Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday's Blurbs - Books by J. Q. Rose #MFRWauthor #mystery

Deadly Undertaking
Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies around when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman, and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life. Welcome home, Lauren!

Coda to Murder
Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.  Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.
Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?
Buy Links:

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday - J. Q. Rose - Talking About Heroes, Heroines and Villains #MFRWauthor #writing

1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms? I write mysteries mixed up with other genres. For instance, my latest mystery, Deadly Undertaking, is a mystery, romance, and paranormal. Yes, I throw in everything but the kitchen sink! I started writing as a freelance writer, so I also enjoy writing non-fiction books. I interviewed fifteen role models for girls for an e-book to inspire girls, Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, and I have a Kindle book on vegetable gardening.

Do your reading choices reflect your writing choices? I enjoy a good mystery, but I also like memoirs/biographies, and reading books on writing.
Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt? I wouldn’t write erotica or sci-fi.

2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which is your favorite to write? My favorite character to create is my heroine’s story. She’s always an independent woman from the get-go, but I love piling problem upon problem upon her and figuring out how she’ll find a solution to each one. She definitely has to be smart to overcome them and learn something about herself or another character after overcoming the obstacles..

3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? My hero is usually a mixture of people I’ve met and people in the news. It’s fun to mix up the characteristics of one or more people I know with the features of a person in the news or an actor. My imagination stirs them altogether to produce my character.

Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story? Strange as it seems, the hero in Deadly Undertaking was at first, just the heroine’s friend. I thought she was going to be attracted to the hunky detective working on the murder case. But no. Gary pushed himself into the story while I was writing it. Sure messed up my outline of the story too.

4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story? Real life and imagination come into play when choosing my heroine. She is the story, so I have her and the setting in mind before I begin.

5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human? Villains are easy to find. I watch the news and also remember who” done me wrong” in my life. I love crafting them, giving them physical characteristics, and little habits so readers can distinguish them from the good guys.

6. What is your latest release? Deadly Undertaking
Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain? Lauren, the daughter of the undertaker is the heroine coming home to help her father run the business and help care for her mother who was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. Gary, the city policeman, is her hero. He loves Lauren deeply, but he can’t tell her because she is already involved with someone else. And the villain? Ooh, the villain cannot be revealed because it may ruin the story for the reader.

7. What are you working on now? Call me crazy, but I’m writing a memoir about the year my husband and I decided to go into the floral business. We ditched our safe secure jobs, packed up our one-year-old baby, and moved to a small town eight hours from home and family to become business owners in a business we knew little about. This decision was a major turning point in our lives. And I can tell you, it was a good decision

8. How can people find you?

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at
J.Q. Rose blog
J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday, My Heroes, Heroines and Villains - The Amberr Dragon - Amber Chronicles #MFRWauthor #fantasy #romance

The Hero - Stephen

The solstice full moon had just touched the horizon, Stephen Riva, crown prince of Rivand, stared at the Witch of the Woods.  With her hair the color of spun amber and eyes the brilliant blue of summer skies, her beauty fascinated him.  The words she spoke made him uneasy.  He frowned and turned toward his father.  The king glared at the woman.
The witch pointed a finger at the king.  “You have not won.  Fire will not destroy the garden or drive me from the home I have created.”  She spun and waved her hands.  All traces of the fire set by the king and his men vanished.  She grasped Stephen’s hand and pulled him into the garden.  “Confess your love for me.”
He shook his head.  “How can you speak of love?  Love does not strike in an instant and set a heart on fire.  Love grows like a flower from a seed, planted and carefully tended.”
A dreamy expression appeared on her lovely face.  “The moment I beheld you I knew you were mine.  Your dark hair, your handsome face and your muscular body have enchanted me.  I could drown in your moss green eyes.”
Stephen shook his head.  In all his twenty and one years he had never heard such nonsense.  “You will not have me.  I have a duty to Rivand, the land I will one day rule.”
“Do you have brothers?”
“Then one of them can take on your duty to the land.  You have no reason to reject me.”
Stephen shook his head.  “There are three reasons.  Duty, honor and love.  My duty as crown prince of Rivand is to take the throne.  Should I run away from doing this I would lose honor?  I do not love you.”           
Her eyes narrowed.  “So be it.  If you will not be mine you will not be Rivand’s king.  A curse I lay upon the House of Riva.  Every hundred years a prince will be given a chance.  To give his heart to me or be taken into the amber orb and spend his life on another world.”
Stephen looked at her.  “I pray one day you will learn love does not happen in an instant and cannot be given on command.”
She smiled.  “And you may learn love can occur in an instant and become eternal.”
Though there were no clouds thunder rumbled.  A streak of lightning flashed across the sky and struck the ground near Stephen’s feet.  He saw the sparks coalesce into a sphere imprisoning him behind the walls.  Stephen stretched his arms toward his father and the Witch of the Woods.  The walls of the orb were too distant to touch.  He turned and stared at a mass of trees.
The rustling leaves became voices urging him to walk.  His strides lengthened until he ran.  Was this a dream?  The branches of the trees scratched his face and arms.  He groaned.  Truly he had been brought to another place.

Stephen had no idea how long he walked.  The clusters of trees thinned.  Beyond them he saw a road and some distant buildings.  Before stepping onto the hard-packed earth he removed his coronet, his sword and most of his jewelry.  As a stranger in an unknown land he dare not appear hostile.  He wrapped his possessions in his cloak and hid them in a hollow tree.  With his boot knife he marked the spot.  Then he stepped onto the road and sought his new destiny.

