Sneak Off and Read: Lines about Money, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about MONEY for a lovely start to your week, enjoy!

“Here, take your damn blood money, and don’t worry, my daughter and I will find somewhere else to live before next month.”

Jacquie Biggar
Silver Bells (upcoming)

Cover-McKennaSinclair-Partners - Odyssey of the PhoenixAJ felt like a kid who had just been caught stealing money from his mother’s purse. Unfortunately, the punishment for this crime would be much more severe … and much more personal.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)Three thousand euros worth of pastries. Can you believe it?

Joanne Guidoccio

author-jeannieShe remembered all the boxes of new Christmas decorations she’d bought sitting unopened in her living room. A glittery blue garland with snowflake-shaped lights and a box of ornaments with hand-painted country scenes on them.

Jeanne Hall
A Midnight Clear (a work in progress)

Cover - KathrynJane_AllSheWanted_1400pxBut would she? That was the fifty-thousand-dollar question, and he was an hour of hard going away from the answer.

Kathryn Jane

Even if she tacked on more weddings to an already booked schedule, plus squeezed in more shifts at the police station, she’d never come up with twenty-five grand in the next month.

S.A. Taylor
Shutter (a work in progress)

51AoTTvhxHL“Going over budget isn’t an option, Clay. The theatre can’t survive this way, and since you can’t change, you won’t make it here either.”

Marsha West

Sharon Wray“This attack on your team took cunning, a ton of money, and sophisticated logistics. But the fact you weren’t all killed sounds like it was personal.”

Sharon Wray

When Next We Meet (work in progress)

TemporarilyInsane_w10205_750 coverShe had determined this job was the best choice and for a darn good reason—money. Money. Money. I needed lots of it. Now.

Vicki Batman





Holding out for a hero

I read a blog post this morning from Virginia Heath entitled “Write What You Know, they said …” In it, she’s talking about borrowing some of her daughter’s traits, and events from history, for her latest novel. And it got me to thinking about heroes, and … writing what you know.

We’ve all seen it. When people learn you write romance novels, they automatically grin and waggle their eyebrows and ask that question. “Have you done everything in your books?”

Last week, we had a great answer suggested by Beverly Jenkins. “Hell, yes.” Which is way better than saying, “I found your nose in my business.”

But there’s also the suggestive question that really isn’t a question. “Your husband must be a very happy guy.”

And he is, but that’s because he’s generally a happy guy.  Not because I base my romances on us. Honestly, he’d be embarrassed if I did.

But that begs another question … where do I find my heroes?

HerosFor looks? You can’t beat Pinterest. I mean, really. The guys on the right are my current romance models (my apologies, guys). And, seeing them all grouped like that, do I need to explain why I love daydreaming in my spare time?

However, heroes are so much more than good looks. The best heroes are honorable, caring guys who make sacrifices.

Last week in San Diego, I found a few:

  1. One man went to an awards ceremony with his wife and choked up with pride when she won.
  2. Another nominee’s husband went around the table and introduced himself to everyone and participated – rather than checking his watch and feeling out of place. The guy next to him spent the evening making his wife the star of his evening.
  3. One guy took the middle seat in an airplane and didn’t complain and didn’t hog the armrests. He spent a long, hot flight taking care of the distracted, sometimes sleeping. woman next to him, including making sure I didn’t miss out on snacks.
  4. And then there was my husband – who spent the week texting me (although he hates doing it) and taking care of his ill mother, yet somehow still found time to fuss over an issue with my car.

So, continuing Virginia Heath’s theme of “write what you know,” I’d encourage anyone to look around and find the everyday, unsung heroes and heroines and then make them larger than life.

And for those people who ask “have you done everything?” – I write suspense. I usually kill at least one character in every manuscript.

Are you sure you want to ask that question?

Mia Kay - thumbnailMia

Find me at:

Baby Boomers Rejoice the birth of Seasoned Romance!



I was born at the tail end of the baby boom. I grew up in the sixties to: the tune of the best music; girls finally being allowed to wear pants at school; and slightly less expectation that we make one of only three choices for our future–become a teacher, become a nurse, or get married and have children.

I sense nodding among the crowd.

Graduating from high-school in the early seventies meant I was the generation riding the wave of freedom hard won by my sisters just a few years older… Not that I went out and conquered the world, but the possibilities were there, and devouring romance novels set me up to dream.

