2:05 PM

Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

- Dolly Parton

10:11 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Marilee Brothers

CONTEST: Marilee will draw a name from everyone who leaves a comment and the winner will receive an autographed copy of The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam. So please, make sure to leave your email addy!

AL: Hi Marilee Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Marilee: Hi Ann. I appreciate the opportunity.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Marilee: My husband and I live in Washington state, but spend five months a year in southern California. At this moment, we’re travelling north on Interstate 5, heading for home!

AL: What do you have for us to read?

Marilee: The first scene of my humorous romantic suspense, The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam.

AL: When did you say okay…I’m going to sit down, write this book and make my writing career happen?

Marilee: For years, my life was about raising a family, teaching, coaching and taking classes. Even though I was crazy busy, I always read 2-3 books a week and scribbled down poems and short stories. When I finally had the time, I got serious about writing and wrote my first book, Castle Ladyslipper, a medieval romance with paranormal elements, followed by Rock and Roll Queen, drawn on my experiences as a teacher and counselor. I also write a young adult urban fantasy series for Bell Bridge. Moonstone, Moon Rise and Moon Spun are the first three, and I’m contracted for three more. After writing that first book, there was no stopping me!

AL: When you write do you do a detailed outline before you get started or do you have the idea then just 'fly by the seat of your pants'?

Marilee: I have a general idea, plot-wise. It may be a single sentence or, at the most, a couple of paragraphs, but never a detailed outline, since I almost always end up someplace I didn’t plan to go. However, before a single word appears on my computer screen, I write a detailed background for each my main characters. After I know them inside and out, I trust they will show me the way.

AL: What do you like best about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

Marilee: I love the surprise factor, how the writing process takes me to new and unexpected places. Seeing my books in print is a thrill and hearing from readers makes me so gleeful if I had a tail, I’d wag it! That being said, writing is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I have great difficulty turning off my inner critic and letting the words flow. I have to keep muttering to myself, “Not etched in stone.” My least favorite? The dreaded synopsis!

AL: Do you have a mentor or critique partner that you work with consistently?

Marilee: No, writers are pretty sparse in my neck of the woods. I would love to have one. Any volunteers?

AL: All right, let’s get personal. Spring is here! What’s your favorite part about the season?

Marilee: After spending the winter somewhere else, I love going home. No place like it!

AL: What would people be surprised to know about you?

Marilee: That I’m a real klutz, digit-wise. In the second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Moats wrote the following on my report card, “Marilee isn’t very artistic.” Naturally, I took that comment as a challenge, and wasted many years trying to prove her wrong. Hence, the paint-by-numbers disaster, the slippers I knitted for every member of my extended family that unraveled at first wearing, and the misshapen blobs of wax I produced during my candle-making phase. You see, I had this pent-up desire to create something and it wouldn’t turn me loose. Thank the good Lord, writing scratched that itch.

AL: If you could meet someone famous in either history, or present day…who would you like to meet and why?

Marilee: When I wrote Castle Ladyslipper, I became fascinated with Eleanor of Aquitaine who was married to two kings (Louis VII of France and Henry II of England) and the mother of a third (Richard Lionheart). She raised an army and went to war against her second husband (Henry) because he wouldn’t put their son on the throne. (She was a little ticked off about his mistress as well.) Henry imprisoned her for sixteen years, but Eleanor had the last laugh. After Henry died, Richard was crowned king and went off to fight in the Crusades. Eleanor basically ruled the country. She lived to be 82 years old in the 12th Century when the average life expectancy was 30. Sharing dinner and a glass of wine with Eleanor would be awesome!

AL: What type of music do you relax to?

Marilee: I love my satellite radio because I enjoy all kinds of music. Somehow, I find light classical music the perfect background for writing. But, I also absolutely adore classic rock and outlaw country!

AL: You have just won five thousand dollars! But...you have to spend it all today. What will you buy?

Marilee: I would love to be in a position to give money to the charities I love. If I was gifted with this manna from heaven, I’d keep $1000 for PR and give the rest to the Central Washington Humane Society who take such wonderful care of abandoned and abused animals.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Marilee: At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person…Albert Schweitzer

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Marilee.

Marilee: You are so welcome. Thanks for having me.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Marilee please visit:

