Archive for October, 2012

We all love pithy insults. So, come by today and post your favorite insult. The excerpt can be from anywhere.

Here’s mine from Lady Caro’s Accidental Marriage. This is Lord Huntley’s response to a former lover who is trying to revive their affair.

Opening her eyes wide, she purred, “But, don’t you remember how good it was?”

“I remember how expensive it was. You’ll have to find someone else to fill your jewel box and plough your field.” He dropped hand, stepped back and bowed. “If you’ll excuse me, my lady?”

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Love pantsers.

Writers In The Storm Blog

You are in for a treat, because we enticed a stellar new author to WITS today. I read Sharla Lovelace’s debut novel, The Reason is You, after the RWA National Conference. I read. A lot. And Sharla’s book is the best I’ve read this year. You’re getting in on a Pre-NYT Bestseller here. I’m not kidding, remember you read it here first.

Read on, you’ll see what I mean. Take it away, Sharla!

Hello everyone and thank you for having me!

I’m going to start this out with a shocking confession.  I don’t follow rules.  I just do it.

See, the amazing Laura Drake invited me to talk about my writing strength today, and was very kind to say that she felt that strength was in how I portray relationships.  So I thought, “Cool.  I can do that.”  Others have told me that.  It’s actually one of the things…

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Please help me welcoming my guest today Golden Heart finalist and debut author Jennifer Lowery who will be talking about her debut novel, Hard Core. (applause)

Hi Ella and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My debut book, Hard Core, released this month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!! 

In honor of my release I am offering a copy of my debut contemporary suspense, Hard Core, in either ebook format or signed print copy to one lucky commenter so please leave me a comment with your EMAIL and gift choice to be entered to win!!

Ella: Thank you so much for being here today. As you know, I very rarely read romantic suspense, but I loved your book. Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to start writing?

Jennifer: I can’t remember wanting to be anything except a writer! I grew up devouring books, lol. Even got caught in the seventh grade reading a romance book in the back of my math book! I detoured along the way, went to college, got a degree in Respiratory Care, and worked in a hospital as a Respiratory Therapist for 13 years before the time felt right to pursue my career as a writer—my dream. So, I quit my job, thanks to my wonderful hubby who supported us on his income, and began writing full-time. It took me 10 years to become published (I wrote during my years at the hospital) and 3 years, once I began writing full-time, to sign a contract! So if you have a dream, don’t give up!! No matter how long it takes you to get there, don’t give up! Dreams really do come true! Make it happen!

Ella: What drew you to write military romantic suspense?

Jennifer: When I decided to make my dream a reality ten years ago, I wrote in multiple genres trying to find my voice. I started with historical, western, paranormal, contemporary, romantic suspense, and began to notice a trend. All of my heroes were alpha males. And, they all leaned toward a military background.

After many rejections I realized that I’d been fighting my voice. I’d never imagined myself writing military romance, and hadn’t read much of it either. But, once I found that voice, I couldn’t be stopped. I inhaled military books, both fiction and non-fiction. I joined military loops on the internet, I found military blogs, and I fell in love with my writing all over again.

Ella: Your debut novel Hard Core just came out. Congratulations! That’s huge. You wrote for a long time before you got the call, what changed.

Jennifer: I found a critique group and a critique partner! Changed my life. Best thing I ever did was join an online crit group. I’ve made the best friends a person could have! There is more support, and laughs, and joy and pain than I ever imagined! It’s more than a critique group. We are friends. We vent, we laugh, we crit, we promote, we support, we encourage. It’s more of a family and I’m honored to be part of it. I encourage every writer to find a critique group, not only for your writing, but for the support. It’s nice to connect with other writers who are experiencing the same things you are. Especially since writing is such a solitary career.

Ella: Jennifer, thank you for joining me.

Jennifer: Thank you for having me today, Ella!! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 
All my best, 

Without further to do, here is the blurb and excerpt for Hard Core by Jennifer Lowery


A supposedly hassle-free job for mercenary Cristian Slade becomes a mission of mercy when he saves a life instead of taking one. Slade’s new mission might be his most dangerous yet, because the danger is to his heart.


