Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dog Lovers Story

A Dog's Inspiration to a Writer and the World: How the Life and Death of a Golden
Retriever Might Save Us From Ourselves
By Michael Cogdill,
Author of She-Rain: A Story of Hope

On the morning of May 29, 2008, I lifted Savannah from her bed, carried her to the car, and made the longest seven-mile drive of my life.

At the office of a veterinarian,welcomed by that profession's unique form of love, I soon lay on a cushioned floor beside a golden retriever who showed virtually none of her age, watching both my hands stroke the face that had welcomed me home for thirteen years.

The answer to a yearning awaited us that morning. It was part of the quiet covenant I made with Savannah the day my wife, Jill, and I adopted her. When a sweet dog's bloodline comes in confluence with our own, we human animals take on a sacred devotion.

As sickness comes on hard and takes down the joy of living, caring dog owners are committed to shouldering our beloved family member to a merciful death. On the floor that morning, I answered Savannah's courageous outreach for that death, allowing her to carry me. The peace that arrived in her final breath lifted the tide of my
heartbreak. As I nearly drowned in sadness, Savannah showed me to the shore of a graceful goodbye.

Later that day, a prominent friend in Hollywood, fresh from the same grief in his own family, shared with us some comfort, but also a spiritual yearning of his own:

Why would God measure the lifetime of dogs, and other animals we love, by a virtual hourglass when we live by a calendar? Why so little time on earth for those so good and loyal? It seems a cruelty.
After these months of healing, and the reporting of countless human tragedies on television, I've arrived at a conclusion: Savannah's too-short life, like that of all sweet dogs, calls us to a fine urgency dogs get after big living. They seem illiterate of worry, yet able to read joys that elude us. They quietly shout to us: Wag your
backside to music instead of your tongue to malice. Wallow less in pity and more on the bed of the one you adore. Give yourself, extravagantly, away.

I still fail her, of course. I live too much in my worries and sorrows and too little on the joy path she wore for me. Yet in these times of media-saturated human disaster, a thought of Savannah improves me as a man, recalls me to life as a writer. Her memory sets off some musing about the hope found in the life and death of a good dog. See if these truths make the news of your times easier to bear:

Savannah feared nothing about death. She went to it with eyes full of gratitude for the way her life had been. Her eyes seemed to draw from some deep well of love, way beyond the crust of words. Even in her final hour, sick as she was, she lived as  a divining rod to this love. No matter how I tried to comfort her, she served me -- right to her last moment. The kidney failure that was stalling her life was no match
for the servant's heart within her.

The high pitch of biased media, politics, and the vitriol of social debate held no allure for Savannah. She made grace her way of life. She ran from loud voices and bounded to gentility wherever she found it. We could trust her to be tender, even with the smallest child. Savannah taught me there's nothing so powerful in this life
as a truly gentle woman or man. There is no vanity in such dogs. They split mud holes, then track adoration across the floors of the humans who forgive them. They surely wonder why we care so much for things and so little for helping one another have simple wellness and fun. Savannah never cared for the size of my car. She simply loved the ride. She measured none of my money in how she valued me. In times of my sorrow, she made certain to place her head under my hand, letting me read a sense of all-will-be-more-than-well in
its Braille.

With the too-often forgotten elderly in a nursing home, Savannah visited with no consciousness of herself. The sights and smells that repulse too many humans never seem to repel a good dog. Something innate about Savannah longed to care for everyone. She never appraised anyone by their politics, religion, or race. No human bloodline or job pedigree held any sway. Savannah treated the ignorant as kings and the malicious
as queens. Even avowed dog haters valued what they found in her, and she loved them without pause.

Such a dog will forgive to the point of endangering itself. Some may argue enough hatefulness will turn any dog, even the most generous and kind. Perhaps this forms a caveat to us as well. Maybe good dogs teach us we will eventually draw back what we put into the world. Or is it that forgiveness becomes a form of capital we spend to the great shock of our enemies, an investment from which we draw the interest of turning enemies into friends? After every trip to the vet, on the heels of cavity exams every sane creature loathes, Savannah forgave Jill and me. We never had to ask.

In the afterglow of thinking of her, I adore considering how living so might change humankind. What might the news look like if everyone were so devotedly kind to everyone else? My job -- as a writer of news and fiction -- would so beautifully change. Within an hour after putting her into that permanent sleep, I sat weeping at our
kitchen table and wrote an open letter to Savannah. It let my grief out to run, with the memory of her a comfort at my knee. I leave you with a passage of it here, and a wish that the news of our future days will improve, changed in some small way by the legacy of Savannah.

"You tracked to the child who lives in me always. In this man you found a boy who loves you, sweet girl. Even in death, somehow you will always lead the boy in me home. I will follow your trail. And together, in the grand wet and muddy fun places of memory, we will be glad."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Ann Yost

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! My featured guest today is Ann Yost, and she’s here to chat about

And here she comes now.

With a jaunt to his step, Oliver escorts Ann into the parlor to join Sharon. The cherry wood log snap with sparks while the snow outdoors continues to swirl down from the sky.

Sharon: Welcome, Ann. Come and have a seat and Oliver will bring refreshments, won’t you Oliver?

Oliver offers Ann a bone-melting smile, pumps his biceps and saunters off, returning in no time with diet cokes and a plate of cheese and crackers. He winks at Ann. And, yes, my pet, it is the spreadable cheese from Trader Joe’s that you fancy. With great pizzaz, he takes the knife, spreads the cheese on a wafer and feeds it to Ann.

