Romance in France.

Beth D Carter.


Paris is probably the widely thought city for love and romance.  The architecture, the history, the passion, the friendliness of the people…seriously, I never had a bit of problem with the French.  Of course, I always said I was Canadian and they love Canada, so maybe I’m a bit off on that point.

I’ve been to Paris three times and lived there for four months in 2004, so I think I have a fair bit of opinion on why I think Paris should be the second famous city for love and romance.  What, may you ask is the first?  I would have to say Giverny, France.  Some might recognize the name immediately as the home of Claude Monet.  And while this little trip happened ten years ago, and I’m sure the area has been modernized now, in 2004 it was the perfect little sidetrip for my boyfriend and myself.

I recommend taking the trip to Giverny in Spring, because the train trip from Paris is on one of those trains that still has vinyl on the seat.  In spring, it won’t be so hot for your thigh skin to melt into it, saving you a little discomfort.  When you get to your almost destination of Vernon, you will realize that Giverny is about three miles away, and to preserve the historical importance of Monet’s house, you will be told the best way to get there is bike riding.

Let me assure you, even if your ass is not prepared for a three mile bike ride, the countryside is mainly level and there is a marked path to follow.  Just as soon as you get through the manic drivers of Vernon, that is, to find the bike path.  Once you get to the house and fall in love with the flowers (again, Springtime is best for optimal enjoyment of the flower gardens and numerous bees), you notice that there is a parking lot full of cars and you start to wonder where the hell did they come from because by now your tail bone is on fire!

The bridge of the lily pond is breathtaking.  You know the one I’m talking about.  The one from the painting.  It’s the most romantic place on earth to stand on, hold the hand of your loved one, and blink like crazy as about a hundred pictures are all snapped at once because you two make such a lovely picture for the tourists.

As you walk through the house and take the tour, you will slowly come to realize that at the end of the day you now have to bike ride the three miles back.  If you fail to make the last train back to Paris, you’ll have to find a room somewhere, so I hope you can speak French.  And also, by the end of the day, you’ll discover most of the restaurants are closed, so McDonalds it is.

But really…I had a lovely time Giverny!!



Morgan Wyatt.

Author Thomas Wolfe is probably best known for the quote, “You can’t go home again.” He went onto write a book by this name also. Of course, people often ridiculed the quote stating they could go home again. They knew exactly where they lived. They could return to their childhood home, especially if their parents still lived in it.

The point he was trying to make is you can’t reach that nostalgic place called home. Remember that perfect place with carefree summers, laughter, and innocence. You can’t go there because you know too much. There comes a time with our knowledge taints all that went before. Rather like my first pair of glasses.

Before I had glasses, everything had a smooth perfect surface. After glasses, I discovered people had wrinkles, pimples, and scars on their formerly flawless faces. Tree leaves had veins. Mountains had rocky outcroppings and tiny cracks all over then. Pigs had tiny hairs all over their bodies. It was an entirely different world.

Recently, I went to an REO SPEEDWAGON with my significant other. This was his dream to attend as a teen. Since it was an outdoor concert, we dressed in bermudas, sandals, and sunglasses, looking like the mid-age professional couple we were. We soon realize we had entered an alternative universe where people were attempting to return to the seventies.

All around me, women strolled in their glittery shirts and over processed blonde hair reminding me of all the 70’s clothes I had since sold at numerous yard sales. I felt obvious with my colorful Coach purse that shouted ESTABLISHMENT. The men managed to dig out their faded black REO t-shirts and their tight jeans that involved sucking in the gut to zip them up. Lucky for them their child fathering days were in morgan wyattthe past. They were all trying to return to a time when they were young and their worst problems involved a date or a flat tire.

Many, or I should say most, drank heavily. Seats by the bar allowed me to monitor the same people returning numerous times. Maybe alcohol could jumpstart their trip back to the world before it became complicated with children, mortgages and pink slips. It didn’t do anything for their singing or dancing skills. Often, the memory and body will betray us when we try to travel home.

