Your-next-favorite-book-Promo-pic-1-bigJOINING TOGETHER WITH AUTHORS FROM COLORADO ROMANCE WRITERS TO kick off of the super serious shopping season with Black Friday.

Whether you’re shopping for presents for your book club or you need some escape time from the holiday hustle and bustle, we have the books for you.

Seven of my fellow authors and I have gotten together to offer you a whole slew of romance books on sale for the next four days.

No matter the genre of romance you love, we’ve got something for everyone, from paranormal, to mystery, erotic to sweet, novella to anthology to full-length, and they’re all only 99 cents each!

Here’s our Black Friday offering especially for you. We hope you enjoy each and everyone of them, but remember, the sale only goes to Cyber Monday.

Ghosts of Christmas Past: A Haunted Holidays Novel by Jessica Aspen

Jen MacNamara flees the Christmas wedding of her best friend and cheating fiancé and runs to the country to spend the holiday alone. It’s the perfect plan, until her unexpectedly sexy neighbor and landlord, Nate Pierce, insists on bringing the holiday to her—complete with a Christmas tree, hot chocolate, and an unexpected kiss. And that’s not Jen’s only problem.

The cozy country farmhouse is already occupied by something evil. Now Jen’s nights are spent wrapped in sensual dreams of a past life, and her days growing closer to Nate as they solve the mystery of the malevolent ghost that haunts not only the house, but also wants Jen dead. Click a link below to get it now!

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Ibooks, AllRomanceEbooks, Add to your Goodreads shelf. Visit Jessica at

Curvy Temptation: Curvy Love Book One by Aidy Award

Curvy girls deserve a happy ever after too. Vanessa hasn’t let her curvylicious plus-size body keep her from having a solid career, great friends and a crappy love life. Oh, wait – yeah, her sex life blows, and not in the fun way. A string of unsatisfying relationships and a best friend who drags her to a BDSM club help her step full swing into her dirty thirties.

Cade the stoic Dom, always in control but never in love, is drawn to Vanessa’s size 20 submissive streak. He can’t keep his hands (or his tongue or any other part of his body) off this voluptuous new sub. But Cade’s the one person everyone has told her not to develop feelings for. This Alpha male drops his subs the moment they express deeper feelings for him. What’s a girl to do? She’ll have to dump his ass before he discovers how she feels or be the curvy temptation he can’t resist.

If you like curvy girl BBW romance, a hot alpha hero, and some BDSM power exhange between a sexy Dominant and a new submissive, you’ll love this book! Click a link below to get it now!

Amazon, B&N, iBooks, AllRomanceEBooks, Kobo, GooglePlay  Visit Aidy at

The Christmas Gift by Leslee Breene

An Ebook short story for the holidays! In 1883, Miriam Cole travels to Denver at Christmas to deliver her orphaned baby nephew to her married sister. The sweetness of his touch upon her cheek makes her heart tighten. When the time comes, how will she ever let him go?

“With both verve and delicacy, Ms. Breene reminds us that miracles are indeed possible.” ~ Jane Choate, RWA author of Keeping Watch – Harlequin Love Inspired.  Click the link below to get it now!

Amazon  Visit Leslee at

A Vampire’s Fallen Christmas Star by ML Guida

It’s the week before Christmas but the last thing Jayden Kye wants to do is celebrate. He blames himself for his twin brother’s death. He hikes up to Rainbow Lake to make peace with him, but Jayden slips down a snowy embankment and impales himself on a tree. He is dying.

Eleanor Baines has been a vampire for over a hundred years but she’s never been tempted to turn a human before. Now, facing the sexy rock star, she has a choice, let him die or let him live. She finds herself with a head-strong rock singer who breaks all the rules.

Jayden discovers everything he thought he knew is wrong. His best friend and lead guitarist are legendary vampire killers bent on killing him and Eleanor. He must learn to trust Eleanor, a total stranger, to survive. When his manager kidnaps Jayden’s mother and threatens to kill her, Jayden is forced to kill his best friend, or hand over the woman he loves. Click a link below to get it now!

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Ibooks  Visit ML

The Butterfly Connection by Sandra S Kerns

Murder, encryption, and corporate espionage bring two strangers together to break codes and years of silence to solve a very personal case.

Wanted for the murder of her stepbrother, Emma Simms is on the run. She has to convince her brother’s reclusive partner in the FBI to help her find the real killer. If she can’t, she’ll end up in prison for killing the one person who ever believed in her. Her car breaks down just short of her goal and then a car tries to run her over. If not for the blaring of a driver’s horn, she’d be dead before she even gets a chance to talk to Artemis Jones.