Also, follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
A Wisecracking Tale of Secrets, Peril and Murder
A teacher for dysfunctional teens by day and a karaoke singer by night, recently divorced Allegra Thome knows where to find trouble. After disrupting a drug bust by accident, she meets Sloan, a tough, sexy DEA agent. However, their relationship must take a backseat when Sara Stepanek, one of Allegra’s students, goes missing under frightening circumstances. Hidden within cryptic messages and bizarre codes in the girl’s journal, Sara’s disappearance indicates psychological manipulation and foul play. As Allegra searches for the girl, she encounters false leads and a cover-up involving some of the most influential people in her small Washington town, both of which put her own life in danger.
Chapter One
Pantyhose are a tool of the devil.
On a tall woman, the crotch hangs at knee level so she’s forced to crouch and shuffle like Quasimodo. If a woman’s vertically challenged, they slither downward, pooling around her ankles like a reptilian second skin. My troubles began with pantyhose.
For a Friday, it had been relatively tranquil. No fights, no blood spilled, no weapons displayed. All in all, a good day for a teacher in a classroom of behavior disordered teenagers with a few felons thrown in for good measure. The queen of Bedlam, that’s me.
After school, I scoot across the parking lot as fast as my walking cast will allow. In forty minutes, I’ll be cast-free and ready for my third date with Michael LeClaire. Seriously hot, comfortably rich Michael LeClaire. Rumor has it his parents have ordered him to go forth and multiply. Enter Allegra: stage right.
With date number three looming large, I’d thrown together a killer outfit. Short, clingy black dress with a neckline that dips down—tastefully—to allow a glimpse of cleavage. Wispy lace panties and strappy heels. Successfully field tested and ready for action, it’s stashed in a shopping bag behind the seat of my red Ford Ranger.
Zipping across town to the clinic, I think about my leg and how it will look cast-free: pasty, shriveled and, in all likelihood, sprouting coarse dark hairs. Had I thrown in a pair of panty hose? Of course not! I slap myself in the forehead.
Braking hard, I swing into Sid’s Gas‘n’Grub. Because Sid is the father of one of my students, Crystal (shoplifting), I like to give him my business. Sid sits on a stool engrossed in a tabloid, his big belly pressed up against the counter. He marks his place with a pudgy finger and looks up. “Hey teach! How’s my kid doin’?”
“Not bad, Sid. Just a little language once in a while.”
“Aw, shit.” The corner of his mouth draws down in disapproval. “Hey, Suze! Didja hear that? Goddam kid swears at school!”
Sid’s wife Suzy stands up from behind the Plexiglas case where shriveled hot dogs rotate over a heat lamp. She talks around the cigarette dangling from her lips. “What are ya gonna do?” She shakes her head. Ashes fly.
I assure them, compared to her classmates, Crystal is a veritable poster child of good conduct. I pick out my pantyhose and rummage through my purse for $6.73 while Sid peruses the package. He beams his approval. “Good choice, Miz Thome. Ya gotcher midnight smoke, lace high-cut panty, nude toe and heel. New boyfriend, huh?”
“Sort of,” I mumble, regretting it immediately. Oh, what grist for Crystal’s mill. I’d pay. I wave goodbye as Sid assures me, “Let me tell ya, I’ll have one serious fuckin’ talk with Crystal about her language.”
I step into the parking lot where a midnight blue Honda Accord with flipper wheels sits next to a beat-up Chevy; both of them nosed in to the line of poplars marking the back of Sid’s property. I know this car. It belongs to another of my students, Jose Delgado. Jose is relatively crime-free, assigned to my class due to spotty attendance, two weeks on, one week off, like clockwork. With his multiple gold chains, smooth olive skin and dreamy eyes, Jose is the hands-down favorite of my behavior-disordered ladies.
I lift my hand to wave. But it isn’t Joe behind the wheel. It’s his guardian, the man he calls Tio Estefan, talking earnestly to a man in the passenger seat. I stuff my new panty hose behind the seat and look at my watch. I still have time to speak to Estefan about Jose’s attendance. Dragging my cast, I skitchity-hop across the parking lot calling out in my pathetic Spanish, “Hola Estefan.”
He looks less than thrilled to see me and makes shooing motions with his hand which I ignore. As I lean over to remind him of his responsibilities, a series of events explode like a string of firecrackers.
Doors slam. I gape in open-mouthed astonishment as the man in the passenger seat points a gun at Estefan. Suddenly, I’m grabbed from behind and pinned against the car. A rough male voice growls in my ear, “You’re coming with me, lady!”
Heart leaping in my chest, I scream, “Sid! Suzie! Help me!”
With a howl of rage, I slam my cast into the man’s shin. He mutters an oath, spins me around, rams a shoulder in my midsection and hoists me into the air as I shriek and struggle. My captor, grunting with effort, tells one of his henchmen, “Get the goddamn door open. She weighs a ton!”
“It’s the cast!” I yell as he stuffs me into the back seat of the Chevy.
Frantically, I try to scramble out of the car and bash my nose into his elbow. Blood gushes from both nostrils. The man recoils and I finally get a look at the guy who not only assaulted my person, but implied I’m overweight. Big, mean-looking guy. Cheeks dark with stubble. Blood-shot pale eyes. Strings of greasy hair hanging below a baseball cap turned backwards.
“Wha … wha?” I stammer as he digs a filthy-looking bandana from his jeans pocket and tosses it at me. I press it against my nose, gagging from the rancid odor of motor grease and sweat. He backs out of the car, slams the door and tells the guy behind the wheel, “You know where to take her.”
At his words, I feel the air leave my lungs. I scrabble for the door handle. There is none. I fight for breath while my brain books a one-way ticket on Air Terror. Who are these people? What do they plan to do to me? Shoot me up with heroin? Sell me into white slavery? Will I end up in some third world country dragging my cast behind me as I walk the streets, forced by a sadistic pimp to turn a trick in exchange for a crust of bread?
“Nooo!” I howl as the driver executes a perfect three point turn and pulls out of the parking lot. Sid and Suzie stand in the doorway of the Gas and Grub, eyes wide with surprise and mouths agape. I pound on the window and scream, “Call the cops!”
The driver pulls out into the street. “Take it easy, lady. We are the cops. What in the hell are you doing in the middle of a drug bust?”
I sink back in the seat, pinch the bridge of my nose to stop the bleeding and moan, “I just wanted to invite him to parents’ night.
REMEMBER: Marilee will draw a name from everyone who leaves a comment and the winner will receive an autographed copy of The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam. So please, make sure to leave your email addy!

9:06 AM

Movie Phrase Friday

In Greek school, where I learned valuable lessons such as: "If Nick has one goat and Maria has nine, how soon will they marry?"

What's the movie?

11:21 AM

Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women

"A friend is someone you can be alone with and have nothing to do and not be able to think of anything to say and be comfortable in the silence."