The Heroine and the Villain - Princess Valia  The Wizard
Princess Valia stared at the seventeenth prince who had come to Lanton to court her.  Since the day her father had decreed she must marry, every available prince from the neighboring kingdoms had arrived at the palace.  This young man was her last possible choice for a spouse.
He was handsome.  The way he preened like a peacock meant he knew about his looks.  He acted as though his willingness to wed her was a gift and her acceptance a given.
Valia scowled.  How dare he think she had no choice?  How dare he ignore her?  She was tired of hearing about his skill with a sword and of the many maidens who desired him.
There had been no praise of her eyes, the blue of summer skies.  He had sung no odes to her amber-colored hair.  No poems had been written about her delicate features or her perfect figure.  The entire conversation had centered on him.  She had not been able to steer him in her direction.
She rose and flicked away the hand extended to assist her.  “Prince Hogen, I refuse your offer of marriage.  You are but a third son and your conversation and manners are tedious.  Your pale hair and eyes do little to compliment my beauty.  Go home for you have failed the test I set for the man I would wed.”
“And that might be.”  His voice held a haughty tone.
“To think of me and not of yourself.”  She turned and saw a fierce scowl on her father’s face.  The wizard stood at the king’s side.  He smiled and his expression caused a chill to slither along her spine.  Why was the man pleased by her decision?
The scorned prince halted at the door.  “You will go to your grave a spinster.  I am the last of the available princes.  I will give you another chance to say you will wed me.”
Valia laughed.  “I have no need of another chance.  Be gone.”
When the door closed with a bang Valia saw her father’s scowl had deepened.  Though he stood at a distance, she sensed his anger.  His boots clicked on the marble squares of the floor.  At the king’s side, the wizard appeared to glide.
“Daughter, what am I going to do with you?  Hogen was the last of the princes available for you to wed.”  The king’s eyes sparked with anger.
Valia smiled.  “Father, do you think I am beautiful?”
“That has nothing to do with your need for marriage.  You must beg one of the princes to return.  Surely there is one who is less offensive than the others.  I must have time to train my successor to rule when I am gone.”
Valia’s heart skipped a beat.  “Do not think that way.  You are only of middle age.”
“I must consider the future.  Lanton must have a strong ruler.  Since you cannot choose I will.”
“Father, no.”  Valia’s hands rested on her hips.  “I refuse to marry a man who can say nothing about my beauty.  I will gladly wed one who adores me.  He can take on the boring chores of a king and leave me time to spend maintaining my beauty.  I will not wed a man who wants me to worship him.”
The king turned to the wizard.  “Do something.  Cast a spell to make her change from the vain and selfish woman she has become.”
The wizard smiled slyly.  “Sire, I can devise a spell but you might not be willing to pay the price.”
“Gold, silver and jewels will be yours.  I will gladly pay you to create a spell.”
Valia stared at them.  “Have I no say?”
The king shook his head.  “You will do what must be done.  Wizard, you will have what you desire.  I must have a son to rule when I grow old.”
“As you command, Sire.”
Valia scurried toward the door.  Her father grasped her arm.  “My child, you must wed before another year passes.  You have reached your twentieth year.”
She did not trust the wizard and she had no idea why she felt this distrust.  “Why must you be this way?  Am I not your greatest treasure?”
“You are and there must be a strong man to guard you when I no longer can.”
The wizard stood on her other side.  “The spell I will cast would best be done in the garden.”
A chill rolled along her arms.  Though Valia wanted to flee she would not let this man know she feared him.  She walked between the men to the garden.  A breeze carried the scent of summer flowers.  Chimes in the trees produced a sweet song.  With a wave of his hand her father sent the guards and gardeners away.
A strange lethargy stole over Valia.  She sank onto a garden bench.  Her father sat on another one.  The wizard spoke quietly.  Her father’s eyes closed.  When Valia tried to rise she could not move.  She called to her father but he failed to answer.
The wizard approached her bench.  His midnight blue robe swirled around his ankles.  As he raised his arms the wide sleeves billowed.  He held a wand.  “Sire, do you agree to the terms I set?”
“I do.”  The king’s voice sounded as though he was at a great distance.
Valia frowned.  What were the terms and what did they mean for her?  Shouldn’t she be the one to accept or refuse?
The wizard chanted strange sounding words.  He walked three times in a clockwise and three times counter around the bench.  The seventh circuit followed the clock.
Valia felt as though the bench formed a cage to keep her in place.  Images of becoming a marble statue for the duration of the spell brought fear.  How could she fulfill her father’s demand to wed if she remained an unmoving figure seated on a bench?
The wizard faced her.  He waved his wand from side to side.  Her gaze followed.  His gibberish changed to words she understood.  They unnerved her.
“For seven weeks this new form will be yours.  There is but one chance to escape your fate.  If you find a prince and convince him to kiss you, you will return to your own shape.  To do this you will have a single word.  The first one you utter to another will be all you can say.  If seven weeks pass and you have not found a prince you will become my smiling silent bride.”
Valia wanted to protest.  She had no desire to be the wizard’s wife.  She looked at her father.  He appeared to be asleep.  Had the wizard cast a spell on the king?
The wizard’s wand twirled faster until Valia could no longer see the gem at the tip.  The sight transfixed her.  “Seven times seven,” the wizard shouted.  “The spell is complete.”
The lethargy Valia had felt vanished.  She stared at the sky.  The sun touched the horizon.  Soon darkness would come.  She rose and nearly fell.  She put her forepaws on the ground and walked to the garden pool.
Valia stared at the water.  Though the sunlight faded she could see what she had become.  A scream built and was swallowed when the remembered what the wizard had said.  Her first and only word could not be a “No” cried with anguish, anger and despair.  She leaned for another look.  Nothing had changed.  She was now a five foot tall amber dragon.
Ugly, she thought.  Where she had been the most beautiful woman in the kingdom and all the surrounding ones she was now ugly enough to scare people.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Chapter 1 Continued #MFRWauthor #amwriting

More things that should be included in Chapter 1 - Sometimes life makes you feel chapter 1 is the longest in the books and often it is.

Introducing the major characters is a must in the first chapter. Now they may not all be present but there needs to be hints of the important people to come. Inromance the story often opens with the hero or heroine and maybe the antagonist is briefly scene. Thereder needs to know a bit about things like how old they are and their appearance. When looking at my own books I've shown various characters but always one of the main ones. If there are several scenes in the first chapter more than one of the main characters can be shown through action, observation and allow the reader to know who they are at least in the sense that the reader is learning a bit about a stranger.

In the first chapter let the reader know who will be telling the story and if there is more than one viewpoint this should be shown. Is the viewpoint going to be restricted or open. Will there be many characters telling the story. This can be confusing so the writer needs to establish the pattern the book will follow at the beginning. In several of my stories the first chapters are rather long because I want to show each of thecharacters who will have a viewpoint. The character needs to be established and given a voice during the first chapter. And the reader needs to know if the story will be told from one character or many and give the reader time to identify with each of the characters who will havea viewpoint.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday's Inspiration - My Friend Kathy (Kat) #MFRWauthor #PDF1

There is a sadness and a joy about writing this post. My friend, critique partner and tremendous author has moved into her next life. As I start to write this, I remember the first time I saw her at a chapter meeting of Hudson Valley Romance Writers. At that time the meeting was at my house and we sat around my dining room table. She was sort of shy and hesitant to read her pages. I'm not sure but but I think someone had to read her pages for the first time. Wow, I thought. The story was raw but the talent was there. Not only did I recognize the talent but so did my friend Jane Toombs. I invited Kathy or Kat as she is known in some circles to our critique group. At that time there were two. One at night and the other in the afternoon. Not sure if she went to both. That was a long time ago. Sometimes my memory is great and sometimes not so much.

