Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Magical elements of cosmos flowers in a western romance? by Kaye Spencer

My current short story in progress (SSiP), is an October/Halloween themed western romance for the upcoming Halloween anthology from Prairie Rose Publications, Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico. My heroine is a hereditary witch for whom fate brings the last living male descendant of the judge who condemned her grandmother, of 10 generations in the past, to hang as a witch. The tentative title is For Mercy’s Sake.

In creating the heroine’s home, I drew upon three of my personal interests, which are paganism, witchcraft, and Wicca. I have an extensive collection of resources on these subjects, some of which I learned first-hand from my maternal grandfather. Although it was never said outright, as I look back on my childhood and teen years, I realize my grandfather was probably a solitary practitioner of pagan beliefs. As a youngster, I knew the community thought he was odd and eccentric, but they seemed to accept his oddness with amused acceptance.

Now, back to my heroine’s home. Since the way she supports herself is by selling the tinctures, salves, oils, powders, etc. that she makes from the plants she grows, I spent a few paragraphs in the story telling about the plants, herbs, vegetables, and flowers in her garden and around the house. One of the flowers my heroine grows is orange cosmos.

While cosmos have no particular herbal or medicinal attributes other than attracting certain insects that prey on 'worse' insects, it does attract fairies (but I'm not including fairies in this story). The main reason to grow cosmos in your yard or garden is for their powerful influence in sorting out life's confusions and for helping to put everyday 'things' in order. These flowers mostly offer the gift of integrating body and spirit to keep them in tune with the other so that one doesn't get out of sync with the other, and these flowers assist with a person's clarity of thinking as in keeping a sharp focus.

Although the flowers have a light, barely discernible scent, cosmos are not for picking, confining in a vase, and setting in the middle of the dining room table on display. These flowers are free spirits meant to be treasured in their natural environment. They are a silent flower, meaning they make no
sound in the wind when they rub against each otherthey keep your secrets.

Cosmos are low-maintenance perennials that actually thrive in adverse conditions of poor soil and little water, but they do need a lot of sunlight. They bloom in late June to mid-July and will continue to bloom through frost. Once the flowers dry up, the seeds are available for hand-harvesting. Store in
such a way that they can dry out before putting them in a paper sack. You don't want them to mold. Stored seeds are still viable after several years of dormancy. If you plant a new bed of cosmos, just scratch them into the ground, and lightly cover with dirt to keep birds from eating the seeds.

The word 'cosmos' derives from the Greek 'kosmos', which means order and harmony (and 'the world'). Cosmos are considered group flowers because each individual flower grows close to its neighbor to offer the strength of community effort to withstand the onslaught of the wind. To take this farther, cosmos flowers embody a balance of all four elements of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, in that order, and here is why...

First and foremost, the cosmos is a flower of the wind. It thrives in windy conditions, which makes it a perfect prairie flower, which is where I live. Even though it is a tall plant, it reaches toward the sky and will often grow to chest high, especially the pink, purple, red, and white varieties. The orange variety, which is my favorite, has a different leaf structure than the pastels and does not grow as tall. All colors of flower heads sway in a graceful dance in the tiniest of breezes, they are flexible, yet strong enough to withstand even strong winds. The foliage is fernlike so there is an airy quality to it. The blossoms, though delicate, flutter with the wind rather than take the wind's battering, and the seeds are well-adapted to blowing in the wind for distribution. Seeds of the orange variety are longer than the pastel

Cosmos thrive in hot, sun-beaten conditions with little or even a lack of shade. It seems that they 'look' for places to grow that expose them to the heat and light of the sun without even the tiniest hope of shade. In the wild, cosmos choose to thrive in dry and sunbaked, ground, and they prosper
during the hottest, driest time of the year, which is during the height of the summer and into early autumn. The blossoms expand up and then outwards in the manner of the sun's rays. The centers of each flower are dark to flame-yellow, and the blossoms tend to orient their faces towards the sun. When the woody stems dry after frost, they can be used as fire-starter material.

At first look, the main stem of the cosmos flower appears spindly, even willowy, and certainly not strong enough to withstand winds, but they are actually thick, tough, and woody. They have a strong connection to the Earth element because of their expansive root system, which is in  counterbalance
to the tall branching stems, thus allowing the plant to resist uprooting by wind.