Ann: (eyes widened in appreciation) Omigosh, Oliver, you look like something right out of my fantasies, er, romance stories. Are you for real?

Flashing his engaging smile, Oliver pumps his biceps.

Sharon: Ah, Oliver, don’t you have work to do?
Oliver leaves, but not before treating Ann to another flex of his biceps…

Sharon: Let’s dish a bit about That Voodoo That You Do. I love the title, by the way. Was it hard for you to come up with one?

Ann: I LOVE titles. Sometimes I think I’d like to just write titles, you know, like just eating the top of the muffin? I really love old songs and often use them as inspiration. The first book I wrote was titled THE EARL THAT I MARRY. I’m afraid that title was better than the book! THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO seemed appropriate to me because of the “magic” in the book.

Sharon holds up the book. How about a sneak preview?

The audience screams a resounding “YES!”


The Runaway Bride meets Arsenic and Old Lace

An ex-bride and a divorced loner battle the past, local gossip and industrial-strength personal chemistry when they join forces to unmask an unorthodox small-town killer.

JESSIE MAYNARD: After finding her “perfect” fiancé in a compromising position she cancels her society wedding and heads to sleepy Mystic Hollow to lick her wounds and spend Christmas in the sanctuary of her late great Aunt Blanche’s vacant house.

But the storybook façade is deceptive. Behind the picket fences emotions cartwheel out of control. Bodies are piling up with suspicious alacrity at the local mortuary and the elderly members of the Tuesday Afternoon Canasta Club-turned-coven try to convince Jessie that the pastor of St. Michael’s, one Reverend Dennis Prendergast, has murdered Aunt Blanche.

Jessie’s pursuit of peace and the truth hit a brick wall in the form of a kryptonite-eyed sorcerer who invades her home, her senses and who threatens her heart.

LUKE TANNER: He’d vowed never to return to Mystic Hollow following a bitter divorce but changes his mind after a cryptic deathbed summons from his foster mother. He doesn’t mind playing midwife to Blanche’s psychic cat, Pyewacket, but he balks at his role of bodyguard for Blanche’s great niece as she launches a murder investigation with more enthusiasm than skill.

As the unlikely pair begins to uncover dark, troubling secrets in town, sparks fly between them and Jessie believes she might just find her happily ever after all. At least until Luke’s incandescent ex shows up wrapped in tinsel. It seems like déjà voodoo but Jessie knows it’s different.

This time she has to decide whether she will run away or stay and fight for the man who owns a piece of her heart.

By Ann Yost
Wild Rose Press, December, 2009

Luke could hear Jessie gasping and puffing as he dragged her through the moonlit streets, past the gazebo and the town’s Christmas tree. Fueled by adrenalin and rage he ran full-out, allowing no quarter for her much shorter legs.

He vaulted up the shallow steps to Blanche’s front porch and he stopped so suddenly she slammed into him as he dug out his key. He cursed, softly. The instant they were inside he pinned her shoulders against the door.

The golden eyes held no fear, only contrition and something else that reached into his chest and settled under his heart. Her lips parted. God. Need clawed at him like an animal trapped in a box. His hands trembled and he knew there was no way he’d make it upstairs. He didn’t care if the rest of the household woke up and sold tickets. He had to have her. Now. When she put her hands on his face and slipped her tongue into his mouth he realized she wanted him, too. Thank God.

Desperate to feel her soft skin, to lose himself in her warmth, he drew her down to the polished wooden floor while his fingers fought hers for the right to unsnap his old letter jacket. Finally, finally, it was open and he reached inside.

“Shit,” he growled. “Overalls.”

“I’ve got it,” she breathed. She shoved the straps off her shoulder while he stripped off her boots. He ripped open his jeans. He knew it was gonna be close. He was wound as tightly as a rubber band. Rubber. Shit. Mabel Ruth had confiscated his condoms. Luke felt Jessie’s fingers dig into his hips. He made a half-hearted attempt to warn her.


“Don’t talk. Don’t stop.”

He didn’t think he could stop. He wanted her the way he’d wanted Crystal in the beginning, mindlessly, hopelessly, obsessively. She arched up just as he thrust into her, hard. They strained against each other, twisting and pounding their way across the waxed floor. Ah. God. She was so hot. So tight. His climax rushed at him like a runaway train. And then she yelped.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s my head. I think I hit the coat rack.”

Thunderous applause explodes

Sharon: Well, now. Let’s all grab our fans and ice water. That one’s a real scorcher, Ann. Tell us about the hero and heroine, what drives them…besides the obvious…

Ann: For Jessie, family has been everything. She’s cheerful, optimistic and has always been protective of her parents and sister and willing to do just about anything to keep the family unit in tact, including going to work for her father at Maynard Properties, Inc. She even talked herself into marrying Kit, her dad’s protégé, so her father could retire before he had another heart attack. When that idea goes off the tracks, Jessie flees to regroup, but even then, she plots to bring her family together for Christmas.

Luke, on the other hand, has had very little family life and his attempt at marriage with a beautiful but manipulative woman was a dismal failure. He intends to spend his life developing software and protecting his heart but Jessie’s warmth proves to be hard to resist.

Sharon: And the two trains shall meet. Now when I think of voodoo, I always think of the Bayou of New Orleans. Where is Sleepy Mystic Hollow and why did you choose it for your setting?

