Friday, 11 July 2014

Dating advice for my sons

My house is currently full of raging teen and tween hormones. It occurred to me the other day that it won't be long before my sons want to date. I've already spotted the interest.

My first reaction, of course, is to cry like a baby because my boys are growing. However, at 11 and 13, I think they'll still consider me their main gal for a little while longer.

Even still, I couldn't help but try to encapsulate all the advice I wish I could share with them. As teens they don't always want to have these discussions in person. What would I tell my soon-to-be-dating children?

1) The world is full of girls. The first one who breaks your heart will not be the last, or the best.

2) The girl who points out one's zits or imperfect nose is not the one for you. Share yourself with the one who sees past these things.

3) Look for girls who share your interests. In some measure, opposites will always attract, but at the end of the day, you need to have something to talk about.

4) Teen boys may feel explosive chemistry for any girl who walks by. This is normal and don't let it freak you out. But when you settle down as an adult, make sure you have chemistry with your chosen woman. You should curl her toes, and she should curl yours.

5) Keep talking to us, your parents. It can be easy to feel so alone as a teen. Life is less lonely when you share your feelings.

6) And most of all, don't be afraid to love. Don't be afraid to try. Great romances weren't born of fear.

7) As you head out into the big, bad world, please know your parents will always support you and you can always come home. We love you.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Haley Whitehall...Wild and Tender Care.

I'm always pleased to welcome Liquid Silver Books pub sister Haley Whitehall to my blog. She has a wonderful new book, Wild and Tender Care, and a fascinating post about "painted ladies" in the Old West.


Painted Ladies of the West

Many people do not realize there were two kinds of “bad girls” in the Old West. There were saloon and dance hall women who danced with men and offered music and conversation while they drank, but did not engage in prostitution. In the shabbiest saloons – the brothels – the women also took customers up to their rooms. Of course, some of the whorehouses were of higher class than others serving to the more well to do, but most serviced the dusty cowboys, drifters, and miners.
The saloon and dance hall women were considered respectable company by the men who enjoyed their company and were treated like ladies. These ladies looked down upon the working women and would not want to be in the company of a prostitute. I find it interesting that even among painted ladies there was a social order.
The Puritan women in the East considered both types of women as “fallen” not differentiating between the two. To them a painted lady was a lady of sin. Girls did not work in saloons in the East. Of course, women were plentiful in the East. The desire for female company in the West made being a saloon girl a profitable job especially in the boomtowns. I have read many stories of women making a fortune during the gold rush. Many widows and farm girls were lured to the West and entered this profession looking for easy work and high wages. The work was not really easy not matter if the lady worked in a dance hall or brothel. As Ida Page points in Wild and Tender Care she’d seen the roughest side of the West and all the worst men could offer.
Dr. William Steere is different. He is a refined gentleman who doesn’t even carry a gun. She is intrigued by his manners and handsome looks. Could he really have feelings for her—a former madam?


Excerpt:

The following day she focused on her usual pile of laundry. Scrubbing a pair of trousers, she did not know anyone had approached until she heard a man cough.

Stomach tightening, her spine snapped straight.

Dr. Steere nodded to her. “Miss Page, I did not mean to sneak up on you.”

“That’s quite all right, Doctor,” she said, her insides slowly unwinding.

“I see you are enjoying the sunshine.”

“If you consider running clothes over a washboard as enjoyment.”

He glanced up at the sun. “Colorado Territory does have pretty skies, don’t you think?”

What was this, a feeble attempt at small talk? She didn’t have the strength to keep up the charade any longer. It was much easier to be friendly. “A blue sky is a blue sky.”

He shook his head. “But this sky has horses and castles and giant flowers.”

She peered up at the clouds dotting the stretch of endless blue. Looking for shapes in the clouds had been a fun game when she was little. She pointed to a large cloud. “That one looks like a boat.”