Because the cosmos plant is made up of thin, flat, dry-to-the-feel leaves and stem that offer minimal area for transpiration or moisture retention, and that the plant physically  needs little water to thrive, the element of Water may not, at first thought, be much of an influence in this plant. The seeds are also thin and dry, which makes them easily airborne. The root system does its job in inhospitable, even hostile, soil environments in the driest growing season. However, when water is available, the cosmos takes full advantage of the precious gift and does not waste a drop. Since the cosmos is in full bloom in the late summer/early autumn and is considered an autumn flower, the Water element is actually strong in it because the ancient Celtic calendar associates autumn with the element of Water.

So, to tie this back to my SSiP, my heroine has cosmos flowers growing all around her house to help keep harmony and balance in her life. *insert evil author laughter* She doesn't know it (because I haven't written it, yet), but I'm going to turn her harmony and balance upside down like a James Bond
martini—shaken, not stirred.

Until next month,


Fall in love...faster, harder, deeper with Kaye Spencer romances
Twitter - @kayespencer

**Pictures are from Kaye's flower garden.**
Note - for more information about Cosmos flowers, visit: and

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dealing with change

This has been a time of big changes for me. After losing my second dog—a dog I’d had for 15 years, a dog that was always at my side and a dog I had cared for when he became sick about 2 years ago—I have entered a new phase of my life. Losing my first dog 2 years ago was hard, but I still had my other dog. But now that both of them are gone, I realized a whole section of my life is lost. So many changes came about with them—good and bad, but mostly good—and now I find myself wondering what the future holds for me. Taking care of a sick pet is difficult and a part of me is relieved to be free of that, but a part of me is also heartbroken.

Luckily, I have one dog remaining. He came into our lives about a year ago. Without him, I would truly be lost. A huge chapter of my life is gone and new one begins. Even though I am sad for what I have lost, I look forward to the future. I’m using this time of change to reinvent myself, to clean out my clutter and to focus on what lies ahead and not dwell on what has past.

Change can be a good thing. It depends on how you choose to look at it—you either accept it and move on or you don’t and risk becoming depressed. I’m hoping to move on. Here’s to what the future holds.


Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author



Two mortals are caught in the midst of the battle between the Titans and Olympian gods.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Equal Rights Blog Hop

The Equal Rights Blog Hop, with a passel of prizes to be won, begins tomorrow. My post is below:

For Bron who moved across the country so her FF romance would come true.

My only female cousin was thirteen years older than me, so by the time I was old enough to know she was my cousin, she already seemed completely grown up to my little girl self. One by one my cousins got married but Bron didn’t. I longed for her to tell me she was engaged because I planned to ask to be her flower girl, but all that happened was that she took a job in a state a long way from where we lived. I was much older before I understood that she and her female best friend were closer than that. And it was even longer before I understood that where she and her lover had chosen to live was a state that accepted lesbians.

It was Bron who opened my eyes to the obstacles that two women face in finding their own happy ever after. I’m so glad she and Nancy found theirs in the end.

For a chance to win your choice of one of my backlist digital books answer this question:
What is my cousin’s name?
EMAIL your answer to berengariabrownATgmailDOTcom

To read more stories by authors on the theme of “Your first experience in the LGBT community” Keep hopping. Return to the blog hop page and click on the next author’s link:

Berengaria Brown

Monday, June 30, 2014

What are your favorite genres to read and write by Kaye Spencer

Readers, have you ever wondered why you ‘read what you read’?

Authors, what is your response in interviews about why you 'write what you write'?

For both readers and writers: If you're drawn to a particular genre over all others, have you ever considered why?

Over the years of my publishing career, I've encountered variations of these questions in author interviews. I have three general points for why I tend to write historicals and particularly stories set in the American Old West.

Reason 1—Research

Every historical I write allows me to follow rabbits down research rabbit holes. I've discovered the most intriguing and amazing tidbits of history in my historical research Wonderland. Researching is my ‘happy place’. It’s important to me to have the details in my stories as historically accurate as possible.

Reason 2—Living vicariously in the past

While I’m writing a story set in the past, I get to travel to a different place and time and live in someone else's shoes, so-to-speak. I’m like Anthony Marston in Quigley Down Under: “…Some men [women] are born in the wrong century.” All my life I’ve felt out-of-place living in our ‘modern’ world. So when I transport myself to the time in which my characters are living, I’m in another one of my ‘happy places’.

Reason 3—Challenge of overcoming inconveniences

I like writing stories that lack modern day conveniences. Without the amenities we’re accustomed to nowadays, there are so many juicy complications for the characters to face, deal with, and overcome that otherwise could be written away with a call on the cell phone or by hopping an airplane. The possibilities for plot complications in the areas of communication, transportation, physical relationships (particularly in the area of limited contraceptive options), and medicine—to name but a few—are endless.

