Friday, August 24, 2012

Special Edition, Curse of the Lost Isle - by Vijaya Schartz

The SPECIAL EDITION for the CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE medieval romantic series is out! I must be getting famous!

Find it here:

This new release includes the first three novels in the series, PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE, PAGAN QUEEN, and SEDUCING SIGEFROI... and all at a super-friendly price!

I am delighted. Whether you love the series, or you haven't read any of the books yet, this is a treat, and a bargain. I'm glad Books We Love decided to make it easy for my loyal readers. And with Book 4, LADY OF LUXEMBOURG, coming out next season, this is the perfect timing.

If you are not familiar with this medieval romantic fantasy series, here is the theme:

From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse. For centuries, imbued with hereditary gifts, they hide their deadly secret... but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.

You may also visit my website to enter a contest to win Book 4 when it comes out. Click on CONTEST at the upper right on my website (link below). Good luck!

Hope you enjoy the read, like many already did.
Also visit my website for other series, genres, and titles.

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Friday, August 17, 2012

Going crazy with history - by Vijaya Schartz

What is an author to do when historians of the period do not agree? What could be more frustrating than the main expert on this particular place and time saying: "and here history gets rather confusing" Really? My hero is in a dungeon, suffering from malnutrition, and I can’t even know in which or whose castle along the Marne River he is detained?

That’s what I’m up against with my work in progress: LADY OF LUXEMBOURG, to be published late this year. And that’s what I get for dealing with historical figures. Of course it wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t care so much about historical accuracy. But as an author, I want to be as believable as I can be. I want the good people of Luxembourg, if they happen to pick up this novel, to feel that I did a good job of portraying Sigefroi, their national hero and founding father.

Don’t worry, though, I won’t spoil the story for you. It’s just that sometimes, when dealing with early medieval history, research becomes very difficult. And don’t get me started about Wikipedia or other online sources... Of course, the legends are easier to handle and provide much fodder for all kinds of neat details that make the story intriguing.

But enough venting. Back to writing. Hope you are enjoying the series. The rewards of writing it outweigh the frustrations.

In the meantime, you can read the first three books in the CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE series:


Have a wonderful summer.

Vijaya Schartz, Romance with a Kick
Twitter: @vijayaschartz

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where Do Writing Ideas Come From--Especially for a Circus Romance?

Readers ask me where I get ideas for stories.  Ideas come from everywhere, and often at times when I least expect them--from   newspaper and magazine articles, dreams, personal experiences, books, and movies--and so forth.  Yet from that germ of an idea my characters have sprung to life, fought their “dragons,” and won the battle!        

Okay, now for an example.  One day back when I first started writing, I read a magazine article about a circus family who performed as trapeze artists.  The son who’d been interviewed for the article said he was always careful not to make friends with teens “on the outside” because soon the circus would move on and he might never see that friend again. What a perfect conflict between an everyday teen gal and a guy who is committed to travel and perform with the circus! I decided. I told my critique group, “I think I can do this!” So I started researching the realities of circus life, trapeze artists, and circus veterinary medicine. Then I began writing and rewriting.  Several months later Merry Christmas, Marcie was born.  Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from Silhouette’s YA editor only three days after I’d submitted the manuscript.  I nearly jumped for joy when she offered me a contract! 

After Merry Christmas, Marcie was published, a spin-off evolved--Summer Magic.  Now an older Marcie has emerged (I changed her name to Lisa), plus the central conflict has taken on on a slightly different twist.  Lisa, now a certified veterinarian assistant, accepts a job to work for the circus vet whom we met in the first story.  Although she realizes the earlier assistants had lasted only a short time because the vet was so difficult to please, Lisa is willing to take on the challenge.  She needs money to pay off medical bills following a serious snowboarding accident.  Soon, however, Lisa questions her ability to pass her probation, especially as one calamity with the circus animals follows another.  Even Michael, the dashing trapeze artist whom she’s strongly attracted to, expresses his doubts, which disheartens her further.  Still worse, Michael will not follow her if she leaves.  Recently, he’d given up circus life to work on "the outside" and was totally miserable.  He knew he had to get back to the circus, no matter what.  Again a barrier looms between Lisa and Michael:  she, the “townie” who will always most likely end up on the outside again, and he, the devoted circus performer who will always stay.


