Sizzling Romance...Small Towns
Simply Irresistible

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sex Talk with award-winning author Norah Wilson

I met award-winning author Norah Wilson after winning a chapter critique she’d donated to an online fundraiser. She enjoyed my writing, gave me tons of invaluable feedback, and I will always be thankful to her for helping me make There’s Only Been You the best it could be. I also read her New Voice In Romance winning novel, Lauren’s Eyes, which I absolutely loved!

And today I’m thrilled to have her join us for a little Sex Talk…

Norah, thank you for being such a great sport and allowing me this opportunity. Now, let’s talk SEX. First question: When writing a love scene, whose POV do you prefer to write from?

Oh, what a great question! I don’t know that I have a preference. I love writing them from either POV.

But when it comes down to it, it’s no different than picking the POV character for any other type of scene. Who has the most to lose or gain here? How can I have the most impact? I tend to stick with one POV character for a whole scene, and if one character has the POV, the sequel is likely to be in the other character’s POV. But if I’m going to switch POVs mid-scene, it will be with a love scene, so I can illuminate it from the other side.

Oh, and a great answer! I also love writing them from both POV (I love to get into my hero’s head!). Do all of your love scenes have the same heat level, or do you tend to write hotter sex with certain sub-genres?

I think of my sex scenes as very hot but tastefully so (without resorting to ridiculous euphemisms!), and very much emotionally charged. If I had to assign a typical flame rating, I’d call it a 3, particularly for my romantic suspense. I’d have to say, though, that the sex scenes in the paranormal romances are hotter – maybe 3.5, occasionally bordering on 4. I think that’s partly because of the expectations of the genre, but too, it owes something to the raw material I have to work with in a paranormal. For instance, in the world I’ve created for my vampires, once the H&h are engaged in coitus and blood has been taken, they achieve a sort of shared consciousness of each other’s emotions and sensations. That’s just bound to be hotter, right? And the language might get a little franker.

Hey, I’m a-okay with frank language…LOL So how do you balance the romance and emotion of a love scene with the mechanics so it retains a feeling of romance and not just sex?

I think deep POV is the answer. If I am that deeply embedded in a character’s skin, and have spent the last 40,000 – 50,000 words getting them to this point, I have a lot invested. And I’m going to take every last bit of their fears and hopes and desires and vulnerabilities in there with me when I write it.

Also, it’s a progression. In the romances of my youth, the consummated sex scene (or sometimes just the promise of it) was the icing on the cake after the H&h had earned their happily ever after. With today’s romances, sex just opens up a whole new level of complication. The first sex scene might be the result of high adrenaline or some situational element, and there’s always the strangeness, the newness of that first encounter. Sometimes it is about what they’re experiencing physically. But as the relationship progresses and deepens, as the protective layers are peeled away, it becomes a very different act. That’s my very favorite thing, tearing down their defenses and leaving them truly naked.

And being naked is truly the key. *cheesy grin* Are sex scenes the same in each sub or are there different considerations between say, a paranormal and a western?

As I said earlier, the paranormal really gives you license to play with sex in a way that the non-paranormal stuff doesn’t. I mean, to an extent, sex is sex is sex. It’s pretty mechanical – until you add brand new dimensions, like shared sensations. Imagine experiencing sex normally, but with the added dimension of being simultaneously plugged into your partner’s sensory input. J

And even that you can play with. In my soon-to-be-released vampire romance NIGHTFALL, the hero, Aiden Afflack, is a hunter who’s been slaying rogues and bedding women for centuries, and the sex is always fantastic. Until he meets storm chaser/photographer Sam Shea. Sam’s severely tamped down psychic powers are what guide her to these fantastic photo ops she’s made a career of capturing, but her exceptional mind also gives her the power to shut Aiden out at will. After 200 years, he’s finally found a woman of mystery. For him, there is strange walking-a-tight-rope kind of thrill in making love with Sam and not knowing exactly what she wants. As he would put it, What’s the damned point where the edge is if you don’t have to feel for it?

