Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For Better or Worse...

This month the blog posts are about romance. And who doesn’t love a story about a man sweeping a woman off her feet. It’s the first time their eyes meet across a crowded room and the first kiss that gets our hearts beating a little faster.

After seventeen years of marriage, you’d think the romance would turn stale...boring. And perhaps it does, until your guy does something that just knocks your socks off.

Nope. It wasn’t a fabulous Valentine’s Day present (although he did cook me a sumptuous meal for the occasion.) It was how he treated me when I was (still am) at my worst.

Despite taking all the precautions—flu shot (check), washing hands (check), vitamins (check.) The flu hit me with a vengeance.

As the flu symptoms subsided, bronchitis kicked in. I’m a nasty mucus machine right now. If I’d been in my husband’s shoes, I’d find lots of excuses not to be around me. I’m not a pretty sight.

Instead of running away, he has stuck by my side, bringing me hot tea and medicine, making sure the dog has been walked, and telling me that he doesn’t mind my rather inglorious hacking.

If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

So forget the flowers.

Don’t even bother me with poetry.

Give me a man who’ll hug me when my nose is runny and I sound like I’ve swallow a barrel of gravel. The guy who sticks with you when you’re at your worst, now he’s a keeper.

Dorothy McFalls

Mystical Seduction, TWRP
"action-packed plot with plenty of steam" ~ Fallen Angel Reviews

w/a Dorothy St. James Look for FLOWERBED OF STATE May 2011, Berkley Prime Crime
The White House is about to get a green thumb.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Hooray for the To-Be-Read Pile!

Dear Black Rose Readers,

This time of year, when Spring lurks just around the corner but we keep getting blasted back into Winter, is always a time when I sort through my to-be-read pile of books. I read all of them, no matter the genre, to see how the author dealt with character, plot and setting. Many grab me by the throat and pull me in so I can't put them down. So cool!

Mostly, work expands into all areas of life and the to-be-read pile gets way out of hand! Years go by before I can even sort through it.

However, recently I had the opportunity, when illness laid me out flat, to delve into my tottering to-be-read pile and just read and read, since I was too weak to sit at my laptop or go to work.

I unearthed a treasure from "conferences past": The Fallen Host series from 2002 by Lyda Morehouse. Of course, all I have is the middle book, Who is the Liar, and now ordered the rest! Do you ever do this? I remember the first Laurell K. Hamilton book I read was Burnt Offerings. When I finished reading it, I went out and got ALL her back list, and every book since then.

This sci-fi-fantasy by Morehouse takes place in the future and is filled with glorious characters: a complex, feisty woman Inquisitor commanded to search for Artificial Intelligences on the LINK to determine if they have a soul; Archangels galore, including Michael, Gabriel, and that bad-boy Morningstar; a neo-punk-thrash band titled The Four Horsemen, with their achingly vulnerable Cellist, Mai; and the Artificial Intelligences (AI) themselves - Page ibn Mouse and the Dragon of the East.

The AIs are infused with such personality that they are palpable. For example, when separated from his Muslim programmer, Page seeks to honor Ramadan by refusing to "eat" during sunlight hours. Of course, he does not eat, so he forces himself into a Russian factory to avoid partaking of data, which for him is eating. The AI Dragon of the East adores her friend Page. When Page is rescued from an anti-virus program by Morningstar, the AI runs away and hides. Morningstar wants his soul, of course, and after this encounter Page begins to believe he himself must be evil. The Dragon frets about Page and enlists the aid of the Inquisitor.

And of course there are the angels. Morningstar, while such a glorious bad boy, yearns for "Mom" and "Dad" and his brothers, while at the same time reveling in his rebellion. Gabriel is adorable, taking on a black body to conform to the angel's connection with Islam. Michael has become insane but makes a brief appearance to convince the Inquisitor that she may well be facing the "end times."

As I was reading this book, I was following the situation in Egypt, as I have a friend whose young son and husband were in Cairo. They had to be airlifted out to London. Now I'm listening to the actions in Libya - the Middle East is certainly exploding. Scary times. End times? This is Black Rose, after all. We don't flinch here.

Please share treasures from your to-be-read pile (or electronic documents on your E-Reader!) with us.