When her fiance calls off their engagement, veterinarian assistant Lisa Prentice joins the circus in hopes of escaping the everyday grind. But life under the big top isn't quite what she expected. None of the veterinarian's former assistants managed to please their short-tempered boss, and Lisa fears that her days are numbered, too. Michael Figaro, a dashing young trapeze artist, is also caution about whether Lisa can stay, and because of that, he tries to keep his distance. Still, Lisa finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to him. Although Michael is the aerialist, it is Lisa who is flying on an emotional high wire. What happened to her safety net? Will their love survive?

Reviews for SUMMER MAGIC
"This breezy romance follows Lisa Prentice, a veterinarian assistant, as she begins her new job traveling with the Jessell and Stern Circus. She is interested in continuing the care of an Arabian horse named Ebony that she helped to save while the circus was on a layover in New York. Of course, she has other reasons for "running away with the circus". Her fiance', a prominent lawyer, has recently dumped her for another attorney. Lisa wants to heal by concentrating on her career. Enter Michael Figaro, the star aerialist with the circus and the son of the circus owner. Immediately, there are sparks between the two. However, Michael also has a jealous twin, a trapeze artist named Claudette, and Rita, the pretty aerialist who would like his attention. When Claudette begins to fall in the ring, Michael begins to spend more time with Rita, training her for Claudette's position. Will romance blossom between the two, or will his love for Lisa prevail?

This book is an example of the perfect romance. I enjoyed Ms. Voeller's ability to switch between the point of views of Lisa and Michael. I felt I knew all the characters very well. There were a few side plots beyond Lisa and Michael's romance, and I found that they only enhanced the feeling of the story. This is a great story to read in one sitting and spend a few hours swept away in the magic of the circus." Bethany Payne, Round Table Reviews

Friday, August 10, 2012

Night Secrets by Shirley Martin

Fear and betrayal threaten the kingdom of Avador. Keriam, a princess with supernatural powers, must save her father from assassination. But can she trust Roric, or is he part of the plot?

Roric loved once and lost. He wants to put his past behind him and love Princess Keriam, but he fears she is a witch. And witchcraft is forbidden in the kingdom. If found guilty, she will be burned at the stake. Not even her father could save her.


"Night Secrets" is a wonderful fantasy filled with magic, human kindness and evil...If you enjoy good versus evil fantasy, this one must be on your to be read list." Chere, Paranormal Romance Reviews

"Passionate, exciting, gripping and romantic, Night Secrets is as impossible to put down as it is to forget."
Julie Bonello, eCataRomance

