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Dee S. Knight: Communicating the Right Words… (Excerpt)
Friday, August 16th, 2019

As writers, we’re totally consumed with words—the style, the quality, the grammatical correctness, the tense, the appropriateness, the number, the… ACK!! Before you know it, you’re curled up in a corner with a glazed look in your eyes, mumbling verses like:

I write them short
I write them long,
But still can’t weave
An author’s song.
My keyboard’s hot
But still no words
That sound much more
Than worthless turds.

Been there, done that. No matter how hard it is to write and re-write, words are our business and their importance can’t be overlooked. Here’s an example of how vital communicating the right word can be.

It was a hot Saturday evening in the summer of 1964 and Fred had a date with Peggy Sue. He arrived at her house and rang the bell.

“Oh, come on in!” Peggy Sue’s mother said as she welcomed Fred. “Would you like something to drink? Lemonade? Iced tea?”

“Iced tea, please,” Fred said.

“So, what are you and Peggy planning to do tonight?” Peggy Sue’s mom asked when she brought the drinks.

“Oh, probably catch a movie, and then maybe grab a bite to eat at the malt shop, maybe take a walk on the beach…”

“Peggy likes to screw, you know,” Mom confided.

“Really?” Fred raised his eyebrows.

“Oh yes,” she continued. “When she goes out with her friends, that’s all they do!”

“Is that so?” asked Fred, incredulously.

“Yes. As a matter of fact, she’d screw all night if we’d let her!”

“Well, thanks for the tip!” Fred said as he began thinking about alternate plans for the evening.

A moment later, Peggy Sue came down the stairs looking pretty as a picture, wearing a pink sweater set and a pleated skirt, and with her hair tied back in a bouncy ponytail. She greeted Fred.

“Have fun, kids!” her mother said as they left.

Half an hour later, a completely disheveled Peggy Sue burst into the house and slammed the front door. “The Twist, Mom!” she yelled to her mother in the kitchen. “The damn dance is called the Twist!”

Poor Peggy Sue. Poor Fred.

So, how can we tell if we’re communicating the right words? Well, there are a few of ways I use. I won’t kid you, they’re all difficult as heck, but they work most of the time.

1. Find overused words like really, that and just and only. I use two ways to do this and both are good.

a. Use the Search feature. Each time one of those words is found, read the sentence and make sure the word is required for the meaning you’re trying to convey. If not, cut!! Yes, really!

b. Read your work out loud. Yes, all of your work, even those hotter than blazes sex scenes. If you have to take a flashlight into the closet to be alone, I can’t emphasize enough how helpful this can be, and for more than finding unneeded words.

2. Reading aloud helps you notice words repeated in close proximity.

*He wore a serious expression.

“We’re in serious trouble,” she said.

“Yes,” he answered, “I’ve hardly ever been in such a serious position.”*

And that’s before they got into bed.

3. Unneeded words bog down your writing. Pay particular attention to the ending of sentences and words immediately after verbs.

*He shrugged his shoulders before answering.* What else would he shrug? his shoulders is not needed.

*“Get out,” she said to her.* If there’re only two people present, to her is not needed.

*Her heart pounded in her chest.* Well, yeah.

*I must get out, she thought to herself.* Yes, if she’s thinking, she’s doing it to herself. No need to say it.

4. Turn your work over to someone else to read. The trick here is to find someone you trust. It’s okay if they like you, but it’s not a necessity.  As long as they’ll be honest about what they read and help you make your work as powerful as possible—meaning with the right words used in the right way—you’re okay. The sad truth is, the same way you easily see errors in someone else’s work, your critique partner will see them in yours. Damn it.

5. Think about what you want each scene to mean. Does each sentence, each paragraph help you accomplish your goal? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to cut words I really, really loved because they didn’t help the scene get where it needed to go. The same goes for scenes within chapters. This is tough to get used to, but if you read your work and you’re into 2-3 pages of narrative, take a step back and make sure you can’t turn that into dialogue or action. Readers have short attention spans and often don’t appreciate your genius in narrative. What’s a writer to do? Cut!

6. And of course (which are unnecessary words, but hey…), make sure the word you’ve used is the word you meant to use. As shown above, there’s a big difference between screwing and twisting!

Only a Good Man Will Do

Seriously ambitious man seeks woman to encourage his goals, support his (hopeful) position as Headmaster of Westover Academy, and be purer than Caesar’s wife. Good luck with that!

Daniel Goodman is a man on a mission. He aims to become headmaster of Westover Academy. For that he needs a particular, special woman to help him set high standards. Into his cut and dried life of moral and upright behavior, comes Eve Star, formerly one of Europe’s foremost exotic dancers. Her life is anything but cut and dried, black and white. Daniel is drawn to her like a kid to chocolate. Nothing good can come of this attraction. Or can it? He is after all, a good man.

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Daniel took his seat in the Academy dining room with a few of the boys from his dormitory. Each table sat six, with a permanent place for a dorm master or table monitor. Each month, the boys rotated tables, assuring they spent casual dining time with their dorm master and others, and learned proper table manners. Usually, Daniel enjoyed meals with his young charges. They were more willing than the older students to talk about what happened during the day, and he often picked up on budding problems by listening to their conversations. For this reason, even though late afternoon-early evening was the part of the day he had free, he usually liked to attend dinner.

However, he’d changed his calls to Eve from four-thirty to after dinner, and now Daniel counted the minutes until the evening meal ended. He urged the boys not to tarry after dessert and then cursed the fact he had to walk sedately rather than sprint back to the dorm. Once there, he made sure to lock the doors and get comfortable before punching her number on the telephone face. A minor dorm crisis requiring both him and his assistant had prevented their saying much more than hello yesterday, and today, though he’d just eaten, he felt like a starving man.

“Nothing a little sugar won’t cure,” he muttered, using Southern slang for kisses.

At the same moment, a deep, male voice answered. “Well, honey, you ain’t gettin’ it from me.” The man laughed. “Hey, doc. Eve told me to tell you she had to go out, and if she missed you, she’d call back as soon as possible.”

“Hi, Jed.” Of course Eve shouldn’t be hanging around waiting for his calls, but he couldn’t help the disappointment that hit like a sledgehammer. “Say, why’d you call me doc?”

Jed laughed. “Ask Eve.”

“I’ll do that. Thanks.” Well. Daniel set the phone back on the side table. All dressed up and nowhere to go. He looked at the remaining term papers he had to grade, but reading the opinions of high school boys on any subject, much less Romeo and Juliet, a love story that ended tragically, didn’t appeal. What he wanted was to hear the voice of the woman who’d ridden him hard and put him away wet on Tuesday evening.

About the Author

A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That’s how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she’s lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors. Contact Dee at

Author links:

Alice Renaud : How stories shape us (Excerpt)
Sunday, July 28th, 2019

We are made of flesh and blood, but also stories. The stories we hear, read, imagine, are as much a part of us as our make-up as our genes or the colour of our eyes. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the stories that shape me. I’d like to tell you a little about them.

The first stories were the Celtic legends that my Welsh grandparents and my older cousin told me. Tales of magic and monsters. Shape-shifting bards. Torrent spectres. And the mysterious Otherworld, always shimmering just out of reach… at the top of the hill… deep in the forest… at the point on the horizon where sea and sky merge. I loved the Ceffyl Dwr, the Water Horse, a mythical shape-shifting creature that lives in water, but can also appear on land. I loved the merfolk too. More about them later!

I also grew up with the Nordic myths that my father used to read to me as bedtime stories. I’d go to sleep with the sound of epic battles ringing in my ears. Thor was my favourite. I was delighted to meet him again recently in the Avengers films, played by the delicious Chris Hemsworth!

When I was twelve, I read The Lord of the Rings. That story changed me. I was so sad when I finished the book, I actually cried. No more Elves or Dwarves? That couldn’t be. I decided that day that I’d become a writer, and create stories like that.

OK… it took me thirty-three years… and I never wrote that big epic novel. But I did write my own books, and eventually one of them got published. I write fantasy romance, because I love fantasy, and I think I’m a romantic at heart. The stories I heard and read as a child and teenager are still with me. The Otherworld is in my head, with all its magic, and every time I read or write a new book, it gets a little richer, a little better.

My book A Merman’s Choice was published in January by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the hot and tender story of the forbidden love between a shape-shifting merman and a human woman. Read a summary and extract below!

The second book in the series, Music for a Merman, is due out later this year. I’m currently working on the third book, where a feisty shape-shifting mermaid teams up with a warlock to save London from a water monster. I have also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All”, for the supernatural romance anthology Mystic Desire by Black Velvet Seductions – pre-sale 1 September, release date 1 October. I’m so excited about it, because it’s about a witch and a warlock who go back in time, and I love witches!

A Merman’s Choice
Book 1 in the Sea of Love series

For centuries the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands have lived incognito among humans. But one of them, Yann, has developed some bad habits. Like rescuing humans, even when doing so risks revealing his true nature. When he fishes Alex out of the sea, he doesn’t expect her to reappear eight months later, and turn his life upside down by asking him to be her guide.

Alex is determined to fulfil a promise to her dying grandmother, by gathering pictures and stories of the Morvanns. But she soon discovers that, on these remote Welsh islands, legends have a habit of becoming true!

Over the course of a few days, Yann and Alex grow close. But some mermen hate humans. Their hostility, and Yann’s secret, threaten to tear the couple apart just as they are discovering that they are soul mates. Can Yann overcome the obstacles in his path and make the right choice?

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Yann went to the dresser against the wall and picked up a bottle and two glasses. “Would you like a dram of whisky to warm you up?”

Alex slid back down the sofa. His ears registered the squeak of leg against leather, and his mind instantly pictured her sprawled on the cushions, her golden hair fanned behind her head, milky thighs open wide. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the maddening image.

Her voice dropped into a seductive purr. “I’m quite warm already, thank you. But I can cope with more heat.”

He poured a glass of the golden liquid and brought it to her.

“Thank you.” She sipped it and made a grimace, which turned into a smile. “Even better than cider.”

Her mouth glowed against her milky skin like a forbidden fruit. He thought of the first summer berries, tart redcurrants, juicy raspberries. Would she taste like them?

They needed food. If he didn’t get lunch down her soon, she’d get drunk. The demon voice in his mind whispered that Alex would be great fun if she lost her inhibitions. He tried to shut the demon out. What could he prepare quickly?

He strode to the trap in the floor by the front door and lifted it. The smell and sound of seawater, sloshing in the dark, rose up.

Alex padded over to investigate. “Oh, wow. You have a whole aquarium down there!”

The corner of her blanket brushed his bare arm, sending another twig to feed the fire that smouldered in his loins. “That’s how Islanders keep their seafood fresh. Why don’t you go and sit at the table, and I’ll open a dozen oysters for you?”

She didn’t need to see the tunnel on the side of the “aquarium,” that led to the lower floor of the house, the level that flooded at high tide and opened onto the sea. The level where a more respectable merman would spend most of his time.

She moved away, to the centre of the room where the oak table stood. Not far enough. He’d become so attuned to her that every one of her movements seemed to ripple across the space and lap against his body. He grabbed a knife and bucket from the tool shelf, snapped the first oyster open and dropped it in the bucket. Now she was crossing her legs, damn her. Did she know that the woollen fabric was opening, uncovering the ivory skin of her inner thigh? Was she flirting with him, or was it his imagination?

“I love oysters.” Her voice wrapped itself around him like a silk scarf. “Pity we don’t have any champagne to go with them, but this whisky is just as good.”

Too late, he remembered that for mainlanders, oysters weren’t a cheap, quick meal. On the mainland, oysters were the food of seduction. An aphrodisiac. What if Alex was misreading his intentions?

Or rather, what if she were reading them all too well?

She patted the bench next to her. “Come and sit here. I can’t eat all these oysters on my own.”

Her grin gave the lie to her words. Her grin said, “I can gobble them all up, and you with it.”


What about you? Which stories shaped your life? Do you remember a favourite story from your childhood? Did a book ever change your life? I’d love to know!

Post a comment below or visit my Facebook page
Here’s to stories, and the folk that read them!

Afton Locke: Follow Me (Excerpt & Playlist)
Friday, July 26th, 2019

Follow Me

Is free love really free? When I sat down to write about a commune set in the late 60s, I had to figure out what kind of pairing to use. Happily-ever-afters can happen a lot of different ways—with one person, two, or three… Despite what went on in a lot of communes, I decided not to do a sexual free-for-all. It’s hard to build emotional bonding that way. But I did start writing it as a menage. When that didn’t feel right, I went for the traditional male-female pairing. Not an easy feat with such a mesmerizing and sexy hero who wants to recruit more followers at any cost and use sexual bonding to do it. With lots of pretty women and handsome guys around, temptation lay in every corner. Is the emotional bond between Jeremy and Adele strong enough to keep them in their own bed and out of everyone else’s?

Follow Me by Afton Locke
1960s interracial romance
Release Date: 10 August 2019
Preorder it now on Amazon!


Where were you in the summer of ‘69? Picketing, peacemaking, or falling under the spell of a magic man?

The day Adele Robbins turns eighteen, she flees her mother’s house to escape her lewd stepfather. She aspires to help people, but for now she simply needs a roof over her head. When she stumbles over a generous—and sexy as all get-out—hippie playing guitar on the street, she grabs at the chance for a temporary refuge.

While replacing the family he lost to tragedy as a child, Jeremy Dobson also plans to make the world a better place. Recruiting new followers should be easy, but one headstrong woman threatens to upset all his plans.

Unpeeling the layers of this unusual man makes Adele wonder if she’s jumped from the frying pan straight into the fire. She refuses to be a doormat like her mother, but Jeremy’s magnetism is a force not to be trifled with. When he beckons her to the edge to pursue their mission, will she follow?


The End by The Doors


Hummingbird by Seals and Crofts


Follow Me – Copyright © Afton Locke, 2019

Until the door closed, Adele didn’t dare move. Instead, Jeremy flung it wide open.

“Get off him,” he bit out.

The barely controlled fury in his voice filled her with a thrill with fear close on its heels. The man should have a high-voltage warning label on his forehead.

“I’m just following your orders, master,” she said sweetly.

After he ripped the sheet from their bodies, exposing their jeans, he frowned but let out a shaky breath.

“You disobeyed me,” he told her.

Adele scrambled off Denny who jumped up and grabbed his shirt. “You recruit your way, and I’ll recruit mine.”

“I-I didn’t touch her,” Denny told Jeremy, his eyes round and wide. “In fact, I’m going to split, okay?”

Jeremy, looking wild-eyed himself, shook his head so hard his long hair danced above his shoulders. “Don’t leave, man. In fact, I told her to pleasure you so you’d stay here.”

“Oh, well…um…I’m going to crash on the sofa.” Denny dropped his gaze as he slunk out the bedroom door and closed it.

Jeremy jammed his hands on his hips. “You disobeyed me,” he repeated.

“I heard you the first time,” Adele said as she put her blouse back on. “I’m not some whore you can pimp out.”

He paced around the bed. “You have a duty to help recruit new members.”

“You should have thought of that before you slept with me.” She headed to the closet to pack. “This place is not my scene. It’s high time I left.”

“And where will you go, Adele?” He rocked on his heels. “Out in the cruel racist world where you’ll be treated like a second-class citizen the rest of your life?”

She paused and squeezed her eyes shut. “I’d still have more dignity out there than being a whore here.”

“Then why didn’t you tell me you had a problem with your assignment?” he asked. “Why lie on top of the guy with your blouse off?”

She shrugged. “The same reason you did it with Mindy, I suppose. How did it feel, Jeremy, seeing me that way?”

He stepped forward until he was so close she could feel his body heat. “I think you’ve forgotten who’s in charge here. Maybe you need to be taught a lesson.”

His words sent a shiver of fear and desire through her. “Don’t you get it?” she whispered. “I can’t be with anyone but you.”

He grabbed her arms and pulled her against him so suddenly she gasped. “I dig it, sweetheart, and your loyalty is wonderful. But you still have to be punished.”

She rolled her eyes, chasing away the tender feeling she’d just had. “What am I, a child?”

“No, but you must trust and follow me one hundred percent.” He held her at arm’s length and gave her a gentle shake. “The journey you’re taking with me won’t always be easy. Your obedience may come down to life and death someday.”

Ice filled her veins. “You’re scaring me.”

“Put your fears in me,” he said as he reached for her waist and unzipped her jeans.

Desire rolled through her so hard, her knees buckled.

I think I’m going to like being punished.

Coming Soon

Look Into My Eyes– in case you missed the Crossroads boxed set

Oyster Harbor seriesBook 5

 Where readers can find me

Web site:

Genevive Chamblee: Romance Bucket List
Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Most everyone has heard of a bucket list. For those who haven’t, a bucket list is a comprehensive wish list of ideas, achievements, and experiences that a person strives to accomplish in his/her lifetime. Bucket lists have no set number of entries or right or wrong listings. Each list is individualized by its creators. Some people share what’s on their list with others while some choose to keep their list private. Some people do not have a list at all and never make one. Just as there are no correct or incorrect listings, it’s neither good or bad to have (or not have) a list. It all depends on the person and his/her point of view.

So, why am I discussing bucket lists and rehashing information that is common knowledge? Well, as I was thinking of my own bucket list and running my mouth with friends and writer colleagues about our current works in progress, I began to see a pattern in romantic encounters we’d either shared in real life or have written about in our works. I decided to take a closer look to investigate if there exists a type of romance bucket list—not necessarily one that most people hope to accomplish, but rather, activities that most people have engaged in during their lifetime. And sure enough, there seems to be. As you guessed it by the title, I’m going to list them here.

Now before I begin, I need to make a disclaimer. This list is in no way comprehensive. If you feel I’ve omitted something that should be on this list, please comment on this post. Also, if any brands are mentioned, it is not an endorsement of any sort. This post is not sponsored by or affiliated with any brand or company.

Now, onto the list. This list is not in any particular order of importance. The numbers are ordinal only.

  1. Kissing beneath the mistletoe. Yes, people actually do this, perhaps not as much as in the past because fewer people seem to hang mistletoe during the holidays. And maybe that’s because the Hallmark Channel has purchased all of the mistletoe because they seem to have an abundance of it in their holiday movies.
  2.  Long walks on the beach with one’s lover. I’ll admit that this is not anywhere to be found on my personal list. Being assaulted by windblown sand and squishy stuff between my toes isn’t my cup of java (and I don’t even drink coffee). But I’m not hating. This looks super romantic—for others.
  3. Watching the sunrise (or set) together to end a wonderful date.
  4. Stargazing with that special someone in a remote location where the rest of the world fades into nonexistence.
  5. Making out in the backseat of a car/truck/SUV (you get the gist…automotive). This classic throwback still occurs. “Lover’s Lanes” do not appear to be the designated hotspot to engage in this deed, but there are plenty of other locales.
  6. Feeding each other. Perhaps only germaphobes will think this isn’t hawt. Nearly, every person I talked to/interviewed said they thought this was a loving and intimate act. And the food being fed doesn’t matter. However, if you’re interested, the four most common foods that I heard listed were chocolate, strawberries, grapes, and desserts in general.
  7. Dancing cheek-to-cheek even when the music stops playing. Y’all when this happens, this is how one knows he/she is really into a person There is no disputing the chemistry and romance when this occurs.
  8. This includes isolated foot, back, head, or neck as well as full body massages and does not distinguish between giving or receiving. This does not include massages given in those “suspect” parlors. That’s another type of list (“The Client List”). Oh, and scented oils and lotions are a bonus.
  9. Hot tubs, jacuzzies, and showers, oh my! Bathing or soaking together turns up the heat level to scorching. Steam rooms also were mentioned but not as frequently. I’m going to assume that may be due to most people having less access to steam rooms. Bubble baths popped up multiple times. (Get it? popped up as in bubbles… Yes, I’m a bit corner. Okay, a lot corny.) Anyway, Bubble baths were mentioned frequently, however, they were mentioned as “solo” guilts of pleasure.
  10. Private stripping/pole dancing. This wasn’t one I expected (and honestly, I’ had to side-eye many of my friends … lol), but this seems to be a very popular thing. Oh-bee-kay-bee. It made the list. Have fun with it. It’s all good.
  11. Spending a day in the park and eating food from park vendors. A very simple and inexpensive date but still romantic. Who said romance needed to cause bankruptcy, maxing out the Mastercard, or require a bank loan?
  12. Initially, I categized this with park activities. However, it became evident that romantic picnics frequently happened outside of parks (e.g., rooftops, beaches, observation points, even living rooms. So, picnics had to have a separate listing.
  13. And speaking of living rooms, sharing a bottle of wine in front of a fireplace, although the beverage does not necessarily have to be wine. Hot chocolate/cocoa had a high listing, too.
  14. Breakfast in bed prepared by a lover. And some of you probably were thinking I’d forgotten to add this to the list. But nope, here it is—saving the best for last. This is a granddaddy staple to the list, in my opinion, even when the mean is burnt to a charcoal consistency and the kitchen sink looks like an atomic bomb hit a navy mess hall. It’s the thought that counts.

That’s it for this list. Well, not really. There are several more items that were frequently mentioned, but I arbitrarily decided to stop at fourteen. If you would like a part two of this list, let me know in the comment, and I will be happy to oblige.


Enjoy sports romance? Check out my new adult romance, Defending the Net, released on November 10. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It will be sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. Order a copy now at Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first in my hockey romance series? Don’t worry. Out of the Penalty Box, an adult romance where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime out is available at It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit

Genevive Chamblee: Why Is the Love Genre Hated?
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Romance is one of the largest, if not the largest, genre out there in the world of fiction. Yet, it is one that receives so much shade, especially its subgenre, erotica. Romance often is criticized for being cheesy or predictable, but this can occur in any genre. So, why does romance have so many critics? Well, here are a couple of reasons.

    1. Characters are all beautiful and/or perfect. Some readers find it difficult to relate to the main characters in romance land. See, real women wake up with eyes matted, breath that smells like tuna stuck in an exhaust pipe, and hair that will damn-near extract the bristles of any horse brush while the lovely heroine rolls over after a long night of evading bad guys in high-speed chase with little more than smudge lipstick and a flyaway strain of hair. Readers be like, “Beeotch, please!”
    2. Too high expectations. In my opinion (like anyone cares about that), this criticism comes from men and is related to the behavior of the hero in the story. In many (dare I say most?) romances, the heroes are alphas and are allowed to get away with saying and doing all kinds of hellish behavior whereas an ordinary man would get slapped nakkid, clothes hid, and smacked with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Compare a novel’s sexy billionaire restraining women with silk ties on his yacht to a real-life minimum wage Joseph Blowhisnose who binds women using a galvanized poly dacron rope in the back of his hoopty pickup. Who’s going to jail? Well, both of them if the women didn’t consent. The point is, one sounds far sexier (and acceptable?) than the other, provided the reader is into that sort of thing. (No shade being thrown for having kinks.) The average man may feel that he can’t operate on the same level as billionaire boy toy alpha hero in romance stories; therefore, it is easier for him to criticize the genre. Ironically, this is an alpha move—suppress all the competition (even if the competition is words on a page).
    3. Too expensive. This is primarily another male argument. “Who can afford to take a date for a lobster, caviar, and champagne dinner three nights a week and then jet off to the Bahamas for a spa weekend?” I’m going to go out on a limb here and argue that most women don’t expect this. (Heck, I don’t want this, seeing how I’m allergic to shellfish. Anaphylaxis shock isn’t the kind of thrill I actively seek.) Okay, so maybe the date example that I gave was extreme. However, I don’t think most women want expensive dates. I think all they want is NICE dates or fun dates. Hot dogs in a park at a free concert would be great. A rooftop picnic under the stars can be super romantic. In most romance stories where the couple goes out on a “romantic” date, it is the creativity and thoughtfulness of the date that steals the woman’s heart. And that’s how it is in real life the majority of the time, too.
    4. Too trashy. Here’s a dirty little secret about romance. It isn’t dirty even when the couple is rolling around in the mud. There are all levels of heat in romance novels. Not every romance contains sex, and sex doesn’t equal romance. Some sweet romances only show hand holding or pecks on cheeks/foreheads. Some may display a brief kiss or maybe a slightly more passionate one. Others may just allude to something has occurred while others leave nothing to the imagination when it comes to getting to the nitty-gritty. The point is, sex is innate and natural, and humans are sexual creatures. So, what is trashy about that? I suppose if a couple starts going at it in a dumpster that would be pretty trashy—not to mention would probably warrant a tetanus shot. The days of being shamed over sexuality or sexual desires are passé antiquated. The notion that women shouldn’t express sexuality is chauvinistic. Women are entitled to their desires as much as men are.
    5. Poorly written. This criticism appears to stem from a bias of comparisons. Any book in any genre can be poorly written. A terrible book (usually due to poor character development or major plot holes/weak plot) frequently occurs when a book has not been well or properly edited or has been rushed into production. It needs to be noted here that there is a difference between a poorly written book and a book that is poorly received by readers. The former is a novel with grammatical, structural, continuity, redundancy, fluff, etc. (As a side note, in my opinion—yeah, that again—I think continuity issues is the worst sin out of the previous list.) A poorly received may be well written but for some reason didn’t click with readers. Of course, there are some poorly written books that have sold well, but they are more of an exception than the rule. Romance authors who take writing seriously are professionals and take the time to ensure that they produce a well-written book. It may not resonate with readers, but it won’t be due to inferior writing.
    6. The sex is never that good. What? Is someone not doing something right? Okay. Next!
    7. Tacky covers. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. Some romance readers like to see hot bodies on the covers while others may enjoy ones that highlight scenery. Tow·mah·toe. Tah·mate·toe. Some prefer a matte finish while others appreciate glossy. It’s a matter of preference. In comparison to other genres, romance covers overall are no more tacky others.
    8. Predictable ending. This is only a real problem for persons who dislike happily-ever-afters (or happy-for-now). Yes, romance has a predictable ending—boy and girl fall in love (or boy/boy, girl/girl, boy/girl/boy… I’m not about to get into all of this, but you get the point.) Romances have a formula: they meet, fall in love, get torn apart, get back together, the end. The beauty of romance is the path taken to get from beginning to end. It’s the journey that is the thrill, the ups-and-downs of the roller coaster. By the end of the ride, the reader is satisfied if the author has done his/her job correctly.
    9. I honestly have to say that I don’t mind this. Yes, I know many people find it cringy and odd, but I know plenty of people in real life who fell for each other the moment they met or after the first date. The difference is, most of them did not profess this love to each other right away. But the feelings were there. I guess I see how it could be weird or creepy to profess to someone you just met you love him/her. And chances are it’s probably lust and not love (or one too many shots) anyway. I think the reason instalove happens in books, especially in shorter length stories, the action must move fast. Most people don’t go on vacation for months on end. So, if the story is about a couple who meet on a two-week cruise, the author has two weeks to get them together. The clock starts ticking the minute their feet hit the deck. Think of the 1994 movie, Speed, with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. The characters Jack and Annie had a deadline of a leaking bus gas tank (Spoiler alert … oops, too late. But hey, who hasn’t already seen this movie?) to get together as a couple. Yes, it was a subplot, but the relationship had to develop quickly nonetheless.
    10. Unequal characters. This bothers me a lot when I see it. Usually, it’s the hero that has it all together and the heroine is a mess. Sometimes, even strong heroines are written to dumb as dirt who requires saving. Listen, sometimes a man can be a hero without the heroine being helpless. Years ago, I was about to enter a store when one of the workers gathering the shopping carts noticed I had a flat. Now, how it managed to go flat as the pavement the minute I parked I don’t know, but it hadn’t felt like a flat on the drive there. He volunteered to help. Bless his heart, he had no clue. I had to tell him he had the jack upside down. Ultimately, I ended up changing my own tire, but he was my hero that day. Why? Because he noticed the flat. Had it not been for him, I probably would have driven (or attempted to drive home) and destroyed my rim which would have cost far more money than replacing a tire… although, that tire wasn’t cheap. Just saying.

And that’s all I got. As a romance writer, I was probably a little biased. Okay, I was definitely a lot biased. But as they say in the navy, “oh, well!” I hope this article brought you some chuckles. If you like this article, give me a like or hop on over to my blog (Creole Bayou) and check out what I’m doing at

Enjoy sports romance? Check out my new adult romance, Defending the Net, released on November 10. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It will be sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first in my hockey romance series? Don’t worry. Out of the Penalty Box, an adult romance where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime out is available at It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to or to Amazon at

Copies of all my books and stories are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed in my Writing Projects page ( along with descriptions of each of my novels or stories.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click and signup today.

Finally, if you or anyone you know are interested in joining a college Greek life organization, check out my special series posted each Monday for everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about college fraternities and sororities. Visit Sorority Bible Table of Contents to view any or all of these posts.

Michal Scott: After All, Women Are Half the Human Race
Friday, February 15th, 2019

Born in 1956, I’m a product of the “Say it loud I’m Black and I’m Proud” sixties and have always loved learning of the achievements of African-Americans. Many years ago I was pleasantly surprised to come across a box of flash cards of thirty-six famous African Americans. Martin Luther King Jr was prominently displayed on the cover, but I recognized miniatures of Marian Anderson and Mary McLeod Bethune. I bought it at once and hurried home with my prize. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and discovered only six of the thirty-six were women! I was expecting half the cards to be dedicated to women. After all we are the other half the human race, right? I might have grudgingly settled for twelve, but six? I appreciated the six represented different firsts like Shirley Chisholm and Marian Anderson, historical champions like Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, and two well-known in the Black community if not as well known in the larger society like Mary McLeod Bethune and Phillis Wheatley. But this collection was sending an unfortunate subliminal message, i.e. women don’t contribute equally to “the Race.” That disappointment sent me on a crusade.

I began collecting images of Black women whenever I came across them. Postcards, books, magazines, you name it. If it had an African-American woman on or in it, I bought it. I framed the images in dollar store box frames and put them on the walls of my apartment. My collection grew to over three hundred images, multiples of those who are household names like Billie Holiday, but the majority who were famous in their time like Ada Overton Walker. Born in 1880, she and her husband George Walker became well-known for their interpretation of the cakewalk.

Soon, I just started collecting images of any black woman or girl I found and framed those too. Even though nameless, they deserve to be noticed, too. So in honor of all the African-American women you’ve encountered over the years, please share their names so I can find their images and add them to my collection.

One Breath Away

Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. She’s never been courted, cuddled or spooned, and now no man could want her, not when sexual satisfaction comes only with the thought of asphyxiation. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.

Wealthy, freeborn-Black, Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing the mysteriously exotic woman is his mate foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.

Hope ignites along with lust until the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…


“Will you let me help you?” He extended his hand, waited for permission.

She took his hand as he had taken hers and pressed his fingers to her wounded flesh. Pain, quick and sharp, flashed through her mind. She gasped and tugged his hand away, but it wouldn’t budge.

“Don’t fight it.” He stayed close, stroked his thumb soothingly where the scar stretched beneath her ear. “Your fear gives it strength.”

The rhythm of his strokes calmed her fears, relaxed her body. She had no energy, no desire to resist. Her hands slipped from his wrist. Her arms hung limp at her sides. She closed her eyes.

“I—I’ve got to sit down or I’ll fall down.”

“Then fall.” His gaze held the assurance she needed. “I’ve caught you before. I’ll catch you again.”

On cue her knees buckled and she collapsed. He swept her into his arms with the ease of pushing a swinging door. She buried her face in his chest, wheezed, shuddered, wheezed again.

“Relax,” he cooed. “Relax. It’s your fear. Nothing more.”

She blinked, fought for breath through gritted teeth. “Bu—but my response is not nothing. It’s real fear.”

“Yes, it’s real, but not permanent. Your fear can be controlled and finally conquered.”

“Controlled?” She panted. Disbelief huffed out on each breath. “How?”

“With time…if you’re willing.” His mouth hovered a hair above hers. The warmth of his words whispered between her parted lips. “Are you willing?”

“I—I’m not sure.”

“Let me convince you.” He closed the gap between their mouths.

A hint of peppermint tooth powder boosted rather than masked the natural earthy taste of tooth and saliva. Each swipe of his tongue strengthened her spirit. God, she had heaven in her mouth.

She drowned in the moans vibrating from her throat. In her mind she surfaced for air, for relief, but the need for more pulled her back under. She wrapped her arms around his neck, invited him to plunge deeper, take her deeper. Desire warred with fear. In her heart she prayed.

God, please let desire win this time.

Book links:
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Genevive Chamblee: 10 Things That Sound Romantic but Aren’t as an Afterthought
Monday, September 17th, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve done a list. Well, not really, but that’s not going to stop me from writing this one. So, with no further introduction, I’ll begin.

  1. Taking a candlelight bath together with bath oils and rose petals. The mutual bathing is romantic. Everything else is tricky. First, not all bath oils smell so hot. Be sure to select a scent your partner will enjoy. Second, be certain there is a safe place to set the candles. Sure, there will be plenty of water (not necessarily a good thing, but I’ll get to that later), but the last thing a person wants is to bump a candle over while getting busy and setting the shower curtain or a bath rug ablaze—unless arson and pyromania are the things that turn you on. (BTW, I have a half dozen Def Leppard songs in my head now.) On the flip side, one doesn’t want to prematurely douse out the flame and have to fumble out of a slippery tube in the dark. Either situation possibly could lead to a 9-1-1 call. Third, rose petals smell great but not so much when they are clogging your drain. But don’t worry. Your plumber will love you even if your wallet won’t.
  2. Going on an outdoor picnic. This can be super romantic but not if you fail to check the weather conditions first, place the blanket on a mound of fire ants, do it during lovebug mating season, forget the mosquito spray, bring an open container to a place where alcohol is prohibited, select a site that is overly crowded, or attract a bear.
  3. Calling in sick at work to spend the day with your significant other. This only works if you plan on staying in the entire day or you’re the boss. There’s always that one coworker itching to rat you out if they see you galivanting about town went you’re supposedly in bed with a fever. I know what you’re thinking. You’ll spend the day out of town. Ha! Keep these precious Disney words in mind: “It’s a small world after all”. Multiple times, I’ve been in locations over a hundred miles from work (taken off with permission) and bumped into coworkers. Once, I bumped into my supervisor, who, incidentally, had given me a hard time about approving my time off.
  4. Going skinny dipping in a public pool, sauna, hot tub, or beach. Be warned, if caught there’s a possibility of going to jail, being given a fine, or both. Worse is if your body isn’t swimsuit ready, your unintended spectators may laugh, point, heckle, and post photos/videos on social media.
  5. Cooking a romantic dinner for your partner. It’s only romantic if you do the dishes, too.
  6. Placing an inedible object in your partner’s drink or meal. All I can say is, I hope you’re up-to-date on performing CPR or your partner has a very good dental plan.
  7. Allowing your partner to sleep in. Check the calendar first to ensure you aren’t allowing your partner to miss his/her sister’s or best friend’s wedding or not being present for that important business meeting that could lead to a promotion/raise.
  8. Writing a love poem. Let me rephrase that. Taking credit for a love poem you didn’t write, especially if you plagiarize from a famous poet and your partner is a literature major.
  9. Treating you partner out for a night on the town but forgetting your wallet/purse. This also doesn’t work if you’re over the limit on all of your credit cards. Hint: Look, if you can’t afford an expensive date, plan an inexpensive one. There’s plenty of romantic activities that won’t macerate the piggy. Your partner will understand.
  10. Lip syncing a romantic song. Even if you’re tone deaf and can’t hold a single note for three seconds, your partner would prefer to hear your voice massacre a song rather than watch you lips sync. So, go ahead and belt it out.

Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou again. New posts are made on Wednesdays. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Enjoy sports romance? Check out my new adult romance, Defending the Net, being released in November. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Preordering information coming soon. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first in my hockey romance series? Don’t worry. Out of the Penalty Box, an adult romance where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime out is available at It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to or to Amazon at

Copies of all my books and stories are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed in my Writing Projects page ( along with descriptions of each of my novels or stories.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click on and signup today.