The Roses have gone to the movies--and twisted them to suit our creative purposes! For July, we're going crazy and talking about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and He's Just Not That Into You.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

He Is That Into Her by Diane Burton

One of our movie topics this month is He’s Just Not That Into You. While I haven’t seen the movie or read the book of the same name, I can guess what it’s about. Loving someone who doesn’t love you. Way back in 1972, I met a man on a blind date. Mutual friends set us up and, I’m happy to say, we’ve been together ever since. I was very lucky that he was as into me as I was him. Still am. We’ve gone through good times and difficult ones, with the good outweighing the bad. We have two terrific children who have found people who are as into them as they are.

So why am I waxing poetic? Our son’s upcoming wedding. If that movie was about him, it could have been titled She’s Just Not That Into You. Until three years ago. Hubs and I met her shortly after and were equally smitten with her. She’s gracious, easy to be with, and loves our son. It was so obvious three years ago and even more so now. And he’s head over heels in love with her.

Several years ago, I shared an office with a young woman—so young that her mother was younger than me. She’d been going through a rough time in her marriage and asked me the “secret” of Hubs and mine. Some secret. LOL This is what I told her.

There’s no 50-50 in a marriage. Sometimes one gives 100% and sometimes the other does. It can’t be one person doing all the giving. 

“Please” and “thank you” are definitely magic words. 

Accept the other with all their faults and foibles. I drive Hubs crazy with my not finishing one project before jumping into another. He drives me crazy when he calls a smokestack a “chimley.” 

Neither of us is perfect, but we’ve found what works for us. I hope my son discovers what works for him and his future bride.

Normally, I blog on the 8th and 30th of the month. Since August 8th is the wedding, I’ve traded places with Vonnie Davis so I’ll be here on the 12th.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Take on Movies & Videos - Comment for a Chance to Win a Free Book!

We’re talking about movies this month, and it’s not a subject I’m really well versed in. I know people who can recall the plots and quote lines from all kinds of movies, most of which I’ve never heard of. It kind of makes me feel left out when I’m with people who do this. Imagine the scene.
Me: So, what are we doing today?
Friend 1: How would you like a nice bass? Girls like a nice bass.
Me: I don’t see that on the menu…
Friend 2: No? Take that, you dirty yellow rat….

I’m left confused while they fall about laughing. Friend 1’s comment is from Napoleon Dynamite, Friend 2’s is from Home Alone 2….Leaving me wondering who’s the dummy, them or me.
I don’t watch a lot of movies. I did enjoy Noah, and thought Avatar was interesting. I hated Wolf of Wall Street, which was highly recommended by critics and friends. Am I odd?

I do watch television, though, and love English police dramas (Inspector George Gently, Foyle’s War, Dalziel & Pascoe, Endeavor, Inspector Lewis….even Midsummer Murders) And I’m not embarrassed to admit (although I maybe should be) that I have the Young & The Restless on my PVR.
One trend I have noticed – it would be hard to miss – is the prevalence of short videos that have spilled over from YouTube. I have MSN as my home page and many of these are featured in the videos list there. Some are fascinating, some educational, some delightful, and some leave me wondering ‘What just happened?’ Do I really want to spend even 30 seconds watching a video of a cat sleeping with its tongue out? Or how about a clever goat getting some fruit?
Of course, there are some great videos, too – like my talented son, Garth O'Connell,  doing a cover of Crack The Sky… :-)

 As a writer, I tend to look at my viewing time as research. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I have written two stage plays that have been produced and even won awards, and I was on the list of writers for a proposed new Irish teen soap, except that the project, three years in the making, was cancelled before production started due to budget cuts at the RTE. :-)
So writing a script for television or movies is on my dream list.
One great use of videos is for educational purposes. There’s a wide variety of really informative videos on a huge range of subjects, from health to cooking to car mechanics to fashion, woodwork,  painting…you name it. Some great ones on writing, too, and I’m thinking of putting my writing course, Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book, on video.

When I can find a camera that makes me look good, or at least, human. Oh, and to answer the question I’ve heard so many times about the title of this course, I don’t and won’t do it naked. Believe me, that’s a blessing for the viewers.

So, having successfully led this month’s theme away from movies and onto other topics, I’d love to hear your thoughts on videos. Have you found any particularly funny, horrible, helpful? Have you taken any courses that were run online through video?
There’s a signed copy of the print version of Naked Writing, or of my romantic comedy, the No Sex Clause, for one lucky commenter!

