Thursday, 18 July 2013

Guest Blog: Mickie Sherwood - 'Like Slow Sweet Molasses'

Teacher Angela Munso has lost control—of her spiraling life. She can control the fallout of recent news from whose loins she sprang as easily as she can her heart’s pitter-patter. To have feelings for a man who is everything she now wants to hate? That’s the last straw!
Lt. Brock "Chance" Alexander’s arrogance baits Angela. And—he knows it. It’s never so obvious to him as when she lobs that insulting phrase at the side of his head. She pushes all of his hot buttons. But, there’s one he dares her to touch—the one that pushes him out of her life.

Angela enjoyed the refreshing taste of her favorite cherry flavored ICEE on the walk home from the corner store several blocks away. Secretly keeping tabs on Chance’s motorcycle, relief flooded her being when she peeked and it no longer took up space at the curb. The absence was enough incentive for her to treat herself and get out of the house for a walk to boot mainly in an effort not to dwell on the difficulty encountered when practicing her viola.
Her thong sandals gritted on the sandy concrete broadcasting her position to all within hearing distance. The empty street was hers alone. The sky shed its grayness as daylight waned; coloring the atmospheric canvas a sea-blue sprinkled with floating cotton, sun-kissed and striped a feathery red. Marveling at the beauty, she sipped her drink, taking her sweet time in climbing the stone steps to her yard.
“How are you this evening, Angela?” Mrs. Thatcher called. She and Chance sat comfortably in the swing, keeping a constant back and forth motion, satiated after their light supper.
Initially unaware of their presence, she was startled to learn of her mistake. She wasn’t alone after all. “Fine, thank you, Mrs. Thatcher,” she lied. “And you?”
“Muddling along for an old lady.” Chastising her relative, “Don’t be so impolite, Brock. Speak.”
“Miss Munso.” His mind drifted to the music he heard coming from her upstairs window, a hauntingly melodious tune she had difficulty completing—pausing at the same spot after each try. Not to be outdone, he assumed, she finished the song by singing the notes in melodic crystal clarity.
“Lt. Alexander.” Angela decided to make her exit calling over her shoulder as she advanced on the door. “See you later, Mrs.—” The remaining words dwindled to a gurgle and the cup fell in slow motion from her hand. A smoky cheroot scent assailed her olfactory senses in competition with her sense of hearing just as one foot crossed the threshold. Alarm painted her features as she spun to look dead at Chance, eyes silently screaming for help.
The fine hairs on his arms snapped to attention across the distance launching his ascent from the swing like a rocket booster, landing him beside her in a flash. “What is it?” He heard it, too, while she backed away. Someone moved inside her home. “Were you expecting company?”
All she managed was a negative headshake.
The exchange of places allowed him to feel the delicate bones in her soft hands. “Stay out here. I’ll come for you once I’ve cleared the house.” She looked panicked. “Understood?” 
She silently nodded her assent.
She watched him cautiously enter on cat’s feet, his expertise in such matters clearly exhibited. Now and again, she caught a hint of his movement as he materialized from one room to disappear into the next. How fickle could she be to put his life in jeopardy when she scorned him previously? Angela’s conscience whipped up on her. So much so that she tiptoed up the stairs behind him, against his express wishes.
The bottom floor proved empty sending him up to the next level, senses attuned and gun drawn. He whirled after hearing the slightest movement, leveling the weapon stiff armed and double-fisted. She gasped. Chance rapidly raised the barrel to the ceiling. He noted how in her flustered state she crashed backwards, bumping her head on the descent.
“Ow-w-w,” she groaned, vaguely aware of the swaying meadow grasses enveloping her before the light receded and he completely disappeared.
“Cra-ap!” That was as close to an expletive Chance could come to since turning over his new leaf. He knew the culprit had escaped through the door to the rear of the house for it was wide open. Yet, it was a precautionary measure to do a check of the upstairs, just in case. “Angela? Can you hear me?” Thumbing the safety and holstering his gun, Chance huddled over her on all fours.

How emboldened would you be to a man with a badge...and a gun?

