The Case For BODICE RIPPER Sex Ed — Taylor Lee

NEWS FLASH! We romance writers have been vindicated. According to none other than the Gray Lady herself, the New York Times: “Romance Novels Are The Best Sex-Ed”

Seriously, this is news. The January 21, Sunday New York Times featured a sensational article by contributing opinion writer Jennifer Weiner titled: “We Need Bodice-Ripping Sex Ed.” In a clever, insightful article Weiner claims that she got a smidgen of information about sex from her well-meaning parents. Another sliver came from junior high sex ed classes that named body parts and detailed all the bad things that can happen to you if you have sex. (Think hideous diseases and of course, the ultimate curse, pregnancy.) Fortunately for Weiner, like a lot of us, she was a reader. And what did she read? Yep, you guessed it: Romance novels.

Weiner throws a bone to the likely readers of the NYT when she concedes: “The literary establishment doesn’t have much love for women’s fiction, whether it’s romance, erotica or popular novels about love and marriage.” She adds, “Romance novels come in for an extra helping of scorn. Critics sneer that they’re all heaving bosoms and throbbing manhoods, unrealistic, poorly written and politically incorrect.”

Not so, says Weiner. In the central theme of the article, she insists as an information-hungry teenager the romance novels she read, “for all their soft core covers and happily-ever-afters, were quietly and not so quietly subversive. They taught readers that sexual pleasure was something women could not just hope for but insist upon. They shaped my interactions with boys and men. They helped make me a feminist.”

WOW! True vindication for those of us as teenagers hid in the closet gobbling up everything from Gone With the Wind (You know the scene on the stairs when Rhett apparently has his way with a blushing Scarlet…) to Judith Krantz, to Erica Jong etc., etc. Without understanding that we were being “brainwashed”, we romance readers came to believe that female pleasure was a must, something that we should insist upon.

Weiner explains, “Because these books were written for and consumed by women, female pleasure was an essential part of every story. Villains were easy to spot: they were the ones who left a woman “burning and unsatisfied.” She cites “Shirley Conran’s “LACE” that features a heroine telling her feckless husband that she used an egg-timer to determine how long it took her to achieve orgasm on her own and that she’d be happy to teach him what to do.” Weiner adds with what I’m sure was a grin, ”At 14, I never looked at hard- boiled eggs the same way again.”

Weiner takes her argument in favor of romance novels into the political issue of the day, the #Me Too Movement. She quotes Bea Koch, the co-owner of the Ripped Bodice bookstore who says, “Romance novels teach readers that all partners are equal participants in a sexual relationship….In some instances it can be a literal roadmap for how to bring up difficult topics with a partner. They give a roadmap to people wanting to experiment with their sexuality, or even get on touch with what they want and need in a sexual relationship.”

Are romance novels “just porn” as so many reviewers sniff? Given the rampant availability of porn, that is a worthwhile question to ask. One recent study found that “79 percent of men and 76 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 look at a pornographic website at least every month, another study says that three out of 10 men in that age group were daily viewers.” In contrast, those of us who read and write about a range of intimacy know that while “sex might be easy, relationships are hard.” Comparing romance novels to porn, Weiner says, “The book has the ability to paint a deeper picture. A 400 page novel can teach you more about relationships that any X-rated clip.”

In the current climate where so many people, men and women, are wrestling with crossed wires and mixed signals, Weiner concludes, “If we want men and women equally empowered to form real connection, to talk honestly and openly about who they are and what they want, there are worse places to start than curling up with a good book.”

Amen.

P.S. If you like your Bodice Ripper books with no holds barred, check out: JUDE: The Justice Brothers Series. Trust me.These guys and gals don’t need egg-timers.

Available from Amazon

Taylor Lee

USA Today Best Selling author Taylor Lee writes Suspenseful Mystery Thrillers – with a heavy dose of Sexy to Sizzling HOT Romance.

In the five years that she has been writing, Taylor has written more than forty books. Her eight, series track her Special Operatives, Covert Agents, Cops, Firefighters and other iconic heroes and heroines, through the harrowing situations that make up their lives. From human trafficking rings to corrupt politicians, Taylor investigates the underbelly of society and the criminals who flourish there.