Tragedy has sent esteemed surgeon Alana O’Grady to a remote a remote Nicaraguan island where she immerses herself in the lives of a native American tribe, using her talents for goodwill instead of wealth and prestige. But life turns upside down when her work requires she protect a rugged mercenary who commands her attention when she’s awake and dominates her dreams while she sleeps.


Doctoring Cristian puts her entire tribe in danger from the man who’s hunting him. Is it her professional oath or her unprofessional attraction to him keeping her from sending him away to heal on his own? Alana’s fire warms Cristian’s heart, but he’s a hardened assassin and has no business falling for someone like her. Can they fight hard enough to keep what they might have together?


Content Warning: Sexual content.





Prepared to start an IV, she picked up a needle. She had it in position when his other arm shot out and he clamped her wrist in a bone-crushing grip. Startled, she met his panicked gaze.

“I said no needles.”

Her heart banged against her ribcage as she let the needle slip out of her hand. It hit the floor with a small ting. Alana opened her hands in surrender, her patient’s fingers digging into her flesh. For a man half-dead, he had amazing strength.

“Okay,” she said to placate him. “Relax, I don’t have it anymore. It’s your choice, but I recommend you let me start an IV for meds.”

“No. Just fix me.”

Alana pinned him with a no nonsense stare. “I’m not impressed with Superman heroics.”

Face pale and drawn, he said gruffly, “I’m not Superman. Learned not to trust people with needles.”

Her fingers were going numb. “If I remove the bullet without pain medication or anesthetic, you’re going to be sorry.”

He studied her. “You’re really a doctor?”

Alana bristled. “Technically, yes.”


She didn’t have time to explain herself with the amount of blood seeping from his gunshot wound. “I went to med school. You can let go of my arm now. I won’t use any needles.”

He looked down and immediately released his grip. She rubbed her wrist to soothe away the ache. “Can I get to work now, or do you want to question me more about my credentials while you bleed to death? I don’t have a blood bank, so you’re screwed if you lose too much.”

Her blunt statement received a curt nod. She normally didn’t talk to her patients like that. Her patients didn’t normally countermand her either.

“Do it,” he said.

“Without anesthetics?”

“I don’t need them. Just get it over with.”

Stubborn, stupid, or both? Insane, yes, but there wasn’t time to argue with him.

“Okay. The offer stands if you change your mind.”

“I won’t.”

She doubted that, but didn’t comment. Instead, wiped her forehead with her forearm, and picked up gauze pads to clean the wound.

“Here goes,” she warned and dabbed his skin.

Her patient didn’t move or even wince as she cleaned the angry wound. Either he had a will of steel or he’d passed out again. Hopefully, the latter. Sweat rolled down her back as she finished cleansing the area around the bullet entry. Red flesh puckered with the first signs of infection. In this environment infection was guaranteed.

With a steady hand that would have made her father proud, she picked up her instruments and took a deep breath.

“You still with me?”

He murmured a response, turning his head slightly so he could see her. The stark beauty of his profile, despite the bruises, struck her again. The lines of his face were chiseled, unforgiving. The kind of man she’d glance at twice if she passed him on the street.

A man associated with a criminal.

“Still here, Doc. What are you waiting for?” Husky with pain, his deep voice brought her out of her thoughts.

She gave herself a mental shake. “Want something to bite down on?”

A small, wry smile touched his lips and his lids closed. “You won’t hear a peep out of me. Just fix me, Doc.”

“I can hit you so you’ll sleep through it,” she muttered.

That drew a low chuckle from him. She didn’t expect him to have a sense of humor. He seemed too…hard. His chuckle turned into a grunt of pain. “You probably hit like a girl.”

Alana grinned. “Yes, I do. Rest assured it won’t feel like it.”