My novels are available at:

I'm a cruise-loving, people-watching, picture-snapping baby boomer with time on her hands. So, I write sweet and spicy relationship-based mainstream contemporary romantic love stories.

Read bonus chapters 1, 2, & 3 here.

Find me: Open for submissions

Thanks, Lindsay, for allowing me to share with your visitors.

Mickie Sherwood
~~Sweet, spicy romance – a heartbeat away!~~

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Guest blog: Melanie Shawn's Crossroads Series

What Makes Being At A Crossroads In Life Such a Compelling Theme?

The writing team of sisters Melanie and Shawna discuss why they chose the theme of “Big Life Choices” for their Crossroads Series.

Robert Frost, in his immortal poem, describes one of the biggest conundrums in life.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood.”

There is something so gut-wrenching about facing a metaphorical fork in the road. You can only go one way, and the what the rest of your life will look like is based on that one monumental decision.

Of course, people face these crossroads in life every day. They decide whether to enter or leave relationships, they decide what job to take and what job to pass on, they decide whether to move across the country or not. They decide whether the time is right to start a family.
It's not the rarity of the experience that makes the facing a crossroads so compelling, it's the struggle. We all do it. We go back and forth mentally, we try to see down the divergent paths to envision what our lives would be like under each of the two sets of circumstances we are choosing between, even though we know that's folly! There's no way for us to predict the outcome.

The truth is, the only way to make a big “crossroads” kind of decision is to follow your heart. You have to ignore the clenching in your gut, the uncertainty, the little voice in your head that says you aren't good enough, and just...leap. You have to take a giant leap of faith.

Decisions. Choices. Crossroads.

We knew immediately when the concept occurred to us that it simply had to be the theme of our second series of novels. There is such a great arc, and there is so much rich emotional material for mining, in a situation where one or both of the characters have to dig deep, determine what is right for them, and then take a huge leap of faith.

Of course, since we're romance writers, we know that leap will pay off for them. They will take that scary jump only to land in their lover's arms and find out that they were launching themselves right into their own HEA all along.

But the “good stuff” is in how they manage to get to the point where they feel ready to jump!


Melanie Shawn is the writing team of sister duo Melanie and Shawna. Originally from Northern California, they both migrated south and now call So Cal their home. 

Growing up, Melanie constantly had her head in a book and was always working on short stories, manuscripts, plays and poetry. After graduating magna cum laude from Pepperdine University, she went on to teach grades 2nd through 8th for five years. She now spends her days writing and taking care of her furry baby, a Lhasa Apso named Hercules. In her free time, her favorite activity is to curl up on the couch with that stubborn, funny mutt and binge-watch cable TV shows on DVD (preferably of at least eight seasons in length - a girl's gotta have her standards!). 

Shawna always loved romance in any form - movie, song or literary. If it was a love story with a happy ending, Shawna was all about it! She proudly acknowledges that she is a romanceaholic. Her days are jam-packed with writing, being a wife, mom aka referee of two teens, and indulging in her second passion (dance!) as a Zumba instructor. In the little free time she has, she joins Melanie in marathon-watching DVDs of their favorite TV programs.

They have joined forces to create a world where True Love and Happily Ever After always has a Sexy Twist!

Book Description:

Jason Sloan is known as Harper’s Crossing’s resident Romeo, and he’s never had to work too hard to live up to that nickname. With his easygoing charm, whiskey-colored brown eyes, and sinfully sexy half smile, women just seem to fall all over themselves when he’s around.

Well...most women, anyway. Katie Lawson’s the one woman who isn't putty in his hands, and she's the only one he’s ever wanted in his arms.

Katie Lawson left Harper's Crossing in the middle of the night ten years ago, immediately after her high school boyfriend Nick's funeral. She left behind all memories of Nick, and she left behind her life-long best friend, Jason Sloan.

Now she's on the fast track to junior partner at one of San Francisco's top law firms. She's made a life for herself that's all about maintaining order and sticking to the rules. Rule #1 is keeping herself WAY too busy to think about all that she ran away from. If she can do that, after all, she can keep everything under control.

