Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Blanket For Her Heart

My guest today is RC Bonitz, author of A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL and  his recently released,  A BLANKET FOR HER HEART, available at: AMAZON      Barnes&Noble     

You can contact him at

It's not the elephants but the ants that'll kill you.
     That's a quote from a friend of mine who was speaking about the problems of running a small business. I was thinking about it the other day and realized that in many ways it applies to writing and learning to write as well, though perhaps with a different twist. 
     When we start out as newbies we tend to emphasize the story we want to tell. We sit down at our computer and write away, trying to get that wonderful story in our heads just right. If we're lucky enough, or smart enough, to get involved in a peer-writing group we tend to get criticism about how our sentences are worded and whether the story sequences make sense. Later, as we learn more we get advice from others -- about point of view, show don't tell, how to plot, etc. and we diligently follow the rules. Unfortunately, that's a little bit of dealing with the elephants. 
     Don't get me wrong -- the elephant in the room can't be ignored. But, neither is he/she the answer to successful writing. That's where the ants come in. I'd say the ants in writing aren't quite the same as the ants my business-owning friend was concerned with. They can be a problem, but to me they're opportunities. It's not that every word is a manuscript must be perfect, but when you use the right one in the right context the result is dramatically different.
     Let me use an example. "She felt her stomach twist into a knot and her hands begin to sweat." Looks like a good case of show don't tell, giving us the idea the character is nervous or under tension. Point of view? That's clear enough, it's hers, right? (Assuming the context is her point of view.) But, "She felt" is an ant. Even though the rest of the sentence is attempting to "show" her reactions, "she felt" is telling. And it might be from her POV, but it takes us out of her head. So, if it's an ant, what is the opportunity? If we get rid of  those two words we're left with, "Her stomach twisted into a knot and her hands began to sweat." Better? Yes. But. Is that little word "and" helpful? How about- "Her stomach twisted into a knot. Her hands began to sweat." Better, we created more tension. But, can we create more? "Her stomach twisted. Sweat broke out on her hands." Maybe you can write it even stronger. I'm sure you can, give it a try.
     My point in writing this is very simple. Look for the ants. They come in armies, sometimes in one sentence as they did here. There are lots of opportunities to improve and the cumulative effect can be dramatic. I'm still discovering new ants in everything I write. RC (Bob) Bonitz

Blurb-A Little Bit of Blackmail

When some creep plasters nude photos of Diane's kid sister on the Net, Diane plans a little game to stop him- seduce the guy until his clothes come off and take his picture. Then it's blackmail time.  
Brian's no stranger to the wiles of beautiful women. Most want him for his money, but when Diane springs her trap he's sure she's out to trash his reputation. Furious, Brian resolves to teach her a lesson…until he learns the truth and loses his heart to this daring woman. But to win her trust and convince her he's not the villain, he has to best her at her own game. How will he succeed? Find out in A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL


~ ONE ~

First light formed leaf shadows on the cabinets as she entered the kitchen. Those big trees had been there for years, but they were old now, tall and thinned out, blocking less of the early morning sun. Winter sometimes seemed better, on sunny days when bright rays slid through barren branches to flood the breakfast table. Not always though. Not when winter’s cold was dark and penetrating.
Bright and sunny, just comfortable, the day was starting well. She’d been up since three, reading and pacing, waiting for the light so she could start her day outside. Early was a pattern lately, into bed and out of it, bored to numbness when sleep was so elusive.
Her friend Molly thought it was time to see a doctor, but there was nothing a professional could say she didn’t know already. Physically her health was perfect.
"I need a new bed, that’s all," she told her friend. "Besides, I’m always thinking of what I’m going to do in the morning."
"What’s so important?" Molly asked, and she offered the usual list of things.
That was what she did, things. This thing, that thing, nothing. Tend her garden, read Jane Austen or some travel book; wash the dishes, paint, or whatever. Granted, her paintings were beautiful and she did so many one always sat unfinished on the easel, but she hadn’t sold any. Furniture restorations brought in some income, but she usually didn’t do that many pieces.
Fifty-four years old and not counting, she lived like a hermit with few friends. She did know one neighbor, but she’d never married, and had always lived alone. Molly often told her she’d be happier if she did more with her life and she struggled with such thoughts these days.
She turned on the TV, hoping the movie channel might have something good.
Sly Stallone in his first Rambo. So stimulating. Thought provoking. Annoyed but too bored to care, she settled back in the sofa and within minutes the images barely touched her mind. By seven-thirty, she’d had enough and punched the off button with the remains of her wrist. Dry cereal and milk, half an orange, and coffee for breakfast; she dumped the dirty dishes in the sink twenty minutes later and abandoned the kitchen.
The patio garden looked like an impressionist’s palette. Her one green thumb coaxed flowers to brilliant life year round. Indoors in winter of course, but she had plants ready to bloom as spring temperatures began. Each morning she spent two hours weeding and pruning, winding her fingers through the dirt to carefully arrange it to her whim. The stump of her left arm served as well as her right hand, caressing dirt and flowers with the same gentle touch. It was a touch returned by the earth, giving her the best hours of each day in quiet occupation of her mind. She put a dozen pansies in a juice glass and remembered she hadn’t thanked Molly for picking up the flats this year.
After gardening, she returned rake and hoe to the garage and cleaned up at the slop sink in the corner. She wiped black dirt from her knees and delivered a good scrubbing to the right hand. A brush screwed to the wall just above the sink did the job. Small stitch scars in her stump got an easy wipe. The skin was smooth and quite soft for all the abuse it got. Both hand and stump got a dose of hand cream, spread liberally, but only lightly rubbed. A wipe with the old towel she kept handy finished the job.
Lunch was the usual. Peanut butter and grape jam on white, red wine, and a handful of Lorna Doones. Sometimes it was cream cheese instead of peanut butter, chocolate chips instead of Lorna Doones, but that was about it as far as variety went. She took two glasses of merlot this time instead of one. That was not unusual lately.
Afterwards, she wrapped a dishtowel around the left arm and secured it with two rubber bands to wash the dishes.
"You’d be amazed what I can buy through the mail now, Hannah. Rubber bands, seeds, books, clothes, all sorts of things. You’d probably be selling things on a website these days yourself." She wiped the breakfast bowl with the left arm towel and set it on the drying rack. "Not like me though. I hate that ridiculous computer. Molly talked me into buying one, but I can barely turn it on right.
"I’m having trouble with that painting I've been working on too. It looks so bland, not even that maybe, so much as gray and dismal. I should probably trash the thing. You know what? I think I’m going to catch a little sun this afternoon."
It was one sided, this conversation with her dead grandmother, but quite all right. She knew it was imaginary, though sometimes it almost seemed she got an answer.
Her father got an occasional remark as well, but little more. It was Hannah she talked to, Hannah she often wished were truly at her side. Their chats had served to keep her company, at least until now. There was no one else to talk to most of the time.
Except Molly, or Grace, when one of them came around. Which didn’t seem to be that often lately. The house was still too, her world so very silent these last few months.
Dishes washed, towel removed, she headed for the bathroom, stripping off her pink tee shirt as she went. She dropped it in the hamper, brushed her teeth and hair, and relieved herself quickly. Then it was out to the patio, where she pulled one white lounge chair into place and stretched out to take the sun on her back. She’d heard all the cancer warnings, but never did the sun thing very long. Besides, everyone needed some vices in their life.
Face down on the lounge, wearing only shorts, she was drifting into sleep when something made a sound behind her. She turned. A man smiled weakly, then stared, eyes wide, as she dashed for the house.
"Please. I need help," he called as she slammed the door in his face.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Juliet Chastin author of Gypsy Lover is my guest today

     I'm thrilled to have as my guest today romance author Juliet Chastin. Juliet isnot only one of my critique partners, I'm also big fan of her stories. Juliet talks about her fixation for Gypsies below.

Hello fellow Romance fans. I'm here to explain my obsession with Gypsies. 

I've always been very curious about Gypsies—Roma or Romani, as they call themselves, Those rather mysterious people came from India to Europe about a thousand years ago and lived a wanderer's existence and kept to their own ways for generations.

My fascination began when I was a small child in Africa. One evening my dad was driving somewhere with me and we passed a little Romani fair, a few lights in the darkness, music, some horses, a little merry-go-round. Very enticing to a small child who lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I wanted desperately to go to the fair, but my dad said we couldn't and that he believed Gypsies were thieves.

Indeed the next morning all out chickens were gone, every single one and the dogs hadn't barked and no one had heard a thing. If you know anything about chickens you know you can't just pick them up and tiptoe away because they'd start squawking and pecking you like mad. My parents were not pleased, but I was thrilled. It was often my job to feed the chickens, and I was rather scared of them. But mostly I was awed. How had the Gypsies done that? It seemed magical.