Any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear them.

Until next time,


Fall in love…faster, harder, deeper with Kaye Spencer romances
Twitter - @kayespencer

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Writing help: Finding my way back

I’ve reached a place in my writing where I’ve become complacent, especially when it comes to revisions. I need some discipline, maybe a kick in the butt to get myself back on track. I’m not sure how this happened. Maybe I have become uninspired when it comes to rewrites. What frustrates me is I can read through an unknown manuscript and easily find what needs to be fixed, but when it comes to my own writing, I’m blind. Something needs to be done to find my mojo again and get me out of this writing funk. I wonder if other writers experience this at some point.

I thought back to when I first started writing and how excited I was to get those words down and get them right without worrying about how I did it. Maybe it’s inspiration I need in order to find my way again—inspiration and some discipline when it comes to revising my work.

Discipline I can manage. So, how do I get that elusive inspiration back that I need? That’s the million-dollar question. This is almost as bad as writer’s block. One thing I noticed is I worry too much about breaking the writing rules now, and I think that fear is holding me back. When I was a newbie writer, I didn’t worry about the rules because I didn’t know all of them yet. I think some of my earlier writing is also my best, or at least, more unfettered than it has been lately. To be creative, I think you need to let go and not worry about rules too much. Yeah, I know. I just said I need to be unfettered and have some discipline—contradicting meanings. Surely, I’m crazy. Possibly. But, what I mean is there needs to be a balance of letting go of the rules and having some discipline during the revising process. I can’t just casually read through my manuscript. I need to go through it line by line and have a list of things I need to look at. This is where knowing my weaknesses can be useful. My editor helped me with that one. Smile

So, how do I find the inspiration to write and revise my book to make it the best it can be? I need to let go of my hesitation, my fear of breaking a rule. I need to let the words flow naturally. That and a little kick in the butt of discipline might just help me get back what I lost.


Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author



Two mortals are caught in the midst of the battle between the Titans and Olympian gods.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nashville--A Guilty Pleasure

                 My friends consider me a serious person, but even serious people can have guilty pleasures. For me, it’s the wildly popular television show Nashville, which has been slowly growing in popularity for the last two years. Yes, I’ll admit, it’s “soap-operish” so the viewer needs to buckle themselves into their sofas and prepare for a rolicsome ride—secrets, sex, betrayals—typical Hollywood conflict. It also boasts fabulous County music—not the old-fashioned Johnny Cash/Waylon Jennings variety but hip pop culture tunes that are quickly downloaded from Itunes after each episode.
            But what astounds me most about Nashville are the characters on this series and how they’re portrayed. Almost all of them are multi-faceted, possessing equal measures of good and bad qualities. In other words, they resemble real people, and that’s the real draw of this show for me.
            Take Juliette Barnes, played by the luscious Hayden Panettiere, the archrival country singer who the audience hated all first season because she represented the new and upcoming country music scene and threatened the survival of Rayna James, the more established county music singer, played by the adorably sexy Connie Britton, the heroine of the series.
            Juliette Barnes was bad. She seduced Rayna’s ex-lover Deacon Clayborne (Charles Esten) who for the last fifteen years or so was still pining over Rayna, at the exact moment when the audience was still hoping that Rayna and Deacon would get back together. Juliette seemingly abandoned and rejected her own mother. She treated her manager badly. And yet we knew she’d suffered a terrible childhood that was yet to be revealed. Cliché? Yes, but what worked so well is that when Season Two rolled around, somehow Juliette managed to redeem herself. She became the recipient of undeserved misfortune—tons of it—and then when she tried to grow musically out of her bubble gum image, the county music establishment rejected her.  We saw another side of Juliette.
            Now, I and I’m sure the entire audience finds themselves fascinated with her character because she is so real. She is both wonderfully good and wickedly bad.  We rejoice in her portrayal because we feel the pressure is off. 
            Characters don’t have to be perfect. 
            As a writer, I watch with envy how Juliette moves across the screen.            
            Flawed characters are always more fun to write and more interesting to watch on the screen and read in a story.    

Saturday, June 7, 2014

When your day is shorter than your to-do-list.

What robs you of your time to write.

My intentions to stay on track are great or that’s what I like to tell myself. Time management is a balance. A precise schedule that holds everything together. But there are days when no matter what I did, nothing worked out and these days would run into weeks. I had to find out what was robbing me of my time, so I made a list.
What took up time in my day.
Work, eating, cleaning, feeding animals, laundry, email, blogs and sleep. By the time I got home, cleaned up, ate and worked on e-mails I was exhausted. In my head, I had hours during the day to write. Why wasn’t it working out in my real life?