Carolina Montague

Thursday, February 17, 2011

From My Vampires... With Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day Month! Why not right? There’s no reason that I can think of why Valentine’s Day should be honed down to the fourteenth. I highly doubt Saint Valentine would’ve gone for that!

So in the spirit of Valentine’s (And probably not saints), I thought to chat about…vampires! They're capable of love too and deserve their heyday. Oh I know, their hearts don’t beat and all they typically can think about is blood but somewhere in the midst of all that there once existed a mortal man. Just imagine what that must be like. To have to suppress your natural vamp urges in order to love a mortal woman. Better yet, imagine you were an ancient vampire who desires another vampire but you’ve given up on love.

That would be sad. And regrettable.

So I decided to grill some vampires about romance. For this Valentine’s Month post I’ll be conducting a short interview with the heroes from my vampire series, Gabriel (Darkest Memory) and Salvator (Heart of Vesuvius). Were they pleased a mortal interviewed them? Of course not. Add the basic male ego combined with the ‘I’m better than mere humans’ attitude of vamps and it was a struggle. Still, I got it! Here goes…

SKY: Who is your Valentine this year?

GABRIEL: Said with an English accent, “My true love, Calah.”

SALVATOR: Mi Amore, Alexandria

SKY: If you could change one thing about her, what would it be?

GABRIEL: She has always been perfect, in all lives. I’d change nothing.

SALVATOR: It would have been that she feels no fear but she’s conquered that battle. All’s well.

SKY: You can offer her a treat for this most momentous of romantic holidays. What would it be?

GABRIEL: A walk through time. Sex and romance beneath a willow tree.

SALVATOR: Blood? No, she has all she needs. Most definitely her own art gallery. And me.

SKY: You can take her to one place to show her how much you love her…where would it be?

GABRIEL: The forests of England in mid-summer. Next to a river.

SALVATOR: Home, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. No more Italy for now. We’ve seen enough of the world−present and past−to know that location means nothing. We have one another.

SKY: What’s next for you and your love?

GABRIEL: Well, Calah is putting her career as a journalist on hold and is finally going to write her first novel. I am going to sell our place in Maine and build a castle overseas for us to live in for the next few centuries.

SALVATOR: We don’t know. We don’t want to. It’s been such a challenge finding each other that we will simply enjoy being together for now.

SKY: As a final question, if you could give romance readers one word of advice, what would it be?

GABRIEL: If you truly love someone, tell them. Don’t let too much time go by.

SALVATOR: Never assume you have a woman figured out…you don’t.

Well, there you have it Ladies! A little ‘know how’ from my favorite vamps. Lucky me, they kept their fangs retracted through the interview. I think the truth is plain though. Be it otherworldly or not, love WILL find a way.

I hope everyone spends this month loving and being loved because life is too short not to. (Seems I might have something in common with Salvator. *winks* Don’t tell him that. He’s arrogant enough.)

Learn more about Gabriel from Darkest Memory and Salvator from Heart of Vesuvius at my Website.

Enjoy discovering new authors? Join me at my Blog, A Writer’s Mind as I welcome romance writers to my Celts and More Blog Event. Right now our very own Sharon Donovan is chatting about Charade of Hearts. While I’m currently a very proud Black Rose, I was born a Faery Rose so c’mon over. Chance to win Blue Diamond Earrings and a $15 Gift Certificate to Digi Books CafĂ©!

Because it’s the month of romance and I love vampires so much I can’t help but list my ALL TIME favorite. Armand from Anne Rice’s, Interview with a Vampire (not the hero but has his own tale). While I adore his character, must say, Antonio Banderas who played his part in Hollywood’s version was everything I thought a vampire should be. Hat’s off, love. You hit the nail on the head!

What about you? Do you have an all time favorite vampire lurking around out there from either a book or movie?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Language of Roses

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
            -William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2

The most popular gift to give your sweetheart on St. Valentine's Day is a rose. What other gift could express without words the love and romance one feels? The history of the rose is long and colorful and began with fossil evidence some 35 million years ago. The cultivation of this much beloved flower began 5000 years ago in Asia. Today, there are over 30,000 varieties of roses.

And, did you know the rose has a language all of its own? During the Victorian era, it was customary to convey messages by the color of the flower, and that practice still continues today.