Ann: You are right! Voodoo does belong in the South. I set the story in southwestern Virginia because that’s the south to me. (I’m from Michigan). One of my favorite parts of this book is the trio of would-be witches, elderly church-going, canasta-playing ladies who, because of the disruption at their church, are willing to try something as unorthodox as witchcraft.

Sharon: So we have a serial killer stalking the elderly victims of a small town. And rather than the butler, all fingers point to the pastor. Tell us about that.

Ann: This is kind of embarrassing but we had an incident of pastoral infidelity at our church many years ago and I witnessed it almost firsthand. When it was over and the emotions died down I realized how very interesting it is when someone is expected to have superior moral behavior but is tempted, and succumbs to baser pleasures. I am also interested in the fall-out caused by dalliances and in VOODOO, the pastor’s wife is a central character, more interesting, I think, than he.

Sharon: What an interesting mix of ingredients to stir the pot. And being a cat lover, I want to hear all about this psychic cat. And she’s pregnant to boot?

Ann: I love cats, too. And dogs. I have an old golden retriever who is my constant companion and best friend. I have think people get a lot from companion pets…not just affection but introspection. Pyewacket might be a wise aspect of Luke’s personality or maybe she really is psychic. Her pregnancy gives Jessie and the reader a chance to see a tender side of ice-hearted Luke.

Sharon: I couldn’t agree more. Pets add balance to our lives and books. Would you consider Voodoo a cozy mystery? And if so, will there be more cozies coming from the town of Sleepy Mystic Hollow?

Ann: Thanks for asking, Sharon. I would consider it a cozy. My books usually have a murder/amateur detective component but, in all honesty, I think they are more cozies than romantic suspense. I may write a sequel about Jessie’s sister, a jewelry designer, who has been through a disillusioning divorce. She wound up with a wicked sense of humor and adventure and if there is another mysterious murder in Eden, she’d be the one to investigate it!

Sharon: Hmm. Sounds like a good plan in the works, something readers would love. We’ll look forward to it. Oh, here comes dessert.

Oliver struts out, pushing a sterling silver caddy, his biceps pumping. He presents a Devil’s Food cake with
a twinkle in his eye. Slicing the sinfully rich dessert, he feeds the first bite to Ann. Then he reaches for his copy
of That Voodoo That You Do.

Ann: Ah, Oliver. You may have from me whatever you want.

Sharon: Ahem. Yes, just a few more questions. So what’s next for Ann Yost?

Ann: I have a three-book series set in Eden, Maine (which, for some reason I consider romantic) near a Penobscot Reservation. The first, ABOUT A BABY, (coming out in 2010 from Wild Rose Press) concerns a veterinarian, Baz Outlaw, who is trying to win back the woman he once rejected even though that rejection caused her biological timeclock to wind down.

The second, HE LOVES LUCY, is about Baz’s much younger sister who seeks a career as a foreign correspondent, but who has fallen in love with the sheriff, a single dad, who considers her flaky and much too young.

The third, EYE OF THE TIGER LILY, was a Golden Heart finalist. It is about Cameron Outlaw, who returns after twelve years away from Eden to find he hasn’t forgotten the high school sweetheart who betrayed him. Sparks fly between him and Molly Whitecloud, the reservation midwife, as they join forces to expose corruption at the casino, but Molly has a secret; days before their reunion she underwent insemination at a Boston sperm bank and she used Cam’s sample!

I have another upcoming series about the Budd sisters of Mayville, Michigan who turn a former mortuary into a wedding boutique but are plagued with bodies that keep appearing on their doorstep or in their cupid fountain. The first book is called FOR BETTER OR HEARSE.

The audience stands and applauds Ann’s accomplishments.

Sharon: Wow! Congratulations! You are one busy lady, full of ambition and drive! Now, how about telling us about your hobby, working puzzles of quilts. I would imagine they might be hard to find?

Ann: (laughs) They are sometimes expensive. I really like any 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Doing them is like writing a book…all the pieces are there but putting the whole thing together involves color, shape and familiarity. When they come together they are perfect and neat the way life (and literature!) isn’t. I love quilts because of the bright colors and patterns and I love fabric but I don’t seem to have the time (or patience or eyesight) to make them anymore so quilt puzzles are kind of taking their place.

Sharon: And with the name “Voodoo” I have no doubt you can feed my own fetish of collecting superstitions, legends and lore. Can you share one with me?

Ann: You know voodoo, magic, superstitions all kind of merge with reality for me…I mean they are connected, you know? I guess I am superstitious because that old saying “Sunday’s Child is fair of face, etc.? Well, Wednesday’s child is supposed to be full of woe and so I’ve had to reject that old chestnut because my daughter, Emily was born on a Wednesday. She was also born on the thirteenth so, in my view, thirteen is a lucky number. Bottom line: I guess I kind of tweak the old superstitions so as to have less anxiety, one of my very, very top goals!

Sharon: And sadly, this brings us to the end of the hour, and to the last three trivia questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star as the leading lady in any film, which would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero?

Ann: I know this sounds strange to say since I write contemporary romances but I love England – especially the Regency era. I would love to “be” Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and I would certainly love, love, LOVE to have Colin Firth as my romantic hero. Or Peter Krause (Nate from Six Feet Under) or Cary Grant in anything or, of course, Oliver!

Oliver blows Ann a kiss and plucks a rose from the vase.

