Writing is NOT for sissies, especially if writers promote. For the past week and more I planned a Facebook event that happened yesterday/ Sunday. Scarlet and I decided that offering a monthly venue for authors to promote would help us build our own name and provide a place to promote our own books. I am not an organizer or the person to direct traffic and I suck at chats, so it plumb wore me out!  http://www.Facebook.com/ARomanceCaper. Did you know that using an event page to comment means the transcript disappears after the event ends? Did you know that using a Facebook page for comments means the transcript remains live? Check out our page for each event! Did you know that people don't read directions and get lost? YEP!

Editing is not for Sissies!  Editing an anthology is time consuming! Scarlet/ Melba Moon, and another partner, Jackie Rod, and I edited Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake, a wonderful anthology and are editing a Christmas anthology now. What were we thinking? I remember! That we as part of Gilded Dragonfly Books could make a dreams come true for folks! Editing is a lot of work! I am also editing a YA book for a client.

I need to do something meant for sissies and another LONG nap!

Today I wanted to share with you a Dave Barry Classic about Halloween:

“Carving the pumpkin is a Halloween tradition that began in the British Isles, where one magical night several centuries ago, a group of people decided to put a lit candle inside a hollowed-out pumpkin to symbolize the fact they had been hitting the sauce pretty hard. Today, pumpkin-carving is an activity that the whole family can enjoy, except for Dad, who gets stuck with the job of actually carving the pumpkin, which means he has to stick his hand inside and grasp the pumpkin slime, knowing that at any moment he might encounter the North American Gourd-Dwelling Scorpion, whose toxic sting claims more American lives each year than cell phones and asteroids combined.”

Do you carve pumpkins? If so, please share your ideas.
Martha Stewart seems to have her pumpkin carving down to a science. Mine are not quite so elaborate.

In my mythos, vampires never died to be resurrected corpses.  They are mutants, a virus having altered their mortal DNA into immortals with powers greater than their original human selves.  Interestingly enough, I found the information below on the internet.  My viral mutations are actually possible (maybe not to the extent in my books yet still within reason):

Date:  January 8, 2010
Source:  University of Texas at Arlington


 “About eight percent of human genetic material comes from a virus and not from our ancestors, according to a new study. The research shows that the genomes of humans and other mammals contain DNA derived from the insertion of bornaviruses, RNA viruses whose replication and transcription takes place in the nucleus.”

In the 2000s, a scientist at the University of Michigan studied people with HIV and found other viruses in the blood of these subjects.  Surprisingly, these viruses came from within the patients’ own DNA.

Retroviruses, including HIV, share three common genes:  gag, which gives rise to the inner shell that stores the virus’s genes; env makes knobs on the outer surface of the virus, allowing it to adhere to the cells and invade them; and finally pol.  The latter makes an enzyme which introduces the virus’s genes into the host cell’s DNA.

Actually, the human genome contains segments of DNA matching pol, env, and gag.  Scientists have found sizeable quantity of retrovirus DNA in our genes, in fact, as stated above, eight percent of the human genome.  Both in human and other species, studies of these endogenous retroviruses reveal that they have genetically merged with the human DNA.  Retroviruses regularly infected our ancestors, but rarely infected sperm or an egg, but when they did, they managed to permeate an embryo, new cells in the embryo inheriting the retrovirus DNA.  When the child grew into an adult and produced offspring, the DNA of the virus was transmitted as well.

So, Morgan, Lucien and Sterling could possibly exist.

Happy Friday!  You have viral altered DNA. 

The book video for Sinners' Obsession, a Paranormal Romance Guild 5-Star Review:

My romantic suspense novel has been out for just over a year. It's been a fun roller coaster ride. I've had several book signings, attended several writer's conferences as a published author and had the pleasure of holding my published book in my hands! What a thrill.

Here's the buy link in case you missed it:

My publisher even made a trailer for my book! Here is the link:http://youtu.be/dM5jJO9KZCY

I've had many wonderful reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. But what now?

Well, I've been busy writing my next book. I've also published two short stories in Anthologies. The latest one is a Halloween anthology with nine stories by really amazing authors. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Tales-Spirit-Lake-Melba-ebook/dp/B00N3NVB0Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414125811&sr=1-1&keywords=haunting+tales+of+spirit+lake
Now I am working on a new suspense novel with a hero that is a computer geek turned FBI agent on loan to the JTTF and a special education teacher who is pulled into his covert op when one of her students runs away. This one is proving to be a challenge because the editor who requested it said, no paranormal! Oh dear, that makes it really hard for me.