Now I am in the middle of writing a series of short sexy stories featuring Gypsies during the Regency period. There will be one coming out every month or two with Breathless Press.

Here's the first story in the Gypsy Lover series, A Proper Lady's Gypsy Lover

Forced to become a proper young lady, Lucy-Ann Spencer rebels against the rules of high society to claim her freedom and her Gypsy lover. 

Dragged off to London kicking and screaming, Lucy-Ann Spencer refuses to become a proper young lady. Despite her aunts' insistence, she spurns the suitably titled and wealthy men who court her, longing instead for the Gypsy lad and the freedom she once loved. 

Liberty Wood never forgot the girl he adored years ago, but now that she has become a proper, silk-clad member of high society while he lives by his wits, he knows that they can never breach the gulf between them. Can Lucy-Ann convince him otherwise? 

Here is an excerpt:

Lucy-Ann scrambled to the window, tempted to climb out had the carriage not been moving so fast.

“Liberty,” she screamed. “Liberty, help me!” She leaned out as far as she dared while her aunts cried out to her to be careful. Aunt Emily took hold of her waist.

Lucy-Ann saw him, Liberty Wood, on his brown mare with the white forelock, riding hard after the coach.

“Liberty,” she called, leaning out yet a little farther, causing both aunts to shriek. Aunt Louisa took hold of her legs and called to her to come back inside. Lucy-Ann watched Liberty slowly close the distance between himself and the carriage.

“Halt!” she called to the coachman. “Halt!” The coachman pulled on the reins, slowing the horses.

“No!” cried Aunt Louisa. She stuck her head out of the opposite window. “No, “ she cried out. “Move on as fast as you can, Elijah. You must outrun that highwayman or beat him off.”

The carriage picked up speed again, swaying precariously, but Liberty had caught up. He’d always said the mare was the fleetest thing on four feet.

Leaning on the neck of his horse, his black hair flying behind him, Liberty smiled grimly at Lucy-Ann as he passed the carriage. The mare pulled up beside the carriage horses. Lucy-Ann realized his intention was to come up beside the lead horse, take hold of the beast, and bring the carriage to a halt.

“Actually,” she heard Aunt Emily say, her voice quivering, “I’d prefer to go more slowly. This is dangerous.”

“You’ll have to beat him off, Elijah,” Aunt Louisa ordered at the top of her voice. Lucy-Ann saw the coachman nod and reach for his long whip.

“No!” Lucy-Ann screamed. “Please, no.”

The coachman stood and, holding onto the thong, swung the long handle of the whip, catching Liberty in the face, causing him to somersault off the mare and into the mud at the side of the road. The carriage almost careened off the road as the aunts screamed and clutched each other. When it stabilized, Lucy-Ann tried to climb out of the window, but her aunts held her back. Eventually she collapsed on the floor of the carriage, weeping uncontrollably. 

You can buy this story at. breathlesspress While you're there, check out my two short romances: The Captain and the Courtesan and The Cry of the Wolf.  

To learn more about upcoming stories or about me: You can contact me at Or on facebook .Or follow me onTwitter


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fate Trilogy by authors Rachel Firasek, Berinn Rae and Elle J Rossi


Today I'm hosting paranormal romance author Rachel Firasek. Rachel's Creating Fate due out on July 10, 2012 is the first in a trilogy on Fate.

Do you believe in it?

Read on and find the answers. The second book in the trilogy Stealing Fate by Berinn Rae is due out on July 24, 2012 and the final book Chasing Fate by Elle J. Rossi is due out on August 7, 2012.

The Fates are said to control our destinies. From our first breath to our dying gasp, these creatures of legend weave the courses of our lives. Even the gods are subject to their decrees. Spinners of dark secrets, the Fates have been feared for the tragedies they weave. No man dared confront the Relentless Ones . . . until now.

Title: Creating Fate

(An Unspun Novella, #1)

Author: Rachel Firasek
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Novella
Release Date: July 10, 2012

Book 2 coming July 24, 2012!

She gave away her heart…

Giving her heart to a mortal wasn't something the First Fate planned. Losing him nearly shattered her soul. Upon his death, Clothos swore never to love—or weave life—again.

Hoping she'll change her mind before it's too late, Zeus commands the spinner of life to take a much needed vacation from her immortal responsibilities.

