Meet the Lady in Red – Barbara Barrett


In my debut novel, The Sleepover Clause, it’s my heroine Aubrey’s sister, Jenna, who comes to her aid when Aubrey’s latest decorating project goes sour, and helps her get out of town while the owner’s fury dies down. Jenna sends her to Iowa, where the luxury motor coach for Jenna’s upcoming concert tour is being customized by the Brothers McKenna. (Warning: one of those brothers is the hero of this story and the other two might just show up in sequels.)

But Jenna no sooner provides Aubrey with a place to “hide out” than she immediately starts second-guessing her sister’s competency and ability to finish the interior in time. In fairness to Jenna, she has as much on her plate these days as her sister. Her husband recently left her, taking with him most of their financial resources. Their fourteen-year-old daughter, Paige, only knows that her parents are getting a divorce, and blames her mother for chasing her father out of the house. Though no supporter of her former husband, Jenna isn’t ready to disillusion her daughter where her father is concerned.

Jenna has also banked almost all her remaining resources on reviving her former career as a concert pianist in order to support herself and Paige. Paige resents the time her mother will be on the road away from her and wants to go live with her father, who is too caught up in his new life to take her in.

Though I’ve characterized my contemporary romance novels as “Romance at Work” – in this case, Aubrey’s assignment to finish the interior of Jenna motor coach while dealing with the Brothers McKenna – I also like to add family characters to my writing. The Sleepover Clause is rich with family members: Mitch’s two brothers, Aubrey’s sister, her niece, Paige, and we haven’t even discussed Aubrey and Jenna’s mother, the subject of another piece. And each of these four secondary characters brings their own unique personality, interests and problems to the table.

Given the fact that Jenna is nine years older than Aubrey and has a different father, they are as close as can be expected.  The Ying and Yang of their relationship adds to the book’s conflict, as Jenna both depends on Aubrey to employ her decorating talents to the fullest and yet doubts her ability to follow through. And Aubrey finds herself caught between defending her sister’s seemingly dictatorial actions to Paige and helping Jenna better understand her daughter’s teenage defiance.

I didn’t have to do much research to understand the Aubrey-Jenna dynamic. I have a sister myself. Peg is two years younger, so our early years were spent defining and rebelling against that older-younger sibling dynamic. Now, we live in different towns, pursue different lifestyles, and our own families are vastly different from each other. And yet, we share the same history, the same relatives, and the same aging mother we look out for.

Question: How do your siblings affect your adult life? If you’re a writer, how has having one or more siblings affected your writing?

Barbara Barrett can’t help being a bit schizo when it comes to her lifestyle, since she lives half the year in Florida (guess which season) and the other half in her home state of Iowa. She believes she has the best of both worlds, with visits to the Mouse in winter and her six grandchildren in summer. Although she has been writing romance fiction for several years, her debut novel, The Sleepover Clause, was just released this September by Crimson Romance. While she has refined her craft, she has also been active in RWA, particularly the Kiss of Death chapter (someday she’s going to start that cozy mystery series), chairing their annual conference planning committee for two years, including New York City.


Twitter: @bbarrettbooks


How Bureaucracy is Giving Me Perspective

I’ve worked in local government for my entire professional life. I went straight from college into public service boot camp, also known as the water customer service department. Luckily, I only endured eight months of boot camp before landing a job in stormwater management which lead to my current position as Environmental Coordinator for Lexington County, SC.

Working in public service has its pros and cons. No need to lament on the cons, but I will say that thus far the pros have outweighed the cons. One thing my eight—yikes—years working in local government has taught me, is that success doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, when it comes to working in government it can take years just to see an idea begin to take shape.

I could provide examples of 18 months spent on ordinance revisions, three years on a restoration project, or five years to finally have a regional plan before council, but there’s no need for all that.

Does red tape suck? Yes. Will it go away? Sure, when republicans and democrats start having pajama parties and making friendship bracelets.

So even though it can be frustrating to wait years before you see a project come to fruition, it’s given me some perspective as I tackle a writing career. My long term goal is to sell a lot of books and write full time, but I don’t expect that to happen any time soon. If I’m lucky it’ll happen in the next five to ten years. More than likely, I’ll do well enough to take my family on some nice vacations.