- Sheryl Condie

1:22 PM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Rebecca J. Vickery

CONTEST: Rebecca will give away a copy of Seeking Shelter to three different commenter’s in a random drawing. The ebooks will be downloadable in any format from Smashwords with a special code that Rebecca will provide to each winner. She will draw the names on Tuesday afternoon of the 30th and notify them so be sure to leave your email addy.

AL: Hi Rebecca Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Rebecca: Hi Ann, I’m delighted to be here.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Rebecca: I am kept on the run by my three-year old granddaughter who lives with us. Taylor is a bundle of energy. My mom also lives with us and we’ve just found out she has the beginning of Parkinson’s Disease. Please send some prayers and healing thoughts her way. I have a very patient husband who does endless errands and helps out as best he can. We all stay pretty busy and are looking forward to our next trip to the campground at Myrtle Beach. The ocean is so relaxing and rejuvenating.

AL: Would you like to tell us about a new or upcoming release?

Rebecca: Seeking Shelter is my newest release. It is a sweet romance, based on a woman’s love of a horse and her need to find a safe place. A rancher takes in the horse and then the girl. It was inspired by my grandson when he kept asking could I not write a story about a horse.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Rebecca: Funny you should ask that. I’ve just entered into a brand new project that is growing already. With the help of my friend, wonderful cover artist, Laura Shinn, and a whole group of talented authors, I am going to publish some romance anthologies. Our first one, A Summer Collection, is set to release in June and will contain five romance stories by five different authors. They will be coming out from Victory Tales Press. We will be publishing through Smashwords, Amazon and B & N in ebook and we hope to also go to print.

AL: Who inspired you to follow your dream of becoming a writer?

Rebecca: That would be my sister, Wanda. She loved the stories I always made up to keep us occupied and she began finding my scraps of plots and scenes everywhere. She encouraged me to put them all together on the computer. She didn’t live to see me published, but I’m sure she knows.

AL: What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?

Rebecca: You can’t please everyone, so stay true to your own heart when writing and don’t give up when you hit a bump in the road.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Rebecca: I try not to set too many lofty goals. I prefer to set small ones and then feel good when I attain them. Like all authors, I wish for a bestseller, but my real goal is just to have my writing pay its own expenses. I hope someday my idol and favorite author, Kay Hooper, will send me an email saying she read one of my books and loved it. That would be the pinnacle of my writing.

AL: So, now for the important questions. Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Rebecca: LOL –You really do not want to know. Taylor was sick and failed to reach the bathroom in time. The wall, the floor, her clothes, and Dixie (our poodle) were all recipients of what happened. The clean-up—Very unglamorous. YUCK!!!

AL: If you could have any car in the world; would it be a slow rider, or one that the wind has to hurry just to keep up with you?

Rebecca: Blow away those cobwebs, baby!!! Give me a hot, muscle car anytime and crank up some beach music. I would love to have a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser Supreme, two door coupe with a 350 cu. in. engine and a four barrel Holley Carburetor, two-toned, blue on steel blue. Or a teal blue Ferrari Testarossa. (Think Magnum PI car only in teal.)

AL: If you had to go live on an island for six months, which three things would you HAVE to take with you?

Rebecca: EWWW, tough decision. Husband, chocolate, laptop or Dr. Pepper??? Dr Pepper or laptop??? OK, laptop.

AL: Can you describe yourself in 3 sentences or less?

Rebecca: I am a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and author. I strive to do better everyday, but often fail. I love life and am enjoying the journey.

AL: What is this romance writer's idea of the "perfect romantic evening"?

Rebecca: That one is easy. My perfect romantic evening would be spent snuggled up to my hubby by a campfire on the beach. We would be watching the waves roll in under a full moon while sharing a large bottle of Dr. Pepper and a Hershey bar. Heavenly!!! (I’m a woman of simple pleasures.)

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Rebecca: “We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own.” Ben Sweetland

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Rebecca.

Rebecca: Thank you so much for having me over. I love all the interesting things you share with your followers. And this was fun, but you did ask some tough questions.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Rebecca please visit:




Brigham Montgomery buys a rogue stallion and a world of trouble. Being the boss of a working ranch isn't easy either. Loss and fear sends Kat to South Dakota searching for the one friend she has left in the world - a special horse - a horse someone wants dead.

A stable fire, gunshots, and two greedy men bring Brig and Kat together in a way neither would ever imagine.


Moaning with pain, the girl put her hands to her ears to try to shut out the strange screeching and thumping noises that wouldn’t stop. As she rolled over and tried to get up, she realized the sound was the frantic screaming of terrified horses kicking at their stalls in panic. Oh God, please no, she thought over and over as she pushed to her knees. Then she smelled it.

The acrid, ashy, smoke burned her nose—she could taste it on her tongue. The heat almost seared her throat as she inhaled. In spite of the pain in her head, she knew one of her worst fears was coming true. She was in a stable fire—a horse lover’s most horrific nightmare.

Flickering red and yellow lights danced before her eyes throwing strangely shaped shadows throughout the center aisle. They added to her growing terror. Shrill neighs and pounding hooves echoed in the long building signaling animals going out of their minds with fear. Crawling to the nearest stall partition, she pulled herself up and staggered back to the corner stall holding the black stallion. She saw vague movement through the swirling haze and firelight toward the front of the stable. Shouts indicated the arrival of others as they began working to rescue the horses from the burning building.