Sharon: Well, Ann, thank you for joining me today. I wish you mega sales. Before you leave, can you tell readers where they can buy your books and get in touch with you:

Ann: How nice of you to ask. First I would like to thank you for a very fun interview and the chance to spend even a few cyber minutes with Oliver. I’ll look forward to reading your imaginative interviews with other authors and your books as well! THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO is available online at Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Border’s, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and my website is It includes an email contact and I have to say I love to hear from readers more than anything. I’ve love to get to know people this way.

As Eternal Love by the Bengles softly plays in the background, Oliver sweeps Ann into his arms and takes her for a spin around the parlor, singing in her ear.

About me

My name is Ann Yost and I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I experienced my first two major disappointments when I discovered the town wasn’t named after me and that I was expected to share my idyllic four-year-old life with a pair of infant twin brothers.

I became one of those enthusiastic but perpetually self conscious pre-teens - I wrote dozens of blurbs for a childrens magazine column called Is My Face Red! – through which I learned that life’s experiences can be softened and enjoyed more in retrospect if they are written down.

The knowledge came in handy many years later when I wrote a weekly column, I Did, I Did, which helped me adjust to that rugged first year of marriage.

I loved the ten years I spent working for daily newspapers in Michigan, but especially the opportunities I had then and afterwards for participation journalism. I got to fly on apparatus for Peter Pan, to take a lesson in a small plane, to join a high school tennis team at age 30, to become (briefly) a substitute teacher and (even more briefly) a little league umpire.

I wrote about my children for newspapers and magazines until they put a stop to it by growing up.

Nowadays I love to create small town characters whose normal lives are turned upside down by jealousy, passion, and murder.

I believe it is so important to find the thing you love to do, the thing you can’t imagine living without, to, in the words of Joseph Campbell, “follow your bliss.”

I think this quote from Jonathan Winters says it all:

“I couldn’t wait for success…so I went ahead without it.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Author Roast

Hello! Well, it's Friday, which means you will find Oliver and I, along with Hywela Lyn and Cuddles, as well as Mary Ricksen and Junior over at
The Author Roast and Toast

Today's featured victim is Raine Delight and the scene is a Forbidden Forest. Come join the fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Barbara Edwards

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s featured guest is Barbara Edwards. Barbara is here to chat with us about her highly acclaimed book


With a beautiful winter wonderland backdrop of swirling snowflakes, the cherry log in the hearth snaps, sending brilliant orange spears shooting upward like sorcerer’s flames. And when the doorbell rings, Oliver dashes off, plucking a rose from the vase. A moment later, he escorts a starry-eyed Barbara into the parlor and she takes a seat in front of the fire.

Sharon: Hello, Barbara. And how are you on this wintry day?

Barbara: Glad to be here with you. The fire is wonderful. She relaxes, cradling the rose on her lap.

Dressed in his black t-shirt and low rider jeans, Oliver saunters in, pushing a sterling silver caddy. Casting Barbara a wicked wink, he serves her a gin martini with two olives. She regretfully waves away the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Pumping his biceps, he plucks up his copy of Ancient Awakenings and flashes his bone-melting smile. Might I have your autograph, love?

Barbara: Anything you desire, Oliver. She gives him a sultry smile before she signs with a flourish.

And while Barbara is drooling over Oliver, here is a blurb and excerpt of Ancient Awakenings:

In Ancient Awakening, Police Officer ‘Mel’ Petersen investigates a death only she believes is murder. By disobeying direct orders from the Rhodes End Chief, she risks her career to follow clues that twist in circles to her backyard and lead the killer to her.

Her neighbor Stephen Zoriak is a prime suspect. Steve worked for a major pharmaceutical company where he discovered a weapon so dangerous he destroys the research. He is exposed to the dangerous organism. He suspects he is the killer and agrees to help her find the truth.
In the course of their investigation Mel and Steve find the real killer and a love that defies death.

“Don’t touch me, Mel, not unless you’re willing to do a lot more,” he warned as her hazel eyes flared golden.

“Don’t threaten me, Steve. You’re…”

He pulled her into his arms despite the alarm bells clanging in his head.
Danger! Danger! Danger!

Her widened eyes met his. Mel’s hands were trapped against his chest, but she didn’t push him away. Instead, her fingers curled into his shirt.

Her mistake. His mistake was to crush her mouth under his.
Mel’s soft lips parted. Need exploded. The taste of black coffee didn’t hide her sweet flavor. As her tongue tangled with his, her arms slid around his neck and her fingers burrowed through his hair.

Steve hungered to peel the starched shirt off her soft shoulders, lay her on the thick turf and ease his desire. He tasted her brows, her cheek, along her throat, seeking the source of her call. Her pulse whipped under his mouth, awakening another need.
His teeth gently closed on the vulnerable vein.
He wanted, wanted, wanted…

Cold alarm chilled his pounding blood. Steve gasped for air. He’d forgotten his own ironclad rule. Mel’s eyelids flittered open to reveal the molten glow of desire but he forced himself free.
He had no right to touch any woman. Not until he knew he hadn’t become what he had set out to destroy.

Sharon: Interesting and very intriguing. It draws us right in. So tell us a little about the heroine and the romantic hero of your book.

Barbara: My heroine ‘Mel’ is a strong, independent woman with no imagination. When she finds a murder can’t be solved by normal means, she is baffled. My hero ‘Steve’ is hunting a cure for a terrible curse. He craves blood and can no longer tolerate many foods, he is experiencing black-outs, and his night vision is sharpening along with his sense of smell. He fears what he may be doing during the black-outs.