As I do to the new writers I invited her to send her manuscript and I would look it over. I read about three chapters. What a great story but there were problems. "It was, It is," must have been a hundred in those first few pages. I made my comments and returned the red circled manuscript and told her to go through and take out the It sentences and re-write them. "Then I will read this again." I kept my fingers, eyes and toes crossed. But she did and she made other suggested changes. Then she was off and running writing books with snappy dialogue and a lot of humor.

We became friends though I'm a lot older than Kathy. She had a young daughter and a had a granddaughter both attached to us at the hip. So we had sort of play dates with children in tow. Lots of fun there.

I remember the first time Kathy became ill and the many trips to the hospital to take her there for transfusions or just tests. She rallied and we thought all was wonderful. And it was for a time. She went to Egypt with her husband and returned after his death. I've always felt sad I never got to visit her there. But she came back and began really writing again. I sent her to my main publisher BWL and her books took off there.

How did she inspire me? Through friendship. Also through suffering through my writing trips to other worlds, those of fantasy. She was always interested and encouraging about my development of new worlds. I could continue on and on but I might make myself cry. Not tonight. I shed my tears yesterday though there will be times when they well up in my eyes.

I will miss her but there will be times when I hear her speak to me, telling me to write, write, write.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poetry #PDF1

Meander 1 Poem - More memories from my nursing days.

A Summer Sunday Spent With Strokes

Seven AM - already warm
A summer Sunday -- different
Not going to church or to the pool
A summer Sunday spent with strokes.
Pat and I - the whole large ward
For baths and beds - To feed and help
The heat is growing heavy
Twenty two beds precisely placed
Against the wall in a U-shaped mouth.
We'll neverr finish.
There's too much to do.
A plan is hatched.
Twenty-two fronts for her.
Twenty-two backs for me.
This isn't what we were taught
But necessity leads the way.
The charity ward where the elderlycome
When they have no one to care.
Pat and I could have cared a lit.
But we haaven't the time sp spare.
beds must be made and baths done.
A Summer Sunday spent with strokes
And two student nurses who learn with pain
There isn't time to care too mcuh
And the heat is oppressive
On a summer Sunday spent with strokes.

Meander 2 - Reading - I've been reading a lot these days since I had a project begun recently. Some of the books are wonderful and some are all right. I've undertaken this and I will complete what I set out to do. Hopefully the coming contests to judge won't take up too much of my time. I will complete all these tasks.

Meander 3 - My writing. Am working hard on Wizards and still have at least one more complete re-write to do. Not what I planned but I refuse to let this go until I fell the book is ready to go. Am working on the second of the books I'm getting back after the first of the year. They're short so I can re-write them and i find I rushed when I initially wrote them. Then there's the long one to do. That won't be re-written byt will be retyped. Then there are the other stories waiting to be spun. I will spin them as I can.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday - Vampire Hero - For Halloween #MFRWauthor #PDF1

Written many years ago for the blog and one gathering a bit of stuff. Tonight is our town's Halloween Parade. It's a large one with lots of floats and costumes with prizes.

I nearly once wrote of a vampire hero but the only thing that came to me when devising this story never gone from the drawing board was this. Hot, so hot. The desert wind brought no thought of cool just liquid sucking dry hot winds. Where was he? My vampire hero. I craved his cool flesh against my heated skin.  That was all she wrote.

I like to read and an enamoured of heros and sometimes heroines. The strong, the stubborn, those willing to take risks are often on my hit list. Heroines will have other times here. Today I want to speak of one hero I am not able to love.

To readers -- if you find my least likely hero one of yours make a comment telling me why you find him fascinating.

To writers -- if one of your heroes can claim this status, tell me about him. Either leave a comment here or email me and I'll let you have your say and even post a small except (PG please) that shows why he is entitled to be a hero.

I cannot give my heart to a vampire hero but I'm sure I could be convinced. To me a vampire makes the perfect villain. After all, he'd dead. In my former career as a nurse I came in contact with the dead. Their skin is cold and kind of clammy. Is this the stuff of heroes. Another thing about the dead is the flaccidity of their limbs both before and after rigor has occurred. I ask you, does a woman need a limp hero?

Then there's the blood-sucking aspect. I do not like rare meat. The taste of blood is unpleasant. As a nurse I've dealt with blood including giving transfusions for blood loss. That seems to be the reason a vampire drinks a victim's blood. Except the dead don't need transfusions. What always pops into my mind when I read of a vampire hero feeding is a leech. A creature of the swamp that fastens to an animal or a human and sucks their blood. A leech is not a pretty creature.

I am sure there are more reasons but these are the most important. So tell me why a vampire should be thought of as a hero.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saturday's Blurbs - BOGO books by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #PDF1

To celebrate my publisher's sale and site for books, I'll be posting some of my books available. They're all buy one and then receive an email allowing you to shoose a second for free.  This will take you to the Aries - Libra Connection. Here's the blurb.
Jenessa is Aries, a nurse, union advocate and likes a good fight.

Eric is Libra, Director of Nursing, and believes in compromise.

Can these two find a way to uncover the underhanded events at the hospital? They’re on opposite sides but the attraction between them is strong. She’s a widow who fought to save her husband’s life during a code. She feels guilty because the love she and her husband shared had died before his death. He assisted at the code but he feels guilty since he was the one who was responsible for the short staffing the night her husband died.

Now they face falling in love and trying to solve the problems between the nurse’s union and the president of the hospital’s Board who wants a take over of the hospital by his hospital group. Is their connection strong enough to survive?

Moonchild, Book 1
Torn apart years ago by lies and threats, Rafe Marshall returns to town and confronts Manon Lockley. She has been told he died on the night he stood her up for their senior prom. When she faints, Rafe catches her and realizes he hasn’t stopped loving her.

Manon carries anger and now grief that wasn’t real. Rafe wants her in his life, but she doesn’t want to talk about what happened in the past. She can’t be sure if her father or someone else told lies about Rafe and she doesn’t want to know. Can Rafe persuade her to listen? Not without a battle.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday - Experimental Interview - My take - Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #amwriting

Decided to run another kind of interview on the blog so now I have three for people to choose from. Will see what this one brings.