What about you? What are you working on? What are you reading? What do you like to read?

We all know what it's like to have a dream.

Sometime we get to witness them come to fruition. Other times we sigh, suck it up, and make changes to the dreams; or give them up completely.

I'm tickled to say, this isn't one of the later. This week my book came out in paperback. I've dreamed about this day for a very long time and it still hasn't sunk in.

I still have to order some, so I haven't held one in my hot little hands yet...that's next on my list.

For today...I'm content.

Thanks for letting me share.


Xmas box event banner
It's such a pleasure to announce that SWEET CHRISTMAS KISSES is on the USA Today bestsellers list.
When I read the caption, the emotion made me speechless for a moment, then I kept mumbling, Oh my God, Oh my God. My husband saw my face pale and rush to my side. "Are you OK?" He thought I was having a heart attack. What a giddy feeling. But soon I shouted at the top of my lungs, "I'm a USA Today Bestselling Author," and I couldn't stop laughing and babbling. We had a drink to celebrate reaching this milestone and every author's goal or dream.
When I attended my first RWA National Conference in 2004 and saw some 4,000 writers, bustling in the ballroom for lunch, my stomach constricted. If all these people competed to be published there was no way on Earth I would succeed. And yet here I am, ten years later, standing on the top of the mountain, screaming, "TaDa!" 
If I made it, you can make it. Hard work, perseverance, a lot of support, a good network, and a "little bit of blooming luck".
MadMimiMailing list
Fourteen authors are all over the moon.
 Here are links to buy the bestselling box:
Amazon  Kobo i-tunes Google Nook
Her Christmas Cruise small

HER CHRISTMAS CRUISE, my contribution to this box, will take you on a wonderful cruise to Spain and Italy with Julia and Tony.

The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the would-be honeymoon cruise may fulfill the dreams of Julia and her unexpected companion.
More good news are always welcome.
Xmas Wedbox Final 2MB
You can pre-order TEN CHRISTMAS BRIDES now or buy it on October 21, 2014 at:
Kindle US Kindle UK Nook Kobo iBook
An Unusual Christmas S by Mona Risk
My contribution to this coming box is AN UNUSUAL CHRISTMAS.
Running away from Christmas celebrations and the demons of her past, Dr. Jillian has dedicated her life to saving third-world children. In Belarus, a baby girl, four little boys, and a handsome doctor may teach her the true meaning of Christmas.

The Perfect Ghost Town—Using paranormal elements in your writing
When truth is stranger than fiction

One of the items on my bucket list is a plan to visit all 50 states. Because my home is in South Carolina I’ve seen many states on the east coast but few on the west coast.

Rhyolite, Nevada, is one town I’m dying to visit (pun fully intended). The town is northeast of Death Valley national Park and...it’s a ghost town. Thoroughly abandoned although numerous remains are visible.

But Rhyolite wasn’t always a ghost town.

In 1904 it was reported that two men, Eddie Cross and “Shorty” Harris, struck a rich ore in Rhyolite. In 1905 and during the gold rush, Rhyolite quickly established and grew to a population of 10,000. So large, the town sported an opera house, electricity, water, two schools, a jail, and a stock exchange. As quickly as it grew the town began to fall. In 1907 a financial panic started the downward spiral. By 1911, only a few hundred people remained, dwindling eventually to a few dozen, and then abandoned.

As we near Halloween, paranormal books will be higher than usual on the list of many fiction readers, including myself. And no wonder, because the paranormal has always incited our interest.
One of my WIP’s novels touches upon a Romany fortuneteller and Gypsy superstitions. Utterly fascinating and believable. Or not.

But this ghost town proves that truth is stranger than fiction. The town is open for tourists and has been used in movie shootings. The rocky landscape surrounding the ghost town provides the perfect setting.

As I mentioned, it’s on my bucket list. Would you be interested in joining me on a ghost town excursion? We can visit during the day if you prefer.

I posted this on my blog yesterday, and my son's girlfriend said it scared her.  Well, the weird happenings at my new house scared me.  I was beginning to wonder if I'd gone crazy or if I believed in ghosts...