by Shirley Martin

Chapter One

    A slight tug released Keriam’s soul from her body. She floated to the ceiling, amazed as always that she could look down at herself in bed. With a certainty born of past experience, she knew this was no dream. Ever since her mother’s death two years ago, preternatural powers had evolved within her, and she often wondered why. Was it her mother’s way of watching over her from the Otherworld? These night journeys were even more recent and something she must learn to control, if only she knew how.
    She drifted through the bedchamber walls, then once outside, flew over the maples and oaks that bordered the royal domain of Emain Macha, approaching the open countryside. Heading north, she traveled over the many farmsteads nestled in small groupings with their wattle-and-daub houses, the herds of longhorn sheep dotting the open fields. Here and there a hillfort guarded the country. Although it was deepest night, everything looked clear and luminous.
     Maintaining her leisurely flight, Keriam approached the capital city of Moytura, its shops and stores closed, its many taverns and inns dimly-lit but alive with noise and laughter.
     A heavy mist swirled around her, the night air cool and damp. She headed westward to the Plain of Sorrows, a vast land preceded by a meadow and transected by the winding Nantosuelta River. Through the fog, she drifted down among the thick clusters of oak trees lining the riverbank and smiled at the fairies who slumbered in the branches. To her heightened hearing, the rippling water of the Nantosuelata echoed like a waterfall.
    The sound of hoofbeats jolted her. As quickly as her spirit form would allow, she took refuge within an earthberry bush, afraid someone might see her, even in the dim light.
     Two men gathered by the river, their voices audible as they secured their horses to tree branches. Focusing her gaze in the hazy light, she recognized them as officers in her father's army, although she didn't know their names. What were they doing here at this late night hour? One bald and the other blond, they wore simple tunics and short boots.
    "Gamal just returned from a mission," the bald one said. "He should arrive shortly."
     Was that Major Roric Gamal, her father's courier?
    Aimless talk ensued for several minutes, army gossip and tales of female exploits.
     They became silent when Roric Gamal rode up, an officer she'd seen at the palace many times. He dismounted and looped his horse's halter around a tree branch, then approached the others. Younger and taller than the other two, his gait was steady and confident, like one accustomed to authority.
    "Where's General Balor?" Gamal asked. "He should be present." His clipped accent told her he came from one of the southern provinces, Mag Aurfolaig, perhaps.
     "Couldn't come," the bald officer explained. "The general sent me to represent him."
    "Very well," the newcomer said, his baritone voice clear and resonant. "Let's get this business over with, so we can return to our quarters before dawn." Gamal raised his booted foot onto a tree stump and leaned forward, resting his hands on his knee, and lowered his voice. "No dissension now! We have already agreed we must kill him."
    Kill whom? Keriam’s spirit body turned cold. Merciful Goddess, these men are plotting murder!
    The bald man stepped forward, shaking his fist. "Do it and get it over with!"
    "Think before you speak, Dothan! We must proceed with caution." Roric paused. "First, we must bribe a few government officials. Blackmail others. That will take time. The Lug Festival would be the best opportunity for killing him,” he said, looking at the other two. “Don’t you agree?” Receiving affirmative replies, he continued. “Gives us months to plan. And all the crowds there will make it easier for the assassin to disappear among the people and escape.”
    The Lug Festival, only four moonphases away. Keriam drew back, pressing her hand to her mouth, then gasped when her hand passed through her face.
    Roric Gamal recaptured her attention. "We know the king intends to invite King Barzad of Elegia to Avador soon to discuss forming an alliance between the two countries. Last thing we need. If we can keep Avador weak, we should have no trouble gaining control of the realm." He set his foot on the ground and drew himself up to his full height. "But if Avador forms an alliance with Elegia, there go our plans. We must kill the king!"
    Keriam sank to the ground. Her father! They were talking about killing her father! Goddess, no! They must not get away with this evil.
    "Agreed," the blonde man said. "But how do we accomplish this assassination? Remember, General Balor has the final word. Anything we decide must have his approval. Got to have the army behind us."
    "Of course," Roric said. "Now, I've given the plan much thought. Here's how we'll proceed . . ." 
    The warble of a bird alarmed Keriam, daybreak graying the trees.
A tug pulled her spirit back. No, not now! She must discover more of their plan.
    Within a heartbeat, Keriam found herself falling into her body, as if from a great height. She lay stunned, unsure where she was. At last recognizing her surroundings, she wanted to weep, so afraid for her father, her mind awhirl with panic. Somehow, she must discover details of the plot and warn him.
    No one knew of her spirit travels, but what if someone found out? She'd be accused of witchcraft, a practice forbidden in the kingdom. And no one was aware of her other mental powers, of her ability to discern a person's past or see into the future by touching that person. Unfortunately, this talent often didn't work when she needed it most. By the Goddess, why couldn't she see into her father's future? 
    As she heard her maid in the next room, a new fear crashed through her. What if Maudina found out about her nightly trips? Superstitious girl that she was, would her maid report her to the druids? Keriam prayed she wouldn't, hoping she could count on the maid's loyalty. Like all the servants at the palace, Maudina received a sufficient wage, and well-paid servants were more trustworthy than poorly-paid ones. Surely that fact would ensure the maid's faithfulness? 
    The druids held great power in the kingdom, and religion ruled the lives of all of the country's inhabitants. Keriam closed her eyes, imagining her punishment should she be reported to these wise men. If found guilty, she'd be burned at the stake as a witch. Not even her father could save her, assuming he was still alive to try. Keriam said a silent prayer to Talmora, the Earth-Mother Goddess, to keep her father safe. Shifting her position, she thought hard. She must warn her father of the plot against his life without revealing her means of discovery. Would he believe her? He had to. She pushed her woolen bedcovers aside and slid out of bed, tired and groggy but determined.
    No one must ever learn how truly different she was.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


There is a time between wakefulness and sleep that is known as the hypnogogic time. It is a creative time; some call it the genius state. Did you ever find that an idea came to you, something you've pondered for a while, just as you were falling off to sleep, or just as you were waking up?

No doubt, you think you'll remember it for later, but do you? Most likely, you'll forget the concept and probably forget that you ever had it.

