Hard candy, anyone?

You know those old folks one encounters in movie theaters, the ones who always seem to be unwrapping hard candies?


Of course, you know them. Just as soon as the movie hero is about to reveal the great secret in his past, the one that will determine the movie’s outcome, those pensioners usually pipe up in loud voices.

“What did he say, Henry? No, I didn’t wear my hearing aid. It makes everything too damn loud.” (Unwrap, unwrap, unwrap)

Yeah, those folks. Well, I mean no disrespect. The whole point of this post is I’m starting to feel a strange affinity for the older generations. God bless ’em.

I guess you could say I’m starting to feel my age and it’s been getting me down this week.

Now I’m sure you’re protesting as you read this. “But surely Rosanna is barely thirty years old! How can she possibly be feeling her age?” (You are saying that, right? RIGHT???)

Fact is I’m 45. Yes, I know, still very much young, still lots of living to do. I just wish parts of me didn’t hurt so much during all this living.

A week or so ago, I visited the eye doctor, only to be told I have bizarre scratches on my eyes. They can’t figure out how they got there. (Personally, I think this lends credence to my theory spiders are trying to gobble up my peepers at night.) Oh, and my eyeglass prescription got stronger. That’s always a delight. “From 45 onward,” the doctor said, “your prescription can change every six months. Eyes age quickly during the period between 45 and 55.”

Oh, joy. Just call me Mr. Magoo.

And then there’s the matter of my tendinitis and tennis elbow. I’ve been experiencing pain all through my right arm for over a month. However, as I learned today from my physiotherapist, the pain stems from nerve issues in my neck. The keyboarding doesn’t help but it might also be a result of general wear-and-tear. Again, I’m aging so I should expect more of this.

Did I happen to mention that favorite foods (read: junk foods) no longer sit well with me? Today, because the boys had a day off school, my husband and I grabbed burgers and fries for the four of us. Although that crap went down nicely, within two hours my stomach  had launched an all-out rebellion. I’m serious. It was the fricking Battle of Trafalgar in my gut and I did not emerge victorious.


So basically my stomach hurts, my eyes are wonky and I’ve got pain radiating out from my elbow into my neck and fingers. I expect gout and shingles any day now.

I’m all about embracing my age, at least on most days. I have no wish to go backward and redo my twenties and thirties. In fact, in many ways, my forties have kicked ass.  I love where I am but I won’t lie to you. Some days everything hurts.

So what do I intend to do about this pesky aging process? I have decided to take action. As much as I detest exercise, I know I need to start moving. I already take long walks but maybe more is needed. Perhaps I need to try something new, something that will not only stretch my body but stimulate my mind.

What about those junk foods that disagree with me so much? I have to remind myself of the discomfort every time I feel like caving. When the waitress asks if I want fries with that, I shall smite her! “Begone, temptress!” I shall say.  (Okay, I won’t really smite the waitress. That’s just mean. Besides, I’m not sure how to smite a person.)

I will be the first to admit I sometimes delay my doctor appointments. As a mom, I’ve always made sure my kids have their physicals, but I sometimes neglect myself. I can’t do that anymore. I have to take care of myself, too.

It’s time for change. Change is good.

In the meantime, until I can sort out all these changes, I’ll just curl up over here with my bran muffin, unwrap a few hard candies and take a nap.



Anise Eden. Cover Reveal – All The Wounds in Shadow.

Anise Eden is one of my favorite new authors so you can imagine my excitement when I learned she’d revealed the beautiful cover for book 2 of  The Healing Edge series, All The Wounds In Shadow. I just had to share it here as well.


Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous.

Now, it ain’t just a pretty cover. I loved book 1, All The Broken Places. I had the honor of reading an ARC of book 2, and I can assure you these are terrific reads. The romance here is sweet, the heroine smart and the hero swoon-worthy (calling dibs on Ben … no, seriously. That boy is mine.)