Taylor says: “From the residue in my personal blender of mixed races, cultures and world views, my characters emerge. It comforts me to know that while evil slinks in the shadows, the “good guys and gals” of the world sniff it out – and snuff it out.

My characters are arrogant alpha males and the feisty women who bring them to their knees – and vice versa… They fight hard, love hard and don’t mince words. They are dangerous men and women in dangerous times. Love, passion and ridding the world of evil? What’s not to like?

Dear Author, your novel is truly unique – a treasure.

 

Only seven basic plots? Only seven golden rules of storytelling? Only six emotional arcs? Academics, critic, researchers, and reviewers, write nothing is original anymore?   , beg to differ. Dear author you are original; your work is a treasure; you are unique.  In the following article, I would like to say why I came to this belief.  I am so excited; I want to tell you why.

After some years as a published and Indie author, I can truly say that I really enjoy being an independent writer, free to follow my own ideas; present and future for my books.   Of course, if a six figure was offered by a legitimate publisher, which would enable me to enrich the lives of my children and grandchildren, then I would jump at it.

However, this last year has been one of trauma, and experiences, which stopped any writing. Now, this last week or so, I feel like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a phoenix that felt and flew from the fury of the flames, soaring to the distant horizon where inspiration peace and joy beckoned, flying through the spray of thousands of words in the ocean of the mind.

I felt free to break the mould, write something new; to turn away from the usual popular genres to something utterly original.  It may not please some readers but what mattered was I would follow the muse.  As I began to write I realized I was following a certain structure, and above all, one of the familiar plots.  Was I totally free to compose a plot with an original structure? I realize this may not be possible. For instance, the structure was hemming me in; it was not at all different from the usual form in which I wrote.

To my consternation, it appeared; I was forced to accept Aristotle’s dictum that there are only seven golden rules for structuring a story such as the plot; character; theme; dialogue; décor and spectacle (drama).  As for the plot, to my consternation, it seemed Christopher Booker  was right when he wrote centuries after Aristotle,  ‘there are only seven basic plots to storytelling these being: overcoming the  monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; and rebirth.’ So was I really hemmed in, but aware there are spinoffs or addendums for each major rule.

I had Christopher Booker’s tome on the seven basic plots tucked away on my bookshelf in the furthest corner of my study. I was excited when I bought it some years ago, but on deeper reading of the initial sections, appeared to echo Carl Jung’s archetypes so it went on the back shelf.    However,  I decided to give it a second go and to my surprise or maybe because I had a few years of writing  under my belt, I did find it intriguing, even if I did not adhere to the iron corseted reasoning of the seven basic plots.

In his argument for the theory of seven basic plots, Booker gives an example of the modern-day audiences seated in a luxurious cinema watching Steven Spielberg’s film, Jaws. In Booker’s words, ‘one of the most dramatic horror films ever made.’  Indeed at the time many of the viewers vowed never to paddle in the shallows of the seashore again, me among them.  Booker writes that many of the audience wouldn’t think they had much in common with ‘an unkempt bunch of animal-skinned Saxon warriors, huddled around the fire of some draughty wattle-and-daub hall 1,200 years ago listening to the minstrel chanting out the verses of an epic poem.’ But the film proves otherwise.

Booker points out in the first part of his book,  the first pages of Beowulf tell of a peaceful seaside community of Heorot shattered by the arrival of  Grendel,  a monster, of almost supernatural powers who lives in the depths of a nearby lake. He seizes victims in the night, as they sleep, tearing them from limb to limb.’ As the death toll mounts, Beowulf decides to do battle with this ferocious monster. However, as he slays Grendel, he is then faced with the monster’s horrific mother.  The battles are fought, and the mother monster dispatched, whereupon a jubilant community celebrates a return to the peaceful little community by the seashore.