Is there anything you won’t write?

I don’t write anal and I don’t write sex toys. Not that I disapprove of either, but I don’t incorporate them for the same reasons I don’t incorporate threesomes. My muse lives pretty squarely in Romancelandia. And in Romancelandia, the H&h’s relationship is new and exciting and they are each all the other needs, and it will be some time before they require sex aids or have to resort to new frontiers to spice up the love life. FWIW, I don’t mind taking a trip to Erotica, as my Kindle will attest, but I leave the writing of it to other talented authors.

Oh, and another thing! Unless the hero is a vampire and there’s zero risk of STDs or pregnancy, I rarely write unprotected sex, and if I do, there’s a reason.

Yeah, your muse sounds a lot like mine. J My good friend Liza writes anal and threesomes…which leads into my next question. What raises your personal ick antennae, etc.?

Oh, gosh! Another great question! Let me see – too much dripping and oozing can be a bit of a turnoff. That’s prolly why I’m a 3-flame kinda girl. But generally, in Romancelandia, there’s not too much that disturbs me. With the more erotic stuff, I will confess that sometimes the germaphobe in me raises its head.

I love a good erotic romance myself, but I hear ya about the ‘oozing’…LOL What’s your favorite part of the love scene?

I have two answers for this. (I can tell you’re not even surprised by now.)

Okay, one of the things I love to do is inflict bad sex on the H&h. Yes, I am a real B like that. J And often it’s the first time. Unmet expectations, mismatched expectations, crossed wires…. It just provides so much potential for fresh conflict.

But once we’re beyond that, my favorite sex scenes to write are the ones closer to the end, where tenderness begins to supplant more carnal instincts as the predominant emotional tone.

Do you write oral sex?

Absolutely! But again, it’s sort of a progression. Usually, it requires (and signifies) a level of trust that has developed between the characters.

Okay, I admit it. I love oral sex. Both writing it and reading it. *grin* Here’s something I‘ve often pondered—Do you think a novel should have a certain number of love scenes?

I think a novel can be very hot with no consummated love scenes at all, or with only one. But I tend to write at least 3-4 major love scenes in mine. Personally, I think they are integral to the development of the relationship. And I know writers who just type “INSERT LOVE SCENE HERE”, an go back to writing the story. They only come back to write that scene when the book is done. I could NEVER do that, because in my world, every breath, every whisper, every touch changes things. And until you live through that love scene with your characters, how can you possible know the nuances of how their relationship is changed? How, therefore, can you write blithely on? Yes, I know they have a good idea what the characters’ emotional pitch is going to be on the other side of the love scene, but I just can’t do it. Maybe because I can no longer feel that I am still authentically in their heads.

What do you do, if anything, to set the mood before writing a love scene? (I’ve heard some people light candles, slip into slinky lingerie, etc.)

Probably not bad advice! And I’ve been known to write with an after dinner glass of wine for sure! But typically, to write a love scene, the only thing I have to slip into is my writing trance. Most of the time, that’s not unduly hard to do. But I will say, I am challenged sometimes in the winter to write a really good love scene. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Not that I’m plunged into the depths of despair or anything like that. But I definitely feel more socially withdrawn, emotionally numbed and inclined toward carb loading and hibernation. So when SAD strikes, I find I have to work harder to access my own emotions and find real empathy for these characters.

You probably saw this one coming…Which of the love scenes you've written so far is your favorite?

Oh, what a wicked, wicked question! You would make me choose? I can’t! That would be like saying I love Aiden more than Delano or Quigg or Ray or Tommy. But okay, I’ll do it. (Just don’t tell the other guys!)

I think my favorite love scene might be from Nightfall, when Sam realizes she’s been treating Aiden like every other woman has – like a freakin’ rock star or something. She confronts the fact that she’s been no better than the vampire groupies who clamor for a piece of him. But everything she’s come to know about him as a man suddenly meets and merges with her image of him as the larger-than-life superhero. In a flash of intuition, she realizes that he hasn’t been touched by a hand that truly loved him in centuries A hand that wanted to give and not take. Of course, she vows to make sure that by the time she’s done with him, he will know that she touched him with love. And she delivers on that promise. Aiden’s vulnerability in this scene just slayed me.