Oliver takes this moment to grin, his eyes glowing as he sips a glass of red wine.
Sharon: And where did you get the idea for this storyline?

Barbara: I had a nightmare about the cemetery next to where I lived as a child. I meet Steve and Mel there and knew the end to their story. I started writing it the next morning.

Sharon: Oooh…I have chills. And tell me, do you put pieces of your own life into stories? And if so, anything you would like to share with us?

Barbara: My life is too boring to write about, but I do use what I learn from a number of sources. My stories are from my dreams.

Sharon: (clasps her heart and gasps) I love it! Have you written in other genres?
Barbara: Oh yes, I’ve been looking for my niche for a long time. I have two Historical Romances. The first is another Love set in 1892 New England, with dirty politicians kidnapping a child; the second is Annie’s Heart in 1872 Kansas about a widowed mother and a wandering cowboy. I also have a Romantic suspense Rachel’s Rescue set in contemporary Sudan about a doctor and the federal agent sent to protect her.

Sharon: Hmm. Sounds really good. What’s next for Barbara Edwards?

Barbara: The next book set in Rhodes End is almost ready for my editor, with two more in the works. I have a romance and a romantic comedy half-done.

Sharon: Well, good luck with all that. My goodness! Now, let’s talk about you. You’re married to a retired police sergeant and have a joint interest in target shooting. These sound like a writer’s dream for research. Do you incorporate both into your writing?

Barbara: My husband is my best source for police procedures, the way they think and react. He’s really good at the ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ look when he disagrees with how I have a male react.

Sharon: LOL And you love to visit museum, galleries and battlefields for your research. Can you share a few of your most interesting and unique finds?

Barbara: I recently visited the Charleston museum and saw the 150 years of wedding gowns display. It was fascinating to study the real items and gave me several facts I might be able to use.

Sharon: I would love that! You truly are a Jill of all trades. And tell us about when you taught romance at a community college.

Barbara: Students are the best source of enthusiasm. They asked questions about things I’d forgotten I knew and that made my own work improve. I’d love to do move, but since we started camping for months, I can’t fit it into my schedule.

Sharon: And if that isn’t enough, you grow antique roses, a favorite hobby of mine. What kind of roses are in your garden?

Barbara: I wish I knew. They were gifts. I’m searching for the names, but that is also on the back burner. I have a beautiful pink that blooms until the snow; an open purple that smells like heaven but slows blooming in August and a tightly wound red that looks like a crumpled tissue and smells sweet.

Sharon: Well, they sound gorgeous, very vintage rose. Not to forget your pet. Tell us about your furry baby.

Barbara: Dixie is an eighty pound Belgian Malinois that wants to be a lap dog. She is the only reason I get any exercise. She demands regular walks and since she is incredibly smart, I don’t argue with her.

Sharon: Well, sadly, this brings us to the end of our hour. Before you go, can you share a favorite legend, tradition or superstition with me?

Barbara: Since the snow is still falling, I’ll tell you about a New England farmer trick I learned when I researched Another Love. Each farm had a fire pond for obvious reasons. During the warm months, the farmer caught wandering turtles and drilled a hole high in the shell. He’d place the turtle in the fire pond. The turtle couldn’t escape since the hole would cause it to die from dehydration. In the late winter, when the meat supply was running low, the farmer’s wife harvested the turtles for soup. If they weren’t needed, they grew another year.

Sharon: Thank you so much for joining us today on Wednesday Spotlight. I wish you much luck with sales and in your writing. Where can readers buy Ancient Awakenings and learn more about you?

Barbara: First I want to thank both you and Oliver for a delightful visit.
Readers can find Ancient Awakening, a Black Rose at
Print ISBN: 1-60154-552-5
Print ISBN 13: 9781601545527
Or visit my website for excepts and buy buttons.
Check my blog for very intermittent posts at for Barb'Ed Comments

I’m Barbara Edwards and I’m a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.
I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.

When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends.
My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.

I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.
I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success.
Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Dixie, demands a walk.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Traditions and Legends

Valentines Day Comments
So, it looks like we have six more weeks of winter, but that makes us six months closer to spring! And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here are a few legends associated with the feast day.

According to legend, Valentine was a priest in Rome that lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Under his regime, Claudius is said to have engaged Rome in several bloody battles, constantly recruiting soldiers to strengthen his army. Men with families were not keen to leave family attachments. So to sever family ties, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, a true romantic at heart, arranged secret marriages. When Claudius discovered Valentine’s defiance, he was executed on February 14 about 270 ad. By middle ages, Valentine became recognized as the patron saint of love.

Another legend suggests that Valentine was a Christian priest who was very popular with children. During his life, Roman regime was not in favor of Christianity and Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. In spite of this law, Valentine refused to worship false gods and continued to practice his faith. This enraged Claudius II and he put Valentine in prison. During his imprisonment, children visited Valentine, tossing letters and flowers between his cell bars. Valentine is said to have written back, signing his letters, “From your Valentine.” When he was beheaded for his Christian beliefs, the exchange of letters and flowers continued in his name.

During the middle Ages, people of England and France held a popular belief that birds began looking for a mate on February 14th. The romantic notion bloomed and the day was soon celebrated between lovers with the exchange of spring flowers, candy and small gifts.

However you celebrate Valentine’s Day, wishing you a happy day!

Looking for a sweet book to read?

