Tiara Tea by Susan Hanniford Crowley

Tiaras! Do you have one? Do you wear it? 

I’m wearing one. Here’s me in the tiara I wore at a Tiara Tea with some of my gal pals.

There are lots of myths about who can and when to wear a tiara!

Myth #1: Tiaras and crowns are only worn by royalty!
Answer: Not true! Tiara wearing for special events became popular in the 19th century and continues to grow in popularity.

Myth #2 Tiaras can only be worn by married women or brides!
Answer: Not true again! Tiaras can be worn by any young woman or older woman for special events. Royals have been wearing them in their teen years. Some royals who have never married, still wear them.

Myth #3 Tiaras are so expensive that they are out of the reach of most people.
Answer: Not necessarily! You can get lovely-looking tiaras that are made of inexpensive metal and glass stones. If you want to spend the bucks, you can go into a jeweler’s and say you want to buy one. (You’ve made their day! And no, my tiara is not one of the expensive ones.)

Where do you wear a tiara?

Traditionally, you wear a tiara to special/fancy dress events late in the afternoon but preferably in the evening. You often wear them to black tie or white tie events.

I’m all for making new traditions. Why not have a fancy dress event at other times! A Tiara Luncheon! A Tiara Tea!!!

Secret: I found everything at the Tiara Tea tasted even better! Smiles!

Susan Hanniford Crowley, Author of Vampire Princess of New York
Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance

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These are a few of my favorite tropes…

Like many readers and writers I love a good trope. Here are three of my favorites–and which books I use them in!

Friends to Lovers:

I really like how the characters who are already friends can dive right into the story without any “getting to know you” set up. They already have a shared history, which can add depth to their back-story. I utilized this in Deadly Courtship, which is also a second chance romance. Jas and Madi have a history where they used to be lovers but now are friends with the occasional benefit. Jasper is desperately in love with Madi (unrequited love is another favorite trope of mine) and remains friends because he can’t cut her out of his life entirely. Madi is allergic to feelings and doesn’t want to admit how much Jasper means to her, which leaves them ripe for a shift in their relationship.

Fated Mates:

Characters who are meant to be together due to supernatural forces beyond their control is a super popular trope in paranormal romance, and I find the idea really fascinating. In Secret Courtship, Ophelia is a seer with very strong and accurate visions of the future. I used her magical goddess-blessed ability to make a kind of fated mates set up, in that she knows she’ll have a child with Ulric from the time they are young, and her foreknowledge affects all of their interactions. Neither of them is very happy to have the goddess meddling in their lives, which seems like a natural response to being forced together. It creates a situation where being fated mates is a barrier to their happiness, rather than something that smooths the way.

Fake Dating:

I am a total sucker for fake dating! I love the angst characters go through as they realize their feelings are real but can’t tell if their love interest is still pretending. In Crowning Courtship, Terin needs to convince his politically minded mother that he is not available for her matrimonial games. Aurelia steps in to help him, but she is really clear on not wanting her heart involved. It leads to a series of negotiated boundaries and conversations about relationships that is vital to building their trust in each other, and wouldn’t have been possible without the pressure of pretending. There are a lot of layers to a fake relationship story, and I’m not sure I’ll write another one any time soon, but I sure had fun with Terin and Aurelia’s story!

What about you? Do you have any favorite tropes? Any books to recommend as prime examples?

Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The award winning first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018. The final book in that series, Crowning Courtship, came out in May 2021.

Learn more about her around the web:

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Writing Through Stress…And Good Stuff!

Spring is upon us! Finally! Today was a beautiful day!

So let me briefly sum up…and then I’ll get to some other good stuff!

Last week That Man and I went on a beach vacation! It was just us and my sister and brother-in-law (and their dog) and we had an amazing time. The weather was pretty good. We only had rain overnight and one day of absolute cold and yeah, we (at least my sister and I) wore sweatshirts and leggings on the beach every day. But that was fine! We have about six months before we go back with our family group!

So the other good stuff is that as a pre-bonus before Prophecy releases next week, The Shadow Guide will be FREE from tomorrow until Friday! And that’s because Soul Mate is so awesome!