The smoke grew thicker with every moment. Flames roared through the wooden structure like a runaway locomotive. The back side of the stallion’s stall was already an inferno. He lunged repeatedly at the solid Dutch door on the inside aisle in an effort to escape. Rearing, he smashed his front hooves against the wood.

Reaching out, she shakily unfastened the latch and began talking as calmly as possible to the terrified horse. He screamed his fear and jerked back when a portion of the ceiling caved in near her, directly in front of his stall. Embers flew into the air all around them. Straw ignited as the flaming cinders landed. Then the stallion reared and lunged, nearly stomping her feet.

Moving fast, she stepped in close to the stud’s side. Grabbing a handful of mane she swung herself onto the broad, black back. That seemed to be the safest place to avoid the huge hooves. It was also the only chance she might have of bringing the panicking animal under any sort of control.

Amid the noise and confusion she used her knees, heels, hands, and voice to urge the trembling stallion forward into the stall doorway. The horrible smells of singed hair, burning wood, and smoldering straw filled the stifling hot air. As flames crackled and popped among the fallen timbers on the stable floor, loud creaks and groans warned that other parts of the roof were giving way. They were trapped with no way out.

The horse reared and whinnied shrilly, almost unseating her when a burning ember landed on his rump. She quickly reached back flicking it off while trying to keep her seat on the bare back of the dancing animal. The fire spread rapidly across the floor of the stall and the smoke got darker and thicker. The blistering heat caused creosote to bubble from the stable supports.

It can’t end like this, not after all we’ve been through.

* * * * *

Brig jerked awake to screaming and banging from the direction of the stable. The odd light flickering in his window alerted him to the reason for the disturbance.

Fire! The stable’s on fire.

Diving into a pair of jeans, he ran down the back stairs, hastily shoved his feet into his boots on the mud porch, and rushed out. Several of the men ran toward the burning building from the bunkhouse and were grabbing up water buckets and dousing burlap sacks.

“Forget the building! Save the horses!” Brig shouted to be heard over the confusion and threw open the wide double doors of the stable. The walls were already burning in several places and the sudden rush of air only fed the flames. Fire licked upward, leaping for the roof. There was only a matter of minutes to save the horses trapped inside.

REMEMBER: Rebecca will give away a copy of Seeking Shelter to three different commenter’s in a random drawing. The ebooks will be downloadable in any format from Smashwords with a special code that Rebecca will provide to each winner. She will draw the names on Tuesday afternoon of the 30th and notify them so be sure to leave your email addy.

9:06 AM

Movie Phrase Friday

DH: Before you die there is something you should know about us, Lone Star.
LS: What?
DH: I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.
LS: What's that make us?
DH: Absolutely nothing!

What movie is this from?

8:49 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Melissa Blue

CONTEST: I will be giving away two ebook copies of Angel and the Unforgiven. To enter all you need to do is e-mail melissa@melissalynneblue.com. Include the word Contest in the subject heading. I will draw the winner March 24.

AL: Hi Melissa Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Melissa: Thanks, Ann, I’m thrilled for the opportunity to interview here on your blog!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Melissa: Overall I’d have to say life is pretty darn good! Boring, but good, lol. Aside from working part time as a nurse at the local hospital I am home with my husband, five year old, seven month old, and two crazy dogs.

AL: Confederate soldiers, time-traveling women and roguish Irishmen, oh my! What do you have for us to read?

Melissa: I see you’ve visited my website! And you’ll find plenty to read there…

WITHOUT REGRET, MY LOVE was released last June and depicts a present day nurse traveling back in time and falling fast for a hunky, blue eyed doctor in the Confederate army.

ANGEL AND THE UNFORGIVEN was released March 1st and is a standalone sequel about a handsome sailor and a beautiful murder suspect.

FORGET ME NOT is a Regency set historical romance under contract with literary agent Kevan Lyon so check my website for updates on when this story will be available and from where. The Irish hero in this story is really dreamy.

All of my stories have action, adventure, and heros to DIE for!

AL: What are you currently working on?

Melissa: My most recent project is titled LIGHT TO VALHALLA. It sounds like a Viking story, but it’s actually another Regency historical romance. In Montana we have a lot of mining and one gemstone in particular is the garnet… Last summer I learned that Vikings believed garnets lit the way to Valhalla, and Knight’s in the crusades wore garnets on their shields for protection… In this particular story a series of attempts are made on the life of my heroine and the hero gives her a garnet to symbolize protection.

AL: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction? What did you do in such a situation?

Melissa: Oh, all the time. I have rewritten the beginning of my current project four times! Usually I listen to my characters. Fighting with them gets me nowhere!

AL: Living in Montana, do you often find inspiration just by the countryside that surrounds you, or do you find inspiration elsewhere?

Melissa: I absolutely find inspiration in the countryside around me. Montana is beautiful no matter what time of year or where you happen to be. Right now I can look out my front window and see the Lady of the Rockies on the East Ridge, fluffy white clouds are rolling down the mountainside around her and patches of snow are still clinging to the hillside.

AL: Out of your stories do you have one that is more near and dear to your heart? If so, why?

Melissa: WITHOUT REGRET, MY LOVE is my first and will always hold a special place in my heart, but truthfully I love all of my stories equally and for different reasons. I love all of my heros, and I love that my stories are never predictable with more than romance in every plot.

AL: Are you ready to get personal, Melissa? Best movie you've seen recently?

Melissa: Wolfman. My husband and I had an evening out… ALONE… a couple weeks ago, and it was a great movie. It’s the sort of show we can never watch in theaters because of our little kids so it was especially fun. I’m a chicken at heart and not usually into horror flicks, but I love vamps and werewolves.