But that rule is about to be broken. She’s headed back home to be the maid of honor in Nick’s little sister’s wedding. It's time to face the truth she's been avoiding all these years, the same one that sent her running ten years ago - that maybe she didn't lose her first love the summer after high school. Maybe her first love has been waiting for her all this time, at home in Harper's Crossing.


Katie opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She snapped it shut. She tried again. Same result. She imagined she looked like a trout on the banks of a river, flapping her mouth open and shut for no apparent reason.
The realization of how silly she must look gave her just the extra edge of courage she needed to jump off the cliff.
“Jason, I...I wanted to...I wanted to tell you that...” she steeled herself for what she knew her physical reaction would be as she forced herself to look up into those gorgeous brown eyes, which resembled nothing so much as pools of warm and melty milk chocolate...
The expression on Jason's face when she raised her eyes brought her up short. She narrowed her eyes.
“Why do you look so smug?” she asked suspiciously.
Rather than answering, he smirked and bent down, putting his mouth right next to her ear. His hot breath assailed her neck and she began to feel light-headed again.
Wait...was this....OH NO! Panic attack #2 might be on the horizon.
Not in front of Jason, PLEASE, not in front of Jason, Katie begged the Universe.  It seemed like the Universe must have more important things on its mind, however because - oh, lord. Now the shallow breathing was starting.
Jason's breath on her neck, however, was anything but shallow. It was deep. And heavy. And warm. And full of desire. And...oh, man, that lightheadedness was just getting worse and worse.
Jason had her pinned up against the trunk of her car. Her mind was screaming at her to push him away and RUN as fast and as far as she could. Hey, it had worked in the past. Her body, however, was sending her some very different signals.
“I'm not smug, Kit Kat,” Jason informed her, his deep voice rumbling in his chest.
“Wha...huh...?” Katie mumbled.
Jason laughed lightly, “I was just saying that I'm not smug. Just happy to know that I still get under your skin.”
Katie didn't respond. She didn't even really hear what he said, she'd stopped trying to pay attention to the words. Stupid words. They just got in the way of listening to his voice...that silky, deep voice.
Jason traced his thumb down the back of Katie's neck slowly, sensuously, and then continued across her shoulder and down her arm. When he reached her waist, he slipped his hand around her easily, spreading his fingers slowly and firmly, grasping her back with a familiarity that felt as dangerous as it did comforting.
His thumb began to gently massage the small of her back, sending sharp zings of electricity ping-ponging off of her nerve endings. She wanted to stop those little zings of pleasure in their tracks. She wanted to ignore, suppress, deny...anything!
She needed to push him away and get some distance is what she needed to do. Her knees began to buckle. Any time now, a little voice in the back of her head whispered. Any time you want to get a jump on creating that distance would be perfect.
That was, however, not what Katie did. No matter how hard her lizard brain screamed at her to push him away...step away...jump away...DANCE away, even...all Katie found herself doing was looking up into his chocolate brown eyes as she melted into his embrace.
Katie heard a low moan escape from Jason's throat and was suddenly hyper-aware of how close their lips were to each other. A shiver ran through her as she contemplated the nearness of those delicious, sexy lips.
Katie's breathing became more labored, but not in an out-of-control, panic-attacky kind of way. No, it was more of a body-coming-alive-for-the-first-time-in-years kind of way.
She vaguely wondered what was going to happen next, but couldn't make herself focus too much on the future. Not when the present was this flipping interesting!
Her brain might be telling her to get out of this situation, to think about the consequences – but her body was perfectly content to ride this little scene out and see where it went thankyouverymuch.
Why did it seem that she was utterly incapable of listening to her brain in any situation where Jason Sloan was involved?

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Monday, 1 July 2013

Guest blog: Pat McDermott - 'The Rosewood Whistle'

Surrounded by Ireland’s music and myths, a widowed American writer meets a tour guide leery of love…

On her own at the end of a long and difficult marriage, Gemma Pentrandolfo still hears the critical voice of her husband taunting her from his grave. To foster her independence, she schedules a summer vacation in County Mayo intending to write her first book, and she’s counting on Ireland for inspiration. An idea presents itself when she tours Achill Island with a silver-tongued tour guide whose good looks prompt her to write more than her high-minded novel: she transcribes her years of longing in a steamy fantasy no one is meant to see.