Oh, wow…*sigh*…now that’s sexy. So how do you keep your love scenes fresh from one book to the next?

I think in the big picture, I find myself repeating things (did I mention bad sex the first time out is great?) And I repeat what I see as heroic attributes (my heroes often find themselves pulling back from sex when they realize the heroine is not in a good place to make that decision). But in the small picture – the minutiae that make one couple’s encounter different than the next couple’s – I find it’s always fresh. I am in their heads, in their skins, and this is THEIR experience, not someone else’s. I hope that by remaining connected to this deep POV, I am delivering an experience that is equally fresh for the reader.

Norah, thanks so much for joining me today! Your insight was invaluable…and a lots of fun, too!

**And now for the best part! Norah is giving away not one, but TWO of her amazing e-books (winners’ choice of format)! One copy each of Guarding Suzannah & The Merzetti Effect! All you have to do is leave her a comment (and don’t forget to include your email address!). The winners will be posted on Friday, September 16th, and will also be notified by email.J

Guarding Suzannah, the first book in Norah’s romantic suspense series To Serve and Protect.

There's no love lost between criminal defense lawyer Suzannah Phelps and the Fredericdton police department. Now she's being stalked, but she won’t turn to the police, who may be behind it. But when Det. John Quigley learns of it, he's determined to protect her, no matter who is harassing her. They've struck sparks off each other in the courtroom, and he's burning to do the same in the bedroom.

Sizzling chemistry and tingling suspense are combined in GUARDING SUZANNAH to make it the best romantic suspense I've read. I think this award-winning author has produced an edge of your seat beginning to a great series!”

~ The Romance Reviews

The Merzetti Effect, Norah’s award-winning vampire romance…

Dr. Delano Bowen has searched over a century for a cure for his vampirism. At last, he's found it in nurse Ainsley Crawford, a descendent of the Merzetti family, carriers of an anti-vampirism agent. She has no idea of the genetic gift Delano is reaping. When danger threatens, he draws her close to protect her. But when attraction flares, hot and urgent, she could literally be the death of him.

Expertly plotted, with masterfully crafted characters and vivid, polished prose, this extraordinary novel launches Norah Wilson into the upper echelons of the vampire genre.”

~ Julianne MacLean, USA Today Bestselling Author

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is It Just Me, Or Does My Hero Look Like Thorsten Kaye?

I've been watching soap operas since I was a little girl at my mother's knee, and over the years I've watched many: All My Children, One Life To Live, Guiding Light, Young & the Restless, General Hospital, Port Charles, Days Of Our Lives, Passions, Ryan's Hope. I can remember watching Roger Thorpe drag Holly through the jungle, Karen Wolek break down on the stand, and so many of my favorite couples fall in love: Patrick and Marty, Jack and Erica, Todd and Blair, Tad and Dixie, Caleb and Livvie, Sonny and Brenda, Josh and Reva, Ian and Eve, Sami and Lucas, Kevin and Lucy, Todd and Tea, Zach and Kendall...I could go on and on!

I fell in love with romance novels in my teens—again thanks to my mother. I'd watched her curl up on her bed each night with a good book until, eventually, curiosity got the better of me. The first book I read was The Wolf and the Dove by the late-great Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I admit, I barely understood it, but by the time I finished, I was completely—and I mean completely—hooked!

It was only natural that my love of reading romance novels transitioned into a love of writing them. And of course I still watch my soaps faithfully.

I guess my point is, I'm a romance junkie.