You can read first chapters of my books on my website



Monday, July 28, 2014

How Nancy Drew Influenced Me by Barbara White Daille

Thank you to the Roses for inviting me to visit!
You're most welcome, Barbara. And I'd like to add, I love your cover! Listen up readers, Barbara is offering an autographed copy of The Texan's Little Secret (U.S. only, please) so be sure to leave a comment! Okay, Barbara, take it away...

My topic for this post came from thoughts about the heroine of my upcoming release. 

Carly Baron grew up as one of the middle children in her large blended family.  Despite the fact she felt lost in the crowd and has a painful secret in her teenaged past, she’s now a strong woman.  Yet she longs to be reunited with the one woman who would have been her biggest influence, her mother.  Unfortunately, her mother abandoned their family when Carly was just a few years old.

Today, I’d like to talk about a woman who had a huge impact on my life and possibly on yours, too. 

A fictional woman. 

A teenager, actually. 

A titian-haired beauty who drove a cute little convertible, had an even cuter boyfriend, and got to solve mysteries with her friends.

Chances are very good you know who she is.  Have you guessed her name yet? 

Nancy Drew.

Growing up, I asked for and received Nancy Drew Mysteries as gifts for every birthday and Christmas.  Eventually, those books with the bright-yellow spines filled my bookshelves.

Here are just a few of the things I’m grateful to Nancy for:

·                     Proving to me that women can be independent and strong and resourceful.  Nancy was empowering me and thousands of other girls just like me.  She got into the most dangerous situations yet managed to get herself out again, sometimes with the help of friends such as Bess and George, but often on her own.

·                     Reinforcing my love of mysteries.  This had been my favorite genre since I’d first discovered The Bobbsey Twins and Encyclopedia Brown.  Nancy would wrap up one exciting case after another, solving crimes and catching the bad guys.

·                     Teaching me compassion.  In many of the books, Nancy became involved in a case in order to help someone in need.

·                     Broadening my horizons.  Nancy travelled to so many places I’d only seen in my geography book:  New Orleans and New York, Arizona and Hawaii, and beyond.  The stories about her trips to Scotland, Africa, France, and Peru were among some of my favorites.

·                     Turning me into a romance fan.  Yes, that’s right.  Thanks to college letterman Ned Nickerson, I fell in love with love while reading Nancy Drew.  (Although I will confess I always wanted to see a little more of the love!  Maybe that’s why I now write my own romance novels.)

Are you a Nancy Drew fan, too, and if so, what did you like best about the books? 

Or did you read another series you loved as much as I loved this one?

Here’s a look at the cover copy for my August release:

The Texan’s Little Secret

Coming home might be the worst decision Carly Baron has ever made. Each minute on her family's busy ranch is one minute closer to seeing him—her first love—the man who broke her heart seven years ago. While coming face-to-face with Luke Nobel again brings back painful memories, Carly quickly realizes there are other strong feelings just under the surface…. 

Luke would be a lot better off if Carly had stayed away. Being a single dad to an adorable two-year-old girl and managing the Roughneck is tough enough, but resisting the sparks that fly whenever he and Carly are together is near impossible. But first she must tell him her secret. The truth could heal their past…or forever destroy their chances of becoming a family.

And here’s a peek into the story:

When he reached the attic doorway, Luke realized Carly hadn't heard him calling her name.  She was focused on the boxes piled all around her.  Whatever those cartons contained, they had caught and held her attention.
On the floor beside her rested a short stack of beige envelopes tied with a pink ribbon.  He had never seen the ribbon before, but he'd put money down for a bet on those envelopes.
He eased onto a plastic-shrouded rocking chair and linked his fingers together in front of him.  "Looks like you saved my letters."
She glanced down at the pile and flushed.  "Guess so.  I'd forgotten they were in here."
The ribbon was still tied tight, which meant she hadn't come up here just to read the few sweet nothings he'd sent her.  So, this wasn't a trip down memory lane.  Or was it?  "What are you doing up here?"
"Looking through these boxes."
He laughed softly.  "Well, right.  I can see that for myself."
She sat back on her heels and ran a hand through her hair.  "I came up here to try to find a piece of my past."
But not the part that included him.
She took a deep breath and held it, as if she didn't want to say anything more.  A second later she let the breath out in a whoosh and looked at him, her eyes shining.  "Luke.  I think I might have a way to find my mom."

Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to leave comments or questions.  I’ll be around to chat.