If you like a sweet inspirational with a touch of paranormal, Touched by an Angel might be what you’re looking for. And with Valentine’s Day, it’s a definite Cupid read! It received 5 Cups from CTR, 5 Books from LASR, a You Need to Read rating from YGR and is a highly recommended read from the reviewers of Manic Readers. Touched by an Angel was a nominee for book of the week at LASR. It can be purchased at White Rose Publishing:

On the eve of his wife’s death anniversary, Charles is as restless as the coming storm. Surrounded by the stillness of the Mojave Desert, he contemplates suicide. But just as he is about to jump, he hears the sweet voice of his wife, telling him it’s not his time. But when Charles meets Emma, whose resemblance to his wife is hauntingly striking, he is drawn to her. And when they discover their spouses have died on the same day and are buried side by side in the same cemetery, a spiritual bonding occurs that neither can deny. Is this fate—or is Cupid shooting arrows from the sweet hereafter?


As the sun set over the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada Mountains were roughly defined against a dramatic sky of crimson and lavender blue. The warm breeze undulated through the ponderosa pines, sounding like the wise old whispers of the Indians buried thousands of feet below in the windblown sands. A vulture hovered high above the foothills, an eerie screech foreboding as it circled the canyon.

Easing his midnight blue SUV around the horseshoe bend in the sloping ridge, Charles thought about his wife. Jill had died two years ago of cancer and the following day was the anniversary of her death. Frustrated, his eyes filled with tears. His vision blurred and he swiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. He was angry at the whole world and at God.

His heart was breaking. What kind of a God would take away the love of his life, his reason for
living? How was he supposed to go on living when the best part of him was gone? More tears spilled down his cheeks. He wanted Jill back. He needed her and wanted her with him, where she belonged. He envisioned her out in her rose garden, clipping and pruning them to sheer perfection. How she’d loved the yellow rose, and as much as he used to love them, he didn’t any more. Baskets and baskets of yellow roses had been crammed into the funeral home, permeating the air with the funereal smell of death.

She was so pretty. Her serene green eyes were the color of the sea. He pictured her digging her hands in the rich fertile soil, looking so peaceful and content. Bathed in sunlight, she had the face of an angel. She had a mega-watt smile that totally beguiled him. No matter how hot or humid it was, she always looked fresh and lovely. She had a habit of toying with a strand of her long blonde hair, twirling it between her fingers until it waved. Under the amber glow of the hot desert sun, it flickered like wildfire. Lord, he missed that woman.

As Charles drove deeper into the foothills, the terrain became noticeably rougher, more uncultivated. The air hummed with just a hint of danger. The pioneer spirit of the Wild West was still palpable as burros and wild horses galloped amidst the sloping landscape. How he missed those long afternoon drives through the wilderness with Jill, imagining what life must have been like in the days of the Wild, Wild West.

More memories of Jill flashed through his mind, filling him with a deep sense of foreboding sadness. Tears streamed down his cheeks. The desolate road weaving in and out of the canyon was flanked with sagebrush and tumbleweed, and deep in the underbrush, mountain lions and bobcats roamed free. A coyote yipped in the distance, its howling wail slicing through the thick humid air.

As the sun disappeared behind the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the sky blended into a menagerie of pale peach, rich magenta, and deep indigo. Charles thought of all the sunsets he’d seen with Jill. All those good times, better times. She should be here to watch the sunset with him. Why wasn’t she? Why did she have to die? He felt so betrayed. Life wasn’t fair.

White hot fury bubbled up inside him until it erupted like a quaking volcano. Pulling off to the
side of the road, he hopped out of his vehicle. He stared up at the heavens and shook his fist at God. He wanted answers. He needed answers. Angry and frustrated, he bellowed at the top of his lungs.

“Why did you take my Jill from me?” his voice echoed across the canyon. “How could you take the love of my life away? How could you? How could a loving God do something so cruel? I love her! I want her here with me! I want her back!”

The air carried with it the scent of a coming storm. Thunder exploded in the distance.
A desert storm was closing in on the Mojave. The wind rippled through the surrounding Joshua trees. The mournful cry of a desert thrasher sliced through the night. Charles was as restless as the approaching storm. He looked down. The hillside gave way to steep ravines, tumbling down over rugged cliffs to the valley below. The only thing separating him from a drop of several thousand feet was a mound of crumbled rock. He took a step closer. Just as he was about to jump, a flash of lightning illuminated the sky. He thought he saw Jill. Pellets of hard rain pounded on his back, soaking him to the bone. He blinked several times, but whatever he’d seen was gone. Thunder exploded in the sky, the sound ricocheting through the heavens. Over the rumbling, he heard Jill’s sweet melodic voice. “No, Charles. Don’t jump. It’s not your time.”

Touched by an Angel

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Lasting Love

The Claddagh Ring
2009 CAPA nominee

To sign up for Sharon’s newsletter and to read excerpts, reviews and release dates, visit her website

Her blog:

Valentines Day Comments

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On Angels Wings

Nearly three weeks ago, I nearly lost my mother. Her health has been failing for the past few years, and every day seems to present a new challenge. About a year ago, she asked me who she was. A pang so sharp pierced my heart. I got her some orange juice and a cookie and sat with her, and a few minutes later, she was fine. I thought it a combination of too many prescription pills, her age and several other conditions I’d studied when training for my certificate in medical transcription. Some things are just too painful to recognize and our subconscious refuses to let them in.