So imagine my absolute delight when my two favorite worlds collided, and I got my first look at the cover for my newest release, Golden Opportunity--I thought, "OMG, my hero looks just like Thorsten Kaye!" Well...maybe it's a little wishful thinking on my part, but you be the judge. *grin* (The cover model is actually the very yummy Jimmy Thomas)

Unfortunately, I lost my mother just a few short months ago. So when I learned that OLTL and AMC had both been cancelled, it hit me pretty hard. We'd commiserated over losing Guiding Light (and As The World Turns, Another World, Passions, Port Charles, Ryan's Hope, and many others...), but I was on my own now dealing with the loss of my two favorite soaps. I cried, and I mean I cried my heart out. I knew it was a combination of things, the reason it hit me so hard. And with my mom gone I was crying for the both of us. We'd never again laugh over something David Vickers said, or argue over who was the better couple—Todd and Blair or Todd and Tea.

But then a miracle happened in the form of online distribution company Prospect Park. They'd purchased the rights to OLTL and AMC, giving fresh hope to the millions of devoted fans who'd been fighting so hard to save their precious shows!

I know it's silly, but part of me believes my mother may have had something to do with it. She watches over me, so she knew how devastated I was over the double loss. No more Zach & Kendall? No more Todd Manning (I love both Trevor St. John and Roger Howarth, two of the most amazing actors on daytime)? No more Erica Kane, no more fights between powerhouses Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser? The thought was inconceivable...almost as unthinkable as knowing I'd never be able to pick up the phone again to call my mom.

I've only ever watched the occasional show online, when I miss a favorite show, but I have every intention of watching both of my favorite shows online. I don't have my mom to chat with about soaps anymore, but I would sure love to hear from anyone out there reading this post! Please, I'm desperate for some soap talk!

And if anyone is as curious as I was to discover just how addicting a good romance novel can be, please check out my titles (and the rest of my yummy covers)!

Amazon Barnes & Noble

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sample Sunday - A Fair Of the Heart, Chapter One

Sample Sunday, what a fabulous idea! I hope you enjoy the first chapter of A Fair Of the Heart, Book 1 of the Welcome To Redemption series I wrote with my friend and critique partner, Stacey Joy Netzel. And check out the July deal we're offering at the end of the chapter. :-)

A Fair Of The Heart

Single mother, and work-at-home beautician, Lauren Frazier can barely keep a roof over her head, let alone stop it from falling down around her. When handyman Caleb Hunter shows up at her door for a haircut, he’s the answer to her prayers—and the attraction is instantaneous. Too bad her troublesome ten-year-old son isn’t quite as thrilled to have Caleb hanging around.

Old wounds have kept Caleb from returning to Redemption permanently. When he receives word of his mother’s unexpected death, guilt and regret bring him home again, but will the love of a good woman keep him there? Beautiful, witty, and strong, Lauren excites Caleb like no woman ever has, but she’s a package deal, and he’s not sure he’s prepared to take on a ready-made family.

Chapter One

“I believe this is yours.”

Lauren Frazier met the teasing gaze of the handsome stranger standing on her porch as he handed over the knob to her front door. She promptly burst out laughing, examining the ancient piece of crap with a shake of her head.

“Sorry,” she said, bringing it down to a chuckle. “But the handle on my back door fell off earlier this morning.”

The stranger grinned. “I might stay home today, if I were you.”

“Ya think?” She tossed the knob on the floor beside the shoe rack and stepped back. “So, what can I do for you?”

His keen brown eyes searched her living room and then the kitchen, his confusion obvious. “I’m not sure if I’m in the right place…do you cut hair?”

“I do. Sorry, the beauty shop sign fell off the house a few weeks ago.”

His lips twitched. “I need a trim. The librarian recommended you. Said you work out of your home.” He held out his hand. “Caleb Hunter.”

“I’ll have to send Matt a thank-you note. Lauren Frazier.” She shook his hand, and then gestured him inside. “I work out of my mud room. It’s just off the kitchen.”

He followed her through the house into the mudroom, which doubled as both her laundry room and her single-chair hair salon.

After a quick glance around, he sat down in the barber chair and leaned back with his long legs sprawled out. “Don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these in someone’s house before.”