“Appreciate the offer, but, no.” His words slurred together, his muscles tense as he fought his body’s demands.

“You got a name, Superman?”

His head rolled to the side, his chest rose and fell slowly. She thought he was out but he murmured, “Cristian.”

“Nice to meet you, Cristian.”

Then she dug into the wound for the bullet.

Buy Hard Core:


Lyrical Press

Barnes & Noble



Find Jennifer:

Author Website   Facebook   Twitter   Romance Recipes



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Great article. What do you fear?


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway

I’ve learned from the best. I’ve had a top education in schools located around the world. I have various undergraduate degrees and even managed to snap up a Masters on scholarship from a prestigious university. So what is the most important lesson I’ve ever learned?

The message came to me in my late 30s through the television of all things. I’ve always been a creative sort, but stumbled because I tend to be a perfectionist. I squashed many of my interests simply because I didn’t think I could do it. Decorating and design shows were just starting and I consumed them. This was a passion of mine and I had a ton of ideas but I never allowed myself to jump in because I might not be any good at it.


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Jane Austen's World

The Emporium at JASNA’s 2012 AGM in NYC provided several delightful surprises, among which was meeting the staff of Jane Austen’s World Magazine and Chawton House Library a their respective booths. Jane Austen’s Regency World editor, Tim Bullamore, was selling a variety of magazines and books. The music you hear in the background of the first video is William Herschel’s Sonata in D Op4 No4, which came with the March/April 2010 edition of the magazine. Tim also spoke about Sex, Money and Power in Death Obituaries in the Time of Jane Austen, which I will discuss in more detail in a later post. (Music: With permission from Tim Bullamore, CD from Mar/Apr issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World.)

The staff of Chawton House Library, shown behind the second booth, were  the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Stephen Lawrence, Director of Research, Dr. Gillian Dow, and Director of Development, Ms. Eleanor Marsden…

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Today I’m discussing common storylines. Do you have a storyline you like best? If so, what is it? For me it’s the forced or shotgun marriage. Now, being a Regency writer, the variations are almost endless. One needs only set up the scene and watch what happens next. So, whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, historical, or whatever, share with me your favorite storyline.

Here is an example of my favorite storyline from my as yet unnamed, unedited WIP. Miss Dorothea Stern has just overheard a plot to trap the Marquis of Merton into marriage and has decided to save him.

She caught up to Merton as he reached the meeting place. “My lord—.”

He frowned and held the note up. “Miss Stern, what is the meaning of this?”

“I’ve come to warn you.” Her heart was beating so fast she could barely speak and she’d never been alone with a gentleman. “You must go back inside.”

He shook his head. “I don’t understand. You asked me to meet you here.”

Of all times for him to pick to be difficult. Keeping her voice low, she infused it with urgency. “No, the note is a trap.” She grabbed his hand and tried to pull him towards the doors. Unfortunately, the dratted man stood stock still.

He frowned. “A trap? What do you mean?”

She resisted the urge to rail at him. It must be almost midnight, they had to leave now. “I’ll explain it to you on the way in.”

He stared down at her. “You’ll explain it to me now.”

Of all times for him to act like…Grrr. didn’t he read novels?  As calmly as she could she said, “I overheard a conversation. There is a lady trying to force you to marry her.” Dotty took his other hand, and tugged. “Please, you can’t be caught out here.”

Finally he moved, but the force of her pulling, and him stepping forward brought them up against each other. Before she could move away someone gasped.

“Well, well, well, what have we here?”

Dotty recognized the voice as one of the ladies she’d overheard.

Merton was so close her breasts practically touched his chest. She knew they looked like lovers. It probably wouldn’t help, but she’d try to talk them out of this any way. She turned to face the women. One lady’s jaw dropped open and her face flushed with anger.

“I—I was delivering a note.” Dotty stuttered.

By the shocked looks on the faces of all four ladies, none of them believed her.

Merton placed his arms around her. “What you see, ladies,” he said in a wintery tone, “is a proposal.” He glanced at Dotty. “I believe Miss Stern was about to give me an answer when you interrupted.”