1. What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?

I haven't had many careers unless you count wife and mother as a career. While interesting, I don't think this has much influenced my writing career. I was also a nurse and here's where the career that has influenced my writing. When I began writing, I first wrote short stories and at least two of them were health connected. A Small Smile about a nurse who learned to smile in the presence of death and No Good Samaritan I about a doctor falsely sued for malpractice as the result of a motor accident coming on the scene of another accident and making a decision. There were also the poems reflecting on some aspect of my experience as a nurse.

This when I started writing what I wrote was sweet nurse romances. In those days a kiss at the end of the book was all the romance you could do. This influenced me a great deal since I had to focus on plot. Many of my current stories concern medicine, nurses and doctors in some degree. So, yes my career had a lot to do with my writing.

2 Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't bean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above.

I'm a general writer since I choose to write in many subgenres. There are the mysteries some of which are cozy and others have a taste of suspense. There are romances which go from straight contemporary to ones with a hint of other worlds and some with a taste of suspense. There are the fantasies. Some are YA and have no romance or maybe a hint. Some are alternate world and some are fantasies with romance at the base. Some are quests. So that's why I consider myself a general. I have friends who write strictly contemporary romance. I've even thrown in a historical and some with touches of history,

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?

Here's a definite yes. I've been a reader since I was four-  a library card carrying one. So I read most everything that I attempt to write. I don't read horror though. Do not like being creeped out though I enjoy paranormal stories. I can't write stories that depend on technical things like science fiction or those wonderful action adventure stories but I do like to read them. Reading those kind of book has helped with my writing thought.

4. What's your latest release?

Excuse me while I go to look that up. I've a lot of books out there and generally I'm concentrating on what I'm working on now. I''m back. Latest book is Divided Dreams and it's part of a series where each of the heroines is a Cancer by birth and the heroes are from the other signs. The hero in this case is a Gemini, a man who has two careers. He was a doctor but a lucky break has given him the chance to be w published author. The Cander heroine is a nurse practitioner in Pediatrics. She's returning home something she vowed never to do. He's the boy who broke her heart. They are drawn together by an infant who is his niece and hers. They have to find a way to face the past if they want a future.

5. What are you working on now?

A definite change of pace from the contemporary romance. The Wizards of Fyre is a fantasy novel, the third in the series. There will be one more. Here the hero is a wizard by adoption and looked down by the villain who is part of the in crowd. The heroine has been promised as the reward to whoever wins the challenges set forth. She was sold by her father to the wizards and is a slave. Her presence awakens a hibernating dragon. She comes from a country where people and dragons can communicate. The wizards years and years ago destroyed all the dragons except the ones who escaped over the mountains. Dragon was too young to make the trip so he slept. He and the heroine want to drive the wizards from this land. Can they enlist the help of the adopted wizard, one who has talents beyond those of the wizards?

6. Where can we find you?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thursday - My Heroes, Heroines and Villains -- A Marriage Takes Two #MFRWauthor #Medicalromance

 A Marriage Takes Two - Medical Romance - Available in most venues

The Heroine - Carrie
Two hours of pep talks, a dozen whispered mantras, and five sets of calming breaths, failed to settle Carrie Graham’s acute case of nerves. Get a grip, she told herself. She was going to see Tony, childhood defender, teenage ego booster, and the one person who’d always listened. Besides, she’d already eliminated every other candidate for the position.

Who are you kidding?


From the moment she’d been presented with her current dilemma, he was the only possibility. All she had to do was convince him… But could she?  Sure Tony listened, but he didn’t talk about his problems, or his feelings.

The fading light of dusk made her slow the car in order to read the street signs. She’d planned to leave the apartment at noon, but the short nap after her night shift stretched until late afternoon.
She made the final turn into Fourth Street in a small West Virginia town established in the days when coal mining dominated the area. She shook her head. Rundown houses and boarded storefronts were the norm along the town’s main street. Why was Tony practicing medicine in this end-of-the-road place?

She hadn’t seen him for years, not since several months after his marriage, an event that had shaken her life. His wife hadn’t understood the friendship, or Tony and Carrie’s mutual interest in medical mysteries. With a flash of anger, Carrie recalled the night that woman stormed into the hospital cafeteria and spewed jealous accusations.

Carrie’s hands tightened on the steering wheel. She’d been embarrassed, hurt, and angry enough that she’d walked away from her best friend.

She’d heard rumors Tony’s wife had taken off for greener pastures. At least that’s what the hometown gossips said. Not that Carrie believed in gossip, especially after the news of her inheritance brought the tongue-waggers out in force.

She slowed the car to a crawl. Waves of panic lashed against her momentary calm. The place in her head where she’d filed his address was empty. She braked. The paper with the directions fluttered from the dashboard. She bent and grabbed them.

One glance was enough to retrieve the forgotten data. She eased off the brake and cruised the street. Half the houses were missing numbers. What now? Then at the foot of the dead end street, she saw the ones she’d memorized displayed in shiny brass on a massive gray house that looked like the setting for a Gothic novel.

A broad lawn fronted the house. The tailored grass stood in contrast to the tangles on either side.
“This is the place.” She gulped a breath.

After parking at the curb, she slowly released a held breath. She strode up the walk and onto the wide porch. Muffled shouts and noises came from inside. She rang the bell. What sounded like a slammed door nearly sent her back to the car. Who was staging a major temper tantrum?  She thought Tony lived alone.

She rang the bell again, this time holding it for several peals. The door opened and she forgot why she’d come. She forgot to breathe. Her eyes widened and her heart pounded in a staccato rhythm until she thought her ribs would crack.

He was more than she remembered.

Are you sure you want to be here?

“Tony.” His name escaped on a sigh. She felt like a teenager come face to face with the latest movie hero. This was the man she planned to ask…She changed her mind. Time to retreat. The plan wouldn’t work, not with the things he made her feel, and what he made her want.