Where are my Twilight fans?

Can a storyline get any better? Sexy vampires AND smokin’ hot werewolves…

AL: What annoys you enough to be considered a pet peeve?

Melissa: I’m pretty laid back, the kind of person that is hard on—or competitive with—myself, but not others so I really don’t have a lot of pet peeves. In the writing world I don’t have any. When I’m reading I don’t get hung up on all of the “rules” writers are supposed to follow as far as point of view or when and where to insert back story. Give me a good read and I’m happy.

My pet peeves mostly come in to play in my other career… nursing… I can’t stand excuse making, lying, or people who cannot admit they don’t know something. In medicine the consequences for pride can be dire.

AL: If you could go anywhere in the world and in any time…where would you go? What would you do? And why that time-period?

Melissa: Oh, this is a tough question! I love history. The American Civil War is a period of particular interest so I would definitely want to visit the union and confederate states. I would probably visit dying soldiers in the hospitals and field hospitals… what can I say, once a nurse always a nurse. I would want to see Colonial America… The Salem witch trials… I would want to attend a ball in Regency England and dance with a dapper gentleman while he whispered sweet, refined nothings in my ear. Medival Europe would be fascinating. Ancient Greece and Rome. Oh, and I can’t forget Ancient Egypt! When I was a kid I wanted to become an Egyptologist…still do sometimes!

AL: Spring will officially be here this Saturday. What’s your favorite part of the season?

Melissa: My favorite part of spring is the way the breeze smells sweet and warm even when the air is still chilly. The other thing I am looking forward to is an end to this nasty flu season! My preschooler has been dragging germs home all winter and we have all been sick continually—even the new baby. I’m starting to feel run down and just want some sunshine!

AL: Here’s a fun one… If you were a cartoon, which character would you be?

Melissa: Betty Boop. I used to have a stethoscope name tag with her on it! It was a sad day when I lost it.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Melissa: Those who ignore History are doomed to repeat it—Benjamin Franklin

It’s not the size that counts but the motion of the ocean—who knows who said it first, but my two cents worth are… YEAH RIGHT!

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Melissa.

Melissa: Thanks again for having me Ann! I’d love to do this again some time.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Melissa please visit:




When murder suspect Cadence Jamison disguises herself as a boy and stows aboard the Heavenly Mistress Captain Curtis Langston may find his two past occasions for rescuing her more than he bargained for.

Bitter and Cynical after service in the Confederate Army, Curtis believes himself no more deserving of another's love than capable of returning it. Content to drift through life free of emotional and therefore romantic complications the once carefree and mischievous rogue may be forever gone. But when Cadence appears in his life Curtis finds himself smiling again, smiling and dreaming and feeling more like himself than he has in five years. Drawn with almost unnatural force to the sweet and innocent goodness Cadence offers, Curtis blunders again and again to resist the pull of what a life with her could be.

Can Cadence show this wounded soul how to love again? Or is he doomed to be forever unforgiven, haunted by the ghosts of his past?


Cadence didn't know what her next move should be. Curtis had gone from plying her with his kisses to shouting demands and downing shots in the space of minutes. Dare she trust him? Dare she put her very life into his hands? "Curtis," her voice was remarkably steady, "I cannot tell you everything now, but once we reach Europe I swear you will never see me again."

Never see her again? Is that what he wanted? It was a crushing blow to think of never seeing her again, surprisingly so. For a moment he felt terribly off balance. "Cadence," he reached for her, but she cringed away, turning her back with finality.

He murmured her name a second time and it was her undoing. There was no anger or malice in his voice, but moreover there was something pleading, almost broken in his tone. She turned at the door.

"I'm so sorry, Curtis." Briefly their eyes locked and it was sheer magnetism. In an instant he was across the room, and she was in his arms, and he was kissing her. And she was kissing him back.

Who were they to deny the forces of nature?

Her lips parted, his tongue found hers and had she been able to breathe she would have moaned. One arm circled the small of her back fitting her flawlessly against him while the other dipped beneath her knees. She may well have been floating as he cradled her against the warmth of his chest. Even through the heavy woolen sweater she could feel the well honed muscles and the memory of him glistening and naked in the lantern light scattered her senses.

Suddenly she was on the bed, and he was on top of her, and their clothes were falling with alarming speed to the floor. She had no idea what she was doing but where she lacked in experience her body made up for in instinct. Without a conscious thought she responded to every touch and kiss and caress. Somehow in the depths of her soul she knew this was where she was meant to be. And she was lost, doomed to be his for eternity. He tasted of whiskey and it burned upon her lips. His broad hand clasped her hip pulling her more snuggly beneath him.

REMEMBER: CONTEST: I will be giving away two ebook copies of Angel and the Unforgiven. To enter all you need to do is e-mail melissa@melissalynneblue.com. Include the word Contest in the subject heading. I will draw the winner March 24.

9:21 AM

Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women

"When he is late for dinner, I know he must be either having an affair or lying dead in the street. I always hope it's the street."

- Judith Viorst

9:11 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Allie Boniface

CONTEST: From all readers who post a comment, Allie will draw one name to receive a free download of either of her new audio books, One Night in Memphis or Lost in Paradise. Or, if the winner prefers, he/she can choose a free download of Allie's latest contemporary romance novel, One Night in Napa.

AL: Hi Allie Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Allie: Ann, I’m so excited to be here! Along with my upcoming May 2010 print release, One Night in Napa, I have two other titles releasing in audio book format this month!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Allie: Well, outside of trying to finish up a couple of writing projects, I’m also swimming in papers to be graded (I’m a high school English teacher) and planning my vacation for spring break.