Barbara White Daille

Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the lizards in the front yard but could do without the scorpions in the bathroom.  Barbara writes romances—usually with cowboys, kids, and a touch of humor.  Her current title is Rancher at Risk, and she’s excited that her upcoming book, The Texan’s Little Secret, releases in less than a month! 

She would love to have you drop by her website:

The Texan’s Little Secret:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

He's Not That Into You by Betsy Ashton

I'm thinking about the male characters I write. Some are strong. Some are weak. All, until now, are secondary characters.

In my Mad Max series. the main character has a boyfriend who is strong, funny and loving. Her son-in-law could be better drawn. If I had a chance to rewrite book one of the series, I'd flesh out the SIL better. I gave him short shrift. He gets better exposure in the second book in the series. From a shadow provider for his family in book one to a co-parent with his mother-in-law in book two, he grows and develops. I'm now comfortable more with him.

I have a work in progress with a female main character. All but one of the male characters are insignificant until they end up dead. What? They end up dead? Yes. The main character is a woman who is also a serial killer. She's complex. She's narcissistic, sociopathic and at times psychopathic. She is always interesting, according to my beta readers and critique group. Did I mention I'm writing in first person singular? Yes, from inside the mind of a conflicted serial killer. I'm finding it a tremendous challenge and worthy of a shout when I get a chapter balanced between conflict, coldness and elation.

For the past few weeks, one voice is growing inside my head. It's a he. You read that right, a he. Maybe the early male characters weren't into me enough to take charge. This one is. He is a single parent with a young daughter and a sister who helps raise her. He's all about the outdoors and team sports. His daughter is into fairies and tea parties. He's an alpha male; she's a girly girl.

He's a stranger in a strange land, in that he's transferred from where he grew up to a different city in a different state. He can't blend in, because he looks different. He's in law enforcement with a position of authority, but his team distrusts him due to his outsider-ness. He has to prove himself worthy of leading them.

His name has to say something about me, though. It sounds female. Letters are often addressed to him as "Dear Ms. ..." Am I just not that into male characters that I have to give them female names? Thoughts?


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory, will be released in June 2015. She lives for words and writing.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I'm just not that into movies


I don't get much free time. I work 40+ hours a week in a rather stressful job and I try to write or focus on my WIP at least 3 hours a day during the week and far more than that on the weekend.

I did a little bit of math, and I have about 90 hours of "free time" in a week. During that free time I do everything else: promotions for my books, errands, household chores (groceries, laundry), gardening, exercising, socializing, eating, and sleeping.

That just doesn't leave a lot of spare time for TV or movies. I watch about an hour a day of TV (usually on in the background while I do something else) and I do go to the occasional matinee (we usually go to ones where we're the only ones there without kids: Frozen, or How to Train Your Dragon).

I really don't have uninterrupted blocks of time to just view a film (or read a book, but that's another story). I'm sadly out of it when it comes to "water cooler conversation" because I have no idea who's who on Breaking Bad, or Walking Dead, or any other series. I make a conscious effort to NOT watch any series that involves an investment of my time, because my time is more important to me than money at this point.

I don't think that will change when I retire and have lots of "free" time. I'm just out of the habit of being entertained by others, especially when I have so many stories rattling around in my head. I sometimes feel like a Luddite compared to others with Netflix queues a mile long, but hey, that's how it is.

Now let's see ... I think I have some editing to do. Better get at it!


