Romance Writers’ Weekly: Themes


Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Post! Did you pop over from Raine Balkera’s blog? 

This week’s topic: What is the theme in your novels, recurring or in one, that sends a message about an issue in society to help people? Was it developed by you intentionally, or did it evolve through the characters and plot?

After writing five novels and five novellas, I’ve noticed certain themes appear in my work time and time again, mostly in my romantic thrillers.

I often force characters to find their authentic selves. They can’t gain the title hero or heroine of a story if they haven’t grown comfortable with who they are as people by the end of their stories. They tend to begin as cardboard versions of either what they see about themselves or a facade that others push on that person.  through self discovery and lots of hardship, they all emerge as the person they were meant to be. And they are stronger and more interesting because of it.

Alex from “Untrue Colors” leaves home because her father doesn’t accept her version of herself. Once she fully accepts herself and all her amazing abilities, she flourishes in the art world. Regrettably, she needed to leave behind the people who would not allow her to expand into who she was capable of becoming.

Alex in Paris

Alex in Paris

Cassie from “True Deceptions,” on the other hand, has a certain image of herself that she’s fearful of changing. She’s conservative and timid and is easily manipulated. This is her image of herself at the beginning…

She wasn’t a threat to anyone. Even after months of intense training at a gun range, she still hesitated to shoot at inanimate objects and hadn’t developed the calm, cool demeanor necessary in undercover work. She acted like a spacey, schoolgirl from Southern California. No wonder he’d shown her no respect. 

Time and circumstances, however, force her out of her boundaries. Once free, her true colors emerge. She rises up to challenges that her old self would never have handled.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” He reached to take the phone away from her.

“Can you disarm a drone packed with explosives and acid with a computer program that will cease to exist if you make one faulty keystroke?”

“No,” he growled.

“Then I have no need for you right now. Go check the motorcycle.”

Another theme that resonates through my writing is sexual consent. I will not allow an Alpha hero keep that title if he does not receive clear consent with a sexual partner. There are too many people today who feel they are obligated to give in to a partner when they in fact have the final word in saying yes or no. I don’t want to add to the confusion. ‘No’ means ‘no’ and a person should work damn hard to hear a ‘yes’ especially with a person they have never been with.

And on that note….Head over to see what J.J. Devine  thinks on this subject!

Romance Writers’ Weekly: Carpentry Flash Fiction


Welcome to Romance Writers’ Weekly. This week’s topic is from Fiona Riplee, Write a flash fiction of 250 words or less about a long lost love. Include the words: hammer, chisel, and coping saw. Did you come from Carrie Elks’ blog?

Welcome!! My attempt is a bit corny, but here goes…

Glen always hated power tools. The noise alone could drive a person mad. He brushed off the sawdust and looked at the decorative heart he’d cut in the back of the highchair using his coping saw. He’d chisel out the edges and then sand it all smooth a bit later. The design would be perfect whether his sister was having a little boy or girl.  

The door near the office opened and then closed. The clunk of heels echoed across the workshop. Glen turned around and saw the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen, Captain Holly Donahue. She wasn’t in the tan flight suit she’d worn when saying goodbye two years before. Instead, the sexy brunette seemed anything but military in skin tight blue jeans and black t-shirt with black biker boots.

“You told me you didn’t want a relationship with a small town bum with no dreams.”

“I was an idiot.” She stared at the highchair. Was that a bit of longing in her eyes or was he only hoping to see that. “How have you been?”

“I’m doing well. Shelby’s expecting any day now, so I thought I’d make her mini-me a place to hang out for a few years. And you? Still flying the skies?”

She stared down at the concrete floor. “I’ve been grounded. Permanently. Something about seizures in pilots being a risk.”

She’d rejected a relationship with him to pursue her career. And now? “So did they give you a desk job?”

“They gave me an honorable discharge and a decent pension.” A huge tear dripped down one cheek.

“If you ever need anything. You know I’ll be here for you.” He wrapped her in his arms and pulled her close.

“Good. Because right now you’re all I need.”

Head on over to see what Dani Jace wrote.


Romance Writers’ Weekly: Inspiration

rose book

Today’s blog hop topic is from Jeanne McDonald – three “simple” questions!

1. Describe that moment you first felt like a true author (not just an aspiring one).

My first meeting at VFRW, a moment in time when I’d finished my first full manuscript and was full of questions and anticipation. The manuscript, by the way, was horrible, but that is a story for another blog post. I sat next to Terri Brisbin. She asked what I wrote, and I told her woman’s fiction (this was before I discovered the thrill of suspense). She was the first professional writer I had even spoken with about my work. She treated me as an equal and respected and understood my journey. The entire group at VFRW was fantastic and welcoming. At that point, I knew I was with the right people.