This is a re-release. It originally came out in 2014 as “For the Love of Isaac”. It’s been (obviously) re-titled, re-covered, edited, and edited again. But it’s yours for free for the next 3 days! Since it’s my birthday week, I’m calling it my birthday gift to you! 🙂

When evil comes for Alaina, bringing with it a destiny she can’t deny, can love stand against the forces of darkness? When Alaina inherits her grandmother’s house, she gets far more than just the eccentric woman’s massive knickknack collection. Desperate for help with the increased paranormal activity around her, she calls the one person she thinks can provide it—despite the memory of the night he rejected her. Patrick doesn’t want to get involved with Alaina and her demonic inheritance. He’s lost enough to the demons already, and so has she. If he refuses, she could be murdered just like her grandmother. Just like his wife and child. And he can’t live with that either. Together they must find a way to restore the balance of good and evil, while coming to terms with emotions neither of them thinks they want.

And then on April 27th… Prophecy releases!

Twelve years after a devastating flu that eliminated much of the world’s population, the human race is trying to survive while living a much simpler life. Gabriella is a midwife and a demon hunter. She helps bring new life into the world, while doing her best to prevent evil from growing. Only there seems to be much more evil lately, and far less new life. Something big is happening and she may be the only one who can stop it.

Jack is an angel in a human vessel sent to protect and assist Gabby in solving the puzzle of good and evil she faces. It should be a simple assignment, but he doesn’t count on the emotions he now must deal with, or the attraction he feels. He faces exile if he oversteps his moral boundaries, but when he realizes his love for Gabby, he wonders if falling from grace because of her is so bad.

I hope you enjoy!


Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, The Heart of Victoria Smith | 4 Comments

What Makes a Hero?

What Makes a Hero? 

In romance, we use the word “hero” loosely. Often, the hero is the swashbuckling, handsome man who sweeps the damsel off her feet and leads her into a life of “happily ever after.” Most of these men are dukes, earls, or military men with a long pedigree of service to king and crown. Of course, along the way, the hero and his lady-love encounter a great deal of turmoil and danger until they realize they have found “true love” while conquering the adversity that keeps them apart or that threatens their country. 

In my historical fiction, my heroes and heroines are often in the middle of life or death conflicts. What intrigues me about true heroes is that they often are not people who thought they would ever be heroes. They often enter military conflict as reluctant warriors. In The Progeny and in From Ice Wagon to Club House, Jude Mooney and his sons fight battles that sometimes were not even their own conflicts. They stood up to bullies and fought for the people they loved. In Love at War, Nuala and her family never thought they would fight the Nazi machine. They, like the Mooney clan, faced danger when it threatened those they loved. I’ve made no secret that I have written my WWI/WWII novels after reading letters and listening to my family lore. As I read letters, scrutinized preserved newspapers from a bygone era, and examined cherished keepsakes, I realized that my uncles were ordinary young people who answered the call to serve. Like my father, Jude Mooney did what he had to do to survive. 

Heroes have been on my mind a great deal of late. The events in Ukraine have reminded me of the resilience of many young soldiers who fought to defeat bullies during times of war. Like members of my family, the soldiers in Ukraine probably never thought they would be thrust upon the world stage as they have been. I’m sure most world leaders hope they never have to lead a nation in war; however, many people like Churchill and Roosevelt had to stand against unmitigated aggression. Today, we see a man like Volodymyr Zelensky thrust onto the world stage as his country faces tragic turmoil. Who would have thought an actor/comic could face Putin. His famous quotation resonates with anyone who hates bullies: “I don’t need a ride; I need ammunition.” I’m sure this man never thought he would face such a test. Pray for peace. Pray for Ukraine.

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Using Core Wounds in Your Stories

By Jeanine Englert

In February I did a talk at my local writing chapter. My focus was on how to improve the first line, page, and chapter of your book. In it I discussed one of my favorite ways of doing just that by exposing layers of your characters a bit at a time by showing snippets of their core wounds.

So, what are core wounds?

We ALL have them, and they usually stem from our childhood. The core wounds often fall in one of these four buckets: abuse, neglect, codependence, and loss. Knowing your characters core wounds is akin to knowing a basic blueprint of what is going to drive their motivations as well as their conflicts. If you sprinkle in some of their secrets, which often drive your plot as well, you have one heck of a story.