AL: What do you have for us to read?

Allie: Read…or hear? One Night in Napa will be available from Samhain Publishing in May. It’s my third “One Night” book, which features a contemporary romance that unfolds over 24 short hours. One Night in Memphis, which released in print with Samhain Publishing in 2009, was an EPPIE finalist and received a 4-star review from Romantic Times. Now, it’s available in audio book format for the first time!

AL: What are you currently working on?

Allie: Ooh, that’s a very good question! Well, I’m finishing up final revisions on another contemporary romance, Entwined, which moves back and forth between two different time periods and follows the stories of two different (but related) love affairs. And believe it or not, I’m also in the initial draft of an untitled Young Adult novel. Yes, I’m jumping genres!

AL: When did you know you had to be a writer?

Allie: As young as I can possibly remember. I was always writing stories even in elementary school, much to the dismay of my teachers!

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Allie: Really, I hope to simply continue to write, and to see growth in my own writing. I’m enjoying the challenge of writing in a new genre (YA), so we’ll see where that takes me!

AL: Which of your heroines best resembles you and why?

Allie: Hmm…if you ask my mom, she’ll say Ash, the heroine in my very first novel, Lost in Paradise. Ash is very smart, very independent, but hesitant to trust the people around her. Though I don’t share all of her qualities, I suppose when we first start writing, we inevitably draw on our own experiences and personal stories!

AL: I see in your bio you love to travel all over the world. Why is it you especially love to visit Germany?

Allie: Germany is a gorgeous country with incredibly friendly people, delicious food, and great beer. Need I say more?

AL: If you kissed a frog, what would he turn into?

Allie: The hero in my next story. 

AL: If you could meet someone famous in either history, or present day…who would you like to meet and why?

Allie: I’ll go with Jane Austen – her birthday is the day after mine, she’s the grand dame of the romance genre, and she was a smart feminist. I’d love to talk men and writing with her!

AL: What favorite movie; or T.V. show makes you hunker down on the sofa and settle in for the night?

Allie: I have a few, but my newest favorite is “The Mentalist.” It’s clever, well-written, and Simon Baker is one yummy investigator!

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Allie: It’s a long one, but it’s wonderful:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Allie.

Allie: Ann, thank you for having me here! If you’d like to know more about either of my audio books, or any of my print titles, please visit my website at:




Can anything change in 24 hours? Can everything?

Journalist Grant Walker has one chance to salvage his job and his relationship with his domineering father. Terrorists have kidnapped a fading film star's son, and Grant has scored the first interview with the grieving mother. Even better, a new twist has just arrived on the scene-an illegitimate granddaughter who hasn't been heard from in seven long years. It's the story of a lifetime, and all Grant has to do is deliver.

After discovering a terrible secret about her birth, Kira March left home vowing never to return. With her father kidnapped and her grandmother cracking under media pressure, it's up to her to find and destroy all evidence of that secret. Trouble is, a reporter has weaseled his way into the house looking for answers-and he isn't leaving until he gets them.

Yet as the hours pass, Kira finds herself falling for the very man who could destroy her. And when Grant comforts her in the wake of a midnight tragedy, he remembers why it's a bad idea to get emotionally involved with an interview subject. Especially when the family name is on the line.


1:00 p.m.

“Want a corn muffin? Just took a fresh batch out of the oven.”

Kira moved a wet rag in circles over the front counter of Permanent Addiction. “I’m not hungry.” She never ate this early in the day. She didn’t know how the rest of the normal world functioned, getting up at dawn and working through the daylight hours. In that sense, she did feel a little bit vampire-like. Give me a coffin to sleep in anytime, she thought, and draw the blinds. The darker the better. Moonlight was much less offensive than the sun.

Felix put one hand on her shoulder. She could smell her boss’s Polo cologne, a touch too strong as usual. “Then at least go in back and take a break.”

She glanced at the few customers scattered around the room and tossed her rag into the sink. “Okay.” She dug into the pocket of her skirt for her cigarettes. One of these days she’d quit. She’d promised her father that years ago, though she’d started smoking at the too-young age of fourteen. Of course, he’d broken enough promises of his own, so she wasn’t sure she owed him any loyalty. She grabbed a pack of matches on her way out the back door.

Kira sank to a seat on the bumpy back sidewalk and stretched out her legs. A quiet, narrow alleyway, big enough for bikes and pedestrians, ran the length of the block. From the coffee shop’s back door she could stare straight into the kitchen of Rosie’s Grille and the storeroom of a new art gallery. Boxes tumbled onto the sidewalk behind the gallery, marked Fragile and ripped to shreds. She could hear voices somewhere inside calling back and forth in a melodic Spanish lilt.

Beyond the storefronts, above the trees, rose the Sierra Buttes, huge hulking mountains that hugged the town of Yuba City. Guardians, Scotty called them, a landmass that kept the weather calm and the people happy. Today the sun bounced off their peaks, and though Kira knew that snow still topped them, from here they looked like bare, rippling pastures.

She took a long, satisfying drag on her cigarette and wondered how living near a certain landscape might shape you, growing up. Did children who lived in the shadows of a mountain range spend their earliest days looking up, dreaming, watching the clouds make shapes? If you moved those same children to a seaside home, would they lose that distant vision? Would they start looking out rather than up, or develop a rhythmic gait that matched the waves they slept and woke to? Did growing up inside a city of skyscrapers create tunnel vision from the day you were born? Or did living your earliest years inside gated walls mean you looked at the world in fragments, in sliced-up pieces, so that you could never see the whole of something for what it truly was?