2. Name three authors who you inspire you.

Cathy Maxwell. When reading her books, they have a rainbow of emotion, but leave you full of joy. Having met her a few times at writing conferences and retreats, I understand. She is full of joy and spreads that sense of peace and happiness to the people around her. She has been an inspiration to me. She has fantastic success, loves helping newer writers, and seems supportive to everyone in the writing community.

Betty Bolte. She has been working her way into this career for years. She doesn’t let set backs knock her out. Instead, she believes in herself and in her ability to write beautiful books. It’s been fantastic to watch her career blossom and know that it will go even further because she has the grit and talent to make it in this crazy industry.

James Patterson. He is unapologetic about making writing into a business. He has a talent for writing stories that grab the reader and keep them from beginning to end. Does he claim to be a brilliant author? No. He claims to understand what the public wants in a book. And he delivers.


3. Describe your favorite fan moment (either you as the fan or one of your readers approaching you as a fan).

At the book signing for the Romantic Times Convention in Dallas, a woman walked up and told me how much she loved the book “Untrue Colors.” Hearing praise from a complete stranger was a magical experience, but she made it even better when she asked if I could sign two books. One for her and one for her friend. Yep, best moment, so far, of my writing life.




Here is the list of authors on the blog hop today. is the next after me.




LOVExtra (Tracey)

Betty Bolte

Brenda Margriet

Veronica Forand

Raine Balkera

Leslie Hachtel

A.S. Fenichel (Andrea)

Gemma Brocato  (Heidi)

J.J. Devine

Victoria Barbour

Susan Scott Shelley!blog/c1cod

Dani Jace

Kate Robbins

Carrie Elks

Collette Cameron

Romance Writers’ Weekly: Flash Fiction


Fiona Riplee has provided our challenge for the week. “Write a Flash Fiction that’s 500 words or less with the following items: an empty parking lot, an abandoned SUV & a chihuahua sitting in the driver’s seat.”

If you’re coming from Brenda Margriet Welcome!


Parking lot

Tim didn’t have to take Carly to Camel Point, but he did.  She’d been throwing herself in his direction for two years. Maybe she’d put out for him. And after that fiasco with Desiree in the basement of his house, he needed a comeback.

He parked his car in the abandoned lot and pulled her close to his side. Her muscles tensed. A probable virgin.

“Are you cold?” he asked with as much concern in his voice as he could provide without laughing.

“A little.” She snuggled closer and pressed herself into his arms.

They kissed for what felt like forever, but never progressed past his attempt at putting a hand up her shirt. She swatted it away with reflexes a ninja could appreciate. Her rejection stung. She was nothing. Nobody. And she was alone in the car with him. Hell, she’d consented to come with him.

He gripped her tighter. His fingers digging into the cotton t-shirt he desperately wanted off her.

Something scratched the side of the SUV. A rodent. Tim looked out the door into the darkness and saw nothing but dark shadows of rocks and bushes.

“Maybe we should go home now.” Carly tried to move away from him.

“Not yet. I need you. All of you.” He held her close, yanking on her shirt now. He was getting something for his time, despite her prudish reactions.

The scratching returned. What the hell? This time he opened the door. As he leaned out, Carly kicked him in the back and sent him flying onto the asphalt. He yanked on her arm and dragged her out of the SUV with him. Damn, she was strong and wildly throwing punchs. One nailed him in the face. Bitch. He lifted his arm up to strike her, but a motorcycle roared onto the scene. Some jerk with an attitude and a black leather jacket.

“Get on, Carly. Now,” the asshole ordered her.

“Wait a minute. She’s with me.” Tim pulled her off balance. She fell into his arms.

From the look on her face, it was clear she wanted nothing to do with him. And yet he tried to keep her there anyway. Until a gun barrel tapped the side of his face.

No girl was worth being killed for. He let her go and backed away. She climbed on the bike and wrapped her arms around the stranger. The half-cocked smile on the idiot’s face boiled Tim’s temper, but before he kick the guy’s ass, the motorcycle revved up and then took off.

Standing alone in the deserted parking lot, he felt like a fool. The doors on the SUV clicked locked. What? He glanced inside the car. Ginger, his sister’s Chihuahua was sitting in the driver’s seat wagging her tail. He wiped the blood from his face, pulled out his phone, and called his sister. He tried to explain what happened, but she wasn’t having it. She arrived with a posse of four women in a Jeep. She hopped in the SUV and drove away without him. In the back window, the stupid dog seemed to laughing at him.

Head on over to Gemma Brocato for her take on the challenge!