It's a good idea to have a pen and tablet or a hand-held tape recorder near your bed. Then when you get an idea, you'll have a record of it. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Born near Pittsburgh, Shirley Martin attended the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from "Pitt", she taught school for one year, then obtained a position as a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines. Based in Miami, she met her future husband there.  After raising three sons, she devoted her time to writing, something she had always wanted to do.

With a vivid imagination and a love of storytelling, Shirley has always enjoyed writing. Her first published novel, "Destined to Love" reflects her familiarity with western Pennsylvania, where she hails from, and her love of romance writing. From this historical romance, she blossomed out to other romance genres. "One More Tomorrow" is a vampire romance, one her publisher dubbed "a sizzling seller". With several fantasy novels and novellas, her writing should appeal to just about every reader of romance. Her books have been sold at Amazon and most major book stores and have garnered great reviews.

A widow, Shirley lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her two cats. 

Monday, August 6, 2012


A Visit with Canadian Author Joan Hall Hovey

Interviewed by Jean Henry Mead

Joan is featured in the book, The Mystery Writers, with Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block and other well-known and bestselling authors.  

In addition to Joan Hall Hovey's critically acclaimed novels, her articles and short stories have appeared in a number of diverse publications. She has also held workshops and given talks at various schools and libraries, and taught a course in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick as well as tutoring with Winghill, a distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.

Joan, your work has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. How would you describe your suspense novels?

I'm always flattered to be compared with authors I admire, but I like to think my own writing is unique to me. Of course being a voracious reader all my life, I'm sure my writing has been influenced by many fine authors. We all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us and paved the way. I'm a big Stephen King fan. Other authors I enjoy are Edgar Allan Poe, Peter Straub, Ruth Rendell and more than I can list here. It's not easy to describe one's own novels, but I will say that I always strive to give the reader a roller coaster ride and a satisfying conclusion. And characters that will resonate with my reader long after the books is closed.

I like to write about ordinary women who are at a difficult time in their lives, and are suddenly faced with an external evil force. I didn't think a whole lot about theme until I had written a couple of books, but I realized with the writing of Chill Waters that my books generally have to do with betrayal and abandonment, and learning to trust again. And more important, learning to trust oneself. Almost any good book will tell you something about the author herself. (or himself.) You can't avoid it.

All my books are generally rooted in childhood. I draw on my life for inspiration and an emotional connection. Then I'm off and running. The seeds for Night Corridor, for example, were planted in my childhood. On Sundays, I went with my grandmother to visit an aunt in the mental institution, once called The Lunatic Asylum. She'd spent much of her life within those walls. They said she was 'melancholy'. Though the sprawling, prison-like building has long since been torn down, the sights, sounds and smells of the place infiltrated the senses of the 12 year old girl I was, and never left. Night Corridor is not about my Aunt Alice, but it was indeed inspired by her.

My latest novel The Abduction of Mary Rose was inspired by a true story as well. After her adopted mother dies of cancer, Naomi Waters learns from a malicious aunt that she is a child of a brutal rape. Her birth mother, a teenager of MicMac ancestry, lay in a coma for eight months before giving birth to Naomi, and died five days later. Feeling angry and betrayed, but with new purpose in her life, Naomi vows to track down the man responsible and bring him to justice.

Are your novels set in your home territory of New Brunswick, Canada? And what inspired them?

My novels are set in fictional towns that could be anywhere in New Brunswick or Maine, since the flora and fauna are similar. Although I did set part of Nowhere To Hide (Eppie Award) in New York. I researched the city but I also spent time there. But New Brunswick, which lies on the Bay of Fundy, Canada, is part of my DNA. And the town where I live, whose streets and hills and shops are bred in my bones, is probably in essence where all my novels are set, whatever fictional name I give them.

What have you stressed in your creative writing classes at the University of New Brunswick?

I stress to students (and myself because we teach to learn) to relax and let the story come to them. Not that you don't have to think; you do of course. But sometimes we think too hard. Imagine, I tell them. Imagine.

Please explain the distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.

I have been a tutor with Winghill School for writing for over 20 years. Most of the correspondence is conducted over the Internet, though a few students prefer to correspond by mail. It's a great school. I enjoy my work and get almost as excited when my students publish as when I do myself. I'm sure I learn as much from them as they do from me.

How has your writing evolved since your first books, Nowhere to Hide and Listen to the Shadows.