He had to hide his...
Dane is close to cracking the drug ring he's spent the last two years infiltrating, but needs to perform one last heist to meet the head man and prevent an impending war. An undercover agent, he’s now on the run from drug lords, thieves and with the very woman whose tears make him forget his purpose.
Together they’ll find a way back from the dark.

Chloe will have to put her trust in the man she believes may have killed her fiance, or face an eternity on Earth. Without the desire for life, hope could slip through the cracks of time if he doesn’t love away her sorrow.

About the Author:
Rachel Firasek grew up in the south and despite the gentle pace, she harassed life at full steam. Her curiosity about mythology, human nature, and the chemical imbalance we call love led her to writing. Her stories began with macabre war poems and shifted to enchanted fairytales, before she settled on a blending of the two.

Today you’ll find her tucked on a small parcel of land, surrounded by bleating sheep and barking dogs, with her husband and children. She entertains them all with her wacky sense of humor or animated reenactments of bad 80’s dance moves.

She’s intrigued by anything unexplained and seeks the answers to this crazy thing we call life. You can find her where the heart twists the soul and lights the shadows… or at .

Stealing Fate   

(An Unspun Novella, #2)

Author: Berinn Rae

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Novella
Release Date: July 24, 2012

Book 3 coming August 7, 2012!

She stole his fate…

Lachesis—now known simply as Lacey—is a Fate, an ancient goddess in whose hands our destinies are unraveled. When she’s not weaving fortune, she does what she wants when she wants. Until she runs into a man she craves but hoped—and prayed—never to see again. It had been a dangerous gamble to betray the god of terror, but in war, hard choices--and enemies--are made. And she'll soon discover the most frightening of immortals can really hold a grudge.
Now it’s his turn…

The most cruel of gods, Phobos is a predator who takes pleasure in terrorizing the world. After millennia of relentless searching, he finds the Fate who caused him to be cast from Olympus. Now he plans to use every bit of his talents on the goddess to regain his lost heritage without losing his heart in the process.

As the outcast god ignites her passions, Lacey must come to grips with the destiny she has long denied herself. And Phobos must find a way to escape the destiny that would force him to betray the woman he has grown to love.

About the Author:
Berinn Rae writes romantic science fiction/fantasy about extraordinary women who always get their guy. Her Guardians of the Seven Seals series follows mythical creatures we believed in as children, only to be forgotten as we aged. When not writing, she can be found flying old airplanes, watching SciFi movies, playing RPGs, and pampering an incredibly spoiled sixty-pound lap dog. Berinn lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband and dog. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Born: Manchester, Iowa, USA Schools: BA in Management Information Systems, University of Northern Iowa MPA in Organizational Leadership, Drake University
Find out more at

Chasing Fate

(An Unspun Novella, #3)

Author: Elle J Rossi

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Novella
Release Date: August 7, 2012

 She is forced to kill . . .

When a much-needed vacatio
n turns into work for the third Fate, Atropos vows to sever the mortal’s lifeline quickly and get back to the sea and sand. Having her mysterious quarry offer a deal in exchange for more time is an unexpected complication. Always surrounded by darkness and death, Attie takes a chance to get a taste of life and help right a wrong that never should have happened.

He refuses to die . . .

Dru spent months praying for death to take him. Anger over the brutal killing of his family festered until those prayers turned to plans for revenge. Making a deal with the Death Fate was the only way to extend his lease on life. He only needed a handful of days to avenge those he lost, but within minutes of meeting Atropos he knew he’d want forever.

About the Author:
Elle J Rossi grew up in rural Indiana surrounded by great people, a huge family, and more animals than she could count. But the sites and sounds of the world beckoned, so she left her small town to escape into a creative world full of music. As a full time singer she was able to lose herself in a thousand different songs in a hundred different places.

After meeting the love of her life and settling down, she yearned to find a new and fulfilling creative outlet. Overly fond of the happily ever after, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters lead her down dark and twisted paths. The very first word on the very first page sealed her fate. She’d found a new love. She’d found her escape.

Now along with weaving haunting tales about the journey to love, she’s creating cover art for authors around the world and loving every second of it. For fun, she cranks country music to take her back to her roots, and sings karaoke anytime she gets a chance. Her husband, two children, and a cat that rules the roost keep her company along the way and guarantees she doesn’t get lost in the enchanted forest. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Find Elle at Trailer Codes: 

Creating Fate:
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Chasing Fate:
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Author Maxine Douglas

I'm excited today to host author Maxine Douglas. For all historical romance fans out there checkout Maxine's latest work Knight To Remember.