            It began three nights ago.   Since then, I have felt the shivery feeling of someone watching me, day and night.
            That first night, I was standing in the bathroom getting ready for bed.  There came a loud thunk like a body dropping in the attic.  That was the beginning of three days of being frightened of the dark, which I never was before.
The episodes occurred at night.   The second night, I was awakened by lights flashing in the living room.  I leapt from bed, ran into the room bordering my bedroom and skidded to a halt.  The hair at my nape prickled.  The lights in the entertainment unit were blinking on and off.   I knew there was a short in the system that required a new power box.  I fumbled behind the unit, unplugged the wrong box (the modem for my Uverse services) and finally found the right one.  I turned to go back to bed.
The tall metal sculpture, each branch like a tall flower, started ringing as the pieces quivered.  Another eerie shiver crawled over me.   My cat Spencer could possibly have skidded on the wooden floor and crashed into the sculpture but he sat several feet away, staring at the vibrating limbs.  The thing shook until I placed my hand on it to quiet the awful noise.  Totally creeped out, I returned to bed but slept fitfully, waking early with the unwanted feeling of being watched.
Last night after I came home from having Buffalo wings with friends at a bar, I was reluctant to come in the house.   I only moved into this house on September 9th, living here for a little over a month.  When I first moved in, I didn’t feel this way.  I loved my new house.  During washing my face and brushing my teeth, I kept glancing over my shoulder to see if anyone was behind me.   No one, of course.  Or at least no one in human form.
Exhausted from several sleepless nights, I fell into a deep sleep immediately.  Later in the night, I heard strains of music in the living room when there should have been only silence.  Frightened now, I stayed in bed, calling my cat when he began to meow like a soft cry.
Today, I drove about 50 miles round trip to Whole Foods to buy a white sage smudge stick.  Being part Cherokee, my first thought was white sage.  I saged the entire house, chanting, Leave, you are not welcome here.  I was going to say that I don’t feel shivery or watched, but as I typed it, the feeling came back.   We’ll see what tonight brings.  Peace I hope.

I couldn't be more pleased by the write up, by Megan Houchin, of the Auburn Journal and the review she did of my debut book. She not only got the story, but it feels like she got me as well.

Best of all, I have received my first residual check and while it's not much, I'll be mailing off my first donation to Reach Out Worldwide.

I'm still waiting to hear if book II Antics, Antidotes, and Angel has been accepting, fingers still crossed.

It's been a pretty darn good week!

Thanks for letting me share.


A Gypsy gravesite in Ireland

Posted by Josie | 2:37 PM | 9 comments »

A Gypsy grave might not be the first item on the list of a typical tourist, especially when visiting Northern Ireland. But a dear friend thought otherwise because the stories told in a graveyard are sometimes the most important.

This was the incentive I needed to continue my research regarding one of the most fascinating people in the world--The Romany, or Gypsies. Their culture, food, religion, superstitions, and beliefs, as well as the fact that they wander from place to place with no true home, is the basis for numerous tales--both real and imagined.

All of my writing is based on the Romany people.

On October 8, I was awakened by a call from my new friend and neighbor Joy Wintersteen.  I had asked Joy to call to wake me for a rare spectacle, the Blood Moon.  In this lunar eclipse, the moon is a red-orange shade.  The color is caused by Rayleigh scattering of sunlight through the Earth's atmosphere, refracted light from around Earth.

The first in four consecutive total lunar eclipses, a tetrad, occurred on April 15, 2014.  The second was the Blood Moon I saw on October 8, 2014.  It was quite an experience, and I am very glad I climbed out of bed to witness the spectacle.  The remaining two eclipses will take place on April 4, 2015 and September 28, 2015.  This tetrad is one of eight during the 21st century AD.

Last century (can you believe we can call the 20th century “last century”?), Mark Biltz predicted that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur in the fall of 2015.  The seven years of the great tribulation were to begin in the fall of 2008.   He claimed that the next tetrad would coincide with the Apocalypse. He was wrong, of course.

Joy let me borrow a book called Four Blood Moons by John Hagee.  In April, Hagee’s book was No. 4 on the The New York Times Best Sellers list in the advice category.  Hagee does not preach that the Blood Moons are a sign of the end times but stated in his sermons to his congregation at Cornerstone Church that every prior tetrad of the last 500 years coincided with events in Jewish and Israeli history that were originally tragic followed by triumph.