Fast forward forty years, and here I am still in love with reading. Okay, so what’s the rejoicing part you say?

Seasoned Romance … because love is ageless!

For those of us who aren’t interested in reading about romance between twenty-somethings, there is a new, burgeoning genre. One where the heroes and heroines are at least thirty-five, and (hallelujah) much older!

I’ve heard from plenty of readers who feel no emotional connection to stories about people the ages of their children and grandchildren. These are women who glance at the bookshelves and ask, “What about us? Why can’t there be stories about older women who’ve kicked butt as executives, pilots, wives, mothers, jockeys, nurses, doctors, dog walkers, and everything in between. Why can’t we read about the kind of women we are or want to be, and the heroes we’d love to meet.”

Good news, older generation heroes and heroines do exist in the world of romance books.

Better news, a group of authors already writing this kind of story have banded together to get our Seasoned Romance genre recognized by agents, publishers, and booksellers.

Meanwhile, there are Seasoned Romances already available. Great stories about women finding love for the first, second, or seventh time, single moms, empty-nesters, divorcees, widows, financially secure women looking for adventure, married couples rediscovering each other after retirement…

My own brand new book set to release in a few weeks, Dance With Me, is about a married couple in their early sixties. Julia and James, the mother and father in my Intrepid Women series have some serious issues to get past, plus a mystery to solve before they can get on with a romantic reconciliation.

I’d love to hear what you think about Seasoned Romance. What is your favorite age range to read about? Young, to relive your youth? Older to feel a connection to the characters? Tell me, tell me, so I can get the word out to other authors 🙂

If you’d like to be kept up to date on my new Seasoned Romance releases, as well as those by the Sisterhood of Suspense authors (and many others), hop on over to my website and sign up for my newsletter. Easy peasy.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Amazon  | Pinteresthead shot from RWA14

Addicted to the ocean, award winning author Kathryn Jane lives on the west coast of Canada with her fabulous feline assistant, and a devoted mutt to keep her charming prince company while she’s busy penning fast-paced mysteries and adventures about Kickass Women and the Men who Dare to Love them…


Psst…. have you heard about our Big Summer Book Giveaway?Big Summer BookGiveaway



Sneak Off and Read: Lines about Water, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about WATER for a lovely start to your week, enjoy!

TemporarilyInsane_w10205_750 coverI watched in rapt fascination as he swallowed it with a chug of water.

Vicki Batman

The air was filled with the intoxicating scent of rain and the damp leather from his jacket. Christy had the urge to bury her nose in the open v of his dress shirt.

Jacquie Biggar
Silver Bells (upcoming)

author-jeannieShe relaxed and let the warm water run over her skin. What had initially stung due to the temperature difference now felt like heaven.

Jeanne Hall
A Midnight Clear (a work in progress)

Cover - KathrynJane_AllSheWanted_1400pxHe tapped the stereo button on the way past, and stepped into the heated water with her. She sighed and pressed her soft mouth against his chest.

Kathryn Jane

CowboyTime_HR“Now for some swimming. Last one in is a rotten egg.” He jumped off the bank into the icy cold water.

Melissa Keir
A Pigskin Cowboy in the Cowboy Time box set

I caught a glimpse of the terrain from the helicopter, winding streams directly beneath us and beautiful snow capped mountains in the distance.

S.A. Taylor
Follow Me (a work in progress)

51AoTTvhxHLThe land dropped away below to that ubiquitous rocky coast of Maine she’d heard about in songs, as the breeze from off the water countered with the warmth of the sun. A couple of lobster boats putted back and forth while the men checked their traps.

Marsha West

Sharon WrayThe rain hit hard, like shards of glass slicing his arms and face. But he embraced the pain, keeping his focus on Escalus’s knife.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


Sisterhood of Suspense's photo.





Loss of Mobility

(Apologies this is in all caps. It’s not the way I posted it. ??)

As some of you know back the end of May I fell, breaking the back ankle bone and tearing a ligament. I now have a plate and 6 screws and wire for a ligament. It should be fun going through security at airports. 🙂 


I’ve been in a wheelchair for all of this time. The three times I tried crutches I lost my balance and put pressure on my foot that wasn’t supposed to get any pressure on it at all. I’ve not used one of those kneeling things that many folks have suggested because when I fell, I also banged up my knee pretty good. Bruises still apparent and sore.