“I got a deal on it from a salon in Green Bay that closed last year.” Lauren studied him from the corner of her eye as she pulled out a clean plastic cape and her trimming shears. Roughly six feet tall, with broad shoulders, slim hips, and a muscular upper body, Mr. Caleb Hunter could have walked right off the cover of GQ magazine. He had big, bedroom brown eyes, full sexy lips, and a patrician nose that looked as if it’d seen a fist or two. His crowning glory, a thick mop of wavy auburn hair, needed at least an inch trimmed off—Lauren itched to run her fingers through it.

Thank you, Matt.

She stepped up behind him and covered him with the cape, securing it with a hair clip. His heady masculine scent assailed her senses, and Lauren resisted the urge to lean in and get a big whiff of his spicy aftershave. Whoa, girl, get a grip. He met her gaze in the mirror, and she swore she saw blatant interest in his eyes. She ran a comb through his hair. “You’ve got a gorgeous head of hair, Caleb Hunter. So, who’s to thank, your mom or dad?”

He cleared his throat, and if Lauren didn’t know any better, she’d swear her innocent little question had upset him.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to pry. It’s part of the job, you know? Make small talk.”

“I know. It’s just...I lost my mother recently.”

Lauren’s hands froze. “I’m so sorry. Open mouth, insert foot. That’s me.”

“You couldn’t have known. Don’t worry about it.”

Lauren nodded and got back to work on his hair. She’d love to ask him a few more questions, like what’s his sign, boxers or briefs, top or bottom, but thought better of it. Good God, the man’s mother just died. Not to mention, the last thing she wanted or needed was a man in her life—although if Bob Vila showed up on her doorstep right about now, she’d drop down on bended knee so fast it’d make his head spin.

She met Caleb’s gaze in the mirror again. “So, are you planning to go to the fair this weekend?”

“I hadn’t thought about it,” he admitted. “Guess I might take a walk through.”

After brushing the hair clippings from his neck and shoulders, Lauren swept the cape away and tried to hand him a mirror.

He waved it away and pulled out his wallet. “I’m sure it’s fine. So what do I owe you?”

“Ten bucks.” She accepted the twenty he handed her and opened her cashbox to pull out a ten.

“Keep it,” he said. “Put it toward a new doorknob.”

With a grateful nod, she stuck the bill back in the box. “Thanks.”

Caleb winked at her and turned to leave. He stepped on a loose floorboard on his way to the door. “Your husband’s not much of a handyman, is he?”

“I’m divorced. And, no, he never was much of a handyman. Philandering? Now, there’s a sport he excelled at.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—”

She waved him off. “Consider us even in the foot-in-mouth department.”

He held her gaze for a moment, and then casually glanced around. Lauren inwardly cringed. By the time her ex had left her for greener pastures of the big-boobed variety, the house had pretty much been falling down around her ears. And with only one income to pay the bills, mortgage, and take care of her two kids, there wasn’t much leftover for home repairs.

“I’m not very handy either, as you can see.” She shrugged, making no apologies for her lack of carpentry skills.

He surprised her with a soft chuckle. “Yep. Got that. Listen, I have some free time later this afternoon. It wouldn’t take me long to do some general repairs.”

Lauren stared at him for several heartbeats, at a loss for words. No one had ever offered to help before. “I appreciate it, but...well, truth is I wouldn’t be able to pay you much. And by much, I mean nothing.” She gave him a cheeky grin.

“I wouldn’t accept your money anyway. I was thinking more along the lines of old-fashioned bartering.”

She crossed her arms and cocked a brow. “You’re entering dangerous territory, Mr. Hunter.” Okay, so the guy was a hottie. Didn’t mean she’d jump into bed with him to get a few doorknobs reattached or a few loose boards nailed down. Or the closet door in Emma’s room put back on track, or the screen in Max’s bedroom window patched, or replacing the vanity door hinges in the upstairs bathroom, or—

“I meant supper, Ms. Frazier. As in a home-cooked meal? Haven’t had one in years and thought a couple hours of home repairs might be worth some meatloaf and mashed potatoes, maybe some buttered rolls.”