If you’d like to read my review on All The Wounds in Shadow, you will find it here:

“I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of Anise Eden’s All the Wounds in Shadow and enjoyed this second installment of The Healing Edge series. In book one, the author draws the reader into the story of Cate Duncan, a therapist with issues of her own. Her world changes forever when she learns she is an empath and is recruited to work for the MacGregor Group, an organization filled with psychically-gifted individuals. In book 2, Cate has begun her training. We also see her in the throes of a new romance with Ben MacGregor, a former Marine and leader of their ensemble. The group is called into action when an acclaimed doctor is poisoned and on the brink of death. Cate and her friends must employ their unique talents to delve inside the doctor’s mind and discover who attacked him. However, the case brings to light old wounds for Cate and presents new struggles. Can she come to terms with her feelings for Ben? Can she help a man who can only communicate telepathically? And will her efforts endanger her as well? Ms. Eden takes us on a remarkable journey, one laced with intrigue, romance and hope. I cannot wait for the next book.”

For more info on all Ms. Eden’s books, visit her here: http://aniseeden.com/


Orange peels, dirty dishes and cat poop.

I awoke this morning in a luscious haze. Stretching, I grinned from ear to ear because I knew I could devote an entire day to writing. Because I work in a library, my work hours aren’t 9-5 and I don’t have to go in today until 5pm. I knew I could dedicate the day to my Muse and artistic pursuits. After all, I am a romance author. I deserve a day full of romance and creativity and whimsy.

Then reality hit.

Last week, we had March Break for the kids. As a result, yesterday involved a lot of running around and ended on a lazy note. So when I headed downstairs this morning, I found a pile of dirty dishes, many of which were left over from my two teen boys yesterday. It seemed they cleaned their rooms. Now this sounds positive, right? Kids cleaning their rooms? Not when they unearth old used dishes.

My eldest son likes to kick it up a notch. Not only did he have dirty dishes in his room, he had bits of food (a no-no in our house). Because he was sick recently, he consumed a lot of oranges. Guess who found all the peels?

I should mention today wasn’t totally set aside for writing. Our cat Sweetie was way overdue for a checkup so I had to get her to the vet by 10am. No biggie, right? It becomes a biggie when you realize you don’t have a cat carrier in the house.

Picture me, if you will, in my housecoat, running around the house trying to find a lost cat carrier at 8am. My hair isn’t brushed. I haven’t showered. I’m digging through the basement junk, where we normally stow the carrier … and coming up short. All the while, I am stressing out because I might have to find a store willing to sell me a carrier by 9am.

Luckily, I realized my father-in-law had borrowed the carrier a couple of years ago and we hadn’t brought it back home. So I thrust the children toward their respective schools, drove like a fiend into the next suburb on a cat carrier mission, drove back to the house to try to insert Sweetie into said carrier, and get her to the vet.

By 9:30, I was sweating. OK, possibly cursing, too.

Did I mention I had to collect a fecal sample from Sweetie as well? Because I did. So not only was I rummaging through the basement today, turning over boxes and books, I had to rummage through her poop.

I suppose the most important part of this story is Sweetie got a clean bill of health and we got a hefty bill. There are some others morals, too:

-Children hide food.

-Children will spontaneously engage in chores, only to disguise the fact they haven’t done chores for more than a week.

-Cats scratch when you put them in a carrier. Wear long sleeves.

-Oh, and the most important of all. Romance authors do not always have lives full of romance and creativity and whimsy. We’re just like everyone else who carries cat poop in baggies.


Not so “fluffy” anymore.

Writing is all about transformation, in my opinion. The reader hopefully undergoes a transformation when reading a book. If all goes well, it should touch them or make them laugh and forget their problems for a while. It might inspire them to try something new or reconsider an opinion.

However, I think it should also be a vehicle for transformation within the writer. For me, writing is a constant learning experience. I feel as if I’ve learned so much since picking up the pen for book one, but I continue to discover new things about myself and my writing style every day.

When I look back at my early romances, I see books that are light and sexy and (dare I say it?) even a little “fluffy.” I can admit it. They are beach reads. Nothing wrong with that.  The thing is, I don’t feel all that fluffy anymore.


I have been craving a bit more substance with my romances. This is not to imply romance can’t have substance. After all, for many, the biggest risk they can take in life is to fall in love and overcome their personal hurdles. Love can be scary and bracing and biting.  At the same time, I long to explore other topics, to show a bit more of the motivations riding my characters. For many, those motivations spring from tragedy and loss.