The minute he pulls to the side of the road Artemis knows he’s in trouble. The woman is obviously out of her element. If he didn’t miss his guess, the car he scared off was aiming to run her down. He doesn’t need the trouble of helping a woman in distress, but he can’t turn his back on someone in need. It doesn’t take long to learn she’s not so much in distress as spitting mad and loaded for bear. Unfortunately, the bear she’s hunting is him.

Can the two of them put aside their distrust of others and themselves long enough to find the real murderer? Can the passion they discover survive the truths they find along the way? Click a link below to get it now!

Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, GooglePlay  Visit Sandra at

Heart-Strong by Bonnie McCune

Headstrong. Rachel Kinsey fits the description perfectly. The divorced soccer mom may be ditzy and as sympathetic to losers as a charity, but she knows what she wants. A man completely different from her unreliable ex-husband and the outrageous characters she’s usually doomed to attract.

Enter Jim Landers, the ideal candidate. An accidental encounter introduces her to the tall, dark attorney who loves soccer and kids. The only problem? He’s not prepared for a ready-made family and a woman as comfortable as a beloved sweater rather than a beauty queen. A woman whose kindness, enthusiasm for life, and unguarded honesty may disturb a man who values order, perfection, and serenity.

She should show him how much he means to her, but rejection from an absent father and a capricious ex-husband may have ruined Rachel’s ability to connect to Jim. Will she risk herself, her son and their future by revealing how much Jim means to her?  A touching, tender tale full of gentle humor, about thinking too much and feeling too little. Rachel must learn to be heart-strong in order to find her soul mate. Click the link below to get it now!

Amazon  Visit Bonnie at

The Boy and his Wolf by Sean Thomas

Tanner never thought he’d be back in Amber Pines or back in Dash’s bed. But four years and 1,000 miles wasn’t enough distance to make him forget the power of first love. Sure, he spent his time training with one of the world’s top Hunters and he’s no longer the scrawny teenager he used to be. But now that his former pack is threatened, Tanner is again involved in the dangerous life he thought he left behind.

Do Tanner and Dash have a second chance or has his werewolf made his heart as impenetrable as his body? With an all-out battle raging, Tanner must find his place in the new Amber Pines or be shut out forever. If you’re looking for Teen Wolf meets Queer As Folk, you’ll love this book. Click the link below to get it now!

Amazon Visit Sean at

Three Strikes in the Let It Snow Anthology By Holley Trent

The one woman the “Dark Dom” Max Fletcher wants is the one who doesn’t want him back. But magic has been known to happen during the Den of Sin’s Winterball. There, if he can warm his sometime-submissive Giselle’s heart for the night, he may be able to win her for good.

Read this sexy story and five more steamy holiday romances, including offerings by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors, will keep you warm through winter’s coldest nights, so Let it Snow. Including Suzan Butler, Emily Ryan-Davis, Cari Quinn, Vivienne Westlake, Sadi Hallar, and Holley Trent. Click a link below to get it now!

Amazon Visit Holley at


Symbols in fluxAre you a cowboy? A spy? A sexy lover? A  child at heart? Somewhat intellectual? If so, you probably read in a genre like children’s books, westerns, mystery, romance, or literary.  Publishing is defined by specialized categories of book, which also identify readers by age, gender, interest, locale. These seem to become more targeted by the week. The process helps greatly in marketing books to try to insure readership.

No longer are these groups simple and innocuous. Sub-genre succeeds sub-genre. I’m not sure I even know what some of these mean. For example, urban romance fantasy. Is this several dragons who live in a large city off-world and become enamored of one another, or an historical period piece in which Cleopatra and her lover Marie Antoinette battle the evils of Czar Peter the Great in St. Petersburg? Or both?

My publications are classified as clean or sweet romance. Devoid of overt sex, this category can incorporate a great deal of passion, depending upon author, plot, and publisher. I prefer to think of them as “women’s fiction,” a bit closer to my approach, because the journey of the main characters is to succeed in meeting life’s challenges, not simply discover love. Of course, being a writer and always ready to split hairs or argue until I’m blue in the face, I don’t like to assign labels at all.

Which brings me to authors who defy categorization and leap-frog genres: Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing, P.D. James, among others. I’m sure their publishers would prefer they didn’t. It makes marketing their work more difficult. But these are big names, and they can do as they please. Successfully.

A  challenge for newbies, especially in more structured, dare I say rigid?, genres. Publishers, bloggers, book sellers want to know the type in a 30-second elevator speech. For example, when I sent my first novel to an online reviewer, she declined it despite its HEA ending because she felt it was chick lit.

But this blog ISN’T about genres. It’s about excellent writing. Even if a book is a particular genre (i.e., waddles like a duck), I think good writing should be possible in any genre. I’ve just finished a book that explained an area of writing that I’ve never heeded. When discussions centered on symbolism, I poo-pooed the theories. Who knew or cared if a rope meant characters were tied together, or if waves crashing on a cliff substituted for sexual fervor?