For example, in Lovely Digits, Lucy Wycliffe’s core wound is loss. Her parents were murdered when she was a teenager, and she craves wholeness. She wants desperately to create some sense of family between her, her widowed sister, and young niece, but struggles to make enough money to provide for them as a layer-out of the dead. When the dashing Constable John Brodie comes along and attempts to enlist her paid help in assisting on a local case in her small town of Clun, she accepts readily.

John Brodie’s own core wound is also loss. He was disowned by his father and later in life his younger brother died. He craves closure to a painful secret, one that impacts Lucy directly, and ironically the only way he can heal that wound is to involve her in solving the most horrific crime of his life as well as her own.

As you can see you can have characters that possess the same core wounds, but you can also have characters whose wounds push and pull against one another. For example, you could have a hero whose core wound is neglect who craves attention and acts out for it, no matter the consequences. Then, you could also have a heroine whose core wound is abuse who would crave security and safety. Those two would have a great deal of work to do to help overcome the conflicts they would encounter from each other early on, which would make their romance and happily ever after even sweeter in the end.

So, if you haven’t really thought about your characters’ core wounds in a while, stop for a minute and muse upon what they are. Jade Lee gave a fabulous talk about core wounds at the RWA Conference back in 2019. I would highly recommend a listen if you can access the recording.

If you have another recommendation for reading more about core wounds, please drop a comment below. You can also let us know about your characters’ core wounds in your current book if you wish!

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.

Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at www.jeaninewrites.com.

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Book signings – return to normal?

I recently went to a book signing set up by the Love and Devotion group in San Diego. The signing was supposed to occur a year ago, but for obvious reasons did not go forward. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The world has changed since I signed up for the event, but I made a commitment and was also a sponsor, and so I went.

It wasn’t until I got to San Diego that I realized how much I enjoyed this sort of thing. I am what people refer to as an introverted extrovert. I love my alone time and need it to recharge, but put me in a group of people, especially those I’m familiar with, and I turn it up to ten…or eleven. Add to this seeing some of my friends who I only interact with rarely and the stage was set for a Saturday of fun. You would think I’d be reminded of that when I argue with myself about going before hand, but no. I always have a million reasons why I shouldn’t have signed up, only to get there and be delighted to interact with friends again.

The event itself was huge, with probably forty writers in a giant room. I am always impressed at how creative everyone is – banners and swag and all sorts of fun stuff was at all the tables, giving the people attending a feast for the eyes.

The other feast for the eyes were the models who showed up. The men who decorate the covers of Storybook Pub and many of the local writers’ covers, were there to take pictures and visit with writers and fans. These guys are some of the nicest guys out there – not to mention attractive and fit. They added to the general ambiance and definitely brightened up an already brilliant room.

These events are part networking and part building a fan base and this weekend was no exception. I encountered several people I’d met in prior events, such as bloggers and mega fans. The volunteers are some of the hardest working folks out there, and they made sure that everyone had what they needed. While I didn’t sell tons of books, I networked and overall had a great time. I can’t wait for the next one!

While there I had the opportunity to talk to a local bookstore owner who indicated that her store may start opening for book signings as soon as April. I have gone there before and her store is a feast for the eyes. I hope she does – and I hope I’m part of it. If it does start to happen, hopefully I will see some of you there!

Are you ready to go to book signings again? What would you want to see from them?

In Universe Chronicles news, I am editing the fifth book as we speak. It’s tentatively called Healing Portals and focused on Katrina, the portal talent last seen in Generating Gravity, and a healer she rescues. The twists and turns are excited for me, and I wrote it! For those who haven’t read Generating Gravity, the fourth book in the Universe Chronicles series, is available exclusively on Amazon Kindle Unlimited – as is the entire series. Here is the Amazon link for the book:   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09DTJBV1W

Have a great day, and that’s no April Fools!


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Heroine Fix – Aunt May – With Great Power, Comes a Greater Woman

For me, whether or not a story works is driven by the characters. The choices the characters make have to make sense and feel important, otherwise the ending can’t be satisfying. So I love talking about fictional characters, especially amazing heroines. So for 2022, I’m sharing some of my thoughts on what makes these awesome ladies fan favourites and how we authors can apply those lessons to our own writing. (Warning: this post will contain spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home, Into The Spiderverse, and the JMS run of The Amazing Spider-Man.)