The proclamations that a "blood moon" serves as an omen of the coming of Jesus is derived from the Book of Joel.  “The sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes,” again mentioned during Pentecost by St. Peter, as recorded in Acts.

The only other time I have been this interested in religious lore was when I was researching my book about the angel Lucifer.  Originally titled I, Lucifer, and written in first person from Lucifer’s point of view, it has since been rewritten and is now titled Redemption.  It is currently with a publisher and I have my fingers crossed that it will be accepted for publication.

In my research, I found that the idea Lucifer is the devil comes from this passage in Isaiah 14.12 (New American Standard Bible):  “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!  As I understand it, this was said in a conversation between the King of Mesopotamia and Lucifer, and there is some doubt, in this version, whether the King speaks to Lucifer or Lucifer speaks to the King.  Don't stone me here, but if Lucifer was speaking to the King, it gives rise to the question, is Lucifer the devil?

Happy Weekend Eve, Everyone!


How much attention do you pay to your surroundings?

 I often move around, oblivious.

Watch where you walk!  You might miss a string of jewels Mother Nature made for you.

Are the jewels from rain or dew? That I can't tell you, but I can say I'd love a necklace or bracelet with the design you see waiting for one wrong move to erase.


Yes, I read signs EVERYWHERE!

  I spotted this sign on a restroom door. I wonder how many times the owners of the store have had customers complain about things they lost in a flush. (grin) I did lose car keys at a different store, and the only place I went was into the restroom. Seriously, I searched everywhere but couldn't find them! I suspect a kid found them and kept them or .....  Lost and Found didn't have them. No one gave them to the manager that day or the next. I had locked my car with the remote.

Have you lost things you'd have bet you couldn't have lost? Tell us about them!

Soon Haunted Tales of spirit lake will be available in print! Go download a copy if you haven't already done so! 



Using Pigs in Your Writing

Posted by Josie | 9:32 PM | 8 comments »

Whenever I read a book, I always enjoy the story more if animals are included. Yes, I love animals, and I'm certain that many people agree with me. An animal adds depth and interest to a novel and can be used in a variety of ways to heighten tension or add comic relief.

Comic relief is the only way to describe Penelopi, the celebrity pig. Gaining international stardom, this pig lives with owners Mindi and Brett Reinbolt in Akron, Ohio.

Check the pig's Facebook page "Penelopi the Pig Reinbolt" and see all the "likes."

The pig enjoys her own sparkly pink bedroom with an electric fireplace in the Reinbolt home, and even has her toenails polished silver. (Really!) She doesn't like off-brand cereals or cheap blankets.

Fortunately for the Reinbolt's, Penelopi's breed usually lives 15-20 years. She weighs 13 pounds.

I write historical romances and will stick with horses and an occasional dog or chicken. And I refuse to polish their toenails!

Civil War, American Civil War, War, Ghost, Armed Forces,
I can't seem to stay away from ghosts. They keep popping up in my stories, difficult to justify to my historical editor who considers them paranormal. Fortunately, I also have a paranormal editor who's all about visitations from the departed. But you see, ghosts are not that unusual in Virginia. We have more ghost stories than any other state in the union. I could share half a dozen paranormal accounts without venturing beyond my neighborhood and family. Those of you who don't believe in this sort of thing, move to the Shenandoah Valley and get back with me. Yes, it's gorgeous here. Maybe that's why some ghosts don't want to leave. Just last week, my son and I saw unexplained greenish-yellow lights up on the hill behind our farm, in the dark, moving around the Old Order Mennonite Church/schoolhouse, then--nothing. Some kind of flashlight, we wondered? Where did it go? If someone needed the light to find their way in, why not back out? It's rural countryside and pitch dark.
old barn at dusk
Did I go investigate? No. I only like to write about ghosts. And I suspect the lower end of the farm behind us is haunted. There's just a creepy old barn and a burned out, nothing left of it, home, and falling into ruins outbuildings. I once found a scrap of newspaper while poking around that site and all it said was 'The devil.'