As Booker points out, one could think Spielberg was influenced by this ancient story, but then writes, it was impossible,  ‘such a dramatic work sprang only from Spielberg’s imagination. This is in my opinion, rather lame as it does smack of an anemic apology for instilling such an opinion in a reader’s mind. I would suggest, maybe the idea for the film sprang from the Universal Mind where authors would dip and come up with the familiar plot or structure.

Beowulf’s monster is a prime example of the seven plots, this one being the Monster. Yet is it really a case for nothing new under the sun outside of the seven basic plots? There are the spin-offs; for instance, in the present time, the appearance or makeup of the monster may change but the plot is the same. This is where the spin-off from the monster comes in, over time, the monster is changing, to become the hero, from the devil to angel, the criminal to the hero. For example, the monster is developing from the puppet zombies of the 1960’s to the ravenous cannibals of the Walking Dead of our present day.  But even with this change, the plot and the character are still tightly enclosed within the seven rules. A century or so before the 1960’s, the monster began to change, to spin off from monster to the misunderstood monster; Frankenstein’s monster raises a love-hate emotion, twisting up the reader’s feelings. In the twentieth century King Kong is a terrifying monster and yet a victim who rouses compassion in the viewer. King Richard 111 can become the misinterpreted hero with a history poisoned with a writer’s skilled words. Then there’s Booker’s Divided Self as portrayed in Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Even Dracula is turning into a hero, he and his vampires now save the girl. Yet all these themes are still within the seven golden plots. Recently the Computational Story lab in at the University of Vermont, USA has alleged there are only six emotional arcs, which are as near as dammit plots.  So the argument goes on.

Laying in bed, reflecting on the article I’d written so far, I fought to free the author from these cast in stone rules and the belief that nothing is original anymore. There must be something in the author’s heart or mind that goes beyond these seven basic rules. When an author thinks of a new book, it is the story, the feelings, the need to write that comes first. I think the word creation is the best way, to view this conundrum. An author creates something that was not here before, something no-one can replicate.  I suddenly realized that each story written is original. Forget the plot, the theme, the structure; those are laid down like white picket fencing around the trodden neural pathways of the brain. Think about the writing of the novel, the stringing together or free flow of words, how they formed a story; this came from the author’s mind, not the picketed pathways of the brain.   Each novel has its very own uniqueness, dare I say DNA. No-one ever before wrote the words in such a way, such content, no-one can replicate it word-for-word; the very essence of the book was created in the ‘ether’ that place beyond reasoning; a place which has no name. Often when people ask me what I do, and I reply reluctantly,  I am an author, they look at me as if I’ve just arrived from Mars and then begin questioning me; how do I do it? Where do my ideas come from, how long does it take to write, how do I have the time to write.  Now and again people ask if I get upset writing a story,  I have an answer to that one; I truly believe if the writer does not have the same emotions as the characters in the story, does  not laugh or weep with them, they should delete their work and start again; their heart and soul must be in it.

Maybe that’s the secret, sharing the meaning of life, the feelings in life, joy and despair, the tears and the laughter.  That is the true author. Those feelings have no rules.

In the world of creativity, dear author, you are unique, you brought something that did not exist before into our world, you created the book. It now exists through you,  and your work is a treasure.

 

Bibliography:

Christopher Booker, CONTINUUM, The Tower Building, ll York Road, London SE1 7NMX

80 Maiden Lane, Suite 704, New York, NY 10038. First published 2004. ISB N; 978-0-8264-5209-2

Mail Online, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3679510/There-just-SIX-plots-film-book-TV-Researchers-reveal-building-blocks-storytelling.html

The Telegraph, Kasia Boddy reviews. Everything ever written boiled down to seven plots. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3632074/Everything-ever-written-boiled-down-to-seven-plots.html

 

A Lady’s Plight

On Amazon.

 

Katy Walters

Katy lives on the South coast with her husband and a loving hyper friendly dog who likes to greet and lick everyone on sight. She has a BA Hons (Psych) BA Eng.Lit. MA in Religion and Mysticism and a Hon Dr. Science for research into pain control.
She was a psychologist and hypnotherapist before changing direction for full time creative writing, Her main genres are historical romance, crime and science fiction.