The Hero - Tony
After pausing on the stairs to listen to Hazel’s ultimatum about hiring a sitter, Tony climbed to the second floor.  His thoughts churned with a dozen conflicting emotions.  Carrie was the last person he’d expected to find on his doorstep.  When the bell had rung, he’s braced himself for another confrontation with an irate parent who had come to complain about Chad’s unruly behavior.  Instead, he’d found a friend.
            His day had been filled with unexpected incidents that had set him on edge.  A clinic patient had died and Chad had acted up in school and at home.  The third sitter in as many months had quit and taken a large chunk of his bank account.
            Carrie’s arrival, while not a disaster, had pushed his thoughts to what could have been.  She was the girl he’d watched grow into the woman he should have married.  The one he’d never told how he felt and the one he couldn’t tell now.  He’d chosen to marry Marilyn and the reason for that ill-fated marriage was throwing yet another temper tantrum.
            He groaned.  He’d tried to make the marriage work.  He’d tried to give his wife the things she’d demanded, tried and failed.  At least he hadn’t been the one to walk out the way his father had.
            Chad was testing his patience and his love.  Tony frowned.  He knew the reason for the constant outbursts and pranks, but they abraded.  When would his son understand that no matter what he did, he was loved?
            Tony reached the door of his son’s room and ducked to avoid the sneaker that sailed through the air and smacked against the wall.  He and Chad collided.  Tony pulled his son into a tight embrace.
            “That’s enough,”  Tony said.
            “I didn’t do anything.”  The scowl on Chad’s face reflected the anger in his blue eyes.
            Tony released his son and closed the door.  He fought to keep his anger and disappointment from erupting in a roar.  “You didn’t attack the sitter’s clothes with glue?  You didn’t talk your buddies into cutting school and heading to that tumble-down, abandoned house?  What else didn’t you do?”
            Chad looked up and Tony faced a younger version of himself, a version filled with the same anger Tony had felt years ago.  He wanted to say that anger got you nowhere, but he couldn’t find the words.
            “You don’t understand.”  Tears filled the seven year old’s eyes.
            “Then let’s talk about the glue.  Why did you do it?”
            Chad slumped on the bed.  “She didn’t care about me.  Just you.”
            “I heard her talking to her girlfriend.  Said you kissed her and was going to marry her.  You can’t get married again.”
            Tony groaned.  “That’s what he got for hiring a college student.  The next sitter would be someone Hazel’s age.  “I never kissed her.  And as for marriage, that’s not in my plans right now.”
            Hope flashed in Chad’s eyes.  “Good.  You can marry Mom again.  Then I won’t have to leave.”
            Tony sat on the bed and put his arm around his son’s shoulders.  “I can’t do that.  She’s married to Brian and on her honeymoon.”

The Villainess - Marilyn

The phone rang. Tony grabbed the receiver. “Dr. Flynn here...Marilyn.”
In her haste to leave the room, Carrie nearly spilled her tea. Hearing him talk to the woman who had hurt him was more than she could handle tonight.
Tony frowned. Why had Carrie bolted?  Surely she didn’t think there were vibes from his long dead marriage?
“Hold on, Marilyn. What did you say?”
“That Brian and I are back and I had a divine time. Wait until you see the magnificent rubies and the marvelous silks he bought me. But that’s not why I called.”
“And why was that?”
“To share my wonderful news. I know you’ll be pleased for me. That’s why I can’t have Chad over Thanksgiving or Christmas. Brian doesn’t want me to overdo, especially when we’ll have dozens of social obligations. I’m sure you’ll agree.”
Tony gripped the phone. “Have you considered Chad’s feelings?  He’s been waiting for your return. He expects to live with you.”
“Haven’t you told him he’s not?”
“You said you had. Besides, you made the decision. It’s your place to tell him.”
“Tony, please. There wasn’t time in the rush of wedding preparations. I just can’t have him here. He’ll be jealous of my baby.”
“What baby?”
“Brian’s heir. The man’s so proud and treats me like a queen. Just think, I’m going to have the Brinker heir.”
“What about Chad?”
“He’s yours.”
Tony raked his hair. “You have visitation rights. Two weekends a month and holidays. Should I bring him next weekend?”
“You haven’t heard a thing I’ve said. Why won’t you ever listen?  That’s why our marriage failed. Things had to be your way.”
“Marilyn, you have to tell him.”
“Me?  I don’t need the stress. I’ll mail his presents. I bought him a tee shirt in every port we visited. It’s not that I don’t want him, but he’s a difficult child and has taken a dislike to Brian. I had him for seven years. It’s your turn now and Brian agrees. Ciao.”


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - More on Chapter 1 #MFRWauthor #amwriting

Scenes are important in the first chapter. There are major scenes and there are scenes that provide information and other things.

A major scene is one where there is conflict shown. The character may be in conflict with another character, the environment, society or themself. This scene gives some hints about what the reason for the story will show as it unfolds. A meeting between the hero and heroine in a romance. The murderer and the victim in a mystery. The coming storm like a hurricane or a blizzard. A coming election. A character with a choice to be made. All of these show some kind of conflict that will impact the story. This scene whets the reader's desire for action and can be useful in characterization.

Then there's the informational scene. Here the writer can show some aspect of a character to reveal their nature. This kind of scene can establish the setting. Also giving the reader information they can use as the story unfolds. This brings understanding to the reader and helps in belief that the fictional world is worth exploring.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday's Inspiration based on a quote by E. L. Doctorow #MFRWauthor #inspiration

While reading Bird by Bird, I came across this quote by E. L. Doctorow that struck me as a great thought on the process of writing. "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way."

Often when I start a story, I have a good idea of how the story will begin and I know where I want to go. What I don't know is how I will get to that point. Sometimes the destination will change a bit but I will arrive where I'm going somehow. Just finished writing the last chapter of a fantasy novel I'm working on. The end bothered me for weeks and I had an end or two blocked out. Then it hit me. This is the third in a series of four stories. First there needs to be a vague threat at the endof this one. Not really a loose end but a hint that there will be more.

The second thing that struck me was the ending I'd written was to put it bluntly "blah." What it needed was some action and there were places for it. So as I wrote the final chapter I could see only paragraph by paragraph where the story had to go. My headlights were pretty dim but they brought me to the ending that made me smile.

How about you? When you're writing a story, do you see every scene as clear as day or do you move along slowly using those headlights to reach your destination?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #poetry #aging

Meander 1 - Poem

                                               A Trip to The Morgue

Night is black, dark, quiet.
Silence hovers in your room.
You're dead and I must
Take your body to the morgue
But first I must touch flesh
That breathed with life, pain
Just moments agi.
I never knew you vital.
Only sick, gaunt, yellowed
Dying flesh.
And so I hesitate,
There should be one you loved
To close your marble eyes
And gently shroud your body
In the crinkled paper bag.
Someone you loved should walk with you
Along the halls so dim.
But I'm the nurse.
My duty calls
And so i do those things.
When you're on the stretcher.
A mound and not a man.
The halls are gray
Little eye lights
Vast shadows without end.
We reach the morgue
And I lift you onto the metal tray.
The room is cold
And so am I.

Meander 2 - Anesthesia and old people does not mix. Surgery is necessary to maintain a life but the anesthesia removed brain cells and causes blocks in memory. I wish there was another way to perform surgery.