Dr. Steere sidled up to her and followed her finger to where she was pointing. “Yes, it does.”
His masculine musk filled the air, surrounding her. A deep-seated ache migrated through her body and settled between her thighs. It had been a long time since she’d been with a man. Even though whoring had been her business, she’d learned to derive pleasure from her clients. A pleasure she’d been long denied. Dr. Steere was not like any of the usual men who had called upon her nightly services. His presence alone aroused her. She didn’t even need his touch to remind her body what to do.

Her long-suppressed need for male companionship rose to the surface. Watching him out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the corners of his lips twitching. Had he caught her looking at him?

If this was a game for him, she’d be happy to lose. Her heart raced, beating with eagerness to be with him. It would be more than sex with him. They had a deeper connection. He wanted to court her, make her his wife, and she longed for him to drop on one knee and ask her.

She could enjoy his strong, steady presence all day especially if it led to the bedroom. Damn, this was a precarious situation. He wanted her and her body wanted to be with him, but she knew the people of Big Rock better than he did. Was she ready for the storm that would follow?
While she was in charge of her own life, not the good Christians passing judgment on her, she did have to live within their community. Would it be more or less painful to live as Mrs. Steere?

Clearing her throat, she got his attention. “What is your business here, Dr. Steere? I take it you no longer require directions around town.”

“No, you explained the surroundings very well. It will just take time for me to get to know everything.” The way he looked at her left no question of whom he wanted to get to know.

Her pulse skidded out of control and her core heated. She put both her hands in her apron pockets to keep from running them up and down Dr. Steere’s broad shoulders.

She gulped air, grasping for her resolve to keep things strictly professional. “Did you come out here merely to discuss the clouds? I figured a doctor would have more important things to occupy his time.”

He put a hand on his chest. “The lady’s wit strikes again.”

She scowled. His sarcasm was not becoming.

“I was actually hoping you could get out bloodstains.” He took off his frock coat and then his vest, standing before her in a white shirt, tie, and trousers.

He was stripping in front of her. She couldn’t believe it! Yes, she’d seen many men strip for her before but that had been in the privacy of her room, not on the front lawn where anyone could see. Heat spread from her ears all the way down to her toes, and yet she could not tear her eyes away from the enthralling sight.

She wetted her lips and clenched her thighs, already feeling the moisture down below. He slipped off his tie and then proceeded to take off his white shirt.

Speechless, she gaped at his toned chest covered in a dusting of black hair.

“I suppose I should have changed at the office,” he said in an apologetic tone. “I wasn’t thinking.

I knew it was best to clean the bloodstain quickly. I was changing the bandage on a patient and my sleeve fell down.” He handed the shirt to her.

The right sleeve was coated in blood, still damp.

Somehow her lust-filled mind still managed to form a coherent sentence. “I will see what I can do.”

“Thank you. After medical school and the war I don’t have too much savings. I figure I’ll be scraping by until I build up a good practice. Of course, I realize many patients pay in kind out here.” His gaze migrated lower, pausing for a hairbreadth at her thighs and she pulsed with need.

“How much do you charge?”

“Charge?”

He pointed to the shirt she was holding. “For the washing,” he said, a taut smile tugging at his lips.

“Oh. Two bits.”

He nodded and began buttoning up his frock coat to hide his bare chest.

“I-I can deliver your shirt tomorrow,” she stammered.

“That will be fine, Miss Page. You know where my office is.” He walked all the way to the street and then stopped and turned around. “A doctor keeps long hours,” he called to her. “My door is always open.”

Blurb:

Ida Page has seen the worst the west has to offer. Snubbed by the citizens of Big Rock, Colorado, ever since the town cleaned up its act and became civilized, she has tried to change with the times. No other line of work available, she became a laundress after the mayor shut down the whorehouse, but the good people will not allow her to forget her past as a shady lady. She has given up on ever being accepted, let alone falling in love, until a handsome half-breed stranger arrives in town.