As for me, did I go hoping to find a piece of the 70’s? No. Because REO was not on my personal adolescence playlist, instead I was a disco queen. A little Rod Stewart, Donna Summers, or even Abba might have caused me to dance in the aisles too. Who knows? My SO did point out that my high ponytail reminded him of the 70’s.

Can you go back home? You tell me.

Cover Artist Vs. Published Author

Post By Dawne Dominique

A lot of people may be familiar with my name as a cover artist, but did you know that I’m also a published author of ten years? Unfortunately, I’m not synonymous in the two aspects of the publishing world. In other words, I’m known more for my cover art than my books.  You’d think the two would do hand in hand, but they don’t.  I started out my writing career as a fantasy writer, where world building and character development are tantamount to creating believability in fantasy fiction. People who have read my books, whether they’re fantasy, paranormal, or erotic romance, has told me that they read like a movie.  In other words, they feel my characters; they walk within the worlds I’ve I created; but more than that, they actually care about what happens. So I’ve obviously done something right.  But the icing on the cake for any author is to entice readers to read their books.  That’s where I come in. I create the initial  visual selling tool—the book cover art.

When I get a cover art request from one of the publishers I work for or the many Indie authors I represent, all I have to work from is a paragraph sized description and/or a  brief synopsis.  No matter what the genre, after reading that paragraph, more times than not, a cover will pop into my head.  It’s those authors who tell me to “run with it” is when I have the most fun.

Creating art from a mere paragraph blurb is challenging, but life would be so boring without them. Now if only I could sell as many books as the numerous book covers I create.

You can check out my work at:

SJ’s Road to Published Author

Hello and welcome to my first Curious Bluster post. I’m over the moon about blogging with this fabulous group. I plan on sharing all kinds of things in my future posts. Today, I’m taking you on a walk down my memory lane from little girl to published author. This is my story.

As a young girl, I danced around my room acting out the stories that filled my imagination. With the radio blaring the latest top forty, I made up emotional tales of love, loss, and always the happily ever after. I enjoyed acting out my little stories for family and friends. So, it came to no one’s surprise when my mom enrolled my in dance classes.

I’ve always been a reader, but dance was my focus, especially performing on stage and acting out the story I set to the choreography. After college where I majored in dance and business, I danced on scholarship with a company in Chicago. It’s there that my knees started to give me problems and soon my dreams started to shift.

Flash forward a decade when my personal prince charming and I had our first of two sons. I stopped teaching dance in my free time and I started to read more than ever before. Back then I was devouring three to five books a week. I started to see the patterns. Like a choreographed dance, I saw the pacing of the cute meet, the start of the conflict, the page number where the first kiss usually appeared, and so on. I found this fascinating and took the latest story filling my imagination and set it to these beats I’d found.

You’d think at this point, I’d start to write. Nope. I continued to read and reread some of my favorite books. I asked my brother, one of the writers in my family, about his process. What I didn’t realize, was that my study of the writing craft had already begun. After my youngest was born, I found Cherise Sinclair. Her books changed everything for me. The latest story floating around my thoughts shifted. After waking up in the middle of the night by my story, I opened Word and typed out the scene.

First there was relief, because I could read the scene that wasn’t leaving me alone, but then a new scene demanded to be written. I’d freed the muse and she became ravenous to write and to learn more about the craft of writing. This is where I entered the world of blog posts. Wow, there is a wealth of information on the internet.

In October 2011, I started my blog and a year later I’d finished two manuscripts. The first is buried, but in the fall of 2012, I sent the second manuscript to three publishers. That was a learning experience. They all said no, but they all gave me advice too. I clearly still had a lot to learn. I worked through all of the notes I’d received from the publishers and found myself a new critique partner. Her help was priceless.

A fabulous friend suggested I submit to her publisher. I listened on June 11, 2013 and nine days later, they accepted! I now have four books published with Evernight Publishing.

My road was indirect and misleading at times, but I finally read all the signs and here I am.

Until next time. Love and Hugs, SJ

Post By- Jillian Chantal

I’m Jillian Chantal and I live on the beautiful gulf coast of Florida close to the Alabama line in the USA. We think our part of the world is a little slice of paradise. Living close to the sea has a lot of advantages such as mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures. Of course, the warmth sometimes becomes unbearable as we push close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The beauty of that though is that you can dive into the water and cool off pretty quickly.