Meander 3 - Finally came to the end of a draft of Wizards. Wasn't sure I would make it. Not that it stalled since I sort of knew the ending but the ending was blah. So I tore it apart and rearranged the scenes. This story will end with a bang not the whimper that was in the original part of the last two chapters.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday, My books - The Amber Chronicles #MFRWauthor #fantasy #romance

The Amber Chronicles
Available at, This is a BoGo sale, buy one get one free, Amber Chronicles,,

Amber Chronicles Collection: Emme, a witch and the heir to the throne of the world called Amber is banished from her home to find love. She believes she can command a man to love her but this does not work. Angry at being told no by the crown prince of Rivand she casts a spell on the Riva family. Every hundred years when the moon is full at the summer solstice she will call the crown prince. If he refuses to cede his love to her he will enter the amber orb and vanish. Four times she fails and the princes find adventure on other worlds. One turns an enchanted amber dragon into a princess. The second is imprisoned in an amber tower and must select a bride. The third must free the heroine from an amber cage. Emme slowly learns her lesson and returns to spend her childhood with the fourth prince. Hoping knowing each other will help. She has fallen in love with the crown prince and enters the amber orb in his place. Can Emme who is Cast in Amber be freed and gain the love she has sought for all those years?

FOUR STARS! The witch's curse of zapping princes into an amber orb is one of my favorites. This story is the fate of the very first prince. It reads much like a fairy tale, where at least one moral is to be learned. An enchanting fantasy. **** Detra Fitchhis was a fun book to write and there is a fairy tale aspect to each of the stories included.

Format: Kindle Edition
JLW has written another winner. Her talent for world building has made her a favorite in the fantasy field. Strong characters draw you in and don't let go until the last page. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday's Blurbs feature Books by Fiona McGier #MFRWauthor #romance #paranormal

Note that if readers want to purchase my books from my publisher, they can get 50% off by using the coupon code of: 61NF17DV2LEX
1-Prophecy of the Undead

Keisha is a neurobiology researcher determined to discover the secret to intelligence to save humanity from itself.  What she learns leads her to realize a bigger threat comes from beyond the stars.  Yuri is a Russian vampire whose long-dead feelings respond to the scientist whose brain he admires but whose curves he can't resist.  Will his love reach the places in her heart that she has ignored for so long?  And can they defeat the prophecy of the undead to find happiness sharing eternity?

2-Mayan Prophecy Fulfilled (the short sequel to finish the story)As a gifted child she was given to the state by her Chinese parents, leading to a harsh life.  Her un-dead existence has been worse.  When other vampires urge her not to further the destruction of humans, they bring a blue-skinned alien Visitor. She never expected to discover her own humanity in the arms of an alien; he never expected to fall in love.  Can their passion bridge the gap between their races?  And can they join forces to face the return of the Mayan aliens and save humanity?

3- For The Love of His Life (Minnesota Romance, Book 1)
When a famous action star needs to clean-up for a major role that even he doubts he can deliver, the director sends him up to a resort owned by his grandmother in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of upper Minnesota, to learn to commune with nature.  His guide is Veronica, the director's cousin, a tall, athletic woman who has the relaxed, sensible nature of someone who knows herself well.  Raul's initial clumsy attempt to seduce her makes her he calls her fat.  Is there any hope that their relationship will progress beyond its rocky start? Will the local woman he grows to love believe someone who "lies for a living"?  And can Raul overcome his partying nature to discover what is really important in life?

Note: one reviewer said this was "the best book of the year" when it was published.

4- Only One Man Will Do  (Minnesota Romance, Book 2)

Tough-as-nails businesswoman by day, Alexandra is a biker queen by night. She's never been satisfied with just one man, enjoying all of the men she "hand-picked" for her gang.  When a large Russian man inserts himself into her life, she follows her instincts to some explosive sex.  Ex-KGB agent Dmitri has been wandering across the US for years. When the woman he's sent to deliver an ultimatum to turns out to be his favorite fantasy come true, he decides to try to convince her that he can be all the man she needs.  But he's not willing to share her with her gang, and she's not willing to give up other men.  When two of her bikers are killed, Dmitri is the main suspect.  How far is he willing to go to keep her to himself?  And has she really fallen in love for the first time ever...with a murderer?
Note: A steamy read!  It takes a lot of sex to keep a biker queen happy.

5-Her Last Resort  (Minnesota Romance, Book 3)

The heroine and the hero are both in their 50s. She's retired after 30 years with the CIA, he's ex-KGB.  Her daughter from a failed marriage wants to have a relationship with her, so she agrees to spend a week in a cabin at a resort owned by the ex-KBG man. It's the tale of two love stories, because love can happen at any age, but also the love between a mother and child is a powerful love story also. The only problem is that someone is trying to kill the heroine, and she's never asked for help from anyone before.

Note: The Reyes Family Romances tell the stories of the adventures in love experienced by the members (and friends) of a large Hispanic family.  There are 6 books in the series, and one is a free download:

6- Prescription For Love (Reyes Romance # 4)

Enrique, the oldest of the Reyes sons, was named after his father’s father, creating a special bond between them.  While in medical school, Enrique accompanied Abuelo back to his hometown in Mexico. Now Enrique is the doctor there, enjoying his practice and his adopted town.  The only thing he is missing is a wife.  Enrique wants an equal: a strong, independent woman whom he can woo into sharing her life with him.  When Tanora Doyle, a bi-racial research biologist arrives in town, he is intrigued.  But will the baggage she carries keep them apart?  Or can Enrique cure whatever ails her, and solve his problem as well?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday - Fiona McGier - Talking about Heroes, Heroines and Villains #MFRWauthor