Kira exhaled a ribbon of smoke and stared at the concrete between her feet. She hated the day after a film wrap. There was such a sense of finality, such a letdown, like the day after Christmas times one hundred. All that build-up, the anticipation chewing at your stomach night and day, and then you woke to find a plain old ordinary day followed the thrill of Santa shoving gifts down your chimney. Kira chewed at a hangnail. Not that Christmas had ever been a traditional family event in her home. Nothing traditional about that home at all.

“Can I bum one?” A man moved into her light and cast a shadow across her lap.

Kira tilted her head back and squinted. She tipped one out of the pack and handed it over.

“Thanks.” He squatted beside her, eased himself to a seat and flipped out a yellow lighter.

She glanced at him and recognized the profile. Thirty-something, lanky, quiet. He came in almost every week, usually on Fridays. Ordered a double espresso and a bagel, plain.

“Didn’t know you smoked,” she said.

“Didn’t know you did.”

She stubbed out her butt. “Trying to quit.”

“Aren’t we all.”

He was good-looking, she decided, tall and wiry, with a crooked nose that had probably been broken more than once. Round glasses sat on the very end. Bluish-gray eyes swam behind them.

“Name’s Alex.”


Alex caught her gaze and held it. “Hey, have we met someplace? I mean, besides the coffee shop?”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

“You look familiar.”

“Please don’t use that line on me.”

He blinked, then laughed out loud. “Do you really hear that a lot?” He shook his head. “It wasn’t a line, believe me. I just tend to remember most striking women I meet.” He folded his arms over his knees. “There’s something about your face…or your eyes, actually.”

Kira’s jaw twitched.

“Hey…you know who you look like?”

She froze. “Uh, who?”

“That actress who disappeared a few years back. Edoardo Morelli’s kid.” He stared. “You aren’t—nah…stupid question, right?” He chuckled. “What would she be doing in a place like this?”

What, indeed?

“Yeah. Stupid question.”

But he was still staring at her. “You heard what happened to Morelli, right?”


Alex let out a stream of smoke. “Got kidnapped by a bunch of terrorists or something. Over in the Middle East somewhere. It’s all over the news.”

Kira hurried inside and flipped on the flat-screen TV that hung in the break room.

Patti, the other waitress, pushed open the door. The double-chinned woman kicked off her beige Aerosoles and sank into the chair beside her. “Felix said you were talking to some guy out back.”

“Yeah. For a few minutes. It was nothing.”

“You know, any other single woman would be snapping up those phone numbers you get all the time.” Patti plopped plump elbows on the table. “You got a boyfriend somewhere that nobody knows about? Or a girlfriend?”

Kira switched channels. “Nothing that exciting, sorry.” A daytime soap opera cued up. The music swelled, the characters wrestled their way into bed, and the scene faded with a close-up shot of the headboard vibrating. But just as the soap’s resident vixen strode in and started yelling, the picture changed and faded out. A local news anchor flickered onto the screen, and a bright blue banner scrolled across the bottom, with the ominous words “Special Report” flashing on and off.

“What the heck?” Patti plopped her chin in one palm and stared.

“We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this news update…” The anchor scowled into the camera. “…international film star Edoardo Morelli has just been taken hostage by a radical terrorist group…”

Kira dropped the remote.

“…at this point authorities are releasing no other information. However, one source reports that Middle Eastern news station Al Jazeera broadcast a picture of Morelli bound at the wrists and ankles approximately an hour ago. Again, we have no additional information about the motive of this terrorist group or their demands…”

“Oh my God. Wow.” Patti hunched forward in her chair. “That’s scary.” Her eyes blinked rapidly. “He’s such a hunk, too.” She whistled.

“Viewers may recall that Morelli’s daughter Isabella vanished from their home in Napa Valley nearly seven years ago,” intoned the commentator. An instant later, a picture of a female Edoardo look-alike with long hair flashed onto the screen.

“Hey, doesn’t that look like…” Patti trailed off and turned to look at Kira. Her mouth dropped open.
REMEMBER: From all readers who post a comment, Allie will draw one name to receive a free download of either of her new audio books, One Night in Memphis or Lost in Paradise. Or, if the winner prefers, he/she can choose a free download of Allie's latest contemporary romance novel, One Night in Napa.

9:02 AM

Wednesday's Witty Words from Wise Women...on Thursday?

"Your passion is waiting for your courage to catch up."

- Marilyn Greist

9:07 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

AL: Hi JoAnn! Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week. So, tell us what’s happening with you.

JoAnn: Thanks for inviting me, Ann. I’m delighted with this opportunity to share what’s going on in my life with your audience.

You’d probably never guess, but I’m studying voice (Vocal Power by Roger Love (CDs)).

I’ve been on panels and have given talks where no microphone is provided. Sometimes, my voice comes out soft and hard to hear. Right now I raise my shoulders when I breathe. I’m learning to project my voice through proper breathing. I’m practicing drawing air in through my nose to the bottom of my lungs so that my belly pushes out. Then I use the diaphragm to pull my stomach back in, expelling air. I’m to speak as the air expels and stop when it runs out. It seems I keep trying to talk after the breath is done. It strains my voice and makes it sound harsher. Who knew?

AL: For those who may not know your work, can you please share a little about yourself?

JoAnn: I was one of those people who said I’d like to write some day, but I never did anything about it. When I got closer to retirement, I started taking the idea seriously. As long as your brain functions well, writing is an occupation you can do at any age and you don’t have to look like a Hollywood star. It’s the story that counts. My goal is to supplement my social security check with royalties. It took a long time, but it’s finally happening.

AL: What got you dabbling in historical romance novels?

JoAnn: I joke that it’s easier for me to write an historical than to do the research to write a contemporary. The joke has some truth to it. I’m such a hermit when I’m not out there marketing. Although I use the Internet a lot, I’m not up on the latest gadgets.

The paranormal suspense series I’m working on now is set in Philadelphia during WWII. I was small, but I was alive in WWII so I don’t need to do much research. I grew up with grandparents who were young in the late 1800’s and had many of the utensils of that time in their house. I can bring so much life to descriptions so that some readers say they can reach out and touch the scenes I paint. That ability is because of these personal experiences.

AL: How do you decide upon your settings? What about the names of characters? Do you ever change either mid-stream into a story?

JoAnn: Ainsworth is an Anglo-Saxon name meaning “the property of Ains”. When I started writing, I decided to set the medieval stories in Britain a generation after the Norman Conquest. When I decided to write a couple of historical western romances, I used a town in Wyoming where I had lived for four months. I already had a contact with the historian at the WY county library and had toured the historical sites of the region. My Philadelphia setting was because I lived there and again knew the streets.

The Ainsworth name contributed in another way to my novels. It has a coat of arms with the motto of fearless courage. The theme of courage runs through all my stories. Ordinary people rise to achieve extraordinary deeds when they reach deep inside to find personal courage. It is just like when a first responder runs toward a disaster while the rest of us are running away. After heroically rescuing injured people, the responder turns to the t.v. cameras and says, “I was only doing my job.” To us, the job done was extraordinary. My characters find the same courage to face their problems.

I never change settings mid-stream, although I have changed names of characters mid-stream. Thank goodness for search and replace.

With my characters, I like to choose names I feel fit their personalities, but I also choose names according to the alphabet. I try not to have the same letter begin the names of my primary characters. I feel it brings clarity if I don’t have an Adele and an Adessia in the same story.

AL: What do you like best about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

JoAnn: I LOVE to edit. Getting the first draft out is more of a mechanical process for me. My creativity kicks in when I pare off the superfluous words. It makes me feel like a sculptor. I get down to the beautiful core.

My least favorite thing about writing is waiting. Right now I’m waiting to hear if my publisher likes my western romance and will send a contract. Fingers crossed.

AL: If you could go anywhere in the world and in any time…where would you go? What would you do? And why that time-period?

JoAnn: I’d stay in this time period and go to Egypt to see the pyramids and to Paris to see the Louvre and Versailles. When I was young, I went around the world by myself and saw many exciting ancient sites like Angor Wat and the Acropolis. But I could not go to Egypt because a war was going on. I could not travel to Paris because France was paralyzed by a trucking strike. I went to Switzerland instead. Loved Zurich, but found Geneva citizens cold shouldered me because my French wasn’t up to snuff. However, I’ve always regretting not getting to Egypt and to Paris.

AL: What decadent delight must you have no matter what?

JoAnn: What else—chocolate?

AL: If we were to come to your house, what books would we find lying around?

JoAnn: These days, mostly reference books on marketing and how to write. I used to be a voracious reader, but my brain gets too tired after struggling to find the right word for my novels. I’ve mostly given up pleasure reading for reading that forwards my craft or helps me to reach readers. “How to” reference books on marketing and craft are interspersed with paperbacks of authors that I’m studying for dialog or pacing or set up and the like. The only time I read for pleasure is when I take a day off, which isn’t often. However, reading for craft does not mean I can’t enjoy myself. Next to my bed now is SPELLBOUND by Patricia Simpson. I’m learning how she creates her paranormal world.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

JoAnn: Eleanor Roosevelt: A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, JoAnn.

JoAnn: It’s my pleasure. I love sharing my writing experiences with readers.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about JoAnn please visit:

Follow JoAnn on Facebook and Twitter.



At the time, pretending marriage to her middle-aged widower cousin seemed like the best way to escape a politically motivated betrothal to a brutal knight. Now, her journey toward a new life has landed her in hot water—she’s been waylaid by a local Norman baron who’s mistaken her for a real bride. And he demands First Night rights.

Hot water turns to steam in a scalding night of passion… passion she has never known. And now must live without.

Lord Geoffrey is entranced at first sight of the Anglo-Saxon beauty and finds that one night in her arms is not nearly enough. But all he can offer the low-born Matilda is a life in the shadows—as his mistress.

Her head warring with her heart, Matilda resigns herself to her duty in a masquerade of a marriage. It’s a choice that could cost her life.

For the knight who first sought her hand is back with murder on his mind. Now it’s Geoff who’s faced with the ultimate choice: which is more precious…his estates or the love of the one woman who can heal his soul?


“Madness, my lord. Sheer madness.”

“Do you think I don’t know that?” the baron countered to his overseer, running his fingers through already tousled hair as he paced his bedchamber. He had argued with himself the whole way back to the manor, but no commonsense argument succeeded over his desperate need to hold this woman in his arms.

“You endanger your good standing with the villagers.”

“A risk I’m willing to take.”

The baron felt as grim as Voernulf looked.

“When I heard myself demanding first night rights, it was as if I were a different man. I couldn’t believe I said those words. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to take them back.”

“You risk too much for beauty. You’ve been passionate about women before only to lose interest,” Voernulf reminded him.

“None like this woman!”