After the War Between the States, William Steere has been looking for a town to build a medical practice. He answered a newspaper ad placed by the mayor of Big Rock and hopes their desperate need for a doctor will overrule their race prejudice against his half-breed status. At the Independence Day picnic, he is introduced to all the town citizens except for one woman sitting off by herself. This redhead draws him to her with merely a gaze.

Can the two outcasts find love and acceptance in each other's arms or will the town’s cruelty and a smallpox epidemic tear them apart?

Buy Links:



Author Bio:
Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical fiction and historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy. Visit Haley’s website at http://haleywhitehall.com.

Where to find Haley Whitehall:


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

T.D. Hassett...Darling's Desire!

It wasn't too long ago that I had my introduction to the fine writing of T.D. Hassett. A pub sister of mine, I'm proud and excited to showcase her latest work, Darling's Desire.
Thanks so much for being here, T.D!


Three Glasses of Wine and Out Comes the Sex Talk
TD Hassett

            Thank you Rosanna for letting me come by and visit.  I will try not to ramble on too long but I just had to share some funny things that recently came out.  I was chatting with some friends about romance novels and a couple of the women said there were some tropes in the books that made them batty.  Say what? How can a romance novel ever be annoying? Once I finished choking on my wine I had to find out what was bugging them so much.  After careful listening I was able to organize their complaints into a couple main ideas: purple prose writing and surprise virgins.  The whole discussion made me realize I have some really jaded friends who make good points.
            I’ll start with their first big issue and I admit, it has crossed my mind a few times when I’ve been writing that I might be getting a tad too purple-prosey with my phrasings.  My happy hour buddies can’t stand authors using terms like “steel encased in velvet,” or “throbbing sword” when referring to a man’s penis.  They were just as cranky about terms like “weeping core” and “slick passage” when referring to women’s vaginas.  After I stopped giggling over some of the more silly phrases used in romance novel sex scenes I had to agree with the girls.  I can honestly say that I never tried the whole marble member line in any of my books but it just sounds so uncomfortable that I might have to reconsider. No strike that, it makes me think of horny women impaling themselves on ancient Greek statues.
            The second thing that rankled the gals was the whole surprise virgin trope.  For anyone who has missed this romance novel spin it goes like this: hero and heroine finally are able to seal the deal. Hero thrusts his “mighty manhood” into heroine only to have her revealed as a hymen-heavy innocent. For whatever reason (and authors of contemporary romances –me included- often have to get creative on the backstory for this plot device) she neglected to share her intact status prior to their intimacy.  Generally the hero feels betrayed because now he can’t just toss her aside after sex. Of course by the end we are rewarded with a happily ever after and our hero realizes he is blessed to have such an innocent lover. Part of what is so irritating about the surprise virgin is the intensity of her reaction to deflowering. Agonizing pain, blood and then, the biggest surprise as far as I’m concerned, she and the hero still manage to share a toe curling climax, together, as in at the same time. I laughed about the absurdity only to then shyly admit that not only have I written a version of the surprise virgin storyline in “Isabel’s Awakening” but I kind of like reading them too. *Hangs head and smiles*



Blurb

Darling Roberts is going back to the lake house her mother disappeared from thirteen years ago. She needs to decide to stay or sell. The locals believe the place cursed, but her best friend thinks it would be a blast to spend the weekend there before heading to Europe. BFF Madison is determined to set Darling up, even if that means dragging a recently widowed rock-and-roll drummer to the scene of a murder.
Ross Daniels has a secret. He can’t stand the pitying looks well-wishers have given him since his wife’s accidental death. The European leg of the Becket tour can’t come soon enough. A weekend stay at a mutual friend’s lake house seems like a decent way to kill a couple of days before hopping a plane, at least until he spends some time with temptation herself.
Passions ignite and Ross feels his heart beginning to beat again. Darling isn’t who he thought she was, and he can’t get enough of her sweet soul and lush curves. Darling is determined to take charge of her life, and the lake house is just the place to begin. Ross is a scrumptious distraction, but she knows she has to keep things in perspective. Why would a world-famous drummer want to hang out with her in a small town even the locals want her run out of?