1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms?
I usually write contemporary erotic romance, because those are the kinds of stories I like to obsess over, when I'm waiting in line somewhere, when I"m driving in-between jobs, when I'm in the shower, etc.  My heroines are busy, but not as busy as me!
Does your reading choices reflect your writing choices?
No, I usually read sci-fi when I'm reading fiction, because I like to dream about the future. Otherwise I'm reading non-fiction stuff like cultural anthropology (LOVE Desmond Morris!) or psychology books, trying to understand more about how/why people act the way they do. I think it helps me to create more believable people.
Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?
I don't care for historical fiction of any kind. I also don't like westerns.  And due to me faither being  from Glasgow, I don't think of Highlanders as sexy!  The accent doesn't say to me, "Hello, hot man in a kilt with nothing on under it."  The accent says to me, "Hi Dad."  Definitely NOT a turn-on! 
2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write?
Heroes, most definitely.  If I'm not in love with the hero, there's no story.  Whenever I re-read any of my books, I fall in love all over again.  Sigh...
3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
Sometimes it's a picture I see, maybe in a magazine or on-line.  Sometimes it's a sexy man who walks by, or who captures my attention in public somewhere.  Like I said, I fall in love with the hero first.  Then the story creates itself around him.  I have to design a woman worthy of him, and he has to be worthy of her also...not just good-looking. I've written heroes of many skin colors and nationalities, but I'm partial to any kind of tall, dark and handsome.
4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
After I imagine a hero, I imagine a woman for him.  Then I start to mull over the details of their romance.  Once in a while I dream the entire plot line.  Yes!  That has happened to me with 2 of my books.  One I started, then got writer's block.  I put it away.  Weeks later, I dreamed that a man was telling me that I was having trouble writing because I was, "Giving the heroine the wrong hero."  Then he smiled, showing vampire fangs.  I told him that I don't write paranormal, since it's been so over-done.  He reminded me that I was working the Mayan prediction of the end of time into the story, and that I should research the Mayans.  I woke up the next morning and did just that.  Guess what?  They were heavy into blood-letting for religious and other ceremonies.  Why?  No one knows.  But if they were vampires...(Prophecy of the Undead.)

5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?
I don't think anyone thinks of themselves as a villain.  They believe they're doing the right thing and just misunderstood.  Even the worst person has supporters, at least in his/her own mind.  I think that's the trick to creating believable villains.
6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain?
Her Last Resort.  The heroine is in her mid-fifties, a retired CIA agent.  But someone isn't letting her re-learn how to sleep with both eyes shut.  Someone keeps sending young men to try to kill her.  She has no "kill" license anymore, and wants to be left in peace.  Her daughter wants her to spend a couple of weeks up in a resort cabin in northern Minnesota, since she hasn't had much contact with her kids since her divorce back when they were very young. 
The hero is the resort owner, an ex-KGB agent, now a respectable US citizen.  When he witnesses an attack, he offers to help her, but she's not used to relying on anyone else.  The villain is the person who is sending the killers.

7. What are you working on now?
I have at least 4 books I'm currently thinking through the plots and ideas for.  One is 2/3 written, one is 1/2 written, and the others exist only in my mind...for now.
8. How can people find you?
Best place is my website:  I have pages for all of my books, and buy links along with excerpts.  And a free short story I wrote for a flash fiction contest.  There is a contact form, for anyone who would like to be on my mailing list.  I only send out notices when I have a book coming out, new cover art, or anything book-related to report.  No spam.  I get enough of that!  Want some of mine? (grin.)
I also blog on the 16th of every month at:

This month I'll be blogging about kissing

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thursday - My Heroes, Heroines and Villains from Lines of Fire #MFRWauthor #fantasyromance #action

Lines of Fire

The Heroine - Kalia

Kalia watched the stranger walk to an empty table. The few moments when their gazes had meshed filled her with a need she couldn’t express. Who was he? The lines of fire on his skin glowed. During the short time she’d felt a connection she wanted to explore, yet she was afraid. He was a Defender, a man who dueled with sword and knife. Just like her father. Did the stranger also revel in causing death? She couldn’t live with such a man. Was he the one chosen as her bondmate?

Her hands tightened. Why would the Swordmaster not choose a man she could gladly accept? Though she had mastered the knife and sword skills, she had refused to join a patrol and be forced to duel.

She wanted to explore the tricks she had discovered. Stopping a wound from bleeding, drawing blood away from or to an area of the body where it was needed and how once she had changed a clot to flowing blood, saving a man’s life. Her mother had warned her not to tell her father how she used the lines of fire. Only Lasara had known and had also succeeded in halting the flow of blood.

“Dreaming of Ingathering Day?”

With a start her head jerked up to meet Petan’s leering stare. His knowing smile raised an anger and fear she dare not express.

“No.” She turned to her brother. “Walk me back to the Women’s Quarter.” Her tolerance for another moment in Petan’s company flew like birds migrating in the autumn.

“I’ll do the honors,” Petan said.

Kalia stared at Robec. The thought of being alone with Petan roiled her stomach. Would her brother agree?

“Not today.” Robec rose. “Being alone with my sister would compromise her. I’ll see her back. Meet me in the salle. Must practice in case I’m challenged tomorrow.”

The burly man ran a finger along Kalia’s arm. “Won’t be long before we’re together.”

Her skin prickled. She stared at the lines of fire on her arm. They had faded just like her mothers appeared after a visit to the Swordmaster’s suite. Petan’s words chilled her. She watched him swagger away.

Robec rose. “Why were you in a trance earlier?”

“That man.” She pointed. “Who is he?”

Robec grasped her arm. “He isn’t anyone you want to know.”

“Why not?”

“Our father dislikes him. Tried to get him banished on several occasions but couldn’t prove he’d done anything wrong.”


“Does the Swordmaster need a reason? I’m afraid it’s my fault. During our training days, he was the best with sword and knife. Father didn’t like me to be second so he set Petan and me against him.”

Kalia whirled to face him. “Not fair. I don’t like Petan. There’s something wrong with his lines of fire.”

Robec grasped her shoulders. “Those aren’t to be mentioned where someone might hear. Seeing other people’s lines is forbidden. Didn’t Mother warn you?”

“She did but you and I both see them. Petan’s are almost black. I know he’s your friend, but open your eyes.”

“Kalia, put your dislike aside.”

“What do you know?” Her throat tightened and she could barely choke out the words.

He stared at the ground. “Father has promised you to Petan as his third mate.”

Her legs buckled. She pressed her hands against the table for support. “I’ll refuse.”

“Can you? Father will force you. He has his plans for us. When I’m the next Swordmaster, Petan will be my Right Hand. Lasara’s bondmate will be my Left.”

Kalia pushed away from the table. “And you’re happy with the plans?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

She rubbed her arms. “What you’ve been promised goes against tradition. I found some forgotten records from the early days. The best dueler among the Defenders is to be the next leader. Instead of a duel where Father allows you to win, you should have a real challenge. Petan should be banished. He’s already killed two bondmates.” Though angry her voice barely rose above a whisper.

“You don’t know that’s what happened.”

“And you don’t know if what he reported was true. There were no witnesses.”