The good thing is we’d just downsized into our Lakehouse.


Well, good and bad. We hadn’t unpacked everything when I fell, so we’ve depended on our kids for lots of that. They’ve been super as has my husband. The main good thing is that here I can make it to the bathroom, actually wheel up to the potty. Wouldn’t have been able to do that in our wonderful big house we’d built 20 years ago—doorways too small.

Because it’s my right ankle, I haven’t been able to drive. Do you get what that means? I can’t run to the grocery store anytime I want. Worse I have to ask for help.

Being your basic, independent, controlling, “I-can-do-it-myself” sort of woman, this has been a disaster. I don’t like to ask for help. One of my daughters pointed out that my fall back mode to avoid asking for help is to give orders. Not something I’m proud of, but she nailed it. I’m working on that. I’ve learned I’m not a good patient, nor am I patient. 🙂 Couldn’t resist.

I’ve totally flashed back to times my mother was in a wheelchair, the one I now use.

IMG_3888Bless her heart. I just didn’t get it. She too was an independent, controlling woman. I’m sure it was agonizing for her.

Have you ever had to keep your foot above your heart?

IMG_3923Well others might be able to work from that position, but I can’t. I can watch HGTV and read. I must say it’s been very nice to read books in big gulps rather than piecemeal and not feel guilty, but I can’t do the laptop in that position. I’m working at the table now and as soon as I finish this post, back I go to the chair foot in the air! (I am now able to put some pressure on it and will go to PT next week.)


All I wanted to do this summer was bring out the next book. THE THEATRE just needs me to finish last edits before sending it off to the professionals. I can really tell when I’ve had my foot down too long, so my time is split between writing a few blogs and checking emails & social media.

The other things I’ve been able to do are: fill & empty the dishwasher, put away dishes, and wash clothes. Amazing what a sense of accomplishment this gives me. Important for a person who needs to feel capable.

But all that hasn’t left much time for the book. Eventually, it will come out later this year.

But boy do I have empathy for those in this state either permanently or temporarily! Thank heavens for handicapped accessible buildings & restaurants & bathrooms! I guess folks were just captives in their homes before we had all the ramps.

Have you broken a bone(s)? Been captive to a wheelchair? Did it keep you from doing things you wanted to? What’d you learn?  Love to hear from you.

Looking for some great new reads? Check out the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Big Book Summer Giveaway!

Sisterhood of Suspense's photo.


Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and to follow me on any of my social media sites. And please share with your friends. 

http://www.sisterhoodofsupense for my Blog!/marsha.r.west  @marsha.r.west  @Marsharwest


2016 Summer MG/YA Booklist!

IMG_4761 (1)

I’m so excited about this summer’s Middle Grade and Young Adult reading list! There are a ton of new and upcoming releases and some old favorites recommended by readers.

Since there are so many new books on the list, below is just a small selection of what I’ve added.* There are stories for every tween and teen including  zombies, proms, cute meets, friend and family drama, aliens, fairies, fairy tale retellings, and a lot more from popular, indie, and debut authors.

For the complete printable list in a downloadable Word document, please click here: Summer 2016-mg_ya-list.

All of the books are available at Amazon, most at Barnes and Noble, and many at the public library.

Now for a sampling of the 2016 summer titles!

Young Adult Romance




Young Adult Paranormal Romance


Young Adult Romance Anthologies


Young Adult Realistic Fiction


Young Adult Science Fiction


Young Adult Action/Adventure/Dystopian


Young Adult Fantasy


Young Adult Novellas


Middle Grade Action/Adventure


Middle Grade Non-Fiction


 Middle Grade Relationships


Shares and Tweets are welcome!
I hope you all have a great summer of reading.IMG_5066

Now, I’d love to know if you have any books you’d like to add to the list!

Disclaimer: Some of these books are (or once were) controversial. Some older YAs have closed-door adult situations, and others (YA & MG) deal with harsh issues such as suicide, bullying, war, poverty, and loss of a parent. As a librarian, reader’s advisor, and mother, I’ve learned that tweens and teens tend to read within their comfort zone, both emotionally and reading-level wise. All of these books offer a chance for parents and kids to discuss which topics are appropriate now and which books are best left for another summer. But I hope you all find books that will give your family a summer of new adventures and imaginary friends.

