Archive for the ‘Women’s Fiction’ Category

A short reminder that tonight is the last opportunity to buy my ebook titles at the 65% discount rate offered through the month of March. The sale will end tonight at midnight, Eastern Time.

The sale includes:



Also, my publisher, Amazon is offering my debut novel, Wait a Lonely Lifetime at a discount.




And also included are the 6 installment stories that make up the Nights Before novel (available only in print). The stories as individual ebooks are at 100% discount (free!) onKobo, AllRomanceEbooks, and Smashwords.


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8d4ff-wllcoverMontlake Publishing (my publisher for my debut novel) will, on Amazon, be offering Wait a Lonely Lifetime at 1/3 the usual price (99¢) from Friday, March 4th through Monday, April 4th.

In the spirit of this Spring Sale from Montlake Publishing, I will be offering the same amazing deal for ALL my books currently listed on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords during the same time period, approximately 65%.  Books that are currently available for 99¢ will be FREE (except Barnes&Noble & Amazon) for the duration of the sale.

Beginning on March 4th, this March Madness Sale is the perfect opportunity to get ready for your Summer Reading Adventure!

My part of the sale will also include my historical novels set Wales! Details about those are on Lily Dewaruile: Welsh Medieval Romance.

All of my ebook titles will be on sale until April 4th:


‘Twas the Night Before New Year FREE
‘Twas the Night Before Valentine’s Day FREE
‘Twas the Night Before Mother’s Day FREE
‘Twas the Night Before Labor Day FREE
‘Twas the Night Before Veteran’s Day FREE
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Eve FREE

Wait a Lonely Lifetime 99¢ (Only available on Amazon)
Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls $1.65 
This Can’t Be Love 99¢



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This was my second post for Classic and Cozy Books, March 25, 2014, posted shortly after I published Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, one of my favorite novels. If we don’t like our own work, why are we writing?

Have you ever found yourself writing, without premeditation, about someone from your distant past, even your childhood, whom you have not thought of during all the intervening years? There they are, just as you had last seen them, clear and vital, presiding over a part in your story that you wouldn’t have envisioned when you began the work.

Sometimes they are protagonist, or antagonist, but more often they are the deuteragonist or tritagonist who hold your fictional world together in the populated corners that give your story and main characters depth.

When I was a fifth grader, my mother decided that this tomboy was going to learn how to walk, sit and stand like a young lady. Every Saturday morning, I walked up to the mansion on Sutro Hill where Mrs. Evelyn King held her dance classes in her own studio, complete with barre, walls of full length mirrors, a stage and a sun room also with barre and a view across the city to the Bay.

I was not the only girl in my school class attending these lessons but I may have been the only one who got more than good posture out of the years of ballet, jazz and ethnic dances.

At least in terms of sparking a lifetime of creative inspiration and opportunity.

Not only did I learn to dance, I developed a love of music. For me, the two are inextricably linked. I rarely listen to music without also dancing—if not full-on, with my fingers and/or toes.

Yet, I knew from the first lesson dancing was not my future. Choreography was fun and performing was a thrill but to be a professional dancer required the one element I didn’t bring to the barre every Saturday morning. Passion.

That ingredient was reserved, even then, for writing, for story-telling, for making worlds with words. Being able to transform all the joys and heartbreaks of growing up into stories is a most wonderful thing.

So, Mrs. King, thank you for inspiring me to nourish this passion. Perhaps, if you were still with us you might recognize yourself in Sharon, the dance teacher in my novel, Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls. But, if not, know that I created her as a tribute to you and all the other teachers who have launched their students into the world of creativity.

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On the Night Before Labor Day, a preview of my latest novel: Opening chapter of first story.

Nights Before: The NovelNew Year’s Eve is a time for reflection and change. Jocelyn has more changes coming at her from all directions beginning on a Portland, Maine winter day than she’s faced since her mother’s death. None of it bodes well for the junior editor’s fledgling career when her fiancé abandons her. If not for three unwise princes, a Viking warrior and a sinkhole…

So starts the last day of an Old Year in Jocelyn Tavers’s life. Over the next 12 months, she faces her 26th birthday, falling on Mother’s Day, at the same time as she wonders what happened to a certain officious lawman and a certain deserter father remembers her birthday after only fifteen years of neglect.

An ex-boyfriend and the appearance of a complete stranger are not the only obstacles to disrupt her author’s book launch, especially when that stranger is her next editing assignment.

But this New Year isn’t all downhill. Nights Before national holidays bring more than big sale weekends for Joey-Jo, including all she ever wanted for Christmas.

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We have a love/hate relationship with the law. We must have rules to build a society. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding gives us the story of lost boys forming their own laws in an imperfect society to control their fear and desperation, a social order based on the example set by their experience of an adult model, equally imperfect.