A Valentine’s Tribute Plus a Kick Recipe…

Having had two failed attempts at marital bliss, my adult kids were astounded when I announced I was remarrying for the third time eight years ago.

Their arguments varied: “He’s marrying you for your money.” (I didn’t have any). “He wants to steal your house.” (He had two of his own). But this one was my all time favorite: “He’s just marrying you for sex,” which cracked me up, because Joe wanting me, and me reciprocating his sentiment, made me the happiest, most content woman on earth.

So, this being the season when true love prevails, thank the good Lord I’ve met the love of my life. Joe’s a true treasure in many ways – he’s a great lover, a forever teammate, and a stimulus enabling me to write HEA romance – with humor, too, because we laugh every day – not all day, but every day.

Joe is a fantastic cook, the pure Italian flambé, and was the inspiration for my steamy novellas in the My Sexy Chef trio, and everything else I’ve ever written. He never complains about preparing our meals when I’m writing a new story, or I’m marketing via social media. As a matter of fact, it’s my guess he’d rather eat his cooking instead of mine, but that’s a boon for me.

On January 15th, the day FLYING UPRIGHT was due for our new Valentine collection SWEET AND SASSY VALENTINES, Joe surprised me with a new creation, a brunch frittata. I was so impressed with his culinary endeavors, I’m sharing his recipe for you all to try and enjoy:

Here’s the skinny: (well, maybe not really…)

3 Eggs lightly beaten

Add ¼ cup shredded cheddar, ¼ cup of Asiago cheese, and a broken slice of American cheese to the egg mixture.

Salt & pepper to taste.

After sautéing ¼ cup each of sliced red & green peppers, one small peeled potato, (Joe par boiled the diced potato in advance), half a shallot, a small handful of chopped baby portabellas, and 4 slices of thinly sliced, diced ham in ¼ stick of butter and 1tsp. of olive oil, you add the eggs and cheese, with a splash of milk to the veg’s. Simmer about 3 minutes.

Pour the Cholesterol Bomb into a 9inch cast iron skillet (which has already been seasoned), and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Let rest for 5 minutes.

Joe asked me to tell you all to please use an oven mitt, because the skillet will be HOT – he means well, even though nobody removes hot pans from the oven bare handed…he’s just that kind of guy. So thoughtful…

Speaking of Love and Valentine’s Day, please look into our new boxed set: #PreOrder: Our New Valentine Collection – With Sweet Romance to Downright Sexy, you’re bound to find the kind of romance you’ll love. Presenting SWEET AND SASSY VALENTINES, dedicated to YOU, the Hopeful Romantic! #KU or 99c~ http://amzn.to/2DQm8pW

If you’d like to learn more about me and my work, please consider checking out my Amazon page here: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Jean-Ricci/e/B0094H8BEC/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_11

Thank you so much for joining me tonight, it’s been a pleasure – Don’t Forget to Share the Love!

Susan Jean Ricci

A late bloomer to the writing life, Susan Jean Ricci’s been mighty busy the past six years. The award-winning, internationally read, From Women’s Pens author and humorist, Susan’s best known for her series of works titled Cindy’s Crusades that includes two novels, Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems and The Sugar Ticket, the short chronicle Twilight and Chickadees, and a collection of short stories titled Heart Marks the Spot.

Susan’s novel Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems is a Multi Award winner. Its Sequel The Sugar Ticket placed first for Outstanding Women’s Fiction category in the IAN 2016. The sassy My Sexy Chef won a second place award in the novella category via the Global Ebook Awards 2016, and has inspired the hot sequel Chaos in the Kitchen.

Susan also specializes in short stories and novellas. Included are Christmas shorts, but she favors the romantic or humorous side of the equation, and that’s what you’ll find about her writing the most.

Weight Loss Miracle Soup

 

 

Happy New Year everyone!

Are you feeling bloated after the holidays, and want to shed some weight safely and quickly? Join the club. I’m with you!!! So I googled something to help.

