Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Jenna Ives Talks About Heroes and Programmed to Please

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Jenna Ives. June’s theme is ‘Heroes’ so Jenna will be talking about heroes. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Award-winning author Jenna Ives writes for several publishers under a variety of names, but mainly it's to protect her poor sainted mother (who used to read sweet Harlequin novels) from discovering how sexy modern romances have become. And Jenna DOES write sexy... She loves to hear from readers! You can connect with her through her website at or by email at

Beverley: What do you think makes a hero, either in real life or in books?
Jenna: A hero is a man who confronts the challenges he faces with dignity and nobility. Strength of character can turn any ordinary man into an extraordinary one. No super powers needed.
Beverley: Who are your favorite heroes, and why?
Jenna: My favorite fictional heroes are Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice), Edward Cullen (Twilight), and a hero from an old, out of print book: Geraint (The Man On The White Horse).
Beverley: Tell me about the heroes in your book/s.
Jenna: My heroes are basically good men, but they have flaws. That’s what makes a book interesting, right? A man needs the love of a good woman to become the person both he and she knows he can be. That’s why I write romance!
Beverley: How do you develop the characteristics for your heroine?
Jenna: To be honest, the physical characteristics of my heroes are always attributes that would attract me: dark hair, blue eyes, always six feet or taller, sometimes with an adorable English accent.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Jenna: I’ve been writing since I discovered that my mother’s sweet Harlequin novels weren’t sexy enough for me and decided to write my own!
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Jenna: The quickest way to get my creative juices flowing is to give me a rum and coke and ask me “What If…”  That’s always the springboard for my ideas, LOL!
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Jenna: I am lucky to have a private room in my house when I can retreat, hang the “Do Not Disturb – Writer At Work” sign on my doorknob and get to work on my latest novel.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Jenna: I would love to meet Anne Rice. I’ve never written a vampire romance, but I love her hero Lestat and her Vampire Chronicles series, and I admire her determination to get those first books published despite many rejections.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Jenna: I have three books out in my slightly-futuristic erotic romance series The Tau Cetus Chronicles: Programmed To Please, Programmed To Protect, and Programmed For Power. This has been a fascinating world for me to explore (sex robots and police agents working to keep their world safe) and I’m currently writing book 4 in the series. The first book, Programmed To Please, is currently “free” if you’d like to check out the series!

Blurb for Programmed To Please (HOLT Medallion merit award-winner and Amazon Top 10 bestseller)

Tau Cetus police agent Jai Turner goes undercover as a Beautiful Dolls sex robot in order to bring down the planet's most notorious arms dealer, Marque Callex. Jai’s assignment is to coax information out of Marque that will lead to his arrest and conviction.
Marque Callex only accepts an invitation from Beautiful Dolls because with his deadly line of work – and the deadly secrets he’s keeping – he can't afford to let a real woman into his life. But neither Jai nor Marque are what they seem, and their week together has consequences neither expect both for them and for the fate of their planet.

Buy Links:


You can find Jenna at:
Twitter: @JennaIvesAuthor

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and more discussion of Heroes

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Rules of Writing - Really?

We did a group blog on Saturday and it was interesting to read the posts and the comments. What I realized was how many points we’d all be told, or followed over the years. You know - the rules of writing.

The blog was on the importance of first pages – the hook. Generally a reader will pick up a book because of the cover. Then they read the blurb. If those two things peak their interest they’ll read the first page or pages. If that grabs them they’ll buy the book.
The common points were you need to know your reader and what will grab their interest. Do they want to be grabbed and pulled into the story with an inciting incident? Or are they looking to learn more about the setting, the atmosphere, perhaps an occupation or the culture of the time the book is set.

The next point was that you may grab the reader with an exciting start, or style but you need to continue with the promise you created in the first pages throughout the story. Don’t start out with a bang and turn into a bust by chapter four or five. You need to have hooks throughout the book. I usually try to have at least one at the end of each chapter.
And many of us had received the same general information – write the book to then end. When it’s finished go back and write the beginning. As you write the book you become more familiar with your characters and the plot, so you can write it from a more informed POV after you’ve written the whole book.
Have you any favorites on writing a great book to share?