Lauren’s cheeks grew hot, surprising her. Blushing? Her? Now there’s a novelty. “I can do supper. Although my son, Max, might run away from home if I made meatloaf. How about chicken and rice bake, and some of those pop-open crescent rolls?”

“Throw in dessert, and it’s a deal.”

Lauren leaned a hip against the wall. “Well, now, dessert is a whole other ballgame. Especially ‘home-cooked’ dessert.”

He grinned. “Name your price.”

“Max’s bottom dresser drawer. It’s been stuck shut for months.”


“What else?”

He stuck out his hand. “Deal.”

* * *

Caleb stopped at the library on his way back to Lauren’s house to recheck-out the Electrician’s Handbook. Matt Jacobs looked up when he entered, a grin replacing his studious frown.

“Finally got that mop trimmed, I see. So, did you end up going to Lauren or old man Krause?”

Caleb set the book on the counter and browsed through the stack waiting to be put back on the shelves. “I got called into the barbershop to fix some shelving yesterday. Old man Krause’s hand was shaking so hard, it’s a miracle he didn’t clip his customer’s ear off. I went to Lauren’s.”

Matt laughed. He walked over and picked up the handbook. “What do you think? Ready for the exam?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be. I’d like to check it back out, though, read it one last time before I take the exam. Probably next Friday.”

“Thinking about staying in Redemption then?”

Caleb swiped his hand through his newly shorn hair. After returning to the states from active duty, he hadn’t felt...comfortable returning to his hometown. He’d ended up heading to Chicago with a fellow army buddy, where he’d spent the last thirteen years doing carpentry work, plumbing, and even dabbling in electricity. He’d discovered a talent for the latter, and after several months of studying, finally felt ready to take the licensing exam.

But stay in Redemption permanently? Truth be told, he was torn. He’d only meant to stay for a few days, but upon returning home for his mother’s funeral, Caleb had felt the strongest sense of peace. Usually, he couldn’t wait to get the hell outta Dodge.

He’d talked to his boss just the night before, and the gruff old codger had made it clear—Caleb had one week to return, or he wouldn’t have a job waiting for him when he did. And yet, despite the warning, Caleb took on two more jobs just that morning, extending his stay in Redemption indefinitely.

It wasn’t as if he had anyone special waiting for him back in Chicago anyway. Caleb had dated plenty of women over the years, but he’d never been the relationship type. Not that he couldn’t be faithful to one woman. He’d just never met one that held his interest long enough, or that he’d wanted to get to know on a deeper level.

Until today.

“It’s a definite possibility.” Caleb tossed his keys and caught them with a jingle. “Catch you later, Matt.”

He arrived at Lauren’s house around three-thirty. She stood on the front porch waving a brand new doorknob assembly, still in the package, and sporting a huge grin. A white tank top and stonewashed low rider Levis showed off a great tan and incredible body. Her shoulder-length, honey blond curls were held up on either side of her beautiful face by gold barrettes, and small hoops hung from her earlobes. Eyes as blue as Lake Michigan twinkled up at him.

“Love the tool belt,” she said, gesturing him inside.

“I have backup in my car. Electric drill, power saw, grenades.”


He stepped inside and sniffed the air. “Wow, if chicken bake tastes as good as it smells, I may start breaking your furniture myself.”

“No need. I make it at least once a week. Both my kids love it.”

At that moment, an adorable little pipsqueak dashed in from the kitchen, blond curls bobbing all around. She wrapped her arms around Lauren’s legs and gazed up at him with wide-eyed curiosity. She was the spitting image of her mother, complete with a perfect Cupid’s bow mouth, flawless alabaster skin, and those same gorgeous blue eyes. In twenty years, she’d also have Lauren’s incredible figure—slim and sleek, yet curved in all the right places.

Caleb crouched down and winked at her. She couldn’t have been more than three years old. “Hey, punkin, my name’s Caleb. What’s yours?”

“Em-ma.” She glanced up at her mother. “I not puck’in.”