My shape shifter series is a good example of this transformation. When it began, it was very much a fun and flirty series with easily-resolved conflicts. Each book ended tidily. Not so much with the latest books. In book 5, a new villain emerged and we glimpse a darker side to my characters and their family lives. Readers have told me they’ve enjoyed the blurred lines and darker themes and I’m so glad they have.

I’ve begun a new contemporary romance series featuring a trio of contractor brothers. When I envisioned it, again, I imagined a light, feel-good series of romances. Now that I’ve almost finished book 1, I suddenly have a subplot dealing with the hero’s PTSD. Honestly, I never saw that coming. I had his conflicts and wounds all laid out in an outline and one day I started writing about PTSD. I began to research it. This condition not only affects veterans, it can affect those who’ve witnessed tragedy (my hero’s situation). There are dark moments and I hope my readers will be willing to experience them with me.


What is the moral of this story? When you read one of my books, you will still get the elements you’ve always found in my writing: humor, fun and a whole lot of sexiness. But I think from now on, you’ll get more. You’ll see life as it is, flawed and frightening and sometimes sad. However, at the end of the day, you’ll also feel a lot of hope and inspiration. I will never leave you with an ending that is anything other than happy. That is my promise to you.

Vice up for nomination at TRR Readers’ Choice Awards!

I’m excited to announce my contemporary romance Vice is up for nominations at The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards!


It’s always wonderful when a book gets recognized and I appreciate everyone who has supported this story so far. If you enjoyed Kate and Liam’s story, please consider voting. It’s in the category of Erotic Romance- Contemporary Romance. Please note, you must be logged in at TRR in order to vote.

Vote here: http://erotic.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=19201

You can see the full list of books here: http://erotic.theromancereviews.com/bookvote.php

Thanks so much for your support! This book means so much to me and I’m glad it has come to mean a lot to others as well.


Daisy Banks. Mother’s Day Magic Boxed Set.

I’m pleased to welcome Daisy Banks today as she tells us about a very special boxed set for Mother’s Day.


My thanks to you for showcasing the Mother’s Day Magic Boxed Set collection.

I hope your blog readers enjoy the story tasters from this collection of stories.

Best wishes

Daisy Banks

Mothers Day the one!! MDM

13 authors


A message from Allyson R. Abbott.

I love to buy books as presents. I wanted to find a book that would let my mom know how much I appreciate her. As an author, I decided to write the story to say how much I love her. I told my friend what I had planned to do. Grace, also an author, wanted to do the same. We set out to write our two stories, but Grace suffers with MS and it became so bad she had to stop writing. I sent out an appeal to authors worldwide to write stories for Mother’s Day, and to donate 10% of every book sold to MS. My call was answered by 13 special authors and our Mother’s Day Magic box set was born. Read these beautiful stories and help stop a crippling disease––MS!

db stuff

Buy Links



Barnes and Noble






Jessica Cale. The Long Way Home.

Anyone who follows me on social media knows how I feel about author Jessica Cale and her books. If you love historical romance, actually any romance, I suggest you read her Southwark Saga. It’s just that good. Real them all. Read them often.

Today, Jessica is here to introduce book 3, The Long Way Home. I’m reading it now and love it. Another keeper!

Welcome, Jessica.


Magic and Sacrilege in the Court of Louis XIV

The belief in magic plays a large part in my new book, The Long Way Home. Many of the strangest things that happen to the characters are based on fact. Although the book takes place at the dawn of the Enlightenment, superstition and belief in magic was still common and in some cases, all-consuming. Let’s take a closer look.

In spite of the devout Catholicism of Louis XIV’s court, many courtiers not only believed in but attempted to practice magic, often with the intent of harming others, and usually with the assistance of a sorceress or renegade priest. While the courtiers attending the king were expected to attend mass every day without fail, business in spells, poisons, and magic charms was booming.

The Affair of the Poisons uncovered a thriving underworld of sorceresses and magicians trading in everything from cosmetics, love charms, and divination to demon conjuration, poisons, and even human sacrifice. The more potent the charm, the higher the price, and there were a number of ordained priests who were willing to assist with the most dangerous and powerful tasks: the conjuring of demons.