Next time I’ll share a little more on the old stand-bys’ – you know – like Nora’s quote – you can’t edit a blank page.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Importance of First Pages

Our group blog has an interesting theme this week, thanks to Skye Taylor. Has so much emphasis been placed by readers and writers groups, publishers, reviewers, etc. on authors to have a spectacular opening page/chapter that the rest of the story gets left behind? What are your thoughts and experiences with this?

Ever since I can remember writers have been told the opening few pages need to grab the reader. But how to grab the readers can be very different. It should be where there is a life changing event for the hero or heroine. This could mean a death, a murder, an arrest, or any other inciting incident. In some cases it can be descriptive; a scene that draws you in with the area, location, and weather, whatever.   

I don’t pay much attention to what publishers, reviewers, etc. have to say but I know I am drawn in by the opening pages. Readers expect this also. I judge a lot of contest and just finish one. If I hadn’t been judging i would have closed the book after three or four pages. It was all descriptive and very boring.  And it continued through the first third of the book.

However, once I’ve grabbed a reader’s interest in the first few pages, I need to continue the story in the same vein so they are not disappointed.

The book I’m now writing, I’ve rewritten the first few pages because I didn’t think the previous ones would grab the reader.

Dark clouds hovered over New Orleans. Thunder rolled through the skies. Rain pelted down on the streets of the French Quarter. The drops bounced off the pavement behind Perrine Dupré. Wind whipped her umbrella inside out. Rain clouded her eyes. She stumbled up the three steps to her front door. Juggling her parcels, umbrella and the key Perrine jabbed it in the direction of the lock. Finally the key found the opening and turned.
      Her daughter was finally coming home for a visit. Excitement bubbled up and a smile sneaked out.

Julie Ann had been building her interior design business in New York for the last couple of years. Perrine was proud of her daughter and understood Julie Ann couldn’t visit, but she’d missed her. She could have gone to New York, but Perrine loved New Orleans and hated to travel. Tomorrow she’d finally be able to hug her daughter again.
      Thunder rumbled across the sky.

Perrine turned the door knob. She paused.

A vision flashed in front of her. Her shoulders sagged. She wasn’t going to see Julie Ann after all. And she'd miss their regular telephone call tonight, too.

A single tear shimmered down her cheek.
    Thunder continued to rumble across the sky.

She had no choice. If she ran away they would follow her and shoot her down in the street. She could put her friends and neighbors in danger. They could get hurt.

Even if she did manage to escape tonight, they would kill her eventually.

 The people involved were too powerful. They didn’t care about collateral damage or anyone else who might get hurt.

The information she’d counted on to protect her and Julie Ann obviously wasn't going to protect her any longer. Had they killed off all the other people involved? Was that way the documentation wasn’t important anymore?

There was so much she should have shared with Julie Ann. At least she would be aware of the threat.
    Perrine pushed the door open. An icy cold shroud of death drop over her.
    Thunder crashed. The skies opened wide and lightning flashed across the sky, turning it an electric white.
     At the same time a light slashed across the room.

I’m interested in what the other writers in the group have to say on first pages.

A.J. Maguire
Skye Taylor
Dr. Bob Rich
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Marci Baun
Victoria Chatham
Rachael Kosinski
Rhobin Courtright

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Heroines and Judy Keim's New Book

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Judy Keim. May’s theme is ‘Heroines’ so Judy will be talking about heroines. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and long-haired dachshund, Winston, and other members of her family.
Growing up, books were always present - being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met along the way, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love. 