Buy Link:




Darling’s Desire
When the hero and heroine first meet…

Excerpt:

The champagne was flowing, and Darling was feeling a happy buzz hit her. At least until she noticed the two men approaching from down the street. She recognized Madison’s husband, Link, and the drummer from Becket in an instant. Link would be easy to chat with, but John Ross was another story. It was just so sad; his wife had died in a boating accident and he was in deep mourning. She never knew what to say to people who’d experienced such a loss. After all, she’d lost her mom when she was only nine years old, and nobody had ever said anything that helped her.
Madison continued talking about her son as Darling watched the men get nearer. Link put his finger to his lips, indicating that she should not say anything about his impending arrival. She almost nodded in response but stopped the action at the expression on his bandmate’s face. John Ross looked irritated. As if he was scowling at the whole world. His stride was stiff, and he appeared as if he hadn’t shaved in days. His longish light brown hair was stuffed under a cowboy hat, and he wore faded jeans and a black T-shirt, even in this heat. Even dressed sloppily he was taking-her-breath-away gorgeous. She was just noting his black boot tips when the men stopped behind Madison’s chair.
Link bent to place a kiss on Madison’s lips and brushed his fingers against her cheek. She jumped in her seat and flushed red in the face before swatting at his hand. Link laughed gently at his wife before coming around to Darling’s side of the table and chastely kissing her cheek. “You two ladies look up to no good. What have you been plotting?” Link asked, walking over to stand behind one of the empty chairs.
“I’m always on good behavior. It’s your wife you have to watch out for. She gets these ideas in her head.” She glanced over to see Madison welcoming Link’s friend, whom she wasn’t sure if she’d ever been introduced to before. Link and Madison had so many friends it was hard to keep track. She knew John Ross from pictures and videos but didn’t think they’d ever really met. Most of the time she and Madison did stuff, just the two of them, but she’d met some of Link’s friends and bandmates at the wedding and a smaller group at their son’s first birthday party.
“That wife of mine does have a wicked mind.” Link leaned over and tapped his friend. “Hey, Junior, meet one of Madison’s closest and oldest friends, Darling Roberts. Darling, meet Junior.” Link pulled out his chair and sat gracefully. His friend looked her up and down as if he was studying her. She wished he’d just ignore her altogether. Good-looking men made her nervous.
He pulled his chair out and sat watching her for a moment before finally saying, “Hey there, Darlin’, I’m John Ross. Ross to friends,” in a deep drawl.
She nodded her head feeling inordinately shy. She wasn’t sure, but from what few words the man spoke, he seemed to be straight out of the south. He took his hat off, exposing dirty-blond hair that was a bit too long. He was tan, so the outdoors was no stranger to him, and his eyes might’ve been blue or a very deep green; she didn’t want to get caught looking long enough to figure it out.
“Don’t mind him, Darling. He scowls at everyone but is a total pussycat.” Madison pointed at John Ross before adding, “Be nice, this is my BFF.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered and let out a mock purr that sent Link to laughing and slapping his hand on the small table, rattling the glassware. Darling began to count the wrought-iron rungs of the courtyard fence, feeling a bit out of her element now that the party had expanded.
“So, Darling is going to be staying at her late grandmother’s house for the summer and watching Beauty Belle for us there. It’s a big house built right on the water and surrounded by, like, acres of marsh and forest. Darling hasn’t been back to the house since she was a kid, so I got to thinking”—Madison paused, smiling brightly before continuing—“we have to practically drive past the lake on our way to Boston, and I thought it might be fun to go with her and check out the place. We could spend a couple of nights, soak up some sun, and be off to London. I could help Darling and Beauty Belle settle in while you take Will to the beach and all. What do you think? Link?”
“I don’t know, baby. I told Junior Ass here that he could ride up with us to Boston.”
“Oh, that’s fine. He can stay with us too. It’s a big house.” Madison looked at each of the men in turn, waiting for a response. Darling kept her mouth shut, amazed by Madison’s audacity.