Language is important to me, and I hope my work is always improving in some way. Maybe the dialogue is crisper, the transitions smoother, the characterizations deeper, but always evolving. And that comes simply from being an avid reader of the best there is, both in my own and other genres. And writing and writing and writing. Since I both love to read and write, it's not a chore. Too, I like to think I've grown as a human being over the years. I've become more insightful, more compassionate. And that reflects in your writing.

What, in your opinion constitutes a good suspense novel? And what’s more important, character or plot?

With any novel, regardless of genre, characterization is the most important element. Without a character readers can care about and identify with at some level, the most ingenious plot won’t matter. That doesn’t mean your character is without flaws, quite the contrary. Consider the late Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley. He is a ruthless killer, but we are fascinated by his complexities and we're happy to follow him throughout the books.

In the end, I don’t think you can separate character and plot. They are interwoven. With suspense, I am always aware of the thread in my story and I hold it taut, letting it out a little at a time, but never letting the thread go slack. It should grow tighter and tighter until it fairly sings. This is what constitutes a page-turner. It’s a promise I make to my readers and one I take very seriously. Reviews tell me I’ve succeeded for the most part, and that makes me happy.

How has the ebook revolution affected your own work and are the electronic versions outselling your print editions?

Absolutely. It’s totally different now. My first two novels were published by Zebra/Kensington Books, New York, and sold thousands of books. They didn’t take the third one and I was suddenly without a publisher. I didn’t feel up to doing the rounds of agents and publishers again, so I went with a small Canadian publisher, BWLPP Publishing, mainly an ebook publisher who published authors with a track record, but also bring the books out in print.

With ebooks you promote in a totally different way, mainly on the Internet. Although I still do book signings in my local bookstores, I can see that my focus is different now. I’m quite sure I’ll not see those big numbers again, and I really don’t mind. That doesn’t mean I’m not always looking for new ways to promote the books, and without annoying people. Pretty much like most ebook authors. Once, my books could be found in bookstores across Canada and the U.S. That's no longer true.

Now they're available worldwide on the Internet. Sounds great, but that means that you're vying for readers with literally thousands more writers showing up every day, many of whom are self-publishing. Some of those books should never have seen the light of day. But I've also found some excellent new authors among them. We have stars like J.A. Konrath, James Scott Bell, Timothy Hallinan, L.J. Sellers and others who are making a very good living selling their ebooks. So in the midst of this gargantuan storefront window, you have to somehow find a way to make your books stand out. 'Ay, there's the rub'. But the possibilities are endless.

Describe your writing schedule.

I write in mornings when I’m freshest and the day has not yet had a chance to intrude on the muses. I work on other things in the afternoon – tutoring, promoting and whatever else needs doing.

Advice for aspiring suspense novelists.

Try to write true, whatever you write. Find that truth inside the fiction. Write out of yourself. That’s important.

Thank you, Joan.

My pleasure.

You can visit Joan at her website:
She's also on Facebook, Twitter, My Space and Booktown.

"Rockin' Robin" & the Derecho

Derecho! It’s a terrific new scary weather word, just entering our vocabulary, thanks to Climate Change and our meteorologists. It’s a straight line thunderstorm, the kind they speak of as showing a radar “bow echo.” The eastern seaboard recently experienced a knock-out punch from a big one. We here in south central PA took a sideswipe from the big storm, the same one which disappeared the electricity from millions of people, in a swath which ran from the Alleghenies onto the coastal plain of Virginia.

I woke in the night to hear it coming. At first, I thought it was just Norfolk Southern, whose trains power up and down our valley all night, but I grew up in western Ohio, near Xenia, in fact, which blew away in the great tornado outbreak of 1974, so that kind of noise makes me anxious. When I got up, wind was roaring through the open windows, and the night sky looked thick, like a rushing wall of dirty water. Lightning came blasting in, then pouring rain—time to stop staring and run to see if Bob was at the door, looking for sanctuary. Next, run to close windows. Then it was time to get the heck away from those windows, because, along with the lightning and roaring wind, limbs were crashing down, things were striking the siding and there was a series of huge cracks and house-shaking thuds. Someone’s trees—maybe mine—were going over.  

Now, I’ll walk back a step. All summer we’ve been serenaded from the neighbor’s fine tall Norwegian maple by a catbird. IMHO the catbird is the true subject of the old song—sure, you know the one. “He rocks in the tree tops all the day long, huffin’ and puffin’ and a singin’ his song…” All members of the mockingbird family are genius jazz musicians, riffing on their own—and everybody else’s songs. I’ve even heard them do crows, as a sort of end of set caw-da-boom. They take the “catbird seat” to best show off their talents, which is the highest tree or pole or, in days of yore, TV antenna on the tallest house they can find. 