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Great article from WITS on the process of writing. What’s your process?

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Laura Drake

I belong to the Women’s Fiction chapter of RWA.  We just completed a month-long Write-a-Thin (you’d have had to have been there,) and it was wonderful, on many levels (not for me, on the ‘Thin’ part, but that’s another blog altogether.)

Since I’m so anal regimented in my schedule, I didn’t think I needed the external motivation of a group with goals.  I only signed up to support others. But I found that it helped a lot, to feel like I was writing with friends.

In chatting as a group, we got off onto interesting tangents. I admit, I experienced angst,when people began sharing their writing process.  It was fascinating in that, “curious, but not sure you want to know” way.

Let’s face it. It’s like your hair: blonde, curly, thin, red, thick, grey, whatever. Mine is brown (until the gray, anyway,) straight as a board…

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Please help me welcoming my guest today, award-winning author Katharine Ashe. (applause)

Ella: Katharine, I’ve read all your book and love them. Thank you so much for being here today. Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to start writing?

Katharine: Thanks for inviting me to join you today, Ella. I’m so glad to be here!

I write deeply sensual and emotional romances set in the Regency era, mostly in England but also Scotland, Wales, India, the Atlantic Ocean and really anywhere Englishmen and women of the early 19th century went—which was pretty much everywhere in the world.

I started writing stories when I was a wee lass, in third grade perhaps. Even then they looked suspiciously like romances. My first was what we now call “fan fiction,” a rewriting of Margaret Rey’s wonderful Pretzel, “the longest dachshund in the world.” I adored Pretzel; he was kind, funny, clever, completely unique and quietly wonderful. But his love interest was a prissy little snob. So I ditched her and gave him a nicer puppy to adore. From that moment on, it was history. Literally! I loved history, so I studied it in school. Eventually I got myself a PhD and a nifty job in academia while I continued writing romance novels (now about people) in my extra time. Then I realized I’d rather be writing romance full-time, so I am now a part-time professor of religious history, a full-time author, and very happy about both.

Ella: What drew you to write Regencies?

Katharine: On the one hand: the balls, lords, ladies, gowns, carriages, manners and rules of Regency high society drew me. (And Jane Austen! Always Jane!) On the other hand: the ships, wars, exotic lands, exploration, tumult and violently dramatic tenor of the British Empire captured my imagination too. The contrasts are deliciously decadent. I love small town stories and I love vast imperial stories. I love romance and family affection and adventure and passion, and it was all there wrapped up in this fantastically neat and decorous beau monde whose power and wealth rested almost entirely on England’s ever-expanding world domination. It’s heady stuff. I can’t think of a more exciting era in which to set love stories.

Ella: You just published your first indie-published book Captive Bride. What made you decide to dip your toe into self-publishing?

Katharine: My publishing schedule with Avon is already packed. I’d written Captive Bride several years ago and it was just sitting in my drawer waiting to see the light of day (or, rather, the dark of night, since it’s a ghost story. J ) I’d already made it available to some of my readers for free online, but I wanted to be able to offer it to more folks. Self-publishing it at a very low price seemed the easiest, quickest way to do that. Also, it’s a bit different from my Avon books, especially in terms of the modest cast of characters and single setting for the story. I adored writing it, and I adore the hero and heroine and the medieval ghost villain. I’m so excited it’s out there for my readers to enjoy!

Ella: Well, I for one am glad you did. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we give folks a chance to read an excerpt?

Katharine: May I reveal a little detail I haven’t mentioned anywhere yet?

Ella: Of course.

Katharine: Bea, the heroine of Captive Bride, appears as a ten-year-old girl in one of my other published novels. I’d love to know if any of my readers noticed. J

Ella: If, they haven’t noticed, I’m quite sure you’ll have your readers going back to their books and looking. Without further todo, here is the back cover blurb of Captive Bride, followed by an excerpt.