If society is human-made, it is necessarily as imperfect as its creators. We don’t claim perfection, we do claim effort. Laws are our effort to establish a working social order that is as fair and as enabling as we want our own lives to be. That necessarily means that some human activity is curtailed and some is punishable. An obvious example is causing the death of or injury to another human being. Causing deliberate harm or by negligence is another.

Traitor's_Daughter200When I write about the law, lawyers, law enforcement officers, judges etc., I do so from a perspective informed by my experience of … criminals.

From my first completed and published novel, an historical Romance, written under my pen name, Lily Dewaruile, Traitor’s Daughter, through my latest contemporary novel, This Can’t Be Love, I have had a lawyer somewhere in the works.

The hero in Traitor’s Daughter, Garmon Dolwyddlan,  is a Welsh medieval lawyer working under the codified laws of Hywel Dda in the 10th Century, defending his wife against accusations of assault and bringing false charges against two members of his own family.

SDwPtPBCover831In Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, the hero, David Gitano, is a corporate lawyer in San Francisco, under pressure to break all of his profession’s highest ethics in order to keep his son. Throughout my novel by installment, Nights Before, the law enforcement officer with the nice eyes, Brad Foster, is equally maligned and adored by his wannabe girlfriend, Jocelyn Tavers.

Welsh medieval/Celtic laws play a part in all of the books of my medieval family saga, Pendyffryn: The Conquerors, and are at play in the second generation of this saga, The Inheritors.

ThisCantBeLoveCoverFinal200_thumb.jpgWhen Jakki Hunter is harassed by a former friend when her rescuer, Mike Argent, the construction site manager-hero in This Can’t Be Love, pursues a claim against the friend for damages, Mike’s foreman gives him the business card of his sister, the barracuda of the Edinburgh legal system, Mary McEwan.

When I was in college, I worked as a writer for a newspaper distributed to prisoners throughout California and the U.S. The people who had established the organization publishing this newsletter were all ex-convicts, people with whom I worked daily. There is a reason some people go to prison and a good reason they are forever after known as ‘cons’.

Most of these men and women were intelligent but used their intelligence to nefarious ends, to con well-intentioned supporters into giving them grants and access to power. Some were of a brutal nature, easily manipulated by their smarter con-colleagues into performing their bidding, as Jakki’s tormentor is able to encourage his minions to do.

Cons are masters of manipulation and they are shameless. They are typically self-important and harbor delusions of superiority; nothing pleases them more than convincing the unsuspecting that their ideas and causes are right. They find the weakness in the law and exploit it to their purpose and advantage.

Following my years of training in visiting convicts at San Quentin and Folsom,  listening to the ex-cons gloating about how easy it is to get naïve civilians to believe their games, and the wretched tales of abuse and violence to which their victims were subjected—quite often their girlfriends and wives (Tina Turner, the inspiration for the title of this post, is an example of that)—I can truthfully say the criminal class has contributed significantly to my understanding of human behavior.

LilyDewaruile_Invasion200However, I prefer to make heroes and heroines of those who stand for ‘the right thing’. And it is a great pleasure to bring the cons and thugs in my novels to their just ends. I don’t write crime fiction. I write about the interaction of human beings in ordinary situations. Manipulation, bullying, confidence games, harassment, violence are all part of the mix.

In the novel I’m currently writing, Pavane for Miss Marcher, the hero is – you guessed it – a lawyer. The antagonist is a politician. Caught in the middle is a woman whose kindness and sense of ‘the right thing’ puts her in the clutches of the politician and the care of the lawyer. And the novel I am editing for publication later this year in the Pendyffryn: The Inheritors series, Justice? I think the title answers that question.

So. What’s law got to do with it? A lot!

With thanks to all the men and women who serve and protect our society, defend our Constitution, and uphold our laws.

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What can I say about my own most recent novel? I loved writing it and the hero, Mike Argent, is now my favorite grumpy construction worker.

ThisCantBeLoveCoverFinal200.jpgI first entertained the idea of writing a novel set during the Fringe when I was part of a small group of Welsh theater folk performing a Jeeves and Wooster comedy. Several of my colleagues from my work with community dance had taken their work to the Festival in years past and one of my close friends attended as often as she could so I was well-prepared for the two week event.

My role with most performing arts is front of house, though I have been caught on stage as a dancer in many cases and not so long ago as one of the Trojan Women – you’ll notice these are non-speaking roles!