      Excerpt from KNIGHT TO REMEMBER:

     “Look who I found lurking in the shadows.” Thomas smiled at Issie like the Cheshire cat.

     The two women eyed each other, contempt in Issie’s eyes and distrust in Courtney’s. Deep beneath the surface of politeness lay a rivalry with which Reynold was already all too familiar. These two had never liked each other, even as children playing in the courtyard.

     He couldn’t accept the fact Lady Courtney was not his Catherine. Something deep down in his heart and soul told him they were one and the same, just born in different worlds and time.

     Reynold stood, allowing Lady Courtney to take his seat. He’d already told Thomas his story. What more could he say? That he was in love with a woman much like Lady Courtney? That he’d been banished from his homeland because he wouldn’t bed down with his queen?

     Not with Queen Isabel sitting in front of him; he valued his life too much for such an accusation…even if it were the truth and common knowledge within Heartsease. She wouldn’t hesitate to have him cut down where he stood, if she so desired.

     And what of Lady Courtney? Would she believe his words, or treat him with the kindness she’d shown the mindless of their country? He’d not take the chance; not yet any way.

     “Reynold Loddington.” His name rolled like sweet honey off Courtney’s lips. “Very unusual. Is it an old family name?”

     Reynold shifted his feet, not sure how to answer Lady Courtney’s question. If she were really Catherine in another time, then wouldn’t she have full knowledge of who he was? Her face was the same porcelain hue, and while her eyes may have changed in color, he saw the same passion and sweetness within them. He wondered whether her lips still held their sweet taste, as well.

     Issie cleared her throat, drawing everyone’s attention back to her. “I would venture to guess his parents were deep into fifteenth century England history. I’d also bet that—”

     “Enough, Issie! I don’t think this man needs to be subjected to your questions, ladies. It’s late, and we all need to be fresh for tomorrow’s crowd.” Thomas slapped Reynold on the back, and then led him toward the door and into the safety of the night.

                                                      * * * *

     “Fare thee well, Black Knight!” Issie called out, waving her hand in the air as Reynold and Thomas took their leave.

     “Well! I never.” Courtney sat back in her chair, amazed at the turn of events. Here sat Issie Cummings, self-proclaimed witch, with one man lapping up her every word while another spat at her. Just what the hell did she have that no other woman had, anyway? That she didn’t have?

     “Of course you have.” Issie continued waving, her eyes never leaving the backsides of the two men until they were through the door. “More times than I’d care to recall.”

     “Issie, you are the most…ohhhhh! I can’t even begin to describe how nasty you can be.” Courtney looked at her, watching her expression change from lustful to predatory. The cold, black look sent a chill of recognition down her spine. She’s seen the look before, but she wasn’t sure when or where.

     Issie took a drink from Reynold’s tankard, licking her lips slowly. She reminded Courtney of a lioness finishing her evening snack. Only the purr of satisfaction was missing. As far as Courtney was concerned, the woman had no business taking such a liberty. She was being far too familiar with Reynold Loddington for Courtney’s liking.

     Then again, why should she give a darn? He was just another reenactor, here for the summer, and gone as soon as possible after Labor Day weekend. No, she didn’t care what happened to Reynold Loddington. At least, that’s what she kept telling her heart each time his name floated off of Issie’s lips.

     Issie leaned forward, her eyes burning like black flames. “You and I have never liked each other, Courtney.” She slapped her hand down on the table hard enough to upset one of the tankards, spilling ale onto the table. “I will have what I set out to get, and you’ll not stop me this time around, Catherine!”

     A shiver of fear and warning flittered down Courtney’s spine.

     That’s the second time today someone’s called me Catherine. These people have got to get their minds straight.

     “I don’t know who Catherine is, but she’s not me. I wish you and that Mr. Reynold Loddington, or whatever it is he’s calling himself, would get that straight.” Courtney shoved herself out of her chair to leave the table. She leaned down, coming nose-to-nose with her enemy. “You’ll not scare me, Isabel Cummings. I know your kind, and there’s a reason why other women avoid you.”

     Courtney stomped out the tavern door, Issie’s wicked laughter following her into the night.

An avid horse lover and reader, Maxine Douglas loves spending time in the saddle, curled up with a good book, catching up with her oldest grand-daughter, or chasing her youngest grand-daughter around the house. She resides in Oklahoma with her husband, and is a member of both Romance Writers of America, Oklahoma Romance Writers of America, and the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition.