Sneak Off and Read: Lines about something HOT, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about something HOT for a great start to the week. Enjoy!

Sharon WrayJuliet punched her pillow and rolled over, hoping to find a cool spot in the hot sheets. Any plan that hurt Rafe was a good decision.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)

TemporarilyInsane_w10205_750 coverHot things almost took place under the covers until his phone interrupted.

Vicki Batman

jacquiebiggar_thebeastwithin_800pxJulie had more than enough responsibilities on her plate. Even if a session of hotter-than-hell sex—and he had a feeling with her it would be scorching—was good for the soul, she’d suffer for it, and he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if that happened.

Jacquie Biggar

51gy4a7prl-_sy346_Their passion rose slowly but burned hot and they climbed the mountain of ecstasy together.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

claire-gemGod, she looked cute. And hot as holy hell. She was still wearing that delicious looking tank and shorts, the silky fabric now clinging to the curve of her slightly damp breasts.

Claire Gem

Her memories flew away from her tried and true novels and back to her kiss with Ian. She imagined him doing these things to her, and her body clinched with heated yearning.

Jeannie Hall

51rkhlhx8zlShe was a hot body with a pretty face. Could be nothing more.

Kathryn Jane

“Don’t you worry. He’s not the first hotheaded, power-hungry, cantankerous lawyer I’ve worked with.” Vickie glanced over at the corner office, the one belonging to Elise’s father. “It certainly won’t be the last.”

S.A. Taylor
A Twisted Fate (work in progress)

51wddrbfbgl-_ac_us160_“The worst was climbing into your car when the inside thermometer read 116. It completely drained your energy. You can understand why I’m celebrating this sparkling July day.”

Marsha West



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Does Your Story Write Itself?

So, I started my series of books, Partners, the Odyssey of the Phoenix, many years ago. It took way too long to get the first one out, but once I did, the next ones flowed. The story is about AJ Donovan, firefighter-paramedic, who is excellent at his job but his personal life is a train wreck. He suffers from closet claustrophobia and PTSD, the origin of which is unclear. Due to things that happened to him in his childhood he is emotionally shut down, which doesn’t work well when trying to establish a relationship (which he really does wants). Then a new firefighter-paramedic joins the station. There’s an instant attraction to Quinlan O’Leary but she puts him on notice that she’s focused on establishing her credibility as a firefighter, paramedic and a woman. Sleeping with a partner would be at odds to that end (regardless of how drop dead gorgeous he is). One thing AJ never experienced was a platonic relationship with a woman. Quin does things for him because she wants to not because there was sex involved. When the rescuer becomes the victim of a near drowning, it’s Quin who saves him and stays by his side during a life-threatening bout with pneumonia. AJ develops a level of trust in her that tears down his wall and paves the way to love.

In Book II, Partners, the Challenge of the Phoenix, Quin and AJ are starting out life together in their new fixer-upper. A man from AJ’s past surfaces and makes good on his promise to make his life the proverbial living hell. The police are minimally effective at protecting him. Saving his life is dependent on his engaging in a covert police operation. At the worse possible time, a memory is invoked that uncovers the origin of his PTSD. He must work past it to survive. A police sergeant, his partner Chris, Quin, and the father he hasn’t seen since he was three years old, join the fight.

In Book III, Partners, the Sacrifice of the Phoenix, AJ is coerced into going to medical school as Quin feels being an ER doc is safer than being a firefighter and rescue technician. AJ isn’t academically inclined and misses his works as a firefighter. He hates being away from Quin for the better part of four years. Weeks away from graduation, a crisis occurs that threatens his success in finishing medical school. Quin and his friends rally support. He succeeds in getting a residency at the same hospital where he took his patients as a paramedic. His life is finally on safe ground, right? Not. AJ’s black cloud follows him wherever he goes. An abduction, a desperate situation, and a run for his life through a forest upends the theory that working in an ER is safer. He has to use every skill he knows to escape, including seduction.

Book IV, Partners, the Transformation of the Phoenix, starts after AJ’s first year of residency (his intern year) chews him up and spits him out. Communication between he and Quin disintegrates and false rumors threaten to break them apart. AJ faces the issue head on and their strong love prevails. In the meantime, his second year of residency (and being a licensed physician) has him on a helicopter crew and working with a partner, Dylan Jorgenson, who is also a USAR/disaster doc. During a flood, the need for him to jump back into a rescuer role forces him to face his fear of drowning. Dylan is starting a non-profit disaster team and wants AJ and Quin to join them. AJ, who’s never been east of Arizona, finds himself in the Caribbean after an earthquake. It’s quite a culture shock for him. They are warned about drug activity in the area. AJ stretches his skills on a field amputation and a confined space rescue. Just as they’re packing to leave, members of a drug cartel abduct Dylan and Quin and it’s up to AJ and Dylan’s homicide detective wife, Annie, to find them. It engages the HEART team with a federal USAR, DMAT and even the National Guard.

So how did this story go from the trials of an emotionally unavailable firefighter to an ER physician trying to find his abducted wife? I didn’t write the story, they did. Most of the writers I know have had this experience. The characters write the story; we just get to be the first to read it. Being a panster, I work off a basic outline of where we’re starting and where the story might end. In Book IV, I had no idea how it was going to end. What’s interesting is that things crafted into the story early on, or even in previous books as a point of interest, somehow become integral to the plot toward the end. One of those things is how American Sign Language, that Quin teaches AJ in Book I, becomes an important mode of communication in Book IV. When AJ decides to learn police work in Book I, I didn’t see how important that would be in Book II. AJ’s knowledge of wilderness survival established in Book I saves his life In Book III. His tenacity as a warrior established in Book II comes back into play in Book IV.

See what I mean? It makes you wonder if those characters in your head aren’t manipulating the story right from the beginning. The problem is, they tend to send me ideas when I’m driving or wake me up during the middle of the night. We have to work on their timing.

I’d love to know how other writers experience this strange phenomena.

Well, I have to go. They’re calling me with a new plot twist. They’re already working on Book V. Where will it take us? Scotland perhaps?

If I’ve stimulated your interest, Books I and II are up on Amazon and Book III will follow shortly.

Book I:

Book II:


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

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about MEMORY for a great start to the week. Enjoy!

51wddrbfbgl-_ac_us160_A picture of her trashed living room sprang full-blown into her memory. Her heart pounded loud enough to be heard in Texas.

Marsha West

Sharon WraySince Nate’s short-terms had taken a hike, and his long-terms held no hope, he sought out anything that kept him focused. And despite Pete’s concern, physical pain worked.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)

TemporarilyInsane_w10205_750 coverI gave my temple a memory-inducing rub. And presto! Another plan was called forth.

Vicki Batman

51gy4a7prl-_sy346_AJ, you’ll never forget what you saw today. That picture of Bret will be etched in your memory for the rest of your life, like Mike’s face is in mine.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)Wet tears streamed down my cheeks as I remembered the young woman who had been crowned Prom Queen and won local pageants.

Joanne Guidoccio

51rkhlhx8zlNot a dream, but a rusty, old memory pushing at the edges of her subconscious, until finally, it slipped into the light.

Kathryn Jane

He smiled. “Well, I didn’t want to miss anything.”

Glad he could joke about it now. She had to use a back-up memory stick to photograph every detail of the crime scene.

S.A. Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)



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Sneak Off and Read: Lines about something FRESH, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines for a FRESH start to the week. Enjoy!

51rkhlhx8zlShe loved the way the fresh snow poofed with every step she took. It made her think of icing sugar.

Kathryn Jane

“It would be a great opportunity, a fresh start.” I monitored her response closely. “For both of us.”

S.A. Taylor
Sharp Blades (work in progress)

51wddrbfbgl-_ac_us160_Walking to work, Jill decided if she were smart, she’d figure out how to bottle this glorious New England fall morning. Sparkling, crisp, cold air.

Marsha West

Sharon WrayNate inhaled the fresh air, tasting both mold and sulfur, and blinked. Nothing primed his headaches like the smells of ruin and decay.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)

jacquiebiggar_thebeastwithin_800px“Your mama teach you to talk that way?” If his daughter ever swore like… the pang was more the ache of an old wound now, rather than that of a fresh slice.

Jacquie Biggar

ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)I switched to an Enya CD and opened the car window, breathing in the crisp, autumn air as I hummed along to the hauntingly beautiful lyrics.

Joanne Guidoccio



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Yikes! I hate keeping up with my taxes. I don’t mind paying them, but keeping up is just the pits.mc900438743 And makes my heart rate jump all around and my blog pressure rise. Now I’m talking about my sales taxes and not the big income taxes. Those seems to be easier to manage. Strange, I know.

I confess, I don’t make money on my writing. I know lots of you do. I’m happy for you. Do I wish I did? Of course, but I’m lucky I have retirement and a great husband who keeps me in a style to which I’d become accustomed. 🙂 As I said, I’m one of the lucky ones.

Still the great state of Texas collects taxes on the books I sell. These are the print books and the e-books. So I have a Jan. 31 deadline to go online and file. I can figure out the print books. I do have a system for those, but I’m woefully ignorant about the on-line ones.