Happy Healthy Weight Loss Magic Soup is a combination of a couple of weight loss soup recipes that have been around for years – Weight Watchers Garden Vegetable Soup and the Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe.   The addition of a can of kidney beans adds fiber and protein which helps with feeling fuller for a longer period of time.  Feel free to add or subtract vegetables to your taste.  The benefit of this soup is that it tastes great and it really does help you lose weight.

Makes 20 cups–refrigerate or freeze

Ingredients:

32 oz of low sodium chicken broth

3 cups V8 juice

28 oz Italian diced tomatoes

1 small onion

2 cloves minced garlic

8 oz sliced mushrooms

3 carrots sliced and peeled

1 zucchini sliced and 1 squash

2 cups green beans

14 oz kidney beans

3-4 cups shredded cabbage

1 tsp Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1.Saute the onion, garlic, mushrooms and carrots in a large sprayed frying pan for 5 minutes.

2.In a large crockpot add the sauteed vegetables to the other ingredients and cook for 2-3 hours.

If you are looking to lose a few pounds fast this healthy, low calorie soup takes wonderful and will fill you up. Eat a normal breakfast and Miracle soup for lunch and dinner. Add a slice of toast, if you wish, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrice Wilton

Patrice Wilton knew from the age of twelve that she wanted to write books that would take the reader to faraway places. She was born in Vancouver, Canada, and had a great need to see the world that she had read about.

Patrice became a flight attendant for seventeen years and traveled the world. At the age of forty she sat down to write her first book—in longhand! Her interests include tennis, golf, and writing stories for women of all ages.

She is a mother of two, has four lovely grand-daughters, and a wonderful man at her side. They live in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he teaches her golf, and she teaches him patience.

Her best selling books are the CANDY BAR series, SERENDIPITY FALLS series, and most recently PARADISE COVE and A CHRISTMAS COLLECTION series. She is a New York Times best selling author.

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Pets are Priceless Pains in the Butt

Whether it’s an old one-eyed cat you started feeding as a stray or a custom-bred ‘designer dog’ you paid thousands of dollars for, all pets are priceless. Or should be considered as such. They’re a limited time joy, their unconditional love unmatched by emotional two-legged humans.

Granddaughter Ruby and her Pomeranian guardians

If a box isn’t available, the sink will do!

A dog’s wagging tail (or a stub of one) when you enter the room and cat’s snooty aloofness when you find him in your favorite chair, daring you to remove him, (his way of saying, ‘Pick me up and hold me, too!) go beyond words.
Yes, it costs to be a responsible pet owner, but here are a few priceless—or at least low cost—hints on how to keep your home cleaner and maybe more enjoyable for you and your pet.
Sheets and shedding. Almost all cats and most dogs shed, and seem to enjoy lazing on beds. I found that laying out a simple yet colorful sheet on top of my bedspread is a great ‘hair and dander’ catcher. I wash it once a week, rotating it with another colorful sheet so the bed is never bare. After all, it’s much easier to wash a sheet than a fluffy comforter! Make sure you dry your sheets in a dryer with a dryer sheet and a clean lint trap. You’ll be surprised, and a bit grossed out, on how much shed fur it traps!
Keep a towel near the door during rainy and snowy seasons to wipe down the dog when he comes in after his outdoor duties. If you make it a loving experience, they’ll not fight or try and get away. This saves lots of frazzled nerves from keeping wet pets off clean floors and/or furniture.
Cleaning cat boxes is a necessary chore, but doesn’t have to be labor intensive. I bought an amazing cat box, manufactured in Canada. Omega Paws is a ‘roll me over’ enclosed box that traps the cat litter clumps in a drawer. After inverting the box, simply pull out the trap drawer on the side and dispose of the waste in the trash. I bought mine on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2mI3Tej). Just make sure you use clumping cat litter. No matter what type of cat box, though, a nappy rug under and in front of it catches loose litter from kitty paws. Shake regularly to limit litter spread to the rest of the house.
If you live in an area of the country where fleas and ticks are present, make sure you use a once-a-month deterrent such as Revolution. Oregon is famous for the prevalence of fleas, yet I’ve never seen one nor had to deal with ear mites. I stay on top of the regimen because prevention is so much easier than eradication. Call your vet about what he suggests (department store brands have been known to kill dogs!) and ask if he gives quantity discounts. Mine buys the product in bulk and offers a deep discount if I bring in my small dogs for their monthly dabs on the back of the neck. Buy four packages get one free is also an option with some vets.
Do you love men who love critters? Read about Jay, the young mechanic who has a way with feral cats, and a young woman’s heart, in Kit Kringle: An Alaskan Tale. Part of Unforgettable Christmas (only 99 cents for the whole box set).