The Language of Roses

Red Roses  - Love, Beauty, Passion, Courage and Respect
Pink Roses - Friendship or Sweetheart
White Roses - True love, Purity, Innocence, Honor
Yellow Roses - Friendship, Joy, Gladness, could also mean jealousy
Orange Roses - Enthusiasm and Desire
Peach Roses - Appreciation, Sincerity, Gratitude
Coral Roses - Desire
Lavendar Roses - Love at first sight, Enchantment, Wonder and Impossibility
Blue Roses - Unattainable, Impossible, Mystery
Black Roses - Farewell

Combining different color roses in a bouquet may also change the meaning you're trying to send. Here are some combinations and their meanings:

Red and Yellow - Happiness and Celebrations
Red and White - Bonding and Harmony
Yellow and Orange - Passion
White and Yellow - Harmony

And here are some other things to consider about roses and their meanings:

Red Rosebud - Purity and Loveliness
White Rosebud - Symbolic of Girlhood
Thorn-less Rose - Love at first sight
Red Roses in Bloom - Gratitude
One Rose in full bloom with 2 buds - Secrecy
Leaves of a Rose Bush - Hope

Even the number of roses have special meaning and significance:

A single rose of any color means life-long devotion
2 Roses - entwined together indicates a marriage proposal
3 Roses - stand for 3 words, "I love you"
6 Roses - speaks of the need to be cherished
11 Roses - you are cherished and treasured
13 Roses - indicates a secret admirer
15 Roses - asks for forgiveness
20 Roses - indicates an interest in you
21 Roses - means I'm committed to you
24 Roses - you are being thought of during every 24 hours of the day
40 Roses - genuine love
50 Roses - love that has never been regretted
99 Roses - love forever
100 Roses - total devotion, two loving souls united till death or till a hundred years
101 Roses - you're my one and only
108 Roses - Will you marry me?
365 Roses - love every single day, love that has remained constant throughout the year
999 Roses - love will last till the end of time
1001 Roses - faithful love that will live on forever

Not all the colors we have for roses today can be found in nature. Some colors are genetically manipulated in a laboratory where botanists create hybrid roses. One such flower is the Black Rose. There are many meanings for black roses, such as black magic, death, sadness, farewell, and the ending of a relationship. Roses with a deep, dark, blood-red color are also referred to as a black rose. This color represents elegance and sophistication, the erotic and shadowy side of human nature. It also indicates a new beginning, a journey into unexplored territory. Also, courage and resistance, death to old habits and joy for the birth of a new era.

The meaning behind the color truly depends on the sender. But, for the black rose, in particular, I have a feeling those reading this might think of vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, demons and other mystical creatures that reside in the darker side of our garden.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What is Romantic?

My idea of what is romantic has evolved as I've matured.

At a young age, nothing made my heart race more than receiving an intricately folded piece of spiral notebook paper containing the words, "I like you. Do you like me?"

When I became a teenager, it was the unexpected phone call from a boy I had a crush on. Those conversations often went much like the scene with Christina Applegate and leather-jacket guy in The Sweetest Thing..."What's up with you?"; "Nothing. What's up with you?"; "Nothing. What's up with you?"; and so on and so forth.

In college, romance involved being spun around on the dance floor to country music until I was dizzy and laboring to breath. There was something about a guy in tight jeans waltzing me around with skill and finesse that really got my heart racing.

In my twenties, romance involved nice dinners with an excellent bottle of wine, intimate conversation and heated glances. Yep, that did it for me.

Now, my idea of romance is hubby taking our son so I can get a few hours to myself. I always come back refreshed and completely in love with my man. 

A romantic gesture is not about the amount of money spent or the activity engaged in, it's about the feeling-the racing pulse, pounding heart, sweaty palms, nervous butterflies, and all the crazy, nerve-wracking, euphoric sensations inspired by the gesture.

In all my stories, His Ship, Her Fantasy; His Hope, Her Salvation; and Twice is Not Enough, the ultimate expression of love, the most romantic gesture I think any man can make, is the acceptance of the woman he loves for who she is, flaws and all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day

It's that time of the year again. Valentine's Day. The day lovers exchange gifts and declare their love for each other. Supposedly, to the Pagans of long ago, February 14th was the day birds and animals began their annual hunt for a mate. I thought that was an interesting fact.