I’ve set short term goals to try and make it to full time writer. I plan to write—and it would be nice to publish—at least two books a year. I plan to stick with e-publishers, but promote my book as if I’m self published. After researching the pros and cons of traditional publishing, I realized that writers with large publishers don’t always get a lot of publicity. I’ve seen other traditionally published writers work with outside publicity companies, pay for their own advertising, and solicit reviews on their own.

Will my long term goal change? No. Will short term goals change? Probably.

I may have to self publish instead of go with an e-publisher. I may go for a traditional publishing contract. I may win a million dollars and hire a firm to create a catchy radio jingle to promote my book. Who knows? Working in government has taught me that priorities can change quickly. You’re on one path, a new council is voted in and your priorities change. I don’t have that issue in my writing career, but I have the ability to adapt to whatever changes are needed to achieve my ultimate goal: full time writer.

So, thank you public service for preventing at least one freak out moment in my writing career. My husband also thanks you since he will not have to talk me off the ledge because I’m not a millionaire after one book.


Synithia Williams has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural that she would begin penning her own romances soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her publishing dreams. Her first novel, You Can’t Plan Love, is available now from Crimson Romance. When she isn’t writing, this Green Queen, as dubbed by the State Newspaper, works to improve air and water quality, while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Synithia, and her novel, by visiting her website,, where she blogs about writing, life and relationships.



Written in Red: Rogues, Rebels & Rakes

Ooh!!!   Written in Red sounds incredibly apropos to what I write: jaunty pirates, action/adventure, charismatic rogues and the rebels who defy them.  That’s my tagline, you see.  Rogues, Rebels and… those exasperating Rakes that make you swoon.  Add in a snub at convention, a pinch of defiance, a dram of rum (forgive me, I digress), a tad sword fighting, fisticuffs, a dash of vengeance and mayhem galore, and my writing is what it is … written in red — ink, that is.

Yes, it’s a writer’s life for me.

And while I would love to be drinking rum and kicking back my heels, living the carefree life (It’s five o-clock somewhere, right?), these alpha males of mine, scoundrels through and through, have their own obscure code.  They don’t make it easy.  No.  They make me work hard.  They come angst-ridden, with redemption issues, a quest for vengeance or a relentless drive to prove themselves worthy.  And if that means writing me into a corner, they’ll do it, especially if a beautiful heroine is involved.  A good alpha does love his opposite, you see.  Especially if said damsel is in distress.

So what’s a writer to do when a hero sails in with backstory, drama or trauma, and the need to protect his lady love?  Well, as I have learned, few choices are safe enough to pursue in these cases.

These come highly recommended:

  1. Stare at blinking curser until completely hypnotized and you forget where you are like Jack did in Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End, while in Davy Jones’ Locker.
  2. Stare down the muse or try to drink her into a swoon, when you know you can’t drink a wench under the table.
  3. Stare out the window and observe Captain Jack doing something he vows you’ll never see again.
  4. Stare at hundreds of emails calling for immediate attention, which leads to a voyage through Facebook, sort of like a dead monkey skittering off with a cursed doubloon, and then on to Twitter and Pinterest (where abundant pictures of Jack have been stashed).
  5. Stare at contract.  (Feet skidding to a stop!  Jack says, “Keep your eyes on that horizon, mate.”)

No matter how you handle 1-4, #5’s cut direct should do the trick.  Make sure #5 is something that will take out the wild pirate-obsessed glint in your eye, like ice cold water on a passed out seaman’s face.

Indeed, love stories are meant to be written in red, that indelible color of blood ties, commitment and passion.   And like the bonds formed between each character envisioned in your mind’s eye, writers are meant to live a writer’s life.

So, mateys.  Forge ahead.  Write the stories that fill your heart to overflowing.  Imagine alpha males pitting wit and brawn against a wicked foe.  And when you get stuck, begin with step 1 and work your way to step 5 over and over again.  Jack will thank you for it!

Katherine Bone

DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT Coming October 29th

Stop The Presses – Shelley Wall, What Would You Write?