Kit Kringle: An Alaskan Tale, part of Unforgettable Christmas

 

 

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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PIONEER RECIPES @_Nancy Radke #mgtab

I never did join an ancestry search organization, but I have done my own ancestry search. I’ve always been interested, because when I was a child, I visited often with my great great aunt, Alice Wolfe. She told me a lot about her family, the Wolfe family, who was involved in the Revolutionary War. She traced the line up to her sister, my grandmother, and herself, and then on to me. I was fascinated to learn about the Wolfes, the Wetzels, and the Zanes, all pioneer frontier families related to me in one way or another. In their days, the frontier was Ohio. Some lived far from a fort, and had to fight off any groups who were not friendly. Think “Last of the Mohicans,” for that was the kind of life they lived.

The other thing my great aunt shared with me was her pioneer recipes. Pie recipes start out with “Make a coffin,” which was a term for a piecrust. These recipes have vague measurements, calling for a pinch of this and a handful of that, a spoonful of sugar and a sifter full of flour. I think it is amazing that they were able to cook so well. I tried using the recipes, and some are pretty good. As long as you don’t care how it turns out (you aren’t expecting anyone for diner), they are fun to experiment with.

My great grandmother, whose son married a Wolfe, came west in a wagon train. She kept a journal of the trip, and recorded many of the events that I used when writing “The Handsomest Man in the Country,” my first book of the Trahern series, which I keep permanently free. Her recipes included lye soap, which I remember watching my Grandmother (Wolfe) and my mother making, after the pigs were butchered.

My favorite pioneer recipe is for Sourdough pancakes. I got it while living in Alaska. I included it in the book, “The Stubbornest Girl in the Valley.” She knows how to cook pies and dumplings and pancakes, and uses her skills to buy time at the Trahern ranch until Barnabas Trahern will take notice of her. As Barnabas says, “It sounded awfully good to me, for I’d been cooking for myself for some time now, and couldn’t make a pie, or dumplings, or biscuits. I’d need to hire a man to come out and cook for us. One who didn’t have violet eyes that challenged me. And lips as red as the sunsets.”

My grandfather had a truck/tractor like I described in this story. It was an original “off-road” vehicle. He taught me how to drive, as a child, in a more “modern” truck with no doors, and a throttle, starter, gas pedal, clutch and brakes. I bring these experiences into this story.
What old time favorite recipes do you still make?

Nancy Radke

Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse’s nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. She spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said “Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes.” It is light and humorous.
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WILD ABOUT ANIMALS @PRosemoor #mgtab

I’ve always been an animal person with a special love for cats. Despite being allergic to them as a child and my parents not letting me bring in the young cat I found outside my back door, I fed it and gave it water and lots of petting any time I could. Away at school, I got my first cat that could come inside. Currently, I share my home and computer with Blitzen and George, cats 14 and 15. But my love for cats goes beyond house pets.

When I first volunteered at Lincoln Park Zoo, every week I visited the big cats in their outdoor enclosures. I would whistle softly to entice them. Usually I got an ear twitch, but one of the cougars responded by moving closer every time, usually rubbing against the fence. I wondered what it would be like if I could talk to the animals and they could understand and respond. Yes, I wanted to be a cat whisperer, and I gave my Animal Instincts heroine Skye Cross that ability. Skye is an animal rescuer, something I’ve done in a minor way myself, so I guess she represents me as I wish I could be.

Rather than setting my stories in a paranormal world, I like using what everyone considers a normal human world with a paranormal underground. It’s the human vs. “something else” conflict that interests me.