But what I witnessed a few weeks ago will stay with me for a long, long time. She was sitting on the sofa, taking off her socks and shoes, her words muffled and slightly slurred. The obvious thing that flashed through my mind was that she was having a stroke. I asked her if she knew who she was and she did. But the more I quizzed her, the more agitated she became, and before long, she began to tremble. I held her left hand and it was so limp it brought tears to my eyes. Then she got a death grip on me and squeezed it for all she was worth. Then it went completely limp and she began to convulse. It had to be the most terrifying thing I’d ever experienced.

We called the paramedics and there initial reaction was that she was having a stroke. Then her head rolled to the back of the sofa and she slipped into a state of unconsciousness. Feeling helpless and completely vulnerable, all I could do was pray. And in the many crisis in my life, I have always turned to the angels. I feel their presence and believe they hear our prayers and take them to God on their gossamer wings.

My mom was in a coma in intensive care for twelve hours. When she came to, her family was all around her. She recognized us and although confused to her whereabouts, seemed to be in pretty good shape, all things considered. Her neurologist told us her cat scan ruled out a stroke. His diagnosis was epilepsy. My mom had an epileptic seizure once close to fifty years ago. Ten years ago, her doctor took her off her anti-seizure medication. This bothered me, but I placed it in God’s hands. I always feared she might have another seizure and she did. Now she is on a less invasive type of medication to prevent seizures, but Mom is not happy about taking more pills.

Due to some balance issues and walking difficulties, her neurologist strongly suggested putting Mom in a nursing home for a few weeks for rehabilitation where they could address her needs. This was very hard and for those of you who have been there, visiting a loved one in a nursing home is a guilt trip. They don’t want to be there any more than we want them there. So once more, I called on my angels to carry my burden to God’s ears.

Yesterday, my mother came home. She will have a home nurse and a rehab counselor until she is stronger. She seems so fragile and reminds me of the fragility of life. Count your blessings and make every day count. Life truly does come full circle when our parents become our children, our responsibility.

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Lynne Roberts

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s featured guest is Lynne Roberts. Lynne is here to chat with us about her hot off the press release of

Published by the Wilder Rose Press

Let’s have a warm welcome for Lynne Roberts! As Smooth by Carlos Santana plays on the stereo, Oliver escorts Lynne into the parlor with a few smooth moves of his own. Pulling her close, he glides her across the cherrywood floor, gazing into her eyes while singing in her ear. When the song ends, he leaves with a departing wink.

Sharon: Have a seat in front of the roaring fire. So, how are you, Lynne?

Lynne: Forces her gaze away from the departing Oliver. “Much better now, thanks. And very glad to be here.”

Oliver saunters in, pushing the sterling silver caddy. The aroma of fresh brewed coffee fills the room. With great pizzaz, he sets dainty napkins on the coffee table, cups and saucers and a plate of chocolate covered pretzels. Pouring coffee into two cups, he locks eyes with Lynne.

How do you like your coffee, love?

Lynne:”Strong and hot. Thank you.”

Sharon Thank you, Oliver. That will be all. Oliver struts off to the bookcase for his copy of After Hours. Plucking a fountain pen from the Queen Anne desk, he presents it to Lynne. If I might be so bold as to get your autograph, Lynne? He pumps his biceps.

Lynne:”My first autograph! This is so exciting.” Signs her name with a flourish.

Sharon: Oliver, is something burning in the kitchen? Sigh. Good help and all that. Well, one of these days. So, Lynne. Let’s dish about After Hours. Sounds like a real scorcher. Hmm. Tell us a little background.

Lynne: The initial spark for After Hours came when I was at a stoplight taking my daughter to school. This male walked across the cross-walk. No, he prowled across that street, and I watched… until I realized he was heading to the high school. I vacillated between wanting to watch him until he was out of sight and wanting to wash out my eyes. He couldn’t have been older than 17. But that got my imagination going, and that is the number one tool of the writer. From there, I determined a beginning, middle and end and started writing.

Sharon: And that’s all it takes for writers, isn’t it? A spark to get us going. Now, how about a sneak preview:

Thunderous applause explodes through cyber space.

Blurb: Elle Simpson doesn’t deny that the new intern is sexy as hell but he’s also ten years her junior--and she doesn’t date men from the office. Of course, dating isn’t what comes to mind when David Nelson enters a room. When Elle’s boss assigns her to work an important account, she’s thrilled—until David volunteers to help.

Working one on one with her desirable new assistant is bound to test the limits of her restraint.

Everything about Elle, from her professional savvy to her hot body, turns David on, but first he has to unravel her mixed signals. After a few late nights alone with Elle in the office, David is at the end of his tether. It was hard enough during the day; keeping his hands off her after hours is proving impossible.


Some men simply walk across a room, but not David.

Elle Simpson watched from her office as the new intern, his hips moving in a predatory
roll, strolled to the copier and stood with his back toward her. No, not David. She felt the color rise in her cheeks as her gaze traced his body, from the dark hair just curling at the nape of his neck, past wide shoulders, to the dangerous-looking narrow hips and an ass made for grabbing. Her body warmed and her inner thighs began to tingle.

David turned, as though he could sense her scrutiny, and flashed a smile that could short-circuit a city. Hell, it certainly did a number on her. Elle swallowed, hiding behind a noncommittal nod, and hoped she gave the impression she was too busy for pleasantries. Damn. She needed to be more careful.

