Real Life Characters – My Writing Confession

My computer crashed and I’m not writing this weekend. Knowing this, I had planned a weekend of deep cleaning of the house. But a co-worker got me thinking about writing yesterday and I haven’t been able to stop.

We were talking about her upcoming trip to New Orleans and I was recommending hotels.

The thought of standing on a balcony of one of my recommendations with my former mentor flashed in my mind. She was a phenomenal sales woman – dressed to kill, beautiful, smart and possessed with a take no prisoners attitude.

MihaelaSo here’s my confession – my mentor became the basis for Darcey St. Claire of Deja Vu. Looking at the two women side by side would leave you scratching your head. On the surface, they are nothing alike – different races and different world views. But they both have the drive to succeed and they both overcame something pretty bad to get their happily ever after.

While I’m in confessing mode, Amber of In the Moment is also based on a real life person. She is a former manager of mine.

Everyone jumped to attention when this woman came into the room and nobody wanted to be called into her office! She was always elegantly dressed, not a hair out of place but you didn’t normally think pretty when you looked at her just – “Please don’t fire me.”

interracial couple sleepingThen one night, I was attending a going away party for a friend and was seated at the same table with my manager and her husband. My mouth hung open for most of the night. First of all the picture on her desk didn’t do this man justice, he was gorgeous. And he couldn’t keep his hands off of this woman. She squirmed and giggled throughout the night.

She became real to me that night.

When we returned to work on Monday, I wasn’t as nervous around her as I’d once been. She was just doing her job – one that an African-American woman had never held for our hotel chain. And I knew that when she got home, the heels and the suit came off and she snuggled up next to her man.

So y’all I’m not as creative as most. Be careful around me or you just may end up as the heroine of a sensual romance!


Sunday Spotlight – Seeking Philbert Woodbead

Thank you to Anya Wylde for sharing her latest work…

817c1HXQ-zL._SL1500_awIn the latter part of March of the year seventeen hundred and something a  large schooner rested on calm blue waters off the coast of England.

It was mid-afternoon; the water was unruffled and crystal clear, while the sky above had sent its grey clouds to London.

The sun beamed down on the deck where gentlemen with missing toes, feet, teeth or hands lay draped around the schooner attempting to snooze away the day.

Now, this schooner was no ordinary schooner (as you might have guessed from the hint above referring to missing limbs and such) but a piratical schooner, and the gentlemen were not really gentlemen but looters, marauders and plunderers.

Yes, sir, they were murderous, unscrupulous adventurers and stinking water rats.

They were all pirates. Each one of them were pirates. The whole blasted lot of them were pirates. In fact, they couldn’t be more piratical if they tried. And they tried. Oh, how they tried to be more devilish than the devil himself.

And one of them came close to being the devilishest … if that is a word. If it is not, then it should be because it perfectly described the tall, muscular, grey eyed man with his long silver streaked black hair and cruel mouth. This man was so wicked that the mere reference to him caused the afternoon light to dim, the wind to blow more urgently, the men to wake mid snooze, the tea to jump out of the cup … Where were we?

Ah, yes, the captain of the ship, the head pirate, the Black bloody  Rover, whose name was enough to frighten the children of the world into behaving, was the owner of this piratical schooner called The Desperate Lark and the leader of these dim muscled men.

He stormed now onto the middle of the deck sending the seagulls screaming into the air. His appearance caused the men to scatter while his frown had them cowering in the bilge. While they cowered, the Black Rover grabbed the cuff of a one legged man, his most trusted aide, and in low, clipped cultured tones asked, “Who stole it, Tim?”

“George Rodrick Irvin, the future Earl of Devon currently holding the courtesy title of Viscount Elmer,” squeaked Tim. “The one we call Lord Wicked.”

“Kill him.” The Black Rover was a man of few words.

Tim bowed in response.

“And kidnap the cooks,” the Black Rover continued.

Tim dared to frown, “Cooks?”

The Black Rover glowered. “And the chefs. I want every single person who can cook to be kidnapped and tortured until we get it back.”

“Torture?” Tim asked uncomfortably. “Can’t we simply kill them and be done with it? I don’t like torturing. It is a messy job, and I don’t like it when they cry and they all cry.”

The Black Rover smiled harshly. He leaned closer to Tim and whispered in his half bitten ear two words, “Pigeon feathers.”

“Arr.” Tim’s sparsely lashed eyes widened in admiration. He shook his head at his captain’s intelligence. The most learned man, Tim thought proudly, was right here.

Pigeon feathers … The Black Rover was a blooming genius.