Beverley: What do you think makes a heroine, either in real life or in books?
Judy: I like heroines who take chances even when they are afraid of failing. We women fill so many roles in life and guide so many others that it’s wonderful when one of us does something for herself.
Beverley: Is it important to have strong conflicts? If yes, inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Judy: Yes. Strong conflicts, both inner and outer, build suspense and keep the reader involved. And inner conflicts are affected by the outer conflicts we face.
Beverley: Who are your favorite heroines, and why?
Judy: I read a lot of women’s fiction and the characters I fall in love with are flawed, determined, and stronger than they think.
Beverley: Tell me about the heroines in your book/s.
Judy: In The Hartwell Women series, Marissa Cole learns she has a family she never knew about and bonds with her cousins Samantha and Allison Hartwell. They each have their own story to tell but support each other along In The Beach House Hotel series, after being dumped by their husbands, Ann Rutherford and Rhonda DelMonte decide to turn Rhonda’s Florida seaside estate into a small, boutique hotel. They face many challenges as they try for success and find love again.
In The Salty Key Inn series, three sisters inherit a small hotel on the west coast of Florida with the challenge of fixing it up and opening it within one year’s time.
In the Fat Fridays series, five women meet for lunch on Fridays—no calories counted and support each other as they face all kinds of challenges.
Beverley: How do you develop the characteristics for your heroine?
Judy: Each woman has a different story and thus is her own person, affected by their backgrounds, their hopes, their fears, their needs. By the time I’m through with the first novel in any series, I know these women very well. And they continue to grow and evolve in each story.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Judy: I’ve been writing all my life. I started out writing children’s stories, but then had too many other stories in my head to ignore. The first kids’ story I wrote sold immediately and I thought I was on my way to stardom! NOT!!! After selling a few more kids’ stories, I turned to women’s fiction which I’d also written for years and now have found the perfect niche.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Judy: I write women’s fiction with romantic elements. I love that people are referring to such stories as romantic women’s fiction. It’s the kind of story I love to read and write..
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Judy: Growing up, my mother read at least two books a week, even when she was working. I loved reading books and playing librarian as a young girl and have never stopped, due in large part, to my mother’s love of reading.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Judy: Like most authors, I’ve gone through years of rejections from New York, but always with the encouragement to keep writing. During that time, I continued to write, enter contests, and to take classes. In October 2014, I decided to try self-publishing by putting out a few of my middle-grade, fantasy novels for kids. Then in January of 2015, I put out the first of the Hartwell Women books and within months had three of out. Breakfast at the Beach House Hotel came next. That’s when things took off in a hurry. I am now a hybrid author, having sold to Lake Union Amazon Publishing and continuing to self-pub. I now have eleven adult stories out and will have two more out this year. Finding My Way, the second book in the Salty Key Inn series will be out June 7th.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Judy: I have a lot of stories in my head. And even in the middle of writing a book, I’m thinking about my characters and what trouble they can get into. I love it when an idea comes to me. Then my creative juices really start to flow!
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Judy: When things don’t seem true to character, I have to stop and think about the characters and how they affect the story. The writing comes to a stop until it’s fixed.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Judy: I usually have yogurt with a small amount of fresh fruit, black coffee and a cookie or something sweet. (For me, best time of day for something sweet)
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Judy: I start off at 7 in the morning in my pajamas and take a shower after feeding the dog a hour or so later, and wear jeans or whatever.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Judy: I’m lucky enough to have an office of my own in my house.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Judy: I was watching Zootopia with my grandsons recently and discovered the bunny heroine is named Judy. So, for the moment, she’s my favorite one. LOL.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Judy: I just saw a special on the Bronte sisters and would love to meet Charlotte and be able to talk to her about her drive to succeed and how publishing has changed today (though with the same drive to succeed)
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Judy: I’d love to meet a friend for lunch or to see a movie and wander around some of the stores I seldom visit.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Judy: Shh! I’m working on the fourth book in The Beach House Hotel series, as a Christmas surprise for my readers!

Blurb for Finding Me
FINDING ME – The Salty Key Inn Series – 1 was released on February 7, 2017. The second book in the series, FINDING MY WAY, will be released June 7, 2017.

Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, receive the unexpected news that their Uncle Gavin Sullivan, the black sheep of the family, has left them a hotel on the Gulf coast of Florida. The gift comes with a twist. They must live together for one year at the hotel and prepare the hotel to receive guests within a year. Sheena, eager to escape her role of unappreciated wife and mother, can’t wait for the opportunity to find herself. Dreams of sitting on the beach sipping margaritas are shattered when they see the property in need of renovation. But they begin their work of meeting the challenge. If they succeed, the bulk of Gavin’s estate will be theirs. Facing the unexpected, working together, the three sisters learn a lot about each other and the gift of family love.
Buy Links:

You can find Judy at:
Twitter@judithkeim and she’s on LinkedIn

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and we’ll be talking about Heroes.

Monday, May 22, 2017

By Design is Finished

By Design is up for pre-order!