Our storm came hard and fast and left the same way. At 5:30 a.m., the light was just coming up and the sky was clearing. The neighbors, I could tell, were out walking around.  When I came out to join them, I was shocked by the damage. Three large, beautiful maples on the street were ripped apart, looking as if a big hand had come down and yanked the limbs off. Only shattered trunks remained. Enormous branches, leaves, dead wood, siding and kid toys were everywhere. Across the street from me, where the shapely old Norwegian maple had been, was only the shattered stub of trunk. All the branches now lay on the roof of their house.

On the broken tip of the tree sat the cat bird, as he’d done since spring. He kept moving around on the raw wood, gazing at the leafy paradise in which he’d once lived, now on the ground below. He tried to sing once or twice, just a few grace notes, but his heart wasn’t in it. The green shade world in which he’d lived, loved and rejoiced was gone forever.

Time to Love Again

Fifty-eight year old, Rose Asbury knows people think she’s a recluse, but she doesn’t care. She just wants to be left alone. She doesn’t need anyone and no one needs her and that’s just fine. At least she didn’t until this year. For some reason this year is different. Suddenly, she’s melancholy and discontent with her life. 

And the man next door doesn’t help matters. He insists on speaking to her. So her stomach tumbles every time she sees him, that doesn’t mean anything. Hunger pangs, nerves, she just wishes he’d leave her alone. Or does she? To top it all off, his granddaughter and her friends insist on playing in her yard, sledding, building snowmen and throwing snowballs at her house.

Then her sister's ghost shows up. Will Rose come out of her seclusion?

Rose Asbury is my sister – sorry, was my sister.  After I passed away she became a recluse. Not that she doesn’t have reason to, mind you. We lost our parents within months of each other and Rose and I clung to each for support during our grief. Of course our husbands helped, but Rose and I understood each other.
We were finally adjusting when Rose’s husband passed away suddenly. Poor Rose fell apart, not that I blame her. I would have reacted the same way if it had been my husband.  I was just getting Rose to come out of her shell when bam, I was gone.
That did Rose in. She went to pieces and to make matters worse, her kids moved three thousand miles away. She ignored all of her friends, except for Louise. That’s only because Louise wasn’t about to let Rose ignore her. But everyone else gave up. After all, you can only call people so long and have them ignore you, not return your calls and won’t talk to you before you give up. So that’s what everyone did. Louise wouldn’t give up. She marched right over to Rose’s house and read her the riot act until Rose gave in and at least went to the store.
At least now Rose visits Louise and came to grips with life. Not that she has much of a life. Stephen Daniels the guy next aimed to change that – or so it seemed. Good looking guy, too. Anyway, he moved in to take care of his granddaughter while her parents did their tour of duty in the Mideast. He kind of took a shine to Rose. Not that Rose would give the poor guy the time of day. Most she did was nod at him. Amazing she did that.
Well, that’s all she did until that day. I can’t help but giggle thinking about it. She fell on the ice and splat, groceries went flying everywhere. Okay, I admit it, I kind of tripped her. I had to do something. The woman was the most stubborn person I’d ever seen. Always was.
 Stephen came to her aid – or tried to. Rose, true to form, tried to ignore him. That’s when I’d had enough. Nothing else was working so I had to take drastic action.  I showed up to talk some sense into Rose. Of course, she tried to ignore me, too, but I wasn’t about to let that happen.  I was more stubborn than Rose. Always was.  Nope, it was time Rose started to live again. She was much too young to waste her life away.
Now it seems Stephen’s granddaughter, Sarah, saw the whole thing and had other ideas, too. She didn’t care for the way the old lady ignored her grandpa. Yeah, all kids think anyone over 40 is old. What can I say, we thought the same things.
But I digress. Sarah devised a plan to get Rose to talk to her grandpa. She talked her friends into building a snowman in Rose’s front yard. You’d think that wasn’t a big deal right? I mean what harm could a snowman do?
Of course, Rose, being the neighborhood grouch –at least that’s what the kids pegged her as – had a fit.
After that things got real interesting. If you’d like to find out more about Rose, you’ll have to buy the book available from Amazon at
To learn more about my books check out my website at