Lauren ruffled her daughter’s curls. “It just means cutie pie. Like what I call you.”

“Oh.” She turned back to Caleb and squinted thoughtfully. “Momma make choc’it cake. I helped.”

Caleb’s heart swelled in his chest. He had to clear his throat to speak. “And I bet it’s the yummiest chocolate cake ever.”

Emma gave a solemn nod, and then skipped off into the kitchen.

Caleb stood back up and met Lauren’s gaze. “Well? What should I tackle first?”

She held up the new doorknob package. “Being able to lock my doors at night is my number one priority. And thank you. Again.”

Caleb felt as if he were drowning in those big baby blues. “My pleasure. You did, after all, make ‘choc’it’ cake.”

Lauren grinned. “From scratch, too.”

“Well, then, guess I’d better go earn my supper.”

By the time he’d put the new knob on the front door and reattached the handle to the back screen door, supper was just about ready. He decided a stuck drawer would take all of five minutes, and had Lauren direct him to Max’s room.

Typical boy’s room, he thought as he glanced around. Basketball hoop hanging on the back of the door, unmade bed, sports paraphernalia everywhere. The kid was a huge Green Bay Packers fan: Packer curtains, Packer bedspread, Packer wallpaper border. The room was neater than Caleb would’ve expected, too—not so much as a dirty sock on the floor. No doubt Lauren’s doing.

Caleb located the dresser in question and knelt down to try the drawer. Yep, stuck shut. Once he pried it open, he’d plane it down a bit, which should do the trick. He worked the drawer back and forth, surprised when a couple of folded-up playing cards fell out. Hmm. And the drawer seemed to open and close fine now. A flash of red caught his eye. An all-too-familiar flash of red. Caleb exhaled a hard breath as he pulled out a flip-top box of cigarettes.

“Whad’ya think you’re doing?”

Caleb’s head snapped up. Standing in the doorway, hands fisted at his sides, was a blue-eyed boy who could only be Max. He looked to be about twelve or thirteen, with much darker hair than his mother’s, but just as curly. And he wore a scowl the size of Texas. “Fixing your stuck drawer.” He climbed to his feet and held up the cigarette box. “You do realize these things’ll stunt your growth, right?”

The kid’s eyes grew suspiciously red, but his expression remained mutinous. “You had no right going through my stuff!”

“Maybe not, but lucky for you I did. You’re too young to smoke, son, and—”

“Who the hell are you, and why are you even in my room?” the kid demanded.

The quick beat of feet on the stairs reached Caleb a second before Lauren burst into the room. “What in the world is going on up here? Max, what’s the problem?”

Caleb tucked the cigarette box in his back pocket while Lauren’s attention was on her son. Later, when they were alone, he’d show them to her. Caleb knew the kid was going through a rough time, and while he hated to be the bearer of bad news, Lauren needed to know so she could nip the problem in the bud.

“Nothin’,” Max snapped.

“Your son wasn’t too happy to find a stranger in his room, and he told me so. He thought I was snooping through his stuff.”

Max met Caleb’s gaze, some of his hostility dissipating. Not much, but some.

Lauren eyed them both with suspicion. “Supper’s on the table. Max, go wash your hands, please.”

Max stormed from the room, and a few seconds later a door slammed.

Lauren flinched. “I’m sorry. Ever since his father left, he’s been...different. He blames me. He’s too young to understand what really happened, and I guess it’s easier to make me the bad guy since I’m still here. Ten-year-old mentality,” she finished with a shrug.

“Ten? Wow, big kid.”

“Big father.”

Caleb wished there was something he could do or say to ease her burden. And Max’s troubles were worse than she knew if the kid was smoking. “He’ll settle down, don’t worry. And I’ll help any way I can.”

Christ, what the hell was he thinking, offering to get involved in their family problems? He barely knew the woman. Though if he were being honest with himself, he wanted to get to know her better. Much better.

The thought scared the living tar out of him, but didn’t stop him from taking a step forward.