Why would anyone in their right mind want to conjure a demon? The hope was that demons could be compelled to do the will of the person conjuring them, which, if you believe it is even possible, sounds a bit like trying to trap a tornado in a mason jar.

At best, magic could be dismissed as superstition at the dawn of the Age of Reason, or worse, the serious crime of sacrilege. Admittedly, demon conjuration, murder, and human sacrifice don’t sound particularly Christian to the modern reader. So why involve priests?

As Mollenauer explains in Strange Revelations: “Paris’ magical underworld exploited the practices, imagery, and sacramental of the Catholic Church to increase the efficacy of their magic. The composition of their spells and charms illustrates that the distinction between superstition and orthodox Christian belief was still very blurred in seventeenth-century France. … The simple spells known as oraisons found in La Voison’s grimoires, for example, were made up of a linguistic hodge-podge of Christian imagery, ‘debased’ holy languages (Latin, Greek, or Hebrew), and simply alliterative nonsense.”(1)

By involving priests and Christian rituals and imagery, they attempted to harness the power of the Catholic mass to serve their own ends. It is the idea of the priest as an intercessory between God and laymen which gave Catholic priests their power and their elevated status.  The superstition could not be denied without also denying this power or that of the devil on the other hand.

One way to guarantee the efficacy of a potion or charm would be to have a priest say a mass over it. Although the Council of Trent had advised against superstition and divination in 1566, there were some priests who were willing to accept to the freelance work as compensation for a life of poverty. It was believed to be a sin not only to have one’s fortune told, but to even believe that such a thing was possible.

Still, magic flourished. Along with cosmetics, fortune tellers and some midwives sold cures for ailments from headaches to leprosy, charms for love, luck, or impossibly long lives.

Gambling was very popular, and charms to bring luck at the gaming tables were prohibitively expensive and difficult to come by. With the huge sums of money won and lost often over single hands, it is easy to see why some people would think it was worth it.

The list of charms is not for the squeamish, however. The preserved cauls of infants were popular charms, as were tiny miscarried or stillborn fetuses. Many sorceresses worked as or with midwives, so these could be obtained for a price. The most expensive and least ethical of the money charms was the main de gloire, which involved sacrificing a particular kind of mare, skinning it, and preparing its hide in an elaborate fashion for several days, after which point it was said to transform into a live snake that could double almost any amount of money put into its box…as long as you slept with the box.

Love magic was more popular than money magic, and many spells and charms were sold that claimed to be able to inspire love in others, or to help one to gain the approval of troublesome relatives. If these didn’t work to remove impediments to love, there was always poison.

Poison was sold by sorceresses, magicians, fortune tellers, and sometimes even midwives. It was alarmingly easy to obtain and more common than one would think. The sale of arsenic had not yet been limited to those professions requiring it, so anyone without fear or moral compass could mix “inheritance powder”. Although arsenic is strong enough to cause death or serious damage on its own, it was believed that magic gave it its power, and so renegade priests were often involved directly or indirectly in its sale.

The Affair of the Poisons exposed the activities of Paris’ criminal underworld and resulted in the arrest, imprisonment, exile, or execution of hundreds of people from all levels of society, including some within the king’s inner circle. As a result, the sale of arsenic was restricted and superstition was forbidden by law, but fear of death by poison remained a serious concern throughout the country throughout the Age of Enlightenment.


  • Lynn Wood Mollenauer. Strange Revelations: Magic, Poison, and Sacrilege in Louis XIV’s France.
  • Anne Somerset. The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide, and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV.


The Long Way Home

(The Southwark Saga, Book 3)

By Jessica Cale

Release Date: February 29th, 2016

Genre: Historical Romance, Adult Fairytale, Romantic Comedy, Action/Adventure

A paranoid king, a poison plot, and hideous shoes…it’s not easy being Cinderella.            

After saving the life of the glamorous Marquise de Harfleur, painfully shy barmaid Alice Henshawe is employed as the lady’s companion and whisked away to Versailles. There, she catches King Louis’ eye and quickly becomes a court favorite as the muse for Charles Perrault’s Cinderella. The palace appears to be heaven itself, but there is danger hidden beneath the façade and Alice soon finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue, murder, and Satanism at the heart of the French court.