Good morning! I write romantic suspense and contemporary romance, so my mind naturally wanders toward searching out the drama in a situation and exposing it. When faced with something unusual, regardless of what it is, there’s a natural tendency to evaluate how it would go on paper. A lot of what if scenarios run through my head at the same time and wham, a new scene occurs.

Crimson Romance is running a contest based on an idea that occurred when I received a strange phone call weeks ago. It is in honor of the release of my new novel, Numbers Never Lie,  which is now available.

I’d love for you to take a look at the contest and participate. Here’s a link:


Please read Numbers Never Lie, and keep an eye out for Bring It On which will be released in November.

Meet the Lady in Red–Shay Lacy

My name is Shay Lacy. I feel a bit decadent being called a Lady in Red. Shay is my pen name, chosen after a long, arduous Internet search. It’s amazing how many cool names are already taken by strippers. I eliminated my first twenty choices for that reason. I chose a pen name because my first novels were erotic romance and I wanted to misdirect any stalkers my novels might attract. I write erotic shapeshifter romance, futuristic romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense.

I’ve been married to the same man for 31 years. I chose him instead of the Army, thinking he’d be the bigger challenge. After I put my two cats to sleep last year, he demanded a fur-free home. Since that hadn’t been in our marriage contract, I was rethinking that Army decision. Alas, I had passed the maximum age for enlistment. When I see a cat commercial on TV my heart goes pitter pat. He says I’ll outlive him and then I can have cats once more. I’m not sure he realizes I write romantic suspense and can think of lots of ways to hasten a man’s demise. And if somebody offered me a free Maine Coon…

I’m a secretary by day. If you work outside the home, you know that dictatorial bosses and irritating co-workers are excellent fodder for novels. I like to make them victims and villains in my stories. And some of what goes on in the working world you just can’t pay to imagine. Truth can be stranger than fiction. Although not in some of my short stories.

Beyond writing I’m an amateur photographer. I bake fairly well. Cooking—in truth, I collect recipes and attempt them. My husband thinks I’m trying to poison him. I wouldn’t have to try—I own a textbook on poisons. I collect rocks and glass paperweights and unusual names. And, of course, I love to read.

My secret passion is glass. I love the way it looks, the way it refracts light. I love its many forms and variations. I love watching glass artisans at work. I love old glass dishes and glass goblets. I have to be careful not to become a hoarder with my passion.

If I didn’t live in northern Ohio, I’d live someplace slightly warmer where there were hills. Not too warm, though, because I love the fall, the changing colors of the leaves. But I could skip winter. I’d like to live on a lake where no gas-powered boats could roar up and down. Recently I attended a party at a lakefront condo. The side of the house facing the lake was nearly all glass. The wife had a second-floor office that looked out over the lake. I could write lots of novels from an office like that.

I write romance because I need the happily ever after. My first love is fantasy, but not every character in those books survives. If I take a journey with a character, and grow to care for them, I want to know they survived and thrived, and that they had someone to love along the way.

After vacationing in Watkins Glen, New York, the setting of my novel, Hero Needed, which Crimson will release on October 22nd, I knew I had to write a story set in that town with that crazy, unprotected train track. I included photography in the story, which my husband does as a professional, and I’m an amateur.

When I write, I find my personal traits in at least one of my characters, sometimes the hero, sometimes the heroine. Often the emotional trials in my life find their way into my writing. I didn’t have to cut anything from Hero Needed, but another novel I’m editing will have to have huge tracts severed from it. I’ve delayed because these tracts are very dear to me. The hero’s grandmother, who raised him, has dementia and is failing. I wrote this novel when my mother-in-law had to be confined to a nursing home with dementia. I know it will hurt a lot to lose any part of this story.

The best part of my writing life is being able to ask people the craziest, most outlandish, most off-limits questions for my books. People who aren’t writers or reporters have boundaries. But writers are nosy. I HAVE to know things. Even if it’s not for a work-in-progress, I know I’ll use it in a future book. The worst part of my writing life, besides having to work nights and weekends, is having so many story ideas and not enough time to write all of them. While five ideas wait their turn, five more ideas take root in my brain.