I found an article and it talked about writing out a time log. Spend a few days and jot down everything you do.  It worked out great and showed me how I was wasting so much time.  So I decided to share.

Preparing and writing your time log

You don't need to keep writing a time log permanently. It is sufficient to do it for 3-7 days.  When you write a time log, make sure you don't miss even the minor activities. Don't let your time wasters hide there. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into columns listed below.
  • Time
  • Activities
  • Scheduled
  • Interrupted
  • Urgent
  • People (involved)
Then continue with activities you would normally do that day. On the way, update your time log. Do it either every time you switch to a new activity or at some short time intervals, like 10-20 minutes. Add entries to your "Time" and "Activities" column, and try to put marks like "Yes" or "No" in the "Scheduled", "Interrupted", and "Urgent" columns. Where relevant, make short notes on what people you spend time with too.
 When you have your time log written, you can move to the most important part, the analysis. Review your records and try to get answers to the following questions.
  • What percentage of your time is spent in each of the different areas of your life? How is it divided between Work, Business, Family, Recreational, writing?
  • What percentage of your activities are important?
  • Are urgent?
  • What people you spend more time with?
  • What percentage of your activities go as planned?
  • What are main interruptions?
Then think of possible adjustments and action steps. For example:
  • Are there any activities you can cut back on?
  • Is there anything you can delegate or simplify?
  • Can you save time by grouping related tasks, like shopping?
Once you see everything you do on paper, it will amaze you on how you can add a little more time to your writing.
My time is better spent now on getting my book ready for its release.

If I knew then 
YA. To be released late 2014 through Black Opal Books.

Angel dreamed of a life of freedom. One filled with love that didn't come with a price.  She hid the pain until Jax entered her life. Can he give her what she needs to let go of the past or will he leave her with a bigger challenge that will change her future?

Angel fought to keep her family safe from the evil that threatened to destroy her. She made sure she was always the one in front of her sisters when her Mother yielded her wrath. Keeping the danger that surrounded them a secret.To lessen the blow she lived a lie that everyone believed, except for one. He was her only source of happiness until one day he was gone. With nothing left, and no one to turn to she must outrun her past, and overcome the secret that she fights to hide, before her Mother destroys everything she has left to hold on to.

Rescued from the Dark
Published through Black Opal Books

What if you woke up from a nightmare, trapped in a world of darkness, with no memory of how you got there? Rescued from the Dark is a passionate, gripping story about FBI agent, Jason Michaels, confronting his duty to his country, and struggling with his feelings for a woman with no memory of their love.

Undercover Agent,Jason Michaels, infiltrates the terrorist cell and risks everything, even his life, to save the FBI intern who stole his heart, then walked away. Once Mercy wakes from her coma Jason struggles with the fact that she does not remember what happened, but anguishes with the idea that she believes their unborn child belongs to her ex. Jason soon realizes the terrorists vow to get her back to claim their secrets locked in her memory, no matter what the cost. In a race against time, Jason and Mercy struggle to fight their attraction, and put their differences aside, as they launch a manhunt to save their country and each other.





Lynda Kaye Frazier
Facebook- Lynda Kaye Frazier- Author
Twitter- lynda_kaye

Writing is my passion, Reading is my Love.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

An Amazing Resource

Okay I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

I recently found out about MSWL, which is "manuscript wish list". Find it on Twitter @ MSWL. There is also a website, which contains the same information. It's a list of various editors, publishers and agents and what they want to see - ie, their manuscript wish list. Some of the people posting have even included information on how to submit directly to them.

So happy submitting!

Additionally, I have been hearing about dancer Twyla Tharp's "The Creative Habit" for years but have never laid hands on a copy. Until two weeks ago. Trust me, you will love this book. Do whatever it takes to get your hands on a copy.

And finally, if you're looking for a fun summer read, check out the newest books by Gwen Ellery. Gwen is my hero thanks to her ability to write funny, which for my money is the most difficult thing to do.

As the French say, bon weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What’s the big deal about Ménage Romance?