Having left his apprenticeship to serve King Charles as a spy, Jack Sharpe is given a mission that may just kill him. In the midst of the Franco-Dutch war, he is to investigate rumors of a poison plot by posing as a courtier, but he has a mission of his own. His childhood friend Alice Henshawe is missing and he will stop at nothing to see her safe. When he finds her in the company of the very people he is meant to be investigating, Jack begins to wonder if the sweet girl he grew up with has a dark side.

When a careless lie finds them accidentally married, Alice and Jack must rely on one another to survive the intrigues of the court. As old affection gives way to new passion, suspicion lingers. Can they trust each other, or is the real danger closer than they suspect?

“Really brilliant writing that’s so engaging with such endearing characters! I especially love the way Jack and Alice are both so devoted to each other! I was totally absorbed in this exciting and fascinating world Jessica Cale created from the very first paragraph to the last! I read this all in one sitting, staying awake late to finish, just had to!” – Romazing Reader

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28499321-the-long-way-home

Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Long-Home-Southwark-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B01CBY47CO

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-long-way-home-jessica-cale/1123469513?ean=9781622103393

Google Play: https://goo.gl/T12mBU

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-long-way-home/id1086308046?mt=11

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-long-way-home-62

Liquid Silver: http://www.lsbooks.com/the-long-way-home-p1126.php


Find the rest of the series here: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW

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Jessica Cale

About the author

Jessica Cale is the award-winning author of the historical romance series, The Southwark Saga. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in North Carolina.


Website: http://www.authorjessicacale.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacale

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaCale @JessicaCale

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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9819997.Jessica_Cale

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Fun (PG, 506 words)

“Do you have a sweetheart?”

Alice’s spine went rigid at the question. Why would he care?

“That is to say, a man. A person, rather. A lover?” Jack cleared his throat. “That’s none of my concern, really. I apologize. Forget I asked.”

How could she answer that? She couldn’t very well tell the strange man Jack had grown into that she’d dreamed of him to the exclusion of all others for eight years. If her freakish memory didn’t frighten him off, her obsession definitely would.

She turned, very slowly, and forgot what she was thinking when she saw him. Jack was reclining on his elbows, looking at the stars. The odd posture only really drew attention to the span of his chest, the slight rise and fall of his breath. He’d dressed in a hurry and his collar had come undone, revealing an inch of collarbone and hinting at the lean muscle beneath. His dented chin was pointed heavenward, lengthening his bare neck. If Alice stared any harder, she’d be able to see the blood flowing within.

She thought about putting her lips on his throat and the fluttering she usually felt in her heart moved decidedly lower.

That was new.

“Just you.” She sighed and then cringed as she realized she’d said it aloud. “Married, remember?”

Jack turned and gave her a boyish smile that made her toes go numb. “I suppose we are. What do you make of that?”

Alice blinked. It was everything she’d ever wanted, but Jack…he was young, handsome, kind, wonderful, and everything that was right in the world. He could have any woman he wanted. Or could have, before she ruined that for him. She wiped away another tear. “I’m sorry, Jack.”

He shrugged. “Whatever for?”

“You deserve a wife of your own choosing,” she said, feeling brave.

He lay on the roof, stretching his arms behind his head with a smile. “Don’t shed any tears for me. I got the prettiest Henshawe girl. The boys back home will be sick with envy.”

Alice’s laugh came out as a snort. She held her nose in embarrassment. “Don’t jest.”

“Who’s jesting?”

Alice curled up on her side facing him, reasonably certain she was dreaming. The cool tile beneath her cheek was real enough. She contracted her nails against the rough surface, wondering if she imagined the vibration in her fingertips. Any moment now, she would wake up.

“I don’t expect you to keep me, of course. That would be something, wouldn’t it? You stuck with someone like me?” He laughed.

Alice didn’t.

“This will be good, though, truly. I can protect you, and we can spend some time together, like the old days.”

Alice sighed. Yes, like the old days, but I’m talking to you now, and making a mess of it, and you’re all grown and gorgeous while I’m more awkward than ever.

Jack smiled, his teeth bright in the night. “It’ll be great fun to pretend to be married.”

Alice fell onto her back with a disappointed grimace. “Fun.”