For me, it's only been since I met my hubby that I've liked Valentine's Day. One particular day doesn't stand out in my memory, but some of the gifts the hubster gave me do. While I love flowers, I don't really like to see them cut. The cut flowers, while pretty, die in about a week and all this money has been spent on now-dead flowers. So I told hubby to buy plants. Now I have a house full of plants. They sit in every window, out on the porch, in the entryway. My favorite was a lemon tree. It actually sprouted several lemons, which were growing to a size where they could be cut. Unfortunately, the plant met my dog. The dog loved the tree. Pulled it right out of its bucket, ate the lemons (and spit them out) and thought the trunk was his own personal chew toy. Sigh. I never did get to taste the lemons. But I have a ton of dog stories. :)

Hope each of you has a wonderful, romantic Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Can men really understand women by reading romance

Valentine's Day this month :) Always a lovely time to be a romance writer.

With Valentine's Day in mind I thought I would share a little article with you. Over the years I've heard a few men say they should try reading romance as it might help them understand women. Here's a story about some men who did. A recently engaged writer hopes to be the best husband possible and decides to read the book on his fiance’s nightstand with a few of his friends in order to gain some insight. ...

“Spontaneity, I think it’s a big thing,” The Executive said. “Malcolm’s always doing things like grabbing her breasts, fixing bikes, punching guys’ faces.”

It seemed we were onto something. I scribbled “spontaneity” on my notepad, and we dug deeper. We read some sex scenes aloud. The Jock reached for carrots and dip. ...

It's worth reading the article just for the punch line. :)

PS: I've got a new novella out so if you're looking for a quick read to enjoy during the month that celebrates the kiss, try REDEMPTION'S KISS.

Blurb: Lauren's been alone for a long time, too long. After all, there are few who understand her condition and need for blood - then she meets Rhys. He seems like a perfect match on all counts, until her bite sends him running.

Rhys thinks he’s met the woman of his dreams, that is until she sinks her teeth into his neck and his dream turns into a nightmare.

Now Rhys has a choice to make. Is being with Lauren the biggest mistake of his life? Or is she his salvation?

Enjoy your week.
--Louise Delamore


Monday, February 7, 2011

Black Rose Call for submission!

Hello All!

I am very excited to introduce a couple of specific call out for submissions. The first one you may have already investigated if you happened to notice the link on top of this blog:) I'd like to post it here as well for all who may not have noticed and those who drop by from time to time.

Black Rose is looking for stories relating to the Pagan holidays.

*Yule (similar to Christmas)
*Imbolc (candlemass)
*Ostara (Spring Equinox)
*Beltane (May Day)
*Litha - Midsummer (Summer Solstice)
*Lughnasadh (First Harvest)
*Mabon (Autumn Equinox)
*Samhain (End of the Celtic year)

Length requirement: 20-40K
Heat level: Spicy
Stories should involve characters that fit within the Black Rose guidelines.

For more information, please go to: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/, click “About Us” then proceed to “Submissions” and Black Rose(left sidebar) guidelines.

Please submit this special call directly to Callie Lynn Wolfe, Senior Editor at callielynnwrp@aol.com.

Place the words Pagan Holiday Call in the email subject line. Submissions will be considered and a response given between 14-21 days of receipt of manuscript. Submissions are open now!

Black Rose is always looking for fresh new stories covering a variety of paranormal subjects, and we are always interested in new paranormal romance authors. So if you've got that hot were, sexy vamp, to die for demon or any dark paranormal creature you can conjure up, we are looking for you! See our guidelines on The Wild Rose Press website!

The next call out would be for TWRP Black Rose authors. I would like you to consider submitting free reads to boost your visibility and give yourself added publicity. Below please find the submission guidelines for "FREE READS" also known as "Rose Petals" around the garden.

Rose Petals (Free Read) Guidelines
Requirements for submission.
These guidelines are firm.

1. Author must be published with the Wild Rose Press with a minimum of (1) full length rose/rosebud and/or (2) shorter length minirose/rosette.

2. Author may only submit free read in the line that they are published with.

3. Free read length min 750 max 2500 words.

4. Author must hold rights to work.

5. Author will submit contract via email.

6. Author will not receive galley, but will approve any changes to manuscript.

Additional information

• No costs to the author. Publisher will provide generic cover, minor editing and will distribute title through the Wild Rose and Wilder Rose (scarlet titles) websites.