I’ll get a print out this month of total money I’ve earned from the various places, but that won’t break down to the individual books. (At least I don’t remember that it did last year!)

Anyway, this all started because when I opened my email on Saturday morning, there was the nice little reminder that I needed to go on-line and file.

Ultimately, I’ll get it figured out, but it will take me longer than most people, because it’s numbers. I don’t do numbers well. I write words or speak words well. But not so much with the numbers.

I’ve never served as a treasurer in any organization, and I’ve been in lots of them and been all kinds of officer including president of many. But never treasurer. And I like that just fine!

And besides, I’ve really gotten back into my WIP, Book 3 in the series. The words are just flying off the keys. It’s very satisfying. I sometimes think I may be morphing into something of a pantser, something I highly admire. So I resent this tax business which will cut into my writing.img_4902-1 img_4901 Map is of Dallas where Book 3 of Series takes place.

You may be surprised at this post from me. I can usually find lots of positive stuff to say. I try to be uplifting. We have enough negative in our world already. I’m a good encourager.

Okay, here’s me putting the positive spin on all of this.

I’m very lucky to be able to write.

I’m lucky that people seem to enjoy my books with their older characters and not tons of high powered action, but with a dash of good sex.

I’m lucky my husband has been so supportive, even to the point of lending his good editing eye to my works.

I have a beautiful new area in which to work. img_4822

The view in front of me is superlative—in fact how dare I complain about anything when I’ve got views like this every day! fullsizerender42

Okay, thanks for listening to my rant. I figure things out by writing or speaking things out loud. I can start at one place and by the time I stop, I’ve reached a completely different conclusion. Which is what I’ve done here. (My husband finds this all confusing. Even after all these years, he sometimes forgets to wait to the end before taking an action.)

(On Sunday, I opened an email from Amazon and it had every month for every book! Yea! I’ve almost got it all figured out. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of patience. Not something I’m loaded with.)

So do you have state sales taxes? Are you lucky enough to have someone do your taxes for you? Do you pay your taxes in January or April? Suggestions for how you keep up with this business side of our business? Love to hear from you.

Please contact me at , sign up for my newsletter , and follow me on any of her social media sites. for my Blog!/marsha.r.west  @marsha.r.west  @Marsharwest

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

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about COLD to start the week. Enjoy!

A_Taming_SeasonsmallLike glowing cinders landing in a snow bank, only to be extinguished by the cold, wet snow. Even in the midst of hundreds, probably thousands of people, Zoe felt utterly and truly alone.

Claire Gem

51rkhlhx8zlCursing at the lack of focus in her eyes, he peeled off her frozen clothes, tested the water, and judging it to be only slightly warmer than her skin, eased her in.

Kathryn Jane

I tapped the bar with my empty beer bottle, hoping the cute bartender would make good on her promise and keep the cold ones coming.

S.A. Taylor
Sharp Blades (work in progress)

51wddrbfbgl-_ac_us160_The dampness intensified the cold, permeating to the marrow of her bones. Nevertheless, she trudged on. Lying down and giving up wasn’t an option.

Marsha West

Sharon WrayJuliet’s toes curled against the tile floor, and her warm breath filmed the cold glass. The moon hung full, like the night he left on his mission. The night he left her.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)

TemporarilyInsane_w10205_750 coverEvening tiptoed in earlier and earlier, taking away the bright days of sunlight and bringing the long dark nights of cold.

Vicki Batman

jacquiebiggar_thebeastwithin_800pxSerial killers were different. They worked from a different plane. Cold. Methodical. Brutal.

Jacquie Biggar



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Chasing the Elusive Butterfly: Theme


Merriam Webster makes it sound so simple.

“Theme is . . .the main subject that is being discussed or described in a piece of writing . . .”

Then why is it so evasive, almost impossibly difficult to define in my own writing?

Going in, I always think I know my theme. After all, my novels all follow a basic premise, which has become my tagline: Strong Women, Starting Over – Redefining Romance. Some elements are staples: there will be two people, a man and a woman, each facing their own challenging situations. Each with their own goals, and their own reasons for choosing those goals. There will be suspense. There will be mystery, and turmoil, and angst. There will be a love story.

I spend weeks, sometimes months, creating these characters from the ground up—what they look like, where they’re from, what their family lives were like. What baggage are they carrying? What do they want out of life?

That’s the key to any engaging piece of fiction, right? In the words of Ray Bradbury, “First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!”sidewalk-1924670_640

Well, that’s how I started out my latest novel, the one to which I triumphantly added two, glorious words a few days ago: The End. I thought I knew my hero and heroine well. I thought I knew what they wanted. And yet, it wasn’t until I went back through and started at the beginning, reading the book as though I’d never seen it before, that the ah-ha moment snuck up and whacked me on the side of the head.