Get your copy on Amazon!

Epilogue to “Stop Author Abuse!”

The BookChick

I’m going to say one other thing about the Lauren Howard issue and then I’m putting it to bed and moving on to other things.

I noticed that one of my GR ‘friends’ and her friends, vis a vis her comments on Howard’s book she marked as read, were on the one-star bandwagon. They posted comments and screenshots by Lauren’s friends from a verbal battle that occurred on Twitter. The back and forth between them got uglier and uglier.

I followed the trail and posted a comment suggesting that we as readers should rise above attacking one another. I remarked how Howard only asked a question which started the assault on her and I, from just reading her comment, didn’t see why the attack was lodged. I further went on to say that I felt sorry for Howard as a reader because her hard work won’t be seen by the…

View original post 253 more words

For the Love of a Cowboy

I blame Clint Eastwood and Forrest Carter and the 1976 film, The Outlaw Josey Wales, for my fascination with cowboys. This scene in particular:

Ten Bears: I have heard. You are the grey rider. You would not make peace with the Bluecoats. You may go in peace.

Josie Wales: I reckon not. I got no place else to go.

Ten Bears: Then you will die.

Josie Wales: I came here to die with you. Or to live with you.

At this point in my teen years, thanks to the popularity of DVDs, it was cemented in my mind that I wanted a cowboy – that hardworking, noble man who loved his woman above all else. That’s who my husband would be.

Without the chaps and love of the open range, that’s who I eventually married.

Still the image of someone wearing spurred cowboy boots with…

View original post 538 more words

August Update 2013 – I’m Having a Party!

Okay readers, here’s where I am!

  • As a mom – I’ve been very busy with back to school shopping for the girlies. We bought a lot more stuff than we should have just because it was cute.
  • As a HR coordinator – I’ve been busy with the hiring season – career fairs for four to six hours per day. I come home from work and my face hurts from smiling.
  • As a writer – I’ve been a little of lazy daisy, but I’m getting it in gear!

The Beginning of Forever, the conclusion of the Amber and Kevin stories will be published by Amira Press on September 6, 2013! Yay, doing the happy dance.

I’m working on the third draft of my first cozy mystery novella tentatively entitled, Midnight’s Kiss on the Half Shell. This isn’t a romance but does feature a cute guy, who the beta readers have loved. So look for Professor Naeem Mounier to warm up your cold nights this winter.

I’m reworking the second book of the Rose Gold Collection, A Loving Affair. There were somethings I didn’t like so I’m revisiting my original outline. It is getting done, though.

My former manager was visiting the office and let me have it about Deja Vu. She said, “Your blurb is wrong. But I stayed up way too long finding out what happened between Darcey and Vincent for you not to finish the next books. I’m interested in Lenore and Xavier and Cat and want to be surprised by Carlos.” 

Dear, sweet woman, I’m on it!

Prize_1_Kama_GiftAnd on to the fun stuff – I’m hosting a Release Day Party on Facebook on September 6, 2013 for The Beginning of Forever. I hope you’ll join me for a few minutes to celebrate the conclusion of Amber and Kevin’s story. There’ll be prizes! Including the lovely set to your left from

Sunday Chat with LeTeisha Newton

Dragon’s Ward: Polyamorous Novel by LeTeisha Newton says Interracial Romance is a Genre Worth Big Notice and Who Cares About the Races of the Characters?

Though the authors may be extremely popular, Interracial Romance doesn’t get the publicity that Romance does. With a twist on love between four LeTeisha Newton’s tale is challenging the mainstream.

Port Lavaca, Texas – The Interracial Romance genre is full of popular writers that have thousands of followers and readers, and yet the authors rarely find spots next to the big fish names of the Romance genre. LeTeisha Newton challenges the authenticity of this view with her sexy novel Dragon’s Ward.

CL_DSC4067email_LNewton“Why should I write only vanilla romance when I have been color blind in love?” questions LeTeisha Newton. She grew up in a world where she was often told she was too ‘black’ for those outside her race, and maybe just a tad too ‘white’ for those she shared heritage with. “I chose to love because the person resonates with me. Nothing more, nothing less. The same should be said for romance novels. If my character loves a man who is not black and she happens to be black, who cares? Love is love right?” LeTeisha continues.

Her ways have thinking have shown in her works. With fifteen titles under her belt, two forthcoming from Amira Press, LeTeisha isn’t a one-day success story. She pulls readers in, keeps them guess, and wondering what’s going to happen next. “In my book Murder by Ritual people were too caught up in the murder mystery, and it happening in small town Texas to even mention the fact that Eris, who is black, was falling for her partner, Ken Satou, who was Japanese. The story mattered. Not the race. That’s a love story.”

