, forever.

So when I saw an OPEN HOUSE sign beckoning me to check out such a house, I did.  Drove my car right up that driveway. Never mind the house's five million dollar price tag.  Though it's much more fun to view this spectacular place in person, here's the house on a quirky YouTube, in two parts.  Wendy's Amazing House

But the house is only one part of my blog topic.  More interesting (since we can't buy the house), is the fact that Wendy, the owner, is the widow of a man who was 'lost' in a desert in California.  Her husband was found much later, dead, in a car, in the Los Angeles river, with his hands chopped off. AND HE WAS A WRITER! The story is being told to us by Wendy's present boyfriend, the real estate agent who is helping her sell the five million dollar house.  Can you believe it?

Even while I drove away from the house and the gobsmacking vista, my novelist brain was awhirl!  Who was this handless man and is there some relationship to who he was and how Wendy became so wealthy? Plots begin forming in my mind.  How about in yours?  The funny thing...I was less interested in the real story than I was in developing scenes and characters that went in directions I controlled.  Is that something peculiar to writers, I wonder?

Once again, with this chance encounter, I learned how truth is stranger than fiction...and how my brain whirls when delicious suspense (and fabulous views) brighten my life.  Question is: based on your experience, do writers experience life in different ways than non-writers (like this need to take real plots in different directions)?

Example for me:  I watched a TV show about savants, including an actor.  These were people who have weird ways of remembering events.  Did I want to learn more about her?  No.  I wanted to develop my own 'savant,' entangled in a suspense plot.  Result:  Lie Catchers, set in Petersburg, Alaska, a heroine with a strange 'filing system.'


Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a writer and a government agent reveal their secret obsessions.

Treasury agent Parker Browne is working undercover in Petersburg, Alaska to investigate a money scam and a murder. His prime suspect, Liv Hanson, is a freelance writer struggling to save her family’s business. Free spirited, full of life, and with a talent for catching liars, she fascinates Parker.

Trying to prove she’s a legitimate writer who cares about Petersburg’s issues, Liv pens a series of newspaper articles about an old, unsolved murder. When her cold case ties in with Parker’s investigation, bullets start to fly.

Parker understands money trails, and Liv knows the town residents. But he gave up on love two years ago, and she trusts no one, especially with her carefully guarded secret. If they mesh their skills to find the killers, will they survive the fallout?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mommy Brain or Senior Moment by Diane Burton

I am so glad that scientists, and the general public, are finally recognizing there’s a reason mothers forget things. And not just new mothers. It’s called “mommy brain.” With all that mothers have going on in their lives it’s no wonder they forget. They have to balance children’s activities, work (paid or volunteer) outside the home, and marriage. Plus housekeeping. Moms are bound to forget things. When my children were younger, I had a huge office-type calendar on which we wrote our activities using a multi-colored pen. Four people, four colors. I let everyone know if it wasn’t on the calendar they were in deep doo-doo. I couldn’t be expected to pick someone up from baseball practice if I didn’t know about it. Telling me didn’t count.

Fast forward several years. With only two of us, you’d think I could remember things. Nope. It has to go on the calendar—regular size now. I even have a calendar on my computer for blog guests and my own blogging assignments. So why did I forget that today was my turn to blog here? Because I didn’t look at the calendar.

Whenever I schedule my posts (usually the night before), I’m amazed that some of the other authors have their posts scheduled so far in advance. I admire people who are well prepared. That is not me. I’m the last-minute type. I fritter away my time, or get so involved in my current WIP, then rush around to meet my deadlines.

When those of us of a certain age (don’t you love that expression that encompasses so many years?) forget things, we use the term “senior moment.” I think senior moment is mommy brain grown up. Frankly, I like the term mommy brain better. Either way, that’s why this post is late.

At least, I didn’t forget altogether. Right?

When Diane Burton isn’t blogging here on the 8th and 30th of each month or on her own site on Mondays, she’s writing romantic adventure stories that take place on Earth and beyond.This week, she left her brain in outer space.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Critique Partners and Win a Book by C. Marie Bowen

Welcome Ms. Bowen to The Roses of Prose. Keep reading to find out how you can win one of her books!

Critique partners. Love ‛em? Hate ‛em? Need ‛em? I’ve had more than a few. Some good, some bad. A few wandered off and got lost somewhere. Are you still out there? I’ve been told I need them, and I’ve been warned against using them. Here are a few things I’ve learned about the elusive and highly valued critique partner.

1. Never a friend or family member. Your sister might be a great Beta reader, but CP? No.

2. Where to find them? Mine have all come from on-line classes. Similar genres and similar goals are helpful. You want to publish your work, so find someone who also wants to publish.

3. Never take your CP’s word for a fact change to your manuscript. You’ve got Google. Check it out. If they’re right, you learned something. If they’re wrong, you dodged a bullet.

4. If you’re the one questioning a fact, send a link to support your suggestion.

5. Correct their spelling, punctuation and repetitive errors without assuming they don’t know how to spell. They’ve read their work a dozen times. Their brain sees it as it should be, not how it is. Help a CP out and just add the apostrophe and skip the lecture on contractions.

6. Always welcome suggestions, but don’t feel obliged to take them. Sometimes, a crazy idea from your CP will spark something completely different inside your head.

7. Never be upset if they don’t take your suggestion. They know where they’re going with their story.

8. If they wander off, let them go. Set them free and wish them well. Re-tweet their successes and don’t ask why, just let it go.

9. When you find one you work well with, it is magic. I love my critique partners, and I know my work is much better, fuller, and cleaner because of their efforts.

10. Appreciate their hard work. A well done critique shows, with lots of corrections, suggestions and questions. In return, read their work—twice—and be an advocate for their success.

I know I wouldn’t have the success I’ve enjoyed without my critique partners. A shout out to C.A. Jamison and Jodi Hale for their unflagging support and tough love.

I welcome additions to my CP list in the comments below. One commenter will receive a free ebook of either my novel Passage, or one of the anthologies I have a story in. Winner’s choice!

Passage - blurb:
After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.

A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.

Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.

Passage - excerpt:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.

Connect with C. Marie at any of the links below.

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