Sensible, practical Beatrice Sinclaire has two secret passions: gothic novels and Lord Peter Cheriot, the man her beautiful sister left heartbroken years ago. When Bea’s scapegrace twin brother begs her help to rescue a maiden from a haunted castle, Bea seizes the chance for real adventure. If only Lord Cheriot didn’t insist on protecting her! How can she maintain a clear head in the face of terrible danger when all she wants is to be in his arms?

Lord Cheriot may be the catch of the London season, but he has only ever loved one woman, Bea Sinclaire. And he’s determined to have her. He doesn’t count on a meddling ghost whose demand for a virgin bride threatens Bea in the direst manner. But the specter has a deadline, All Hallows’ Eve, and it’s fast approaching. In the race to capture the heart of one daring lady, it’s every man—and ghost—for himself.


“You wanted to believe it, didn’t you? You wanted the ghost to be real, and you’re happy that he is. Aren’t you?” He looked at her so fixedly, as though he hoped she would deny it.

She could not deny it, not even for him. She’d had so few adventures in her life. None, in truth. She simply could not regret this one, however horrifying it might seem to a rational person. She may as well admit it to him. She was fairly certain he wouldn’t tell anyone, especially not Mama; he already knew her nasty little predilection for darkly dramatic prose.

Cheeks hotter than ever, she tightened her arms and met his regard directly.

“I did hope he would be real, and I wanted to be able to help. I cannot imagine a more exciting activity to be engaged in just now.”

“I can.” Tip’s voice sounded rough.

Her eyes shot wide. “What?”

He looked even odder than before, his eyes intense, like emeralds glinting from within a shadow. He put his palm on the stone behind her head and leaned in.

Her heart slammed against her ribs. They had never stood this close, not even while dancing, and that was years ago. He seemed so large from only a few inches away, so masculine and broad, his chest a wall of heady possibility right before her. If she unwound her arms she could touch him, place her palm on his coat and feel his body that looked so firm and powerful, as she had wanted to do for years. Longed to do.

Her breaths shortened. She fumbled behind her for the door latch. “I—I think I will turn in now.”

Tip’s eyes seemed to shimmer. “Not.” His breath feathered across her brow. “Just.” He bent his head. “Yet.”

Download CAPTIVE BRIDE for your e-reader or computer e-reader program here: [Amazon, B&N, SW, etc links to come]


Read Chapter 1 of Captive Bride: http://www.katharineashe.com/books_ghost.html

Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/cpukwcz

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/clgvsva

Most other e-book formats (including iPad): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/245099

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Dialogue is so important. I was glad to run across this post that brings it all home.


This past weekend was the NW Houston RWA writing conference. We were lucky enough to have James Scott Bell be our teacher. If you’ve followed Muse Tracks for awhile, you know I wrote a couple of blogs on his teachings before. One of them I wrote just from the first 5 minutes of his workshop! He is an amazing teacher and if you EVER have the chance to hear him, take it.


JSB contends that it is a compression and extension of the action of your story. There should be no filler, no small talk. If it doesn’t advance the plot, reveal something about the character or the theme through what the character says then you should put a big black line through it. It is a tool to spice up your stories, don’t waste it with banal conversations.

Not only should it have specific purpose, it should reflect…

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Wonderful article by Writers in the Storm

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Laura Drake

When we learn to read, we’re taught to take one word at a time, reading left to right. We still read like that (only hopefully, much faster.)  We picture the scene happening in real time in our heads. That’s what I call immediacy in writing – the first words you read should happen before the next words, etc.

Therefore, the order in which we write sentences, and even pieces of sentences, is important. If we get them out of order, it causes a ‘speed bump,’ that slows or stops the reader. Sometimes they’ll need to read the sentence again to understand what is being said.

There are several ways I’ve seen (and made) errors in immediacy.

  • The Yoda Error. I got busted on this at crit group last week. Since I’m usually the one who catches it in other’s writing, Fae was delighted to nail me on…

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