*The books listed in this blog post and on the list are in no particular order, just grouped by general topic or subgenre.

All covers courtesy of Amazon. Feature photos courtesy of Sharon Wray.

Sharon Wray

A librarian/archivist who studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris, Sharon now writes stories of adventure, suspense, and love for Sourcebooks’ Casablanca imprint. Sharon loves to connect with readers and can be found at:

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What Reading Means to Me


I devour romantic suspense, mysteries and romance.  I also write them.


I wanted to blog on a subject that encompassed all three. Research was a perfect fit. Today most can be done online, but I still do it the old-fashioned way of going to the library. It forces me to leave my desk, and interact with the outside world. I know it sounds crazy but I love the perusal of titles as I move down the shelves. There’s an excitement that builds until I reach that one special book that says “Pick Me, Pick Me.”


I know, I can hear you say, ‘of course, you’re an author, you’re supposed to feel that way.”




It has nothing to do with writing. The very first time my mother took my brothers and sisters and me to the New York Public library in the city it grabbed my heart and didn’t let go. It’s magnificent.  This was also the first time I got to pick without guidance a book of my own choosing.  One that wasn’t required reading for school.  I’m sure she was overseeing the titles to make sure it was age appropriate. But I didn’t care.  Magic happened between those pages on that day as I flipped through the first chapter of each book, before I decided on that one special story to bring home. We were only allowed one book at a time. It was one of my mother’s many rules. With ten children it made it easier for her to keep track of all of them.

Here’s the regal reading room at the NYPL. It’s one of my favorite places on earth.\

nypl regal reading room



If I found two, I’d write down the title and stick it in my pocket for the next visit.  Summer for me wasn’t about running around crazy. It was sitting under a tree or on the beach with a book in my hand as it whisked me away to foreign lands, secretive places or handsome lovers with a promise of ‘happily ever after.’ Oh, yes, books were that and more to me, each one worth its weight in gold.


To this day, I get lost in a story so much it takes me a few minutes to rejoin the real world once I put the book down.  It drives my husband crazy. He’s since learned that he needs to get my attention before he speaks if he wants me to remember the conversation.  As a child in a five room apartment occupied by twelve people (5 brothers, 4 sisters, 2 parents and I), I learned to shut off my ears to read, to escape into its world. I vacationed inside the pages, while my friends went on planes or traveled by car.


I think writing came naturally after reading so much. Though I loved the stories I read, I had so many more inside my head shouting to get out. With the encouragement of my third grade teacher, Mrs. Wright, I started putting my stories on paper, and I’ve never stopped. In fact, reading and writing had helped me through a long recovery from open heart surgery and got me first contract.

How about you? What is it about reading that you love?  Please share your first memory of your visit to the library or the bookstore.

Author Bio

One of ten children Marian Lanouette/Merry Holly took up writing to explore new and adventurous places. While her friends traveled on planes for vacation, Marian/Merry traveled in books. With an overactive imagination she started creating her own characters and stories. Romance and mysteries are her favorite genres.

The Season of Anthologies are Marian/Merry’s brain child. The books in the series include the following; Season of Magic Holiday Box Set (2014), Season of Love (2015), Season of Surprises Holiday Box Set (2015) and Season of Thrills mystery/suspense/ thriller box set (2015). Season of Promises debuts this fall (2016).

An avid reader, she discovered her love of mysteries by reading the Daily News as a youngster. Intrigued by the real life crimes, and how the police worked and eventually solved cases, ignited her imagination beyond the ordinary. She’s working on the third book in her Jake Carrington Mystery series titled Mated for Life.

Season of Promises Holiday Box Set will be released in the fall of 2016.

Connect with Marian Lanouette

Marian 119 author pic

Marian’ Amazon Author Page:


The print cover

Buy Links:

Amazon: Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery

Barnes & Noble: Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery

The Power Of A Great Opening

LipsPage magic, lips pressing down on hers. Kate’s eyes fluttered open and she found herself looking into soft, brown eyes that were liquid pools of concern. Kind eyes. Without thinking her arms went up around his neck and she found herself responding to him. Applause burst out from the bystanders around her

Opening from: Amsden, Pat, Lost In Vegas.