(Image of old barn at dusk by Elise)
I'm not comfortable with the idea of something skulking about, springing at me, shouting, 'Boo!' If I get the notion anything might, I'll be loudly singing hymns and reciting the Anglican Exorcism prayer sent to mom and me by a lovely English lady named Dorothy Evans. We requested it after she shared an account of their parish manse being haunted by a violent poltergeist and the new priest calling the faithful together to recite the prayer and banish it. She told of paintings flung down from the upstairs hallway and furniture shoved against doors. But the detail I remember best is the saucepan lid she says flew across the kitchen and landed at her feet--thrown by an unseen hand. Fortunately, the faithful were successful in dispelling the offender. Years ago, my son and I held hands and recited this same prayer in the old farm house he and his soon to be wife were renovating, to out the poltergeist banging about, opening doors, and alarming the cat, people, etc. It worked, btw.
ghostly woods
There are several camps of ghosts. The most common are those who have unfinished business. In my stories, once they complete their mission, they move on. They may need help to accomplish their task from the hero or heroine. Some ghosts are seemingly lost--didn't get the memo the war is over, (the Civil War)--or some such confusion, and need encouragement to move on. Some phenomenal occurrences are an echo from the past--a chink in time opening to reveal a brief glimpse of the people and era in which they lived. They're not ghosts. Poltergeists, unseen except for their volatile effects, are more common than visible ghosts. The real bad asses are the ones I worry about encountering--ever. Steer clear of them, unless you bring a group of faithful with you to pray them out.
Fog, Farm, Mist, Cemetery, Tree, Wet, Tombstone, Field, Morning, Grave
In my recent release, historical romance novel, Traitor's Legacy, set during the American Revolution, I made it through the novel with mystery, intrigue, and adventure, no ghosts. However, in writing the sequel, Traitor's Curse, I'm already onto my second ghost, and the story has a delicious Gothic flavor. This one will likely wind up with my paranormal editor. I tried to keep the series straight historical, and the period details are, but there's no keeping the ghosts out. So the series will be, in the words of a local country woman describing her two-year-old, 'right mixy.' Say that with a Southern accent for the full affect.
I'm back working with the Wild Rose Press. I like my editors, and what the company can do with the books that I can't, including more with audio and now they're getting stories translated into other languages. Fortunately, they tell me to write the story that wants to be told and they'll find the spot for it within the company in one of their lines. This isn't to say I won't do any more indie titles, but I like working with the Wild Rose.
For those of you chomping at the bit for the Anglican Exorcism prayer, here it is: Do not try this alone if the presence you sense is evil, only with a strong group of Christians, the more, the better. And join hands. Even if you think I’m nuts.
“In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, may this distressed soul be relieved of his obsession with this world and sent to where he belongs.”
I added, ‘go to the light,’ although a truly evil presence won’t, but a troubled, restless one may. Seems only right to offer that as an option.
Stories I've written with ghosts thus far include Somewhere My Love and Somewhere the Bells Ring (Christmas). These two are the most overtly ghostly. However, Enemy of the King is historical, but the H&H are haunted by his late wife (Traitor's Legacy is the sequel to Enemy of the King). Through the Fire is historical, but the heroine sees her late uncle. Kira, Daughter of the Moon, sequel to Through the Fire, has a poltergeist, but overall, it's historical. Red Bird's Song is strongly historical, but the heroine glimpses her departed brother. The Bearwalker's Daughter is carefully researched historical, but has a strong paranormal element, including the departed returning. And a Shawnee warrior who can 'bear walk'. But that's another phenomena entirely.
 Chapel Hill black and white image
A final sharing from June of this year. As my dear Aunt Moggie lay dying in the old family homeplace in the valley where she'd lived her whole life, including her married life, the hospice nurse roused from where she'd nodded off in a chair, to see a man seated on the bedside. He was holding Moggie's hand and she was speaking quietly with him. The nurse assumed he was my aunt's younger son, Henry. When the man she took to be Henry stood up, nodded at her politely, and left the room, she followed to see for certain who he was. She discovered Henry asleep in a chair. It wasn't him. My aunt spoke matter-of-factly about her late husband, RW, being with her. And Henry looks a lot like his father did as a younger man. When I heard the man sitting with my aunt had nodded politely to the nurse before leaving the room, I knew it had to be my uncle. That was exactly like him. I believe he returned to be with his beloved wife as she was passing from this world to the next. The veil may be thinner than we think.

Somewhere the Bells Ring larger cover sizeChapel Hill, pictured above, is the old family homeplace in the Shenandoah Valley and the setting for my ghostly Christmas romance, Somewhere the Bells Ring.
My stories are available from various booksellers, but Amazon has them all.
Visit my Amazon Author Page.