The Gulf of Mexico is warmer than the oceans – I am not a scientist but I think it’s because it’s a smaller body of water and is surrounded by land on three sides. I’ve been in the Atlantic as well as the Pacific oceans and they are both super cold compared to the bath-water like temperature of the Gulf.

We have an awesome history here where I am. The Spanish first came to our area in the 1550s but were chased away by an awful hurricane. We do still have a lot of Spanish influence here in the street names as well as the architecture. My city, Pensacola, is known as the City of Five Flags as we have been ruled by five different countries. We started with the Spanish in 1559 (wiped out by hurricane) but they came back in 1698. We were ruled by the French beginning in 1719 but the Spanish came back in 1722. By 1763, we were British but then those persistent Spaniards returned from 1781 until 1821 when the United States of America won this area. Some 40 years later, the Confederate States of America took over from 1861-1865. Once the civil war was over and the confederates surrendered, we were back to the United States. We have a wonderful celebration of these five flags each June. Parades, balls and galas abound. It’s great fun.

As the Spanish colonial government found, one of the downsides to living on the coast is the dreaded hurricane season. It runs from June 1 to November 30 each year and we have to be on alert in case one of these suckers decides to come ashore. They can be totally devastating and destroy lives as well as homes. Luckily, they don’t come very often so it’s not as bleak as it could be to live here.

What about you? Do you have a cool history to the area where you live? Is there danger from Mother Nature? What’s the draw to living where you do? Beaches? Warm weather? Castles? Mountains?

Cherrie Mack

Cherrie Mack? Who the hell is she?


I bet that’s what you’re thinking huh? Well… it’s only a matter of time before you know my name. I’ll be a regular here at Curious Bluster and I’m super excited about it.

So, let me introduce myself. I grew up in Flushing Queens, a fifteen minute subway ride to New York City. Growing up in New York was… well…. I’d have to say—a whole lotta fun. And the men? Oh my. (fanning myself)

In my early teens, it was the brooding, stand-offish, tattoo wearing rocker guy that reeled me in. Oh…and he surely had a piercing—somewhere. But then, like the books I read, I often changed genres. I grew tired of the same old, same old.

In my late teens, I was snagged by the neighborhood wise guys, the “guido” who dominated the crowd by instilling fear. Who were so overly possessive, you felt like they would absorb you with one look. And—if someone else even glanced your way? Hell hath no fury like a goodfella!

I got over those guys pretty quickly when the muscle heads entered the picture. Most of these guys had a bad reputation of having “nuttin upstairs.” But I can vouch for their intelligence. Most of them worked the club scene as a side job for extra cash. They ran security companies, were fire captains, detectives, lawyers and entrepreneurs.  Some were even putting themselves through school. All good looking, built like Greek gods, all dripping with sex. And every woman wanted one.  **Sigh** (I feel a new series coming on…)

So, it’s no surprise that I married at thirty years old. And my husband…he’s a little bit those guys, all rolled into one. And totally worth the wait.

Growing up in a city like New York, it was hard to find a hot cowboy with a slow southern drawl or an athletic surfer dude who had eyes for just his board and the perfect wave. But that’s why I read romance. And love every minute of it.

This brings me to the end of my post but the conversation is just getting started. If you comment, I will answer. And here’s what I want to know. I’d love the name of your hottest cowboy read…I wanna mosey down yonder and get roped and tied.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to your visits, so don’t disappoint me. Let’s meet up again—same place, same time next month. ((HUGS))





Meet The Editor


Hi all! I’m Tamara Hoffa, the resident editor in the corner at Curious Bluster

And I’ll tell you, we editors do often find ourselves in the corner!