Like many comics geeks, Spider-Man was one of the first comics I started reading. And like many readers, I didn’t initially think much about the character of Aunt May. She was just one of the obstacles that Spider-Man/Peter Parker faced in living his best superhero life, nowhere near as important as Uncle “With great power comes great responsibility” Ben, or M.J. “Love of Peter’s life” Watson.

But as I got older and started actually thinking more about the stories and the characters in them, I started realizing that Aunt May is actually the heart of the whole Spider-Man story. While Uncle Ben’s death provides the impetus for Peter Parker to become Spider-Man, it’s Aunt May who keeps Parker’s moral compass on the right path. She’s the one who supports and believes in him without knowing that he’s the friendly, neighborhood superhero. It’s that unconditional love that keeps both Peter Parker and Spider-Man grounded and firmly on the side of doing what’s right.

A secondary character like Aunt May makes a huge difference to how we see a hero like Peter Parker/Spider-Man. If she believes in him, then it’s easier for the audience to believe in him, too.

I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about the stories from Aunt May’s point of view. She knows that Peter is having a hard time, a much harder time than such a smart and sweet boy should have. She can’t understand why he’s struggling with his classes, or why he stays out so late, or why he “forgets” about getting together with his friends or doing his chores or any number of other things. But even though she’s got every reason to believe he’s being inconsiderate and slacking, she doesn’t get angry with him. She believes that he can do better but that doesn’t change how she cares about him. She loves him and wants the best for him.

In J. Michael Straczynski run of The Amazing Spider-Man, he made the decision to have Aunt May discover Peter’s secret identity. It was an incredibly dramatic (and talk-provoking) end to one story.

The readers speculated loudly about how Aunt May would react to this revelation. Would she be angry at him for lying about something so crucial to his life? Given that she blamed Spider-Man for her husband’s death, would she transfer that blame to Peter? Would she try to prevent him from superheroing?

We shouldn’t have worried. Because Aunt May is Aunt May, she let Peter know that she understood and that she loves him and will always love him.

But there can be a lot of variation in how the character is presented, all without losing the supportive nature that makes Aunt May who she is.

The Aunt May in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (the one with Tobey Maguire) is sweet, kind, and supportive. This is a woman who lost her husband, the love of her life, and still tries to be the best mom to a moody, inexplicably difficult teenager. Her choice to focus on her nephew says a lot of about her strength of character and her nurturing nature. She keeps the family worries from Peter, letting him concentrate on growing up (or at least, that’s what she thinks he’s concentrating on).

The Aunt May in Into The Spiderverse (the animated one) is grieving. Her nephew, Peter Parker, has just been brutally killed in the first half of the film. In the process, his secret identity has been revealed, and now she’s having to deal with Spider-fans as well as her own feelings. And yet it hardly seems to faze her when a half-dozen alternate universe Spider-people show up at her home, asking for help. She leads them down to the secret lair and even helps Miles Morales (the new Spider-Man) create his costume. Because it’s a universal truth in the Spiderverse that you can always count on Aunt May for help.

However, I have to say that it’s the latest Aunt May who really captured my heart in the MCU Spider-Man trilogy (the ones with Tom Holland). Casting Marisa Tomei instead of a gray-haired auntie really shifted the tone of her relationship with Peter Parker. The filmmakers decided to skip over the spider bite and Uncle Ben’s death, introducing us to a Spider-Man who has already donned the costume and begun being a superhero.

In the first movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Aunt May is delightfully clueless about the various men hitting on her throughout the film, much to her nephew’s dismay. She is thrilled that Peter is taking a date to prom and worries that he’s overworking himself at his Stark Industries internship (which is actually him superheroing). She chides him about losing his school backpack again (it’s hard to remember which wall you webbed it to) but also makes sure that he knows that she loves him. In short, she’s a great mom, which is exactly what we expect her to be.