Finally I managed to get back to working on my writing and get this book finished. By Design is now up at Amazon and iTunes for Preorder. And it will publish on May 31st, 2017.
Nurse Evie Dalton succumbs to the temptation of a lot of money and a chance to work with the attractive Dr. Adam Marsden. She accepts a position at an isolated hospital. On arrival she finds an onsite animal farm attached to the hospital and mysterious limos arriving in the dark. There are screams in the night. People disappear and turn up dead. There’s no way to leave the hospital and area once you start work there and no communication outside the small town.

Dr. Adam Marsden left his past behind. Now he thinks has it all; a great job, money, and a chance to buy his own hospital. But he hadn't counted on Evie Dalton breaking through his tough emotionless shell. Now, because of him, she’s at risk and might be the next victim. Depending on his decisions, they could both be running for their lives.
If you read the book, I’d appreciate honest feedback.

I’m also looking at upgrading my website
It’s been awhile and I guess it’s about time I got a new photo, too. :(
I’m no longer that red-head. I’m now going gray.
I am looking for a web designer, preferably in Canada, mainly because of the dollar difference. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d appreciate it.

Any comments are welcome and I hope you check back Thursday for another guest talking about our heroines.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Deb Sanders on Heroines

This week we’re talking to going to author Deb Sanders. May’s theme is ‘Heroines’ so Deb will be talking about heroines.
Beverley: What do you think makes a heroine, either in real life or in books?
Deb: Heroines contain an inner strength that allows them to overcome extreme odds and face insurmountable obstacles, often as simple as trying to raise a family while working two jobs. There's usually a character arc even in real life where the heroine comes out on the other side wiser, stronger and more compassionate.
Beverley: Is it important to have strong conflicts? If yes, inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Deb: I believe it depends on the genre. Character based stories usually deal with inner conflict but I prefer both. I like action so I use outer conflict as a catalyst for internal growth.
Beverley: Who are your favorite heroines, and why?
Deb: I really enjoyed Jane Eyre because she was a meek woman who found inner strength in an era where it was not as acceptable. Today, I would choose Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games trilogy. She's an unwilling heroine who tackles her new found power with zest. I especially enjoyed the fact she accepted that life does not always follow our dreams but often gives us something better.
Beverley: Tell me about the heroines in your book/s.
Deb: Daisy O'Connor spent part of her childhood on a Lakota reservation where she and her mother endured abusive treatment from her step-father. Her beloved adopted grandfather taught her Native ways so she has a spiritual base. When she eventually relocates to Atlanta, she embraces the southern lifestyle and pushes those old memories away. However, when Grandfather requests her help in searching for a missing person, she must rely on his teachings as well as good dose of Southern charm to get to the bottom of things.
Beverley: How do you develop the characteristics for your heroine?
Deb: Many of my characters are based on facets of real people. Daisy is no exception. She embodies the soul of a Southern belle, who is typically tougher than they let on. Daisy tells little white lies, then tries to justify them with God. She has a heart of gold, is loyal and will fight for those in her inner circle. She prefers using charm and sweetness to get her way but is not unfamiliar with more forceful tactics. She's verbally expressive but guards her emotions fiercely. These are all traits of people I know and love, many family members.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Deb: I've written all my life, even garnering awards in school. I wrote a romance when I was twenty and sent it to Harlequin. They returned it with suggested revisions and requested I resubmit. Unfortunately, I was married to an emotionally abusive man who goaded me with insults until I threw the manuscript into the fireplace. I didn't write fiction again for years, choosing to concentrate on web content, newsletters and newspaper articles, instead. After my children were grown, the itch returned along with a wonderfully supportive husband. So I began seriously following my writing passion again in 2010.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Deb: I typically write sub-genres of suspense or mystery. Some include romance, some paranormal.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Deb: My mother who believed I could accomplish anything. And my daughter who is doing a marvelous job raising two boys, one with special needs. She amazes me.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Deb: I think I needed to find my own inner strength and balance. Then it was a matter of finding time as a single mom. But challenging life experiences has given me a depth of understanding that is invaluable.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Deb: A brisk hike.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Deb: Internal stress.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Deb: I'm not a breakfast person but I usually eat oatmeal or fruit.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Deb: I'm a night owl. My pajamas or sweats.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Deb: As a full time RVer, we travel constantly. I transformed our unit's bunkhouse into my office.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Deb: I've always been partial to Tweety Bird.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Deb: I had the extreme pleasure of meeting John Sandford at the Tucson Festival of Books this year. It would be fun to have a one-on-one to pick his brain. I'd also like to meet Joe Konrath who is an inspiration of for Indie authors. And Stephen King just because he's so unique.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Deb: I have unexpected free days on the road. I love being outdoors - hiking the Arizona desert, climbing a mountain pass or more recently, wandering among the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Deb: Current projects are the second book for my Dead Men series featuring Daisy O'Connor - Dead Men Can't Dance. It's almost done. I'm also working on a rather grisly episodic series about a serial killer who travels in an RV leaving behind a swath of dead bodies.