Years have passed since an accident claimed the self-absorbed wife who scorned Ben Connigan and his music. Since then, the former tin whistle ace has avoided marriage, though he never lacked for female companionship before he traded his high-tech career for the slow-paced life of a hometown tour guide. Ben has accepted the end of his run of discreet affairs, until he takes Gemma touring. Her passion for Ireland impresses him. Her love of Irish music soon compels him to dust off his whistles. Knowing she’ll leave at the end of the summer, he sees no harm in keeping her company—until he dares to dream of spending the rest of his life with her.

But he knows it can’t be, not while the ghosts of their partners still haunt them. Not unless the music and myths of Ireland can help them find their way…


(Ben is driving Gemma to Achill Island for a tour. He’s allayed her concerns that this might be a date by saying that between her forty-eight years and his fifty-two, they have a hundred years of living between them, experiences they might share now and then. In this scene, they’ve stopped at the beach in Mulranny so Gemma can photograph Clew Bay.)

He stayed near the car while she shot her pictures, scampering over rocks and grass still damp from the recent shower. But for an older couple rambling along the tidemark, she had the beach to herself.

Cottony fair weather clouds tumbled in from the sea. Knowing how fast they could blacken, he monitored their approach as he breathed in the salt air and watched little waves wash over the sand. He never grew tired of viewing the islands that peppered Clew Bay.

He doubted he’d ever grow tired of watching Gemma either. The thought surprised him. Hadn’t he put her down as a summer fling?

She returned to the car, the wind whipping her hair over her reddened cheeks. He thought he’d never seen such a beautiful smile. And wasn’t she the thoughtful girl, giving him an excuse to visit some of his favorite scenery?

“This really is gorgeous,” she said. “So salty and clean. I love how the clouds roll like smoke from a wildfire, and I could listen to those waves forever.”
“They say it takes three days for a wave to reach Ireland from Nova Scotia. Look.” He pointed to the sky, where a shimmering rainbow arced over the bay.

She raised her camera, but the rainbow had already faded. “I’m adding that to my list.”

“What list?”

“My list of why I like it here. The music. Bright summer nights. Good tea. Fish and chips. Castles. And most definitely, rainbows.” She smiled slyly at him. “I’m sure I’ll have more to add by the end of the summer.”

Was she inviting him to add an item or two to her list? Considering the possibilities, he opened the passenger door for her. She paused to wipe the soles of her shoes on the grass.

A thoughtful girl indeed. As he reclaimed the driver’s seat, he started his own list about Gemma Keenan. “Nothing for the ‘Why I hate it here’ side of the list?”

She wriggled out of her jacket and combed her fingers through her hair. “Not yet. Even the weather’s been great.”

He tossed their jackets over the seat. His hand grazed her arm.

Her gaze locked on his. “A hundred years, Ben. That’s a long time.”

After a prudent but powerful pause, he bent his head and kissed her. No hands, no arms, no more than two pairs of lips brushing once.

Then twice.

The third time, she kissed him back before breathlessly turning her head away. The color the wind had put in her cheeks had deepened.

Ben didn’t trust himself to speak. He felt spring-loaded, a little drunk, a lot in one hell of a heat. How had a few superficial kisses set his heart beating double time?

Author Bio:

Boston, Massachusetts native Pat McDermott writes romantic action/adventure stories set in an Ireland that might have been. Glancing Through the Glimmer and its sequel, Autumn Glimmer, are young adult paranormal adventures featuring Ireland’s mischievous fairies. Both books are “prequels” to her popular Band of Roses Trilogy: A Band of Roses, Fiery Roses, and Salty Roses. The Rosewood Whistle is her first contemporary romance.

Pat is a member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. Her favorite non-writing activities include cooking, hiking, reading, and traveling, especially to Ireland. She lives and writes in New Hampshire, USA.

Pat McDermott

Romantic Adventure Set in Ireland