Kalia ran from the refectory and dashed down the hall. Robec’s friend was a leech just like Father. Petan had sucked vitality from her lines. He had done the same to the two women chosen as his mates. Though the first had died after falling into an icy stream and the other had been killed during a duel, Kalia knew he had been the killer. But there was no proof.

“Kalia, wait.” Robec called.

She continued her frantic race through the winding corridors of the central area of the Hall until the door of the Women’s Quarters appeared. She opened the heavy oak door leaving her brother behind. She wouldn’t listen to his attempt to make his friend’s case.

She dashed across the large lounge and nearly collided with her mother. The older woman wore the clothes she donned when she went to meet her bondmate. Her lines of fire showed health and vitality but when she returned they would be drained.

“Daughter, what’s wrong?”

Kalia grasped her mother’s arm. “Don’t go. This time he might kill you.”

“Roban called for me. My honor is to serve him. He seeks another son should Robec fail. What troubles you? Did you quarrel with your brother?”

Kalia shook her head. “Father intends to bond me to Petan.”

Her mother backed away. “He mentioned he had chosen a mate for you. He said the man would be a power among the Defenders. Why are you angry? Your brother trusts this young man.”

“He shouldn’t.” Kalia grimaced. “I don’t like him.”

“How can your father be wrong?  He’s clever at choosing those who are heart bound.”

“This time he failed. Years ago Father ordered Robec to become Petan’s friend. That was before they entered training. Who is Petan? No one knows where he was born.”

“Does that matter? He has shown skill with the sword and knife.”

“Don’t you worry about me? Petan killed two bondmates.”

“Rumors spread by men jealous of the favor this young man has found with your father.” She reached into her pocket. “Since you are to be bonded, this is for you.” She drew out a glittering bracelet.

“Where did you get this? I’ve never seen another like it.”

“My dearest friend passed it to me before she entered the abyss. Her bondmate was your father’s best friend. He fled to the rebels and broke their bond. Your father brought the news to her and offered comfort. She turned away and only spoke to her young children. They were sent to be fostered. There had been a third child who was stolen by his father.”

Kalia felt the weight of the bracelet with its links of silver, gold, electrum and copper. She had read of bracelets of other metals in the ancient records but they had been just made from a single metal.
“It’s beautiful.” She kissed her mother’s cheek and prayed the older woman wouldn’t be drained to death during her stay with the Swordmaster.

She watched her mother walk to the door. Robec had remained outside. Kalia wondered why her mother stayed in these quarters. Many bonded woman whose mates didn’t go on patrol lived with their mates.

A thought occurred. If her mother remained with the Swordmaster she would die. If I am bonded to Petan, so will I. She darted into her sleeping chamber and threw herself on the bed. What am I going to do?

The special knock announced her younger sister. Lasara didn’t wait for an invitation. She crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed. “Are you excited? In three days you will choose your first bondmate.”

Kalia wiped her eyes on the blanket. “Excited, no. Scared, yes. I intend to refuse the man Father has chosen for me.”


Kalia sat up. “Would you bond with Petan?”

Lasara’s eyes widened. “Ugh. Why does Father get to choose?”

“Some plan of his to make sure Robec follows him.”

“What will you do if he tries to force a duel?”

“Saddle my bihorn and ride away.”

Lasara’s shoulders slumped. “Won’t you be afraid? You’ve never been away from the Hall except during the training exercises.”

“I will be frightened. Better scared than bonded to a man with tainted lines.”

“Where will you go?”

Since she had no real plans she shrugged. “Just away from here.”

Lasara stayed for a bit longer. After she left Kalia found the pack she’d used just once when she trained. She’d refused to be part of a patrol and only bonded women were sent with their mates to tour the sectors. She sat on the bed and tried to plan an escape.

The Hero - Alric

“I told them to head out and you would catch up.”

She wore no bracelet. A groan rumbled from his gut. Bracelets meant the bonding between mates stood. Since she had removed hers, that meant he’d been twice rejected. Once more and he would be banished from the Defenders. He opened the clasp on the brass one he wore.

“Seems you won’t be returning with me.”

She stared at the ground. “I never wanted to be a Defender. I wanted to exchange bracelets with my childhood sweetheart. He’s here and wears no bracelet.”

With his thumbs, Alric tilted her head to see her expression. Though her decision was right for her, sadness shrouded his thoughts. “I wish you happiness.” He dropped the bracelet she had clasped on his wrist during the bonding ceremony into her hand. “Here’s your price.”

She shook her head. “I don’t want you to pay the fine. I never tried to see if our bond could last.”

“Neither did I.”

“You could have forced me to unite with you.”

Alric grimaced. “I wasn’t raised to grab what I wasn’t offered.”

“What will you do?” she asked.

“The patrol has finished the rounds of the southern sector of Investia. The Day of Ingathering for the returning patrols is just weeks away. I’ll ride to the Defenders Hall and choose another mate.”

“I wish you luck.”

Alric walked away. He touched the bracelet hidden beneath his shirt. His father had given him the unique piece just before his death. Perhaps this time he would find his heart bound mate.

The Villain - Petan

When her father called, Kalia stepped inside and paused before the desk. “I have something to say.”
The Swordmaster’s mouth curved into a smile. His eyes remained cold as bits of green glass. “I’m sure you’ve heard what will happen tomorrow. Secrets are few in the Hall. As you suspect, Petan will claim you as his mate.”

Kalia stared at her father. She dare not cave to his demands. “I heard but I didn’t believe you would do this to me. I will refuse.” A shudder shook her body. She forced the words past her tight throat muscles a second time. “I will refuse.”

He rose and pressed his hands against the mahogany desk top. “You will do as I command. You are my daughter. Your bondmate will stand as your brothers’ Right Hand when he takes my place as leader.”

Kalia quieted her desire to attack her father. She needed to remain calm. “Find another mate for Petan. He has killed his last two mates. Will you see me become the third?”

With a quickness she hadn’t expected he moved around the desk. “Those foolish young women refused to give him what he needs. You are stronger and were bred to do this, just as your mother was.”

So he knew of Petan’s tainted lines. Kalia drew a deep breath. Her fisted hands hung at her sides. “I will refuse. That is my right. I’ve read the archived records. From the first days when our people came to this land, mates were to be freely chosen. She backed toward the door.

“You will obey.” He stalked toward her.

“I would rather die by the sword.”

She didn’t expect his reaction. Like a striking snake his hand lashed out. The blow landed on her face hard enough to send her back until she collided with the door.

“Do not defy me.” He fisted his hands. “I will beat you senseless but you will accept Petan. Go to your chamber and prepare for tomorrow. Do you understand?”