I have always loved the theater but had no ambitions to perform as an actor after college. My final on stage role was as the Page in Shaw’s Joan of Arc. Once you have stage fever, hanging around the stage in any capacity is good fun. For my one and only Fringe production, I was as Usher/Tickets/Bouncer which played to all my fantasies of a life in greasepaint (much the same role as two characters in This Can’t Be Love).

A bit about the book: Falling in love with the quirky actress, Jakki Hunter, is all Mike Argent needs to deal with the incessant drone of the pipers along Princes Street, but does little to dull his pain. Jakki Hunter’s quirks have protected her from some of the men who won’t take no for an answer but they don’t deter Mike’s rescuer instincts when she falls at his feet. With only two weeks to convince Jakki he’s not like those other guys, Mike digs deep to unlock his own heart to open hers.

This novel is written from Mike’s point of view and that was a challenge, but a great experience. As you can see from the tags below, some difficult social problems are part of this novel.

This Can’t Be Love is now available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, All Romance ebooks, iBookstore, Smashwords and also as a paperback on Barnes & Noble and Amazon; in paperback on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Three weeks after the Romance Writers of America National Conference in New York, I wrote this article for Avalon Authors, July 23, 2011

suchstuffasdreams1The romance genre in commercial, popular fiction has been attracting considerable criticism in recent months. Most of that has been directed at the more risqué end of the romance spectrum but the bad press filters through to all the many and varied categories. The book, Such Stuff as Dreams, sheds some light on how we benefit from fiction of all descriptions – well worth a look for the pundits who rage at romance.

Last month, at a writers association’s national conference, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Media Handling. This month, I had an opportunity to use what I had learned. The principle issue discussed in the workshop was how to handle adverse interviews.

This did make me wonder if crime writers, fantasy and science fiction authors, mystery and western storytellers ever have to fend off the attacks that romance authors are currently having to defend themselves against. Maybe some of you can answer that for me.

Until then, I’m assuming you don’t – or at least not in the way that romance is being kicked around the media. Because romance is predominately written by and read by women, there is an assumption that we don’t understand the difference between fiction and the ‘real’ world. Romance is considered a danger to women’s psychological and emotional health. Do these pundits seriously think that a love story is more insidious than a gruesome, brutal description of a serial killer’s activity?

Most of the people making this claim obviously have not read a romance novel or they would see the error of their thinking. Romance is no more outside the realm of reality than some of the novels written by Anne Rice, Ken Follett, James Patterson or Annie Proulx.

One of the pointers given at the workshop was to ask that the interviewer present the questions to be asked so that the interviewee could prepare. I asked for this when I was invited by a local radio station to participate in a weekly broadcast. For about three minutes, we stuck to the questions. From then on, it was a freewheeling conversation. But, from the workshop, I learned to self-edit my answers so they could not be twisted.

Do [those of you who are] non-romance writers have to shield yourselves in this way? Do you have sage advice for those of us who are in the media’s claws right now?

Fortunately for me, the interviewer was sympathetic to the creative effort and had no bias against my art form. Many of my colleagues have not been given this respect. One of the things, I think, that contributes to the lack of appreciation for genre fiction in general and romance in particular is the practitioners’ and readers’ tendency to keep their preference under cover. So, at the workshop, I made a pledge, from that moment, I will practice the principles of Open Carry.

How frightening is a romance novel compared to a holstered gun?

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SalsaNeweBook200The 2nd edition of Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls will be released today as a single book with revisions and a new cover. Below is one of my favorite scenes from the book.

Chapter 18

Miguel napped. The music was sensuous and evocative. Emily felt its power to inspire physical response but David was still reluctant to trust himself to follow it. Even making a slow turn was hard work and Emily, accustomed to dancing as she pleased, sensed that, for him, dancing was a prelude, not a pleasure in itself. She yielded to his interpretation of its primary purpose.

All of the pivot windows were open. A breeze that swept down from the cliff top, over the back garden to the river, carrying the early afternoon fog ahead of it, danced between the sheets of plate glass, riffling the edges of his files, flipping open the covers of magazines, turning the pages of Miguel’s storybooks. Though the music still provided ambient sound when they lay on the sofa together, it faded to a murmur as they explored one another.

Emily took deep breaths of the breeze caressing her skin as David opened the buttons of her blouse and slid his hand between her jeans and her bare skin, allowing him unlimited access to her mouth, exploring the unyielding contours of his body with tentative fingers. Gusts of wind rippled along his golden shoulders, lifting his shirt away from his body and gave her an enticing glimpse of the strength he had at his command. …

Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyl will be available as an ebook on the iBookstore, Amazon and other online retailers, as well as a paperback.

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Every writer needs a place to create. For some of us, that place is specific and consistent. For others, it is wherever we find ourselves when inspiration strikes.