Romance Writer’s Weekly: Character Interview-Henry Chilton

Henry Chilton from Untrue Colors, by Veronica Forand

Henry Chilton from Untrue Colors, by Veronica Forand

Welcome back to Romance Writers’ Weekly Blog Hop. If you came from the amazing Betty Bolte welcome!


This week’s question is by the amazing and talented Xio Axelrod.


It’s been a while since we interviewed our characters. Here are five questions, you choose which of your characters will answer.


Interview with Henry Chilton, Earl of Ripon, Professor of Anthropology, Oxford University

From “Untrue Colors”

  1. Welcome to my blog. The first question seems pretty simple, but I bet you can come up with something that gives us a bit of an insight into your past. What’s your favorite word?

Thanks for having me. I try to avoid the public eye as much as possible, yet I feel quite indebted to you for allowing me the chance to meet Alex.  My favorite word is trust. I trust in the people around me, I just hope that I can get Simon and Alex to continue to trust me. Both of them have had people close to them let them down. I want them to understand that I am not like the people from their past.

  1. What is your fondest childhood memory?

Spending time with my mother at the beach. My father, cheating jackass that he was, couldn’t be bothered to be with us and my mother was allowed to let her beautiful soul shine through.

  1. What one thing in your past do you wish you could do differently?

I regret not telling Alex about my past military experience. I think she would have trusted me more if she had known that I wasn’t only an anthropology professor.

  1. Vanilla or Chocolate?

Vanilla. Goes better with coffee, berries, and on apple streudel.

  1. If you could have lunch with one famous person (alive or not) who would it be and why?

I’d have lunch with Alex’s father. He still doesn’t like me and I think we need some time to get to understand each other. And if he continues to treat me like a second class citizen, it would be great to tell him to go to hell without Alex with me.


Next stop is Dani Jace Her interview with her character is HOT!



Romance Writer’s Weekly Flash Fiction: 10 Words

This weeks Romance writer’s Weekly topic is care of Fiona Riplee. A Mini Flash Fiction?  

In 10 words or less, describe a kiss. Include the words pink & sweet.

(someone jump ahead of me please)

Have you come from Xio Axelrod’s blog at


Here’s my version…


My bite changed her sweet lips from pink to crimson.



Head on over to Katie O’Connor’s blog and see what she writes for the kiss.

Romance Writers’ Weekly: Two Heroes- How the Men of “Untrue Colors” Fight For Dominence


Welcome back to Romance Writers’ Weekly. Victoria Barbour wants us to show the cast of our most recent book or WIP. I’m revealing the two heroes of “Untrue Colors.”

If you cam from Victoria Barbour, welcome!!!



You have a choice to make…Ryan Reynolds or Jason Statham. This will be a commitment for at least three months of fulltime writing. Chosen yet? Some of you latched right on to the bedroom eyes, and the guy who could smile his way straight under your sheets.  Others, and you know who you are, chose the tough guy. The guy who could call you by the wrong name on your first date, and it would take three orgasms and few shared showers before you feel the need to correct him.

This was my decision when writing “Untrue Colors.” It was difficult, and I almost invited both of them into the heroine’s love life, but I restrained myself…barely.

Women have been known to love two men at the same time, but when a writer falls for two men in the story she is writing, chaos ensues.

The story “Untrue Colors” started out as a modern day “My Fair Lady.” Henry, a fictional version of Ryan, is the professor who falls for the heroine. And Henry is amazing. He’s smart, sexy, and has a past that makes him every bit as Alpha as a Navy SEAL. In fact, he’s a retired sniper for the Secret Boat Service in the Royal Navy, the British equivalent of a SEAL.

He is not, however, a take-no-prisoners kind of guy. Alex, the heroine, requires a hero who can fall in love with a woman who survived rape and abuse and help her learn to trust again.

His brother Simon, my Jason stand-in, wouldn’t stop bugging me until I let him into the story as well. At first, a mere background character, Simon’s personality burst out of the story and sent the story into directions that truly pissed off Henry. After all, this is Henry’s book.

Not only does Simon demand a bigger and bigger role, he steals entire scenes, using his own POV. He’s not exactly warm and fuzzy, more cold and manipulative. Yet, his role in the book is crucial.

The romance and action surrounding Henry and Alex more than dominate the book, but Simon leaves his mark and is the focal point of one of the most crucial parts of the story. I promised him his own book eventually, so he let me write the book with him playing second fiddle. Three more months with Jason? Yep. I can live with that.

Who is the hero you’d be willing to spend a few months with?

* This was previously posted in Fresh Fiction.

Jeanne McDonald is next. I hope she posts pictures…