In the sequel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, we see another side of Aunt May. The business side, which expands the people that she’s supporting outside of her home. She starts a charity to support people who were unhoused after they vanish and reappear five years later due to a supervillain plot (that’s the short version, the long version would take a much longer blog post). The superheros of the MCU have to deal with these huge cosmic events, but they also affect the ordinary folk. Aunt May doesn’t have superpowers, but she can raise money to find homes for people who need them. As she puts it in the third film: we help people, that’s what we do.

The third film is the one that flipped everything I was expecting on its head. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter and Aunt May are trying to help a host of alternate universe villains. Peter initially wanted to simply send them back to their respective universes, but Aunt May points out that these individuals need help. Help that Peter is in a unique position to give. She convinces him to give it a try.

But in the course of trying to cure the villains, there is a battle and Aunt May is killed. It was shocking to us in the audience, particularly those of us familiar with the typical arc of Spider-Man stories. We expect Uncle Ben to die. In fact, it’s so expected that it has lost a great deal of its power to affect the audience. But Aunt May is supposed to live. The decision to save Spider-Man’s “origin” scene for the third movie and to kill Aunt May after allowing the audience to grow so close to her renewed the impact of the scene. This is the moment that is supposed to teach two lessons that are vital to the character: 1) that Peter needs to take responsibility and intervene when he can, and 2) that revenge won’t heal a broken heart. Because we feel the impact of Aunt May’s death along with Peter, we struggle alongside him when he’s given an opportunity for revenge. We feel violated because good people aren’t supposed to die in action movies (or comic book movies). We want justice and for the universe to be set right.

And yet, it’s not always possible to set things right. Uncle Ben might have coined “With great power, comes great responsibility” but it was Aunt May who taught us that “With great love comes the support for not-so-great times.”

If you are also a fan of people with superpowers falling in love, you might enjoy my superhero romance series, The Lalassu. The first book Revelations is available for free on all platforms. And if you enjoy capable, skilled heroines with dry wit, then you’d probably like Katie, the heroine from Deadly Potential, who runs a global pop-music tour and has acquired the attention of a serial stalker (plus a super-hot bodyguard).

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Resilience of a bleeding heart.

This is spring growth of a bleeding heart. My mom adored their tiny pink hearts. She grew a huge plant in her yard in Michigan, and the transplant she’d given me survived four moves in thirty plus years. Heavy spring rain and late freezes in 2021 proved deadly for many plants in our area. My bleeding heart never rose from the ground. Then came record heat waves last summer. I was shocked to see new growth this year!

Mom would’ve turned 100 on March 18th. She exemplified resilience. Her mother died in 1932, of cancer, during the Great Depression. Her dad (6th grade education) kept a roof over their heads by painting houses. They moved into thirteen rentals before she hit high school.

After 32 years of marriage, Dad divorced her to marry a younger woman. My older brothers had left home and she wouldn’t let me change my plans to move to Seattle. As an adult, I can’t imagine her anger, loneliness, and bleeding heart. Seven years later, she married our widowed neighbor who adored her for 27 years. Resilience at its finest. My loving mom and friend is wearing a sweater I knitted for her.

Posted in Simply Stated By Sally!, Soul Mate Publishing | 7 Comments


Transition Between Scenes

Hello again writers and fellow readers. Thanks for joining me on the Soul Mate Publishing blog page. For those of you new to the blog posts on the website, I write historical romance novels under the pen name Wareeze Woodson. I have seven novels, six of which have been published by Soul Mate, all available on Amazon. Conduct Unbecoming a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, Bittersweep (my one historical western) Captured by the Viscount, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager, After She Became a Lady—(my one self-published book never to be repeated.)

I always add a bit of mystery-murder, abductions, thieves along with the love story. The flair of the apparel, the correct manners, and dashing adventures take me back to another era of heroes and heroines painted in vivid colors with word pictures. If you’ll be kind enough to read forward, perhaps my words shall offer a little more insight into writing and the turmoil therein. There must be a transition between the action scenes to move the story forward.

Have you have read a book that went on and on without an advancement to the story line? I have and I did want to turn the page alright, but only to escape the tedium of hashing the same thing over until it made me yawn. I hope to show examples of what not to do along with something to move the story forward.