Polyhymnia by Francisco del Cossa - the Muse of Poetry

Polyhymnia by Francisco del Cossa – the Muse of Poetry

For most of us, that place is both of the above. We are always prepared for that magic to pass from our thoughts, through our heart to our fingers. (Not to forget those who dictate their words to the waiting screen or digital recorder of some sort – this is something I’ve considered but pen and paper are more readily available.)

When I say ‘uncluttered,’ I don’t necessarily mean a tidy desk or Spartan environment. I’m really talking about that place in your head that takes over when you are linked to your muse. When I wrote the final installments of Nights Before, I had such a tight deadline, I had to find time to write at every opportunity.

My morning commute to my office in downtown San Francisco provided exactly that. From my residence to my office transverses the city diagonally and, depending on traffic in the Muni Metro tunnel, that commute may be an hour long and since I start at the first stop and end at the penultimate, that hour is mine to do as I wish. Writing scenes for ‘Twas the Night Before Labor Day and ‘Twas the Night Before Veterans Day came as welcome respites from the jostling and tinny music of my fellow commuters.

Hesiod and the Muse by Gustave Moreau

Hesiod and the Muse by Gustave Moreau

My usual physical place of ‘business’ is my dining table. For years, my only opportunity to write was sitting in bed at night, on lined tablets of paper of which I bought cases. In fact, writing in bed at night is where Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, Wait a Lonely Lifetime and my two current works in progress, Dance by the Light of the Moon and This Can’t Be Love, first found their form in words.

Occasionally, when the story has a firm grip on me, I have had no choice but to go to the dining table to write from the early hours until dawn and the rest of the household awakens. These fleeting Muses, as the Greeks were well-aware, are fickle and will depart if they are not attended at their demand. A Muse will not tolerate neglect.

Where does your Muse find you unable to resist her call?

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Cover art for Wait a Lonely Lifetime“Have no expectations. Have no disappointments.” – Often heard advice.

“Do you mind if I do?” – Right response.

Expectation is a powerful tool in a writer’s career. Without expectation of finishing the book,  of finding readers, of publishing, of putting words on the page even if no one reads them and a host of other treats in store, writers have few rewards.

Here are some vital statistics presented at a writers’ workshop a few years ago (this was prior to the entrepreneurial digital explosion):

  • only 3% of writers are ever published
  • only 3% of writers who are published ever have their name on the cover of a book

When I heard these statistics at the beginning of this millennium, I was among the first 3% and the second 3%, a rarefied group but, for me, less than my ambition. I didn’t consider myself a published writer in the sense I wanted to be.

Through all the years I wrote and edited, I was also writing book-length fiction. This was my ultimate ambition, to be a novelist. I wrote for hours everyday but, as a product of an academic creative writing program, I wasn’t writing anything I felt worthy of publishing. I self-censored. As much as I wanted to write literary fiction, I wasn’t driven to write literary fiction.

In my search for meaningful work, I attended many business seminars but one in particular, in England, given by a dynamic wizard of inspiration who talked about the wonder and power of expectation. The fun in expectation is: it lasts for as long as you are expecting something good to happen.

Once I accepted that I wrote fairy tales, loved writing fairy tales, was driven to write fairy tales, my writing life was transformed. I happily ever after embraced writing happily ever after triumph of the human spirit novels in 2007. That was the result of expectation – the understanding thereof.

When I sent my first completed novel to an agent, I hardly dared expect any positive result but I worked at it. As long as the agent had the book, there was a possibility she would like it. After several months of anticipation and expectation, she requested the full manuscript with the line, “My reader quite liked it.” For the next few months, I enjoyed the possibility of gaining representation, floating around on the expectation of success, months and months of feeling the warm glow of attaining this first goal.

My full manuscript came back. Flat. She loved the story. She loved my characters. She wouldn’t be able to sell it. Was I devastated? No. Disappointed, but that lasted only a few days.

What followed was one life-changing decision after another until I ended up in front of an editor in Orland, Florida talking about three of my novels. She chose the third and I knew immediately that this was the one. From the moment I hit send – after perfecting my partial submission to the best of my ability – I prepared for the possibility this editor might say “Yes.”

Through September and October, I was on the anticipation cloud of great expectations. In those months, I prepared the full manuscript, just in case… She requested the full manuscript at the end of October. In December, the editor sent the manuscript back to me, asking  that I make a few changes. I could live with the suggestions and sent the requested changes at the end of January.

Here was yet more opportunity for months of expectation while I carried on with my day job in rental real estate. At the same time, I lurched between expectation and disappointment with frequent rejections from agents.

February passed. March was coming to an end. No word. I flirted with the idea of contacting the editor but held off – because I didn’t want the expectation to end.

While you’re waiting, there is possibility.

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