So I have a lot of stories in the works. I don’t know which I’ll work on next. It will probably be romantic suspense because I love a hunky hero helping a smart heroine figure out who done it.

You can see more of Shay Lacy at my website,

Check in on Facebook,!/shay.lacy.7

Catch me on Twitter,


  I want to celebrate my debut release of my story: INCANDESCENT which will be releasead Monday, August 27, 2012.


Some gifts are unwanted, and Laurie’s Hudson’s affinity for fire is one she hates. It has destroyed her relationship with her family and she has few friends. She’s fought hard to keep the fire inside suppressed, living a low-key life as a bartender, until a brutal and charming man blows into her life.

Around Mikhail Petrov, her careful control disintegrates. She is at once drawn to his urbane, cool demeanor and irritated by his overbearing manner. Her options are taken away when he kidnaps her, forcing her into a fight she wants nothing to do with.

As she learns to survive, Laurie faces the hardest choice of all, her freedom or the destruction of the frustrating man she’s come to care for.

My hero, Mikhail Petrov is a suave and at times a cruel man. He’s forgotten how to care, because for him this emotion brings weakness and he can’t afford to show any. He doesn’t expect Laurie to affect him, but she does and the result changes everything.

I love to write anti-heroes, the ones that are bad, but have their own moral code. They intrigue me, because on the written page I can explore any possibility. Would I like to meet one of my heroes in real life? Probably not. This is why I like fiction. Especially Urban Fantasy, add romance and I am hooked.

As for heroines, Laurie Hudson is a woman who wants a quiet life. She doesn’t think she’s strong, but she is. She has to learn to grow and take responsibility for what she has. Life isn’t fair, but she has to deal with the hand she’s played. I like my heroines to go on a journey–to grow and become stronger. I want them to be determined and at times funny. Most of all I have to relate to them.

Of all the characters I write–the heroines are the ones that I’d like to know–someone I’d meet for coffee or to go shopping (well, that’s iffy, if you know me, I don’t like to shop).  This is a bit different from the hero–someone who makes me uneasy.

Today, I celebrate my characters:  Mikhail and Laurie–two people who shouldn’t be together–but do end up together with explosive results.

I am excited to share this story and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!

Author Bio: M.V. Freeman is a native of Minnesota, but calls North Alabama her home. She is a member of RWA, and the chapters: Georgia Romance Writers, Southern Magic, and Heart of Dixie. By day her mind is filled with medical jargon at the local health clinic, but at night
she finds herself exploring alternate worlds within our own. Heavily influenced by Slavic languages and culture, you will find she weaves these elements into her stories. Her award-winning current story INCANDESCENT is the first in a series. She is currently working on the second book in the series while plotting another project. When she is not writing, she’s reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee.

You can find me at:
my twitter @MVFree

Stop the Presses!

I’ve always yearned to say that and hear the wheels of a newspaper machine grind to a halt. But today, I ask you to stop the presses so I can announce the release ofmy first contemporary romance with Crimson.

Eight Seconds to Glory is the story of Travis Hargrove’s journey to regain his confidence and rejoin the rodeo as a bull rider, after nearly losing his l ife in the arena. The rodeo management is unsure he can regain his  place in the competition so, Travis must prove himself. Luckily, he meets up with his old mentor, Mickey who is now the foreman at a ranch named the Glory B.

If Travis thought riding b ulls was dangerous, keeping his hands to himself or his lips off Glory’s proves a daunting task. But, Glorys heart has already been broken by another bull rider who used to her to climb up the ladder to the big time. She wants nothing more to do with those men chasing the golden buckle on the next big event. Yet, Travis gets under her skin and into her heart. Will she take another chance on love or will she deny the chemistry that heats up the night when she and Travis are together. Can she love him enough to give up her dream of raising bulls for the rodoe in order to support his dream at a chance for that championship buckle.  Eight seconds can make or break a cowboy. Eight seconds may be all Travis or Glory has to find the love of a lifetime.

I hope you’ll enjoy the romance between Travis Hargrove and Glory Beebe.

Eight Seconds to Glory releases on August 27th.