No wonder I struggled with this book more than the last three I’ve written. I had a pretty good handle on my hero. I knew what his baggage was, what his motivation was, what he wanted. But until this morning—at the ungodly hour of 5:23 in the morning, sitting in front of my monitor in my pajamas with my hair sticking up like Woodstock on Peanuts—I had no idea what my heroine’s real problem was. What she really wanted.

And how did I find out? Her father told me.

During this first pass through the completed, rough draft, I’d gotten only about fifty pages in when I detected a chink—a place where something was missing. Something needed to be added. I knew my heroine loved her father dearly, though she did have issues with her new stepmother. But the scene seemed incomplete. So I took a deep breath, tucked my brain inside my heroine’s head, and stuck her in a room alone with her father.

The five sentence conversation they had, which flowed directly from their mouths through my fingers, summed up the meaning of my 100,000+ word novel. I finally had my theme.

The lesson here? To an author, a story is not always a willingly malleable partner. Sometimes, you just have to place the characters you created, and who you think you know well, down on the game board and let them play out their own lives. Press blindly forward when you’re not sure where they’re headed, or why.

Just type. Listen, and play transcriptionist.

Just freaking

Because the important thing is this: you have to keep going. Get to The End. Sometimes, it’s not until the entire story has played out that the characters will be willing to give up their secrets—and to share with you, the author, the story’s true theme.

Now how crazy and messed up is that?


Claire Gem writes intensely emotional romantic suspense. Visit her at

Celebrating La Befana

Growing up, we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany with a special meal and treats. While my brothers and I attached more significance to Christmas Day, my mother considered January 6th to be the Italian Christmas. She would regale us with tales of la Befana, the friendly witch who delivered gifts to good children and lumps of coal to the bad ones.

While I’ve heard many variations of this tale, I prefer my mother’s version.

The Magi stopped at la Befana’s house on their way to visit Baby Jesus. The gracious hostess treated them to a meal and offered them shelter for the night. She also gave them directions. Touched by her hospitality, the three kings invited her to accompany them on their journey, but she declined. She had too much housework. After they left, she changed her mind and decided to join them. She packed up some toys for the newborn child and set off on the journey. She never caught up to them. Disappointed but practical, she decided to share her bounty of toys. To this day, she delivers her gifts to Italian children on the night before the Epiphany.

Does anyone else celebrate the Epiphany?


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Where to find Joanne  Guidoccio…

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I’m addicted to words

by Kathryn Jane

I love words, and I’m constantly amazed when they’re put together so perfectly an inspirational quote is born… therein lies my addiction.

I can spend hours pouring through quotes, drinking in meaning, and occasionally making memes to share.

It’s a weakness.

Today I’ll share a few of them with you, just because I think it’s a great way to start off a new year (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) .

“Be the change you wish to see.” Unknown

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” ~ Edith Wharton

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”~  Erma Bombeck

“If not us, who?  If not now, when?” ~ John F. Kennedy

“Live as though life was created for you.” ~ Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

“Do the Best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou

“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, ‘Holy shit…what a ride!” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

“You are so much more than your mistakes.” ~ Bryant McGill

The road of indecision is paved with flat squirrels. ~ Unknown

I bet you have favorite quotes of your own… please share them with us!

Author Kathryn Jane,  loves words, homemade bread, the Pacific Ocean, and cats!

Cover - KathrynJane_AllSheWanted_1400pxKathrynJane_DanceWithMe_800px

Website   |   Amazon



Sneak Off and Read: Lines about SOMETHING NEW, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about SOMETHING NEW to ring in the New Year. Enjoy!

She’s the new firefighter? Initial disbelief was followed by a shock wave that circled AJ’s brain then shot south and landed in the front of his pants.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

A_Taming_SeasonsmallThe kiss was long and warm and wet, and Zoe tasted familiar, yet excitingly brand new. Their tongues tangled in a dance of tenderness touched with the urgency Jason sensed building in her.

Claire Gem

ASeasonforKillingBlondes_w9101_750 (2)“It’s time for a change. Out with the old and in with the new.” Jean liked to sprinkle her conversations with old adages and cliches.

Joanne Guidoccio

I glanced around the space, boxes stacked two wide and three high filled the room. One more reminder I was making a big change in my life, in Jillian’s life.

S.A. Taylor
Sharp Blades (work in progress)

51wddrbfbgl-_ac_us160_“Why don’t you buy Crystal Rainbows?” Her pitch rose with the enthusiasm of a reformed smoker, “You’ve been wondering what you’d do here. This would be perfect.”

Marsha West

 Wishing you a happy new year!