• Stories are not be queried to editors; therefore only established authors with TWRP will be accepted for this promotion. Publisher may choose not to publish free read if story does not meet TWRP standards for quality.

• Free read titles will only be available in pdf format.

• Free read titles will not be given scheduled release dates, but will be uploaded to the website when complete and to coincide with production’s schedule.

• Authors will be required to sign publishing contract with TWRP.

• Authors will only be permitted to post one paragraph excerpts for promotion of free read. Authors are not allowed to distribute free read, but must refer readers to website for download. The purpose of the free read promotion is to bring readers to the website.

If you have any questions, please by all means, post as comments to this post so others who have the same questions and perhaps fear asking will benefit from the answers. I will pop in from time to time to check on queries and questions.

Callie Lynn Wolfe
Senior Managing Editor
Black Rose Imprint
The Wild Rose Press

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy early Valentines Day to all my fellow TWRP authors. We all know the history of Valentines day (named after any number of saints named Valentine, no one knows for sure which one - if any one in particular) But Valentines day has moved away from its religious beginnings to become a day for people to express their feelings to the person they love most intimately. This is a great holiday for romance authors. We have the opportunity to examine the motivations and expectations behind not only our own relationships, but those of our characters as well. Why does she love him when everyone else finds him to be a scoundrel? Why does he love her after she hurt him so badly?  As romance writers, we are lucky enough to have lives filled with love and passion. I love seeing the world through my character's eyes, to feel the fresh passion of new love. And this time of year it rekindles my own passions for my special sweetheart. Not that I don't love him madly all year 'round, but with our hectic lives, sometimes we need a reminder to remember how much we love eachother, and why he still makes my heart beat a little too fast.
I hope you all have a wonderful Valentines Day and may you cherish all those people in your life that you love, and appreciate all those who love you.
Happy writing!

Sharron Riddle w/a Julianna Sage

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quick... name your favorite...

Quick, name your current favorite author. Don't think, just write down a name.

Now, tell me your all time favorite book from this author.

The next one is harder... tell me your favorite WRP author. And don't go all PC on me, I want a from your heart answer and the book that made you come back to that author over and over.

Now let me ask you... is the answer to your first two questions here hold any resemblance to the author you named from TWRP?

Reading is like coming home out of the cold. We grab a book, our e-reader or even our computer and curl up on the couch with big jammies and either hot coco, or a glass of wine. It's so nice to fall in love again with each book we read.

So if you don't have a big lug to hold onto on February 14th, be sure and grab one from TWRP. There are plenty to go around.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Unplanned Romance

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and couples are scrambling to think of that one perfect evening to celebrate. I have a double dilemma. My husband's birthday is February 13, so I have to think of something special to celebrate both occasions. Most years, he gets a combo gift and dinner out. And this year is no different. I bought his gift last night and we have reservations for three at Maggiano's on the twelfth. Yes, I said three. My youngest daughter wants to help her daddy celebrate his birthday, and after thirty years of marriage, I'm have no plans to make Valentine's Day the most romantic evening ever. Because in my opinion, romance is often spontaneous and not planned at all.

One of the most romantic evenings I've had recently was when we went to the beach for New Years. My husband and I went out to dinner on New Year's Eve but it was nothing special. The next night, however, turned into a very romantic evening. And it wasn't planned. Before going out for supper, we walked on the beach at sunset. The weather was unseasonably warm and there was a low lying fog on the beach. The view was breath-taking. There was also a Christmas tree on the beach decorated with shells.

We held hands, talked, and shared a kiss as we watched the sun splash mauve, pink and orange across the water. It turned into a very special evening without any preparations at all.

In October, we went to Mum-fest in New Bern. It was a fun day, but not particularly romantic. Until we decided to take a carriage ride through the historic city. It was our first carriage ride together and quite romantic. And again, it was something we hadn't planned on doing. It just happened.

Still, there are times when a little planning goes a long way. A bottle of wine. Dinner and dancing. A weekend get-away to the mountains or the beach. But if money is an issue, a quiet evening at home can turn into a wonderfully romantic evening. Few plans are needed. A snuggly blanket, a roaring fire, and a movie you both love can lead to so much more if the heart and mind are open to romance.

Love isn't always about lingerie and roses. Sometimes, it's just a word or a touch that set the heart on fire, and those spur of the moment decisions can turn into a beautifully romantic evening if we just let it.