Don’t get me wrong, I actually love editing, almost as much as I love writing. I enjoy helping my fellow authors make their stories shine, but it’s a fine line we editors walk. If we help too much, are we trying to change the author’s vision? The fundamentals are easy to fix: Grammar, punctuation, spelling, wrong words… but when you get to content, the issues can become complicated. Sometimes it’s a matter of content, and something that happens just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it’s a matter of character motivation. Would John really do that? He doesn’t seem like that kind of man to me? Showing vs Telling. We’re all familiar with that (I hope) But, where it really gets sticky is when the plot isn’t working. When the author is information dumping in one chapter, giving away too much of the plot too soon, or the dialogue is stilted and boring. How do you tell an author these things without making them curl into a little ball in the fetal position and crying?

Communication! Communication between the editor and author is key to a great relationship. Just like in romance, miscommunication is a death knoll! I’ve been very lucky to work with some wonderful authors. Some of them take my advice, some don’t, but they always know the final decisions are theirs. It IS their book after all! But they all know, I don’t pull my punches. I’m not going to blow sunshine up your ass and tell you how great you are. That’s not my job. My job is to make you and your book shine, so if you write manure, I’m gonna tell you it’s cow shit and move on. On the plus side, if you write a line or scene I love, I’m going to tell you that too.

Writing is a process, that’s why we call our first draft rough.

The best advise I’ve received as an author is “grow a thick skin.”

Because, believe you me, you’re gonna need it! Rejection, editing, proofing and then the reviews. Gah! If you cry at every criticism, You’re going to spend a lot of time in that corner (It’s not so bad, it’s quiet and dark there)


Lacie Nation


Hello, I’m Lacie Nation. You probably don’t know me, but I hope to change that. Let me start by telling you a little about myself. I’m a true southern bell, born and raised in the great state of Georgia. I got married on March 1st 2014. We bought a house at the same time so to say things were stressful for a while would be an understatement. I write contemporary romance novels that I hope make you cry. HAHA I know that sounds horrible, but if I can rip emotion out of a reader then I’ve done my job. My work includes So Beautifully Broken, Courageous Dare, Gravity Beach, Silent Tears, and The Weeping Willow Tree.

When I begin writing a book, it normally starts as just a flash of a scene in my head. I write that scene down and a story grows from it. I don’t plot for the most part. The only thing I plan out is how to write that initial scene and the rest of the story grows from there. Some days the words flow like water while other days it’s all I can do not to throw my computer across the room. When writer’s block is an issue, I try and make up the cover, because I normally make my own book covers, so that when I’m stuck I have something visual to look at.

The process of creating a book is both frustrating and rewarding. Frustrating because I have never been good with waiting and there is a lot of waiting. Waiting for an acceptance or heaven forbid a rejection. Then, if it is accepted I wait for it to go to editing, then the editor to do his or her magic. There are many editing rounds…and I do mean many. Once editing is done…finally, then it goes to a proof reader, and finally I get the final product. Did I mention how many times I have to read my books during all this? No? Well, it’s a freaking lot! By the time that final draft comes around and I have to read it yet again I am actually kind of sick or if. HAHA.

That being said, once I see my work on the websites is where the rewarding part comes into play. Seeing something I’ve put my heart and soul into, that started with one little scene in my head, is now a novel out there for the world to see. I know I’ll never be able to please everyone, but if I can just make one person feel something from reading my work, then all that waiting and frustration was worth it. I don’t expect to get rich from my books. I don’t write for the money, I write because I love creating my own little world.

So, that, in a nut shell, is what it’s like for me to write a book.


Post written by; Lynde Lakes


John Grisham showed us in his page-turning novel, THE BROKER, that the main character does NOT have to be admirable. The lead character steam-rolled over everyone his whole life for monetary gain and ended up in jail. When he is pardoned by the president and whisked away into hiding, we start to garner a smidgeon of sympathy for him. He is forced to live on-the-run in Italy, a country where he can’t even speak the language. He fears even his “protectors” might be planning to kill him and are merely waiting for the right moment. He gives them only slight trust while remaining alert for situational shifts that scream danger. (We readers know that his situation is even worse than he thinks. He was pardoned only to be killed.)


Slowly we begin to identify with him. He doesn’t just lie down and take it. He makes plans. We find ourselves supporting his goals and no matter what a scumbag we think he is, we admire his gumption and when he starts feeling remorse for the bad things he’s done and wants to make amends, we suddenly want him to win his battle to reach this noble goal and are willing to take his side, no matter how much of a selfish, money-grubbing, slime bucket he has proven himself to be in the past.


Our desire to put aside our natural disgust of him transpires when he experiences extreme loneliness. We are not lonely, but we can understand his feeling because at some point we’ve experienced similar feelings in our past. Through this empathy, which is more powerful than sympathy, we get closer to him. We feel his growing stress and buoy ourselves up when he takes a positive step to improve his situation. We admire his guts, clever thinking, and determination not be a pawn at the mercy of his expanding list of enemies.  The author has moved us beyond mere sympathy. We now feel the power of empathy.


We have this image of this guy willing to do more than learn Italian, he must become Italian. And he must be cunning, cautious and he must win over others in the story to gain their help. But we see a change here. He works them, not only for his benefit as he did in the past, but he now gives his heart and concern to others. Suddenly this man, who we feel received what he deserved, is becoming human to us and we suffer with him. The world is ganging up on him. But a few of us are on his side. We don’t want his supporters to get in trouble. We realize without their help he is a dead man. The power of suggestion is at work. We feel what it is like to be him, looking over his shoulder. We feel his hesitancy to put others in danger. We feel the love and tremendous trust the woman character brings into the story. We don’t want him to disappoint her. She is a good person and her positive view of him strengthens our belief that he is changing. The author has used sights, sounds, pains, smells and the romantic connection of one character to another to trigger our emotions and transport us into a plenary state where we are totally involved and our real world disappears. The push-pull decisions this man must make now are now of a moral nature and will have grave consequences. He is in the throes of great inner conflict. He’s not only messing with his own life, he has to consider others. Then he makes the big change. His honor or self-worth is at stake. He has to make it right at all cost. Can he pull it off? We cheer for him when amazingly he does—in a surprising way that we would never expect. Yea, the book is a bestseller. Now let’s keep doing amazing things with our books. We can do it! We will do it! Just watch us.


I have used this empathy concept in several of my novels, One of them was SILENT CYMBALS. Also used to a lesser degree in VIRGIN WOLF and DEADLY

The Good Guy — Amanda Ward

I’ve always LOVED the good guy. He seems to be overlooked. Quiet, reserved, always waiting in the wings for the woman he adores to finally realise he is the one for her. For instance, Michael Carrington in Grease 2. Adam Kendall in Little House on the Prairie. Mike Young in Neighbours and of course my first ever crush, Jonesy in The Waltons. As I’ve grown older, I have not so secret pash’s for Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Richard Armitage (Harry in the Vicar of Dibley) and not forgetting Scott Patterson who played Luke Danes in the Gilmore Girls. Not only are they handsome for their age, but the characters they play have personality traits that I find downright sexy.

They may not be exuding raw sexuality and animal magnetism that appeal to most women. I’m not most women. I find their steadfastness, loyalty, humour and commitment is sexier than an overconfident man standing in front of you, wearing nothing. Hands on hips as if to say ‘Well, what do you think?’ I guess my answer to that would be “If you can make it dance then I’d be more than impressed” I’m very lucky in that my husband is a good guy. If for one minute the good guy is perfect, no way. Believe me, the good guys have their bad points and strange quirks.

I have to be honest, I’ve never met an alpha male. Or if I have, I’ve certainly not recognised it. Never dated a bad boy either. Have I been missing something? So, as an author, I don’t write about Alpha males, or overtly confident men. I tend to write heroes I want to fall in love with, faults and all. For me a relationship is based on love and tolerance for everything that person is, no matter how much a certain person complains about blue fluff on every surface.

So here I am one Friday evening, and my friend has lent me Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A single episode stands out. The musical Once More with Feeling. I’m enjoying the music, and then what happens…Spike (James Marsters) appears, sings and gets down on his knees telling Buffy she has ‘a willing slave’. Oh dear merciful heavens. Have I finally succumbed to the bad boy? It turns out no. As you follow through to the final episode, he turns out to be a good guy after all. A disappointment? No way. The only disappointment for me was the absence of chest hair.

So here are my good guys. I hope you like them as much as I drool…I mean do!

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