A major shift in my attitude occurred with How to Read Literature Like a Professor.” Author Thomas Foster hand-led me through weather, violence, flying, seasons, and other topics serving as symbols for life’s issues, such as love, freedom, and depression. Giving examples from classics and popular books, he showed how use of symbolism gives added depth and enhances the reader’s understanding and appreciation.

Hmmm. As I thought back over my own work, I realized it contains a fair number of sequences that can serve as symbols. A storm in the middle of a confrontational camping trip. Seeking shelter with a potential partner during a snowstorm. A wildfire engulfing adversaries. Did I intend these as symbols? Not at the time, but unconsciously I must have absorbed cultural cues. Henceforward, I’ll incorporate these deliberately. I’ll have more fun, and perhaps my readers will, too.

So if you read about a telephone in my future writings, don’t assume it’s just a chat. It might represent confusion, ambition, or, who knows?, sex. A duck can always morph into a swan


sheepMy awareness of the publication of a piece entitled “Wool” grew bit by bit. I started seeing references to it in the news, on book blogs and sites, eventually via word-of-mouth. I heard it was a self-published genre (sci fi) success and without taking time to sample it, I pooh-poohed exclamations about its excellence. I knew from reality TV, fashion fads, and politics that popularity rarely equates with quality.

Then a friend of mine with terminal cancer mentioned it. He’d been trying desperately for decades to get his work in print and wondered if he could beat his life’s deadline by going the self-publishing route. After researching “Wool’s” progression a bit, I learned author Hugh Howey had written the first section as a short story, and reader response motivated him to continue with four more sections. It became a huge best-seller and found a mainstream publisher. Still not convinced, I purchased the first section of the novel.

“Holston,” part one, deals with a law enforcement officer who rejects his post and his society (located in an immense underground silo) to commit suicide by venturing into the toxic outside. Say what? A protagonist who’s killed off in the beginning of the plot? Surely a violation of one of the canons of writing a novel. Plus the title made almost no sense. The major mention of “wool” was its use as a material to clean screens.

What kept me reading the entire work? The initial section left enough puzzling points, raised sufficient intriguing questions that I was drawn in and hoped the rest of the novel would address these. Another strong reason—Howey’s world was absolutely real from the get-go. In fact throughout the 500+ pages, I never forgot the majority of the settings were deep underground; and I got claustrophobic!

Now, weeks after completing the book, it dogs me. Howey’s writing style isn’t especially compelling, although it’s solid. The plot and characters aren’t peculiar or unique. Yet I find myself thinking of it often—how it captures personalities, contains compelling conflicts, moves faster and faster through crises. And I realize I’m using “Wool” as a kind of primer for novel-writing.

As time passes, I also find many instances in which wool can apply to the novel.  Examples: pulling the wool over your eyes. . .dyed in the wool. . .wrapped in wool. . .woolgathering. . .cotton wool. Then add in terms associated with sheep (sheep to a slaughter, stupid as a sheep, wolf in sheep’s clothing) and knitting-related terms. The depth of the book expanded exponentially, its pertinence to contemporary life became obvious.

Serendipity occurs frequently to me when I discover books that seem to illustrate or complement other books I’ve read, I’m now scrutinizing How to Read Literature Like a Professor (Thomas Foster, 2014) with its wealth of information about symbolism and irony in fiction. I’m again returning over and over to “Wool” for examples to show me about incorporating a new, perhaps deeper level into my writing.

So hooray for “Wool.” No alien monsters. No mystifying technology or eons-away science. At the conclusion of the book, we’re left musing over ethical dilemmas and diverse characters, all in a fast-paced plot. We confront personalities familiar during our own times, perhaps even the faces we see in mirrors.

Does the banning of books protect children and the weak-willed or does it interfere with our freedom and intellect?

courtesy Ryan McGuire of Bells DesignI recently read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. This tale, set in the early 90s, carries overtones of The Catcher in the Rye and other coming-of-age novels, climbed the best seller lists, spawned a decent film, and spurred controversy.  After I finished it, I wondered if it would wind up on the list of most-challenged books (a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict written materials), and sure enough, it did.

The Top Ten Challenged list, produced annually by the American Library Association, serves as a rallying point for pro- and con- censorship advocates. The 2013 compilation contains two other books I’ve read, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. While I’m unable to weigh in on the value of Captain Underpants or Fifty Shades of Gray, never having read them, the Alexie work ranks as one of the top 25 or so contemporary novels I’ve ever read, and The Hunger Games contains vivid examples of issues suitable for passionate insights into and discussions around contemporary society.