Hopefully that makes you want to read further. In a short presentation  on writing best selling novels earlier this year, Phyllis Smallman said, “great writers are great readers.” We all nodded sagely. Then she clarified. You not only have to love reading but you have to read to learn how others write.”


She suggested going to the nearest library and reading the first paragraph from best selling novels. I’d like to think the above example from Lost In Vegas works. It has at various times made it into the top 100 books on Amazon. Below you’ll see an opening line from one of Phyllis Smallman’s books. It definitely draws me in.

Do you think you can catch crazy? In Dutch’s where I mix martinis and pull drafts, some nights a madness swirls through the air, like a virus infecting everyone.

Opening from: Smallman, Phyllis, Jack Daniels and Tea

Then start to think about how books you love are constructed. Chances are none start with a page on botany. Chances are you’ve met at least one of the main characters in the first page and there’s been an inciting incident within the first thirty. Whether it’s romance or mystery there’s probably a giant problem in the way that makes a neat resolution impossible and makes you wonder “how on earth will they solve that?”

That’s what makes you keep reading. Maybe the botanist is trying to save a plant in the middle of a proposed logging site. Conflict! The life blood of  books everywhere. If the botanist is gorgeous and the logger a testosterone soaked version of man candy even better. Switch it up and make the botanist a male version of sex on  a stick and the logger a pissed off blue-eyed blonde who’d look more at home in a women’s magazine than at the job site decked out in steel toed boots. Excellent!

Depending on size you may have a sub plot or maybe two. Maybe three. They should tie into the story line, adding depth to the story and characters.

Then think about the ending. You want to end with a bang, not a whimper. There should be a resolution which leaves the reader feeling emotionally satisfied. They should close your book feeling that the ending you wrote was the only way the book could’ve ended.

This post originally appeared on my blog  I’d love to hear more great openings.


Sneak Off and Read: Lines about Chapter Beginnings, #RSsos #RomSuspense

51bsu+BLGUL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Meg Bourland jerked to a stop before she reached the bottom of the stairs in her parents’ house. Her fingers tightened on the banister. The spit in her mouth dried up like the Texas fields in August.

~ Marsha West

Soul Mates Cover“They’re all good catches,” Tanya said lightly as she stopped to talk briefly to Maxine.

~ Pat Amsden

“Hit me.” Matthew Shaughnessy tapped the two cards he had laying on the table and prayed he got something better than the crap he was holding.

~ Jacquie Biggar
Hold ‘Em (a work in progress)

Veronica-Modified-copy-266x300Mark had an uneventful afternoon at the office until a tall, lean woman wearing attitude, confidence and a black skirt one inch short of acceptable walked through his door.

~ Veronica Forand
Owl (a work in progress)

ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)Henry Keenan had a constipated and ineffectual look about him. It was hard to believe he was the best criminal attorney in Sudbury and a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom.

~ Joanne Guidoccio

Cover - KathrynJane_AllSheWanted_1400pxAngie stormed into the board room. “What the fuck?”

~ Kathryn Jane

CowboyTime_HR“Give us back our money!” The voices echoed through Kane’s mind, forcing him to wake up.

~ Melissa Keir, Sister of Small Town Suspense
A Pigskin Cowboy in the Cowboy Time box set

71fbZfGJrOL._UX250_There are Mondays—burnt toast, no cream for the coffee, a body in the swimming pool—and there are Mondays. This was one of those Mondays.

~  Julie Mulhern
Send in the Clowns (a work in progress)

I was seated at 32,000 feet in the air, but my stomach hovered somewhere back in California.

~ S.A. Taylor
Follow Me (a work in progress)






There’s Rules? Who knew! #Writerstips #RSsos #mgtab @jacqbiggar

Placeholder Image


While working on my revisions something came to my attention that you may not be aware of. Dialogue which runs several paragraphs long have a set of rules to follow.

I know, right? Crazy!

This came as a surprise to me. I’d always thought, mistakenly it seems, that as long as it was one person doing the talking, quotations occur at the start, and at the end. No matter how many paragraphs long.

Of course ideally you should break up the dialogue between paragraphs with either dialogue tags or cues, (learned in one of Margie Lawson’s always inspirational classes) or action sequences of some sort.




Failing that, if your character has something important to impart, or maybe just like to hear themselves talk, Start the dialogue with quotation marks.


At the beginning of each subsequent paragraph add quotations, all the way until the end, where you add the closing quotations.