One of my favorite authors, now deceased, wrote a book where the hero could never convince the heroine of the reality of the situation. She couldn’t commit to him or accept him in her life. Although evidence of the truth of his words was all around her, she fought against the reality of being in another world. I wanted to slap her on the back of the head. Harping on that one element was very off-putting. Start with a strong premise and with characters not as blind as those who choose not to see.

On to moving the story forward. While working toward that end, remember the characters can’t be in one place and simply arrive at another location without forward motion. A transition must occur.

The reader must be drawn into the story by a description of the place, smells, noises, and relatable things that happen in everyday life plus wanting to know what happens next.


An example while traveling: Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman

“Be careful and have a safe journey. I’ll wave you away in the morning.” Adron kissed her and with a pat, sent her out the door.

The next morning, Adron appeared on the steps as Horace, a big, burly dark-complexioned man with black hair and eyes, pulled the coach round to the front entrance. He dismounted and scanned the sky. “Weather appears nasty, Milord.”

Laurel rushed down the stairs. “Please! I must go to my aunt.”

In a slight upward nod with his chin, Adron acknowledged her statement. “The weather does appear dubious but if it becomes too inclement, Horace will pull in at the nearest inn or posting house. Have a safe trip and wish your aunt the best health.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, she climbed aboard and took Jamie from Hester’s arms as the maid flopped on the opposite seat. Laurel waved and watched Adron as he returned her wave before mounting the steps.

Delighted to be well on her way, in spite of the threat of a pending downpour, she was even happier to have Jamie with her. With the gentle sway of the coach, Jamie fell asleep, and Hester nodded off soon after. As the day advanced, Laurel’s eyelids grew heavy and drifted down as well.

The smell of rain-drenched air brought her round and she glanced out the window. The sky had darkened considerably since the morning and the storm broke with a vengeance. Rain pelted the vehicle making it advisable to put up at the closest inn. Horace drove the coach out on the pike-road, a mile or so north of Han’s Cross on the lookout for the lonely posting house. He pulled to a stop and helped the ladies down.


Laurel and her group traipsed into the inn, shaking the moisture from their traveling cloaks. Following the Innkeeper into the interior of the inn, she approved the private parlor off the coffee room with a nod. A cheerful fire chased the dampness from the chamber and chairs were placed before the hearth. She rubbed her hands together before the blaze and pulled Jamie’s chair a little closer before ordering a light repast to accompany the tea.


Hester tripped into the room. “Everything is right and tight as is proper for your ladyship and the little one.” The maid bustled about the room, fluffing pillows, and drawing a small table with chairs closer to the fire. “I’ve unpacked, Milady.” At the rap on the door, Hester hurried over to open it. “Here’s your supper now.” She arranged the meal on the table and bobbed her head. “Your ladyship.”

“Thank you, Hester. I’ll be fine. Jamie and I’ll go straight upstairs to our chamber. We’ll both go to bed so don’t concern yourself with us again tonight.”

Hester curtsied and bustled out of the parlor. Before the meal was half consumed the maid briefly knocked and burst into the room, drawing a long breath. “Milady, my chamber has been disturbed, searched and everything is in a scramble. I was that scared so I called, Horace and showed him the mess.”

Another example from: An Enduring Love

Rhys nodded in agreement. I don’t suppose a hearty breakfast would come amiss. He joined Mabree in a matter of minutes and chose buttered bread, an egg, and cheese, along with a strong cup of coffee. The compelling need to return to Rebecca’s side as soon as possible, nagged at him almost as if she called to him, perhaps was still calling.

“I must leave as soon as possible.” He swallowed a few quick bites and drank his coffee. “I’m filled with a sense of urgency.” Rhys wiped his hands on the napkin and pushed back his chair. He couldn’t swallow around the lump in his throat. Clenching his fists, he continued, “Something is amiss.”

“By all means.” Mabree scraped his chair back, calling to the footman. “Have Lord Sudduth’s horse saddled. Be quick about it.”

On his feet now, Rhys nodded. “Much obliged for your assistance. I must be off.”


With a final wave, he rushed out the door and mounted his horse. After he made it to the roadway, he set Gray Boy at a dead run for a few minutes. The steady pounding of hooves seemed to urge him on, as well, until reason prevailed. No sense in killing my mount. Rhys slowed his horse to a canter for a while and finally to a fast walk. He frowned and gulped several shallow breaths. The few bites he’d swallowed seemed lodged in his chest. Something is wrong. I can sense it in my bones.


Rhys allowed his horse to recover before he set Gray Boy at a run again. Rhys alternated his horse’s pace between a dead run, a canter, and a fast walk. He growled and railed against the brightly shining sun when the setting didn’t match his mood. All seemed dark to him. What if something horrible had happened to Rebecca? She could be ill or injured in some way. What if her horse had thrown her? His whole body tensed as he envisioned one disaster after another. Henry is there to protect her. No need for panic.

Nevertheless, he kept Gray Boy at a steady pace. His mind churned with possibilities. Danger has stalked close and now both William and Nicoli lay wounded. I must try to find the culprit myself. I’ll leave Henry to watch over Rebecca. She’ll be safe under his watchful eye if I bring her grandfather into the picture. Lord Lethebridge can assign guards for his grounds, and keep his granddaughter close, especially if Weister does visit Belton Hall. With that in mind, he relaxed slightly in the saddle, and allowed his stallion to slow to a rapid walk.

Well into the late afternoon, Rhys again urged Gray Boy to gain his full stride. Before he could urge the horse to a canter, the stallion stumbled and went down, throwing Rhys. His survival instincts kicked in and he curled his arms over his head and rolled. At the same moment, he heard the report of a rifle. Gray Boy’s scream of torment shot through Rhys as he hit the ground. For a stunned moment, a burst of pain sparked, as bright as stars, before his eyes and radiated into every pore of his body. Dust choked him as he shuddered with a dreadful agony in his shoulder. Rhys tried to fight off the shock, but blackness descended upon him with full force.

These were two examples of scenes and transitions always moving the story forward. Characters moved from one place, a physical location, to another. The tale advances, both in traveling, but also in further actions, hopefully making the reader want to read the next page and the next.

I hope I’ve given the reader a brief glimpse into using a transition to move the story forward. To learn more about my writing, visit my website or visit my facebook page.

Thanks once again for sharing your time with me.


Wareeze Woodson

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Future Romance

Science fiction romance is quite a large and popular genre. It covers aspects as varied as gender diversity and sentience in Star Trek, the role of women in leadership in Star Wars to a variety of android lovers, alien mates and steamy first ummm… contact. Tentacles anyone? There’s a place for every desire in the future!

But really it is how are people going to find The One, regardless of what slot A and B look like or even exist. Humans looking for love across time and space and finding new wonders and new ways to grow and communicate. Or is it? Many alternatives see a darker future of hatched offspring, of genetic engineering or outright apocalypse. Writers can project their own ideas of the future, and they vary – thankfully – from whimsy to grimdark. Will human nature triumph for good, or will the path follow the future into darkness?

But even the most futuristic fiction must establish some sort of familiar baseline for readers. An emotion, a reaction that echoes with the reader, despite the surrounding mass of stars, or indeed the tentacles. Humour, conversation, poetry, or ancient literature can bridge the gap and lead to understanding, humour and love across species.

So here is a flash fiction I wrote that tries to get inside the mind of a cyborg soldier and show that we share emotions in unexpected ways.

Future Soldier

Meat memories, they call them. The way your hands remember the soft weight of a baby, or the feather touch of lips on your cheek. We don’t tell the docs, just in case we lose those too.

There are no faces or names to these bits of ephemera, they took those away so we could be more efficient.

And we are.

I line up to go in the communal showers, the water swirling down the drains is red today, other days it has been leaf green or even strawberry milk pink. The hot, disinfectant laced water stings as my skin regenerates, and I wonder what the words leaf and strawberry mean. Afterwards we connect to the machines that download our statistics, reload more software, and the tubes that feed us.

Little creatures scurry around me. One told me that I had looked like one of them, once. I find that hard to process. If I was one of them, why do I have to kill so many? Am I not a sister to them?

The new software ends its download, and I stop thinking and wait for the next assignment.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The 30 Organizing Tips for Writers provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free Romance Short Stories.

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Posted in Word-Crafting With Cindy | Tagged , | 2 Comments