Link found his voice first. “Sure, honey, if you want to we could stop by for a couple of nights.” He motioned the waiter over and ordered a couple of beers.
Darling waited with bated breath to see how her friend would proceed. She really should spend more time watching Madison to learn from the master. How did she just get him to agree without raising any suspicions? She was going to tell them the whole deal, right?
“I knew you’d think this was a good idea. You see, Darling inherited the house when her grandmother passed, over a year and a half ago or something like that, and has been meaning to check it out. She’s just a little nervous after so many years away from the family homestead, and well, that little incident that happened a week or so back was a nuisance. But I saw some pictures, and the house is really pretty and right in a quaint New England town.” Madison sipped her drink and picked at the salmon in front of her.
Darling had to hand it to her; she did have a way of avoiding the pesky details and focusing on the positive of any situation. The waiter arrived with beers for the guys and whisked away an empty appetizer plate.
“What do you mean by a little incident?” John Ross asked in a deceptively soft voice.
Darling attempted to answer. “A late tropical storm struck late last fall, flooding the dock, and there was a blizzard over the winter that caused some additional damage to the dock and one of the house’s decks. The house is still usable, and I contacted a company to begin repairs, but—”
Madison cut her off midsentence. “But the house is fine, and it would be an adventure.” She smiled at the seated men and pushed a plate of fruit and cheese toward them.
Ross picked up a few grapes, popped them in his mouth, and waited.
“Is anyone else wondering about this incident that has yet to have its curtains pulled open?” Obviously John Ross was a man of few words; he got right to the point. It was clear he was not one to fall for Madison’s ploys. How unusual.
“Well, there is a little more to it.” Darling attempted once again to explain, only to have Madison interrupt.
“Oh, stop. Just pour me another glass of champagne.” Madison tilted her glass to Link, who obliged, deftly pulling the bottle from the ice bucket. “Darling, you always focus on those little pesky details. It really is a lovely house, and we could use some time sitting on a beach.” She winked.
John Ross looked at her, an eyebrow raised in question. She took her time looking into his eyes; they were green and intense. She was beginning to squirm under his scrutiny. His looks could melt frozen chocolate.
He dropped his square jaw, keeping his eyes level with hers. “I’m thinking whatever you girls are leaving out is more than a few pesky details, so why don’t you, Darling, or whatever your name really is, fill us in on the meat and potatoes of the deal.” He swigged from his beer without breaking eye contact with her. Perhaps he had experience interrogating prisoners or something, because even Madison didn’t try to stop her from speaking this time. She knew she couldn’t follow the lead her friend had set. She needed them to know the whole story.
“I haven’t been to my grandmother’s lake house since the day my mom disappeared thirteen years ago. She was grabbed from the house, her car found abandoned in town, and eventually presumed dead. After that my father and I never went back there and instead summered on Cape Cod. Too many memories, I guess.” The story poured out of her in a just-the-facts manner. She’d had to explain the events to so many people over the years she’d become detached from the details. “My grandmother stayed, living in the house until she passed away. The house has been empty since, as I wasn’t sure what to do about the property. Then, I got a call from my aunt who lives in town and owns a real estate agency advising that I should just put it on the market. I was all set to do that, but with one of the deck pillars dropped and the end of the dock submerged in the lake, I needed some repairs. I wound up calling a local restoration company, and they sent a contractor to assess and repair the damage.”
Madison was opening her mouth to interrupt, but John Ross held his hand up and Link smirked, probably amused that someone could get his wife to hold her tongue.
Darling sipped her drink and went on. “Well, the handyman must’ve had an accident or something because his body was found up at the top of the driveway with a flathead screwdriver in his rib cage—it punctured the poor man’s lung. It was hard for the police to tell much because apparently some coyotes or bobcats got to the body, tore it up, and dragged it toward the street. He was found a few days later by a jogger.” She shrugged her shoulders and waited for her friend’s reactions.