WardOfTheDragonIn Dragon’s Ward Brook, the main female character, had been hunted by her stalker, Roach, for nearly two years. He’s become crazed to have her, toying with her, until he can make her his forever. Just that forever for him means death for her.  When Stefan caught the nearly frozen woman in his arms, he never thought he would find the Phoenix to his King Dragon. She’s priceless, and his nobles, Cadoc and Nero, have been awaiting her to complete their quartet as well. Come hell or high water they will save her from Roach and claim her.

LeTeisha Newton’s fans are ever growing in number and they are urged to keep her press date in mind. Dragon’s Ward will be available from Amira Press on September 20th, 2013, and through all other retailers on September 27th, 2013.

Until that time readers can find LeTeisha on her blog at, at Twitter by following @LeTeishaNewton or by her Facebook Page

Male Romance Authors: Do You Read Them?


There seems to be a new trend in romance these days. More male authors are writing romance openly. When I say openly, I mean they no longer feel the need for pen names. This isn’t anything new though. Men have been writing romance for years but they often use female pen names for the purpose of publication, and to win over the romance audience.

Just like women authors find prejudice when they write in certain genres, male authors find that as well in romance and erotica. Besides Nicholas Sparks, most people can’t name a male who writes love stories. There are many romance readers who are not open to books penned by males for whatever reason. You of course have some readers who don’t care about the gender, but many who do.

I’ve heard many different statements when romance readers proclaim why they don’t read romance by men. Many say that the feel of the romance isn’t the same when written by a man. Some say that during love scenes, male authors tend to focus more on the physical and not the emotional aspect. Some readers say they find it awkward and uncomfortable to even try a romance book written by a man.

I think it’s great that more men are writing romances just like I think it’s great that more women are writing in different genres. We still have a long way to go when it comes to readers seeing authors beyond their genders, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.

I still see more romance readers sticking with the female authors, but as males continue to find their voice in the genre, that might change.

Giveaway Question:

The Wild LifeWhat do you think of male romance authors? Have you ever read a romance written by a man (besides Nicholas Sparks)? If you’ve been resistant to male-written romance, what would persuade you to give a male romance author a try? Also, if you’ve read male romance novels and enjoyed them, feel free to give them a shout out!

Five people who provide the most interesting answers to these questions will each win an ebook copy of The Wild Life.

Giveaway ends at 8 pm Central Time. Ebook copies will be emailed to participants by Stacy-Deanne. Commenters must leave email address with comment to be eligible.

Find Ms. Deanne online at:

Hump Day Hook – In the Moment

I’m back on the blog! And what a great way to start – The Hump Day Hook! This is a weekly hop where you can discover new authors in a variety of genres simply by clicking the photo. Happy Hopping!


Be warned this week’s snippet is longer than most of mine but there was just no place to cut. This portion of the scene shows a little of the first working date of Amber Grayson and Kevin Miller the couple from the short story, In the Moment, and the upcoming novella, The Beginning of Forever from Amira Press.

The moments ticked by under his silent gaze and she felt her feet twirling out of her shoes like a school girl. Thankfully their dutiful server arrived and she ordered grilled tilapia with broccoli. “Is the broccoli cooked in butter?”

“No, ma’am.” The server shook his head and turned to a grinning Kevin.

“Well, I’ll take her butter and a porterhouse, medium rare. Give me a baked potato with sour cream, cheddar cheese and bacon.”

“I can hear his arteries hardening as he’s ordering, can’t you?” She snickered and stopped immediately.

That was inappropriate, unprofessional.

Kevin laughed and slapped the table top. “California?”


“You have to be from the West Coast. No accent and your obsession with fish and vegetables. You can’t be from Texas.”

“Actually, I was born in Guam and I’ve lived all over. I’m a military brat.”

“Okay, you got me.” His smile widened. “So what brings you to Texas?”

Maybe it was his relaxed nature or his attentive gaze as if she was the only person in the room which lowered her defenses. She found herself readily telling him about growing up in different states and her college years in Southern California where she discovered her love of and aptitude for volleyball.

He regaled her with tales about his ranch located two and a half hours south of Dallas and the love of his life, Tessie. The thoroughbred mare had both a personal trainer and a personal groomer. Nothing was too good for his Tessie.