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and more discussion of heroines.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Barbara White Daille on Heroines and Her New Book

Today Barbara White Daille joins us.
I write romance for Harlequin Western Romance and Entangled Bliss.  Authors of all genres include many different characters in their books, but naturally, the two most important in a romance novel are the hero and heroine.  Romance readers want to fall in love with the hero—which is a fun topic, but one for another day!
Today we’re talking heroines.
In my opinion, readers want to relate to the heroine, to connect with her, to feel for her, and sometimes even to be her.  That feeling of connectedness is why my favorite heroines are everyday women who live in the same world we do and deal with the same problems we face.

It’s probably as easy for me to show you as it is to explain, so here’s a look back at the opening of my first published book, The Sheriff’s Son. 

   The eeny-meeny-miny-mo approach to paying bills wouldn't keep creditors from her door much longer.

Sarah Lindstrom sighed, planted her elbows on the desk and buried her face in her hands.
      What she wouldn't do for some matches or a fireplace.  But the only bookstore in Dillon, Texas, wasn't the place to find either of those things, even if she were dumb enough to resort to drastic measures.  Burning the bills would only add to her problems, not solve them.

If one more straw would snap the camel's back, as Daddy used to say, then one more debt, one more unplanned doctor visit, one more call from Kevin's school ought to bring down a whole herd of cattle.

The thought of her son made her sigh again.  It was only a few weeks into the new school year, and in that short time, he'd given her more grief than in all seven years of his life combined.
You might not be able to tell from this clip that Sarah is a single mom, but you should definitely pick up that she’s a struggling mom, fighting to make a living and to put food on the table for her and her son.  A son, as you may have guessed, who is causing her some sleepless nights.

Sarah’s just like me.  And maybe a bit like you? 

We’re still paying off the replacement air conditioning/heating unit we had installed last year, so trust me, Sarah’s approach to bill paying sometimes hits very close to our home.

The thing is, she’s a true heroine, like so many women I know.

Put a woman in a tough spot, and she’ll most likely stiffen her backbone and brace herself for whatever’s coming next.  She’ll be resourceful when it comes to handling problems.  She’ll offer a strong shoulder for friends to cry on and reveal a soft heart when it comes to kids and animals.  And when life throws serious trouble in her path…?

Well, then a woman—and a true heroine—will abide by one of my favorite sayings.  I can’t give you its attribution as people disagree on the origin, and I’ve seen this written in slightly different ways, but here’s one version of the quote:

“A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

That’s the kind of heroine I can look up to.

In my new release from Harlequin Western Romance, the heroine hides her real, shy self behind a sassy attitude and a flirty smile.  That’s another type of heroine I admire, one who doesn’t let anyone see her sweat!  Well…most of the time.  But as this book opens, Ally’s about to encounter a situation unlike any she’s ever experienced before.  And only time will tell whether or not she’ll survive it.

How about you?  What makes you relate to a heroine?  I’d love to know.
From the back cover of The Rancher’s Baby Proposal:

Ally Martinez has always been known as a fun and flirty kind of gal. But deep down she’s never forgotten the cowboy who left town. When her crush Reagan Chase comes home after a five-year absence, Ally knows this is her big chance. The guy I’ve always wanted. Only Reagan has something different in mind…

Still reeling from his last relationship, Reagan needs a babysitter for his month-old son. With Ally’s help, he can get his family’s ranch ready for sale and get out of Cowboy Creek. The problem? Ally is one seriously cute distraction. But Reagan will do whatever it takes to keep his heart safe. Even if it means losing the only place—and the only woman—he can call home.
Find the book:


About Barbara:
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!

Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis, with an ongoing series from Harlequin Western Romance (The Hitching Post Hotel) and a new series from Entangled Bliss (Snowflake Valley).  Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:
Find Barbara and her books online:

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