Doesn't that man ever stay in the house? Rose slammed her car door and tried to ignore
the man next door. Just once, she wished he'd let her get away without trying to talk to her. But
why should this time be any different? Lowering, her head, she hurried toward her house. Right
now she wasn't in the mood for conversation. At least not with him.
"Hello, Rose, uh... Mrs. Asbury." He dropped his snow shovel, grabbed something from
the garage, and hurried toward her.
His relaxed, tall, lean body in a denim jacket and jeans caused a stir of excitement in her.
Even his graying temples aroused something in her that she found way too familiar. Stirred up
feelings she didn't want stirred up. She barely glanced at him, yet felt a tug on her heart.
Damn! Rose threw the scarf around her neck and pulled her coat close against the cold
wind. Why didn't he just leave her alone? You'd think by now he'd realize she didn't care to talk
to him. Her stomach fluttered, a feeling she hadn't experienced in a long time. Hunger pangs, she
dismissed it. Nerves, that's all. She nodded a hello, like always, and hurried to her house. What
was it with him? Why did he keep bothering her? Couldn't he see she wasn't the least bit
Suddenly, her feet slid out from under her. Splat! She landed on her butt, fell back, and
hit her head. Groceries flew everywhere. Oh, crap, just what she needed. She looked up to see
the man leaning over her.
"Are you all right?"
Heat rushed to her face. Other than humiliated, she was fine. A bit sore, but she didn't
think she had any broken bones. She tried to sit up.
"Wait!" He pushed her back down. "You may have broken something." He ran his hands
gently across her ankles and legs and up toward her thigh.
A smoldering heat started deep in her stomach. She held her breath, let it out slowly.
Even through her slacks, the heat from his hand sent tingly sensations down to her toes.
That's it, enough. She pushed his hands away, sat up and managed to get to her knees.
The man tried to help her. Ignoring him, she got to her feet and brushed herself off. Heat radiated
from her face. Damn, it probably turned as red as her coat.
She bent down and picked up her groceries. She still hadn't spoken to him. Why didn't he
leave? She could manage just fine without his help. He picked up some of her canned goods and
put them in the bag. She reached for it.
"Here, this is for you."
"For what?" She looked at the flower in his hand.
"It's a yellow rose. It means friendship."
She could see it was a yellow rose, she wasn't a nitwit. And she knew what it meant.
Frank used to bring her roses every week. She took it from him. "I...uh..." Hell, she didn't know
what to say. Why would he give her a flower?
"I saw it and thought of you." Stephen ran his fingers around his shirt collar.
"Here, let me help." He took the bag of groceries and started walking toward her door.
She grabbed the bag from him and ran into her house, too humiliated to speak and
leaving him to stare after her.
* * *
Stephen stared after Rose. Damn woman made him feel like he did something wrong.
Worse than a kid getting scolded by the principal. Why he bought that damn rose was beyond
him. It seemed like a good idea when he saw them in the grocery store. Especially when he saw
their meanings. Now he wished he hadn't.
Crabby, old woman, she could have at least said thank you. Okay, so it's cold and she
fell, but she did the same thing in the summer. How many times had he seen her working in her
yard? Yet when he came out, she jumped up and hurried into the house. You'd think he tried to
attack her or had some horrible disease.
All he wanted was some friendly conversation. He shook his head. Don't know about her.
Obviously she didn't want anything to do with him. Too bad, she's an attractive woman. Not that
he was looking for anything more than friendship. Hell, he lived here over a year and she never
did more than nod at him. Bet she didn't even know his name.
Crotchety, old biddy.
So why did he bother with her? He really didn't need more friends. He had the Senior
Center and the neighbors a couple doors down, Len and Millie Fisher. Why he insisted on talking
to Rose Asbury he'd never know.
Still, he hoped she wasn't hurt. She had taken a nasty fall. Bet she'd feel it in the morning.
Bet she'd have a good black and blue mark too. He chuckled. Served her right, rude old coot.
Something about her, though. Not sure why, but he wanted to break through that tough
reserve. He shrugged and walked back to the garage, put the shovel away and went into the
Oh, well, can't say he didn't try.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Stock your shelves with spectacular summer reading.  Win one of five $20.00 Amazon gift certificates.  Gift certificates will be drawn monthly.  Two on July 5, Two on August 5, and One on September 5.

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