In an earlier blog about Lesbian Romance: Making HIStory HERstory as well, I talked about how women had no rights at all a few hundred years ago. I also said I’ve been endlessly fascinated about how women had nonetheless managed to find a way around the restrictions and rules under which they were obliged to live, and found happiness.
And then, as writers tend to do, I asked myself, “What If?”
What if women were treasured? What if women were considered special, and loved? What if the society’s culture taught men that a woman was a treasured possession, a person to be cherished, loved, and protected? I began researching other cultures and found out about several countries where all the brothers share a wife. Each of them is trained to be by her side to support and help her always.
I created a world where people following this ancient tradition had been forced into hiding. Where they built their homes underground, living apart from the mainstream world to avoid persecution for their cultural beliefs.
The “Possessive Passions” series takes some of these ancient cultural traditions from countries that practice (or practiced in the past) polyandry.
Reading erotic romance is a woman’s fantasy. And what better fantasy than to read about a world where women no longer have to struggle to be everything to everyone? Today’s women are expected to work a paid job, rear the kids, keep the apartment clean and tidy, exercise and stay fit and slim, help and support their aging parents, and still have enough energy left at the end of the day to cook a scrumptious meal, and romance the man in their life. Many women exhaust themselves trying to fulfill these kinds of unrealistic expectations. What better way to relax than to immerse oneself in a world where two (or even three) men worship their woman, offering endless love and support in a community designed for this lifestyle?
I loved building this world and meeting the people in it. I was sad when I finished writing the series. I’d like to live there myself!

“Shared Possession” Book 1 of “Possessive Passions” Blurb:
Chevaunne is abducted by three brothers who take her to a new world where brothers share one wife, who is their treasured possession. Jim, Sam, and Paul have waited years to find the perfect woman, and when they see Chevaunne, they know immediately she is the one for them.
After a mind-blowing night with the three men, Chevaunne marries them the next day in front of the entire community. Now she has to learn a totally new life—a new culture, new ways of doing everything. But the sex is amazing, her men are considerate and loving, and Chevaunne is making friends and settling in.
Soon, though, she begins to wonder if she’s losing her mind. No matter how happy she is, she was kidnapped, after all! What was she thinking when she agreed to stay?

“Shared Possession” story excerpt

Chevaunne became aware she was aching deliciously in all sorts of places that had been neglected for far too long. Both her previous boyfriends had been fellow workers at the hospital, one a doctor, the other an admin assistant. The relationship with the doctor had gradually fizzled out when their schedules never seemed to have them off work at the same time, and she’d decided she wanted a lot more than the occasional fuck against the supply room wall. The other relationship had ended in a blaze of anger when she’d discovered he was only dating her “because nurses know how to give good head.”
So why was she feeling so well-used and relaxed when she had no current boyfriend?
Chevaunne wriggled down a little deeper under the covers and felt the hard bodies lying on either side of her. Suddenly, she was wide-awake. Oh, shit! That hadn’t been a dream. I really was kidnapped by three brothers and agreed to marry them, then had my brains fucked out over and over again.
Her eyes flew open, and she sat up in the bed. Yep, three men. Jim, Sam, and Paul. And she’d agreed to marry them. She needed to see a psychiatrist right now and get her head examined!
Two gentle hands pulled her over onto a hard body. “Morning, beautiful lady.”
That was Paul. He’d called her that last night.
All three of them kissed her, and hands slid over her body, teasing her breasts, cupping her mound, touching her gently along her ribs and down her side. Lust exploded in her and cream dripped onto her inner thighs. I can’t possibly have sex again. I’ve never had so many orgasms in one night in my life before! There’s no way I could do it again so soon. Or is there?
Regret sounded strongly in his voice as Jim said, “We would enjoy making love to you again, but we don’t want you to be too sore. This morning we must say our vows to the Justice of the Peace and our monk, Father Yeshe. Come and shower now, then we need to have breakfast and get dressed.”
Jim took her to the bathroom and showed her where the shampoo and soaps were kept and pointed out the pile of towels to her, and then he left her alone.
Chevaunne shut the door and sank onto the commode. Actually, one of the two commodes. There were two sinks as well, plus the biggest tub she’d ever seen. Dazedly, Chevaunne shook her head. Her brain was still trying to grasp what she’d done. Had she really agreed to marry three men? How did that work? I’m pretty sure that’s not legal, but then neither is kidnapping. So who is this JP we’re seeing? Why see a JP when one woman marrying three men isn’t legal?
It was all too much to think about, and her tummy was rumbling. She hadn’t eaten supper, and she’d burned off a lot of calories last night. She grinned as she remembered the fantastic sex and stepped into the shower.

Buy Link:

The other books in the “Possessive Passions” series are: “Possess Me”, “Ultimate Possession”, and “Captured Possession”. All are available at

Berengaria Brown
http://berengariabrown. com/