Link just stared at her, perhaps trying to take in what he’d just heard. John Ross was less circumspect. “Holy fuck.”
Madison was done keeping quiet. “Oh please, Darling, you make it all sound more dramatic than it is. The repairman probably just fell down while holding some hand tools, and everyone knows that scavengers will mess with anything they can get.”
John Ross fixed his gaze right on her. “So you’re saying you and Madison want us to go spend a couple of nights at an isolated lake house, surrounded by dangerous animals, and where there may have already been at least two murders? Am I getting it all? Because I thought I was in a band, not guest-starring in a damn Scooby Doo episode. I’m not too gung ho about hopping in the mystery machine and looking to unmask old man Withers.” He slapped his beer onto the table. “Damn, little girl, you must be out of your tree. You ladies should go spend the weekend at the spa or something while the house gets cleaned out and sold for whatever some crackpot will pay. Place is probably haunted to boot.” He punctuated his comments by tipping the beer bottle toward her in emphasis.
John Ross’ comments set her teeth on edge. There had been a streak of bad luck at the house recently, but it wasn’t cursed. She might not have gone there for years, but it used to be a special place where her family spent every summer until her mom vanished. She’d loved to swim in the lake and take out the sailboat with her dad. She was ready to face the memories again and certainly didn’t need some rock-and-roll drummer giving her attitude about what she should be doing with her inheritance. She picked up her champagne flute and tipped it in a toast toward John Ross and asked, “So basically you’re scared, is that it?”
“I’m not scared of ghosts, if that’s what you mean. I just don’t want to go settle in there only to have you girls get all spooked in the middle of the night and start carrying on the way women do once the sun goes down. Not that it would be my problem ’cause I’ll be at the Four Seasons in Boston by tomorrow night.” He winked at her before shaking his near-empty beer at Link.
“Sounds good to me; they have a lobby with a grand piano at the Four,” Link kicked in.
“You know what, Darling, I think both these boys are a little rattled about your house. Maybe I should just come with you for the weekend and meet up with them in Boston on Sunday night?” Madison offered with a knowing smile.
Link signaled the waiter to bring two more beers to the table. “Now hold on, honey. I’m not letting you out of my sight for a whole weekend. Junior can find something to do if he’s spooked, but I’m in.”
“Who said I was spooked or rattled? I’m just thinking about you girls. I’m fine with hanging with the group. Besides you guys are driving me up to Boston. I don’t want to leave my baby at airport parking for two months. She’s getting garaged and wiped down with a diaper every day until I get back.” The waiter dropped the beers off for the guys, and John Ross took a healthy sip.
“So it’s all settled, then.” Madison smiled wide. “See, Darling, I told you I had good ideas. We’ll drive up in the Rover on Friday night and meet you. This is going to be so much fun!” Madison clapped her hands together with glee.
“Just one question before we all pack our bags for this little adventure. How exactly did your grandma pass?” John Ross asked, and all eyes at the table pivoted to look her way.
“She fell off the third-floor balcony.”

About the Author


            T.D. Hassett grew up reading the romance greats—Jackie Collins, Julie Garwood, and Judith McNaught. She was certain that life should be like a romance novel, with lots of passion, some incredible adventures, and a guaranteed happily ever after. She attended college in New England, earning a B.A. in History and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology before changing her mind again and studying education. Currently Ms. Hassett lives in Connecticut with her very patient husband and two young children. Her rambunctious family shares their home with three crazy cats and a darling golden retriever named Delilah. Her eccentric relatives and their quest to make her feel like the only normal nut in the family tree inspire her writing.
            Visit her at http://tdhassett.wordpress.com  -- She loves to hear from readers!