Years ago, our leaders struggled with the definition of porn. A book had to have some sort of redeeming social value to be allowed into the public’s grasp. That debate seems to have disappeared, but the good fight remains, especially to protect children. Does each of the books on the challenged list contain redeeming social value? Perhaps. Should any of them be pulled off the bookshelves? Doubtful.

One reason for censorship is the protection of minors. Another is that reading about questionable behaviors only encourages them. Unfortunately the news and daily life demonstrate that reality, not fiction, imposes itself on everyone of any age. Our children have to learn about mass murders (Columbine), murders based on gender and race (Matthew Shepard), neglect (foster children loaded with drugs for psychotics), terrorists (Boston marathon), international terrorism (9/11), along with untold instances of bullying abuse, rape. Who can protect our kids from knowledge about those horrors? They’d better be prepared to deal with these issues, at least at the emotional level.

Some things occur outside your sphere of interest to impact you, whether you want them to or not. The books on this list and similar offerings allow readers to work through their own emotions, responses to soul-searing issues.

When we all faced 9/11, my three-year old granddaughter taught me a lesson to deal with tragedies and controversial issues. Despite being sheltered from disturbing visuals, she knew something bad had happened. She also noticed people exhibiting American flags as a symbol of undefeated spirit.  Failing to distinguish between one flag and another, she collected small state flags and displayed them around the house to raise everyone’s spirits. That’s when I realized the importance of taking a positive step to establish your control over yourself and life.

That’s exactly what these books provide—a way to begin to comprehend the amazingly complex issues children as well as adults face. The ruckus over these particular books eventually will die down and others take their place. An example, few seem to complain nowadays over Madonna’s Sex book.

Or maybe not.  The Catcher in the Rye still raises hackles in some communities and visits the most-challenged list regularly. It also appears on numerous best-books lists.

(photo courtesy Ryan McGuire of Bells Design)

The Thoughtfulness of Fiction and How It Impacts Our Mental Acuity as Well as Ideas, Beliefs, Perceptions, Even Behavior

c. Jonathn Kos-Read

c. Jonathn Kos-Read

Have you ever read a novel and felt as if you’ve left your surroundings for a new world? This is one of the ways I use to decide if a book’s made a major impact on me. The process by which this happens isn’t simple, not a matter of exciting action or steamy love scenes. A combination of writing style and language, plot, compelling characters, and an unfathomable mixture of interesting ideas old and new are some of the qualities that go into what’s called willing suspension of disbelief.” In essence, although I know what I’m reading is imaginary, I react as though it’s real. And it changes me in ways I haven’t measured, provides knowledge, even, dare I claim?, wisdom.

Some of the books that have done that for me are Pride and Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, Hunger Games, Main Street, Caramelo, Doomsday Book, Revolutionary Road, and The Things They Carried. These probably aren’t your choices, but you might have your own favorites.

Or you might not read fiction. I know people who refuse to on the grounds that it’s not real, not for serious-minded people, it’s fluff.  Stop and think a minute though: fiction is more truthful than nonfiction because it allows us entry into other people’s minds and emotions. It presents thoughts in action and practice. It’s the closest thing we have to eternal life since every eon, each individual can be represented.

As usual with slap-your-face obvious information, this perspective, known for centuries to readers and writers, now is being substantiated through various studies. Yes, reading fiction stimulates and strengthens certain areas in your brain. Yes, reading changes behavior. Changes can be positive, assisting you to function and relate better in the world.  Or they can be negative, encouraging aggression and cruelty, setting you and those around you up for a world of trouble.

I began thinking more about the impact of fiction on real life when I read a novel about a poet and a group of immigrants in Sweden. The Shadow Girls, by Henning Mankell, starts off comedic with the protagonist Jesper being urged to write a thriller by his money-hungry publisher, escalates until nearly everyone, including the hero’s stock broker and his 90-year-old mother who staffs a phone sex service, is trying his hand at a manuscript. Then Jesper accidently meets three young women, immigrants from Iran, Russia and Africa (two of them undocumented), whose lives intrigue him. He becomes determined to give their stories a voice. They want to tell their own tales, thank you very much, and through a mélange of narrative, writings from their classes, and inner dialogue, we learn a little of the terrible and distinctive circumstances of each, along with their dreams for a future. (Mankell is best known for his Kurt Wallender police mysteries.)

I started grasping emotionally how the state of homelessness, powerlessness, nonpersonhood affects the girls in the novel, giving me a better perspective on my small efforts to support immigration reform here in the US. And I wished everyone on all sides of the immigration debate would open themselves to the world in the book’s pages, because in some small sense, you are what you read. 

A strong argument against dystopian, spy, and war novels, littered with bodies like abandoned soft drink cans, and for thoughtful, positive, compassionate novels with happy endings.