From now until July 31st, 2011, if you buy the first 4 Books of the Welcome to Redemption Series, Stacey Joy Netzel & I will give you the two NEW books for FREE! (If you don’t have an ereader, you can still download them to read on your computer.)

To receive your free book coupons, after you’ve purchased the first four stories, all you need to do is email the names of the four people the first four stories are dedicated to. (Coupons will be sent out no later than the first week in August.).

Find them at:




Thanks for stopping by!

~ Donna

Friday, July 8, 2011

July Special: Buy 4 Get 2 Free!

Stacey Joy Netzel and I have jumped into the self-publishing pool with both feet, holding hands! We've uploaded the first four stories of our original Welcome to Redemption series, reedited with additional content (i.e. love scenes! ). We also wrote two Brand NEW stories to continue the series with Home Is Where the Heart Is, Book 5, and The Heart Of the Matter, Book 6.
All six stories are available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and for other eReaders. And you want to know the best thing? They’re each available for only $0.99. That’s 6 stories for less than $6.00! If you’ve read the first four, you’ll definitely want Books 5 & 6.
Now the good news--from now until July 31st, 2011, if you buy the first 4 Books of the Welcome to Redemption Series, we’ll give you the two NEW books for FREE! (If you don’t have an ereader, you can still download them to read on your computer.)

Again, that's buy these four stories for only $0.99 each...

...and get These Two FREE!!

To receive your free book coupons, after you’ve purchased the first four stories, all you need to do is email the names of the four people the first four stories are dedicated to. **Coupons will be sent out no later than the first week in August**

Find them at:

Thanks for reading!

~ Donna

Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome To Redemption is Available!

The Welcome to Redemption Series is now available at Amazon and Smashwords in all ereader formats

For those of you who've read the original Welcome to Redemption Anthology, Stacey Joy Netzel and I have re-edited and added additional content (love scenes *grin*) to some of the first four stories. Each is available for $0.99.

And we've each written a BRAND NEW, never before published story to continue the series, also at $0.99 each. Stacey's The Heart of the Matter and Donna's Home Is Where the Heart Is . If you enjoyed the other stories, you'll definitely want to pick up these next two.

Book 5: Home Is Where the Heart Is by Donna Marie Rogers

Used to the finer things in life, L.A.-born heiress Melinda Spalding is thrown for a loop when her brother suddenly relocates to the tiny Midwest town of Redemption, Wisconsin. Her parents even expand their business there and put her in charge of opening the new plant. Discovering she likes “Mayberry” and its quirky inhabitants is almost as shocking as her growing attraction to the local auto mechanic. But California is where she belongs…or is home truly where the heart is?

Drew Porter learned early on how treacherous women can be—and when snooty Lindy Spalding skids into town and nearly runs down his dog, she seems worse than most. But an unlikely bond between their pets gives Drew an intriguing glimpse behind her pretentious exterior. While his heart wonders if there’s more to Miss “Hot Stuff” than meets the eye, his head tells him to run as fast as he can in the opposite direction.

Book 6: The Heart of the Matter by Stacey Joy Netzel

All Allie Daniels ever wanted was a family of her own—until her doctor informs her she’ll never be able to have children. She hides her desolation, refusing to let any man close enough to see her broken heart. Most certainly not the town veterinarian, who’s cute three-year-old son reminds her of what she’ll never have.

Rick Wilde had a serious crush on Allie back in high school, but life took them in different directions. Now a single parent, he returns to Redemption several years later to raise his son, Lukas. His interest in Allie is renewed, but her shoulder is colder than the bitter winter wind.

Brought together by an orphaned kitten, Allie finds herself helpless to resist Lukas’s impish innocence—not to mention Rick’s warm charm and sexy good looks. Does she dare take a chance on an impossible dream, or will Rick’s desire for more kids devastate their future?

Buy at Amazon:

Buy at Smashwords:

Hope you enjoyed the blurbs! Have an amazing (and safe!) Fourth of July weekend!

~ Donna Marie Rogers