He couldn’t know his stories were added fodder for her cowboy fantasies. She tucked them away for later imaginary conversations and the hum of her vibrator sang in her ears. Kevin’s eyes dipping to the front of her blouse and his easy laugh weren’t helping matters much. Fantasy and reality were perilously close to combining and that was not a good idea.

She turned the conversation back to the project. Her personal life for the time being was a successful ménage with her vibrator and her elliptical.

The three of them were very happy.

***For more of the Amber and Kevin stories, please click here to find the all inclusive links.***

Building a Small Town

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I’d had a few glasses of wine. Don’t drink and post, authors!

In my email, I’ll often get a video from Dad. They most often contain something funny that he’s seen on YouTube about cats or babies (Dad has a lot of time on his hands during retirement and a smart phone) but sometimes, he’ll send something from one of our favorite Mississippi newscasters – Walt Grayson. As I’ve said before, I’m a history freak and Mr. Grayson provides wonderful video essays about life in Mississippi.

Much to my glee, I received a video about the small Mississippi town of Hot Coffee. Click the link to watch Mr. Grayson’s vignette:

My grandmother lived not thirty miles from Hot Coffee in a small town named Prentiss. When I was a kid, I loved to visit her and all the relatives in the little town. There were so many things you could do there that you couldn’t do in the city like riding a horse down a gravel road, making ice cream on the front porch and trying to find a fox in the woods.

I never found a fox in all my summers there, but I happened upon what I thought was a raccoon. Turned out to be a skunk and I had to bathe in tomato juice. I think I told that story throughout my entire third grade year of elementary school embellishing it to include a mad dash through the forest at sunset. (Guess I was a storyteller, even then.)

As I grew older, I discovered something even more unique about small towns than wildlife and open spaces. There is a true abandonment of the present for the tribal past. Case in point is the way in which my grandmother gave directions. A typical answer for how to get to so-and-so would be – “Well you take a left where Silas Polk’s store burned down.” Then you’d get a detailed history of the Polk family in the area before my grandmother continued on to the next step in the directions. GPS can’t give you that kind of stuff.

Small Town USAWhen I decided to start writing the Amber and Kevin stories, I used the demography and physical layout of Prentiss as the basis for Kevin’s hometown. I simply moved the town to Texas, exchanged family farms for ranches and adjusted the weather patterns. This took little effort on my part as I’d spent a lifetime in Prentiss. So I was surprised that one of the beta readers for The Beginning of Forever commented about the town itself as if it were a character in the novella. She loved the location, the structure, and the inhabitants.

Fellow romance writers take heed. A small town shouldn’t be overlooked when choosing a story’s setting. There is so much already built into the work that it seems like cheating.

Characters: In a small town, you are known more by your family history than what you do for a living. For instance in Chicago, Michael Warner may be a renowned neurosurgeon on the A-List for any number of social events, but in his small Kentucky hometown, he’s one of those Warners from up along the ridge. They can’t hold down a job, you know?

Here’s our hero, a man battling against a hundred years of historical antidotes to claim his woman’s heart in the end.

Conflict: How about an idealistic big city transplant coming into a small town to make changes? The changes may make life better but threaten the status quo. Imagine being attracted to that person who is not only telling you that you’re doing it wrong but your entire extended family is doing it wrong, as well? Eek!

Paranormal: Whether you are writing about shifters, vampires or aliens, a small town would be a perfect congregation place far from glaring lights where news travels at a slower pace. Though be warned, creatures of the night, news does move with far more detail than a sound bite.

If you’re interested in creating a small town for your next work, the articles listed below may be helpful in jumpstarting your research.

The Smithsonian Magazine: The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013

Frommer’s: The Best Small Towns and Villages

Midwest Living: 100 Best Midwest Small-Town Getaways

Sunset: The West’s best places to live

Happy Writing!


Pre-Release – The Beginning of Forever by Vallory Vance

LeTeisha Newton

 ValloryVanceFirst a little about me…

I’m a wife and mom of three – a teen, a tween and a toddler. Lots of different stages of life to contend with there! Hubs and I are in our forties, the second “teen years” where we are redefining ourselves. There’s the actual teen in the original angst-filled phase of self-discovery. There’s the tween, obsessed with pop culture and about to have a coronary because she can’t do everything her sister does. Then there’s the toddler, destroying random bits of our home every chance he gets and as cute as can be.

Also, I’m a full-time HR profession in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. I handle most of the familiar aspects of human resources – recruiting, on boarding and benefits’ management. However, my favorite part of my job is workforce analysis. For instance if the Cowboys make it to the Superbowl, I…

View original post 696 more words