Even though he is half-human,hero  Luc Lazare is part of that underground. He’s a conflicted black panther shifter. Raised by his human mother in the human world, he also spent time with his Kindred father and half-siblings. Torn in two directions, he fought a war in which he assumed his conflict would be settled for him and he wouldn’t have to make a decision that would hurt one of his parents. Instead, his panther found its true power and he did things to the enemy that he wants to forget.

I got the idea for the Kindred Souls world from researching demons. Demons led to the Nephilim, children of fallen angels and human women. The Nephilim corrupted humans and Biblical history says that God sent the flood to destroy them, which meant Noah’s Ark had to play a part in Kindred history. Now The Ark, Chicago’s first casino boat, is run by the Lazare family. Kindred are corrupting humanity as did their Nephilim ancestors. I hope you enjoy this entry into their world…

Excerpt:

The predators moved in on me. Trying not to show the anxiety that threatened to consume me, I curled my hands into fists and edged backward. They continued to advance on me. My heart was pounding, my blood racing. Knowing they could sense my fear, I tried to control it. Futile. No escape.

The hyena broke from the pack and rushed me. If I turned my back on it, I was dead for sure. I kept putting one foot behind the other and the wolf and the lion picked up their pursuit. The hyena’s muscles bunched and it flew through the air at me. I threw up my hands to protect myself, but it never reached me. Instead, it was as if an invisible wall stopped it cold. It shrieked and fell to the ground in a heap.

What do you think you’re doing? Go!

The predators stopped and I sensed their sudden fear.

Now! the voice in my head thundered.

The animals fled and quickly disappeared into the night.

I flipped around. At first I didn’t see him. Then I caught a movement to my right and nailed him where he stood. Dark hair whipped around features so rugged they could have been cut from granite. High cheekbones. Broad forehead. Square chin. His eyes appeared silver in the moonlight, and they glowed at me, tightening my stomach and making it hard to breathe.

Trembling, I gasped. “What just happened?”

“You got into something that doesn’t concern you.” Forget about it.

I started. He hadn’t said the last bit out loud. There was something about him so powerful I almost agreed.

I fought the desire to give in. “I’m not forgetting about anything. Who are you?”

I felt as if he were trying to push the command into my mind.

Glaring at him, I pushed back.

“What are you?” he asked.

“Someone who protects animals.”

His silence told me that wasn’t exactly the explanation he was looking for. My pulse threaded as he stepped closer. I sensed both threat and something less tangible, something that made my stomach knot and my throat tighten.

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Patricia Rosemoor

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rosemoor has had 99 novels, 8 publishers and more than 7 million books in print. Patricia writes dangerous love, romantic suspense or paranormal romantic thrillers. Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she taught Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

Website: http://PatriciaRosemoor.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/PatriciaRosemoorAuthor
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Food Truck Heaven

So, while everyone is talking about healthy and wise for the new year, Christopher and I braved the cold (for Florida, lol) weather in Pompano for the town’s first Friday of the month food truck and art festival. Chris’s sister is in from Chicago for the holidays so our forty degree weather was nothing to her as we stood in various lines for arepas, smoked barbecue, burgers piled high with slaw and fries, and pulled pork. My favorite was the grilled corn on the cob. Oh, and crab and shrimp macaroni and cheese. Yum!

Turns out there are quite a few breweries in Pompano and we hung out at Odd Breed where they specialize in sour beers. They also have mead, cider and wine–and the atmosphere, with barrels and various tables, was very fun. Also pet friendly!

If you are local, Pompano has a green market every Saturday with everything from coffee to seafood. See, I’m so focused on the food that I forgot to mention the cool art set up. Artists are in the building doing actual work and showcasing their talents. Paintings, ceramics and mixed media art.We definitely will go again—hopefully February it won’t be so cold.

What tempts you out of your warm house on a winter night?  Have a great day and don’t forget to feed the muse something besides salad–mine prefers beef brisket…

Happy New Year!

Traci

www.tracihall.com

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.