After many years with the company, she’d earned her reputation as a dependable, hardworking,
no-nonsense kind of woman. She grimaced. What would her fellow employees think if they knew every time David Nelson walked in the room, Elle’s synapses stopped firing as all the blood left her head to settle between her legs? She shifted on her chair and the friction caused her pussy to ache, reminding her of its neglected state.

Evidently finished with the copier, David gathered his papers and walked back to his cubicle. Elle tilted her head to better watch him walk down the hall. A damn sexy man. Perhaps he’d been born with some sort of exclusive hip design. It would explain the fluidity of movement.

Elle shrugged. One thing was certain—when David walked into a room, or out of it, he had her undivided attention. She didn’t think he was trying to be sexy, or if he was, the effort had become, well...effortless. There was just something in the way those well-oiled hips moved that made her wonder what else they could do.

Sharon: Well, now. This sounds like a very hot read. No wonder Oliver is in there burning the house down while reading it! My goodness. So tell us all about this young and sexy intern.

Lynne: David is young, but old enough to know what he wants and what he wants is Elle. He’s just not sure if she feels the same about him. He’s tired of dating women who don’t quite know what they want out of life, or who are still into the club scene. He wants a woman who knows what she’s doing. That woman is Elle.

Sharon: And now tell us about Elle. What drives her? What’s earned her a fine reputation in the company?

Lynne: After her husband died, Elle threw herself into her career and raising her daughter. Once her daughter went off to college, she discovered her career didn’t quite fill the silence. She wanted more, but she wasn’t quite sure what, until she met David.

Sharon: And the hot intern is ten years her junior. Let’s talk about that. How do you address the age difference through each point of view?

Lynne: Elle had to get over some insecurity and self-imposed rules before she could let go and look past the number. David didn’t have as much of a problem. His only fear was rejection. Would she want him?

Sharon: And how about you, Lynne. Do you think age should be an issue for either gender?

Lynne: Ten years ago, I would have told you I’d never date a younger man, but as I’ve… matured, I’m not closed to the possibility. LOL So no, I don’t think age should matter as long as both parties are consenting adults. I was 20 years younger than the man in my last relationship. So a man 20 years younger? Why not?

Sharon: Absolutely. Too much emphasis is sometimes put on age.

Oliver is back, humming to the Santana hit. Poised above his head on a silver tray is a chocolate cream pie in a Graham Cracker crust. Placing it on the table, he slices and serves, feeding the first bite to Lynne. While waiting for her to stop drooling, he refills the coffee and pumps his biceps.

Lynne: Yummy. Thank you. One just can’t get enough chocolate.

Oliver struts off, a jaunty deliverance to his step.

Sharon: Now let’s talk about Lynne Roberts. You have five children? My goodness. Tell us how you fit everything into your busy life? When do you find time to write?

Lynne: Now that my youngest is in pre-school, I write like mad in the morning and edit in the evening after dinner. Even so, you have to make sacrifices, one of mine is a spotless house. So you know, if you ever get tired of Oliver, I could use him.

Sharon: (rolls her eyes) And you love to tinker in the garden with veggies and flowers. With spring hopefully around the corner, my favorite will be blooming. The lilac. What do you like to plant?

Lynne: Everything! I love to garden. I have a small vegetable patch where I grow salad. LOL. You know: lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, green onions and such. As I’ve gotten busier, I’ve learned to appreciate a low maintenance plant, so I have more hydrangea and geranium than I used to. I also have a lilac. They bloom around the same time as my citrus trees and fill the back yard with an amazing scent combination. Did I mention I have 8 fruit trees? Yeah, it gets hectic around July.

Sharon: Mmm. I love fruit trees, and there is nothing like home-grown tomatoes and green beans. So, what’s next for you in the writing world?

Lynne: I have a short under consideration right now and I’m preparing a novella for submission—which means I’m finishing the dreaded query and synopsis. I also have two novellas with beta readers that I will be submitting before summer vacation.

Sharon: Well, our hour is just about up. But before you leave, you must indulge me with a favorite legend or superstition. I collect them from all my guests. Do you have one to share?

Lynne: Oh, my grandmother had lots of superstitions. I’d love to share one: When you leave a house, always go out the same door you came in or you’ll bring unwelcome visitors to the home.

Sharon: And finally, my three trivia questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary film, which would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero?

Lynne: If I could live anywhere in the world… I’m a west coast girl. I’d live near the beach with the forest in my backyard.

Do they make literary films any more? I think I’d like to play the female lead in a movie made from any of The Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Why? The actors they hire to play any of the brothers would be drop dead gorgeous. Spending your day surrounded by hunky men? I’d suffer through it. As far as my romantic lead, this almost seems to contradict the last answer, but I have a secret crush on Jared Leto, so I’d have to say him.

Sharon: Thank you for joining me today on Wednesday spotlight. It’s been a pleasure. Now let’s all run out and get our hot little hands on After Hours. Where can readers purchase your books and get in touch with you?

Lynne: You can purchase my books at The Wilder Rose Press and you can find me at my website or my blog: I’m also on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Please stop by and say hi! I’d love to hear from you.

Lynne Roberts wrote her first story out of frustration at the age of 11 because,
darn it, Gone with the Wind just couldn’t end with Rhett and Scarlett not together.
She honestly believes in love, which makes her a hopeless romantic and she’s definitely
a sucker for a happy ever after.

She’s been writing professionally since 2005 and is now published by The Wilder Rose Press.

A hopeless coffee-addict, when she’s not writing, editing or reading—which isn’t often—you can find her in the garden or with her five children.