Friday, July 25, 2014


Roses and readers, please join me in welcoming our guest, Mariah Lynne.
A great story, a vivid imagination, and strong characters will transport your readers to distant times and beautiful places without ever leaving the comfort of home. Time Travel is better than air miles and there are no screeners, no rummaging through your luggage, and no uncomfortable seats. Just open to the first page and off you go!
I became hooked when I saw the Way Way Back machine on Mr. Peabody and Sherman. How wonderful to be able to visit ancient Rome or medieval England meeting warriors and kings. I love history and writing a story with part of it in the past gives me the opportunity to research and learn about local customs, way of life, and even the rules of romance.
In THE DUCHESS’ NECKLACE (Taliesin Publishing), my duchess, Amelia Augusta Ethrington, Her Grace the Duchess of Abbington, is fourth in line for the British throne. In the 18th century, royal marriages were not as much about love as about standing and property. She refuses to marry not wanting to lose an ounce of her powers to a husband. Because of that, she has one night stands with traveling nights and younger men seeking her favor. She’s a very modern woman in an 18th century culture. She needs a modern man who will accept her for her intelligence, independence and feistiness. She needs a man from the present. The only way she will find one is through Time Travel.
Her Time Travel, however, is not for finding love but for seeking revenge and settling a score. A deceptive Traveler from the present spends time with her under the guise of a romantic tryst, only to steal her necklace which lays claim to her title and kill her guard before returning to the present. She Travels to get her necklace back: finding love is a side benefit.
The character of the Duchess evolved from a trip to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. As I walked through the long hallways and visited the regal rooms, I wondered what life as a royal was like in the heyday of royalty. I then imagined what kind of woman my fictional 18th century duchess would be like. I prefer my heroines to be independent and feisty like Brianna Breeze in my first novella THE LOVE GYPSY (The Wild Rose Press). I then imagined how she would react to the main dilemmas in the plot. In a story I am writing now, the character of an evil wizard was inspired by a visit to Chenenceau castle in France. The castle boasts an apothecary also used as a poison room; a most delightful place for a villain to frequent.
I hope that you will decide to Travel with the duchess for a memorable the Old
Amelia Augusta Ethrington, 18th century Duchess of Abbington, fourth in line to the English throne, is considered by society an old maid at thirty two. She refuses to marry and relinquish her royal authority to a husband. Instead, she finds romance in trysts with total strangers.  Amelia’s sole entitlement to her duchy lies in an intricate and valuable necklace, The Abbington Jewels.  An unscrupulous Traveler wishing to steal the jewels and sell them at future prices seduces her, catches her off guard, and snatches the necklace.
Amelia must now risk everything to Travel to the present with the aid of a kind gypsy seer to find the thieving scoundrel, kill him and retrieve her title before her jealous male cousins lay claim to her duchy. Complications arise after she meets a handsome shy man, a museum appraiser named Ryan Redstone who was sent to acquire the jewels for The Smithsonian. Amelia falls in love with him but realizes she must focus on her quest to regain both her necklace and title. The Duchess is now faced with the most difficult decision of her life. 

It didn’t take long for his carriage to reach the riverfront. We stopped. Ryan leaned over and kissed my cheek whispering in my ear.
“Let’s go back to my room. It’s just upstairs. You can tell me what your secret is in private. I trust you and hope you trust me.”
Ryan helped me out of his carriage. We climbed the one flight of steps up to his room. Once inside, I sat down on the bed and stared out the window before giving him a serious look.
“This is not how I planned to tell you. I hoped to wait until we saw if the necklace was genuine. You must listen to me before passing judgment. I hope that you will still want to keep me in your heart afterward. ”
Ryan closed the drapes before sitting down next to me.
“Amy, how could I help but keep you in my heart no matter what your secret is?”
He squeezed my hand as I touched his lips with the gentlest kiss. Ryan filled me with a deep passion. I was ready to reveal my desire for him. I hoped he felt the same way.
I knew what I wanted and decided to show him how I felt in a special manner. Standing up, I slowly removed Starr’s silk floral sash and placed it around his neck. I stepped back to dance the seductive dance of the gypsy women who camped outside my childhood manor house grounds. They had always looked graceful, bracelets jingling, ribbon colored skirts twirling as they turned and twisted by their campfire in the moonlight. They seduced traveling knights and lesser royals hoping for romantic trysts out of their coin. I had heard the gypsies’ haunting songs and desired to get a better look. I became quite good at sneaking out night after night, hoping not to get caught. I watched them dance, hiding in some nearby bushes. One night, a beautiful gypsy spotted my hiding place and grabbed me. To my surprise, she had me stand and taught me their dance.
I wanted my necklace but strange as it sounds, I wanted Ryan more.
Ever dream of traveling through time? Mariah Lynne does. She writes stories that take her readers along on exciting journeys. Travel to distant times and beautiful places with strong-willed independent heroines whose memorable tales will entertain with twisted plots that dabble in the paranormal. Both of her novellas, THE LOVE GYPSY and THE DUCHESS’ NECKLACE, fit that description to a T.
A Graduate of Syracuse University, Mariah lives on a beautiful Florida Gulf Coast Island where she wrote weekly entertainment columns for two island newspapers. She loves where she lives and has Southwest Florida take center stage in her stories.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southwest Florida Romance Writers who recently published an anthology: “From Florida With Love Sunsets and Happy Endings.” Mariah’s short story “Love At First Flight” is included.
 When she is not writing, she enjoys swimming, traveling and spending time with her husband and dolphin hunting dog, Max. To learn more about Mariah and her Time Travel adventures visit her at:
http Website: