Book Giveaway & Guest Author – Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram, author of Daughter Am I

Pat Bertram


I would like to welcome our Guest Author for the day, Pat Bertram. I’m so pleased to be part of Pat’s DAUGHTER AM I blog tour and I hope that you enjoy today’s interview, excerpt and the global book giveaway*.  

Thank you for joining us!

Take it away, Pat…  :)


**Congrats to Marjorie Cunningham on winning a copy of Daughter Am I**

Interview with Pat Bertram 

How long had the idea of Daughter Am I, been developing before you began to write the story?

Pat:  I developed the idea in a single day, but I had to finish the book I was working on at the time, so I didn’t actually begin writing Daughter Am I until several months after I got the initial idea.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Pat:  I always wanted to be a reader. That’s really all I ever wanted to do. I did try writing a novel many years ago, but the words never came flowing out of me the way I thought they should, so I decided I had no talent for writing. About eight or nine years ago I decided phooey with talent, and I decided to try writing again. I thought it would be a good way of taking my mind off my problems. I also read books about writing, publishing, and promoting, so basically I gave myself a crash course in the whole writing spectrum.


How long did it take you to write Daughter Am I?

Pat:  I started writing Daughter Am I on March 19, 2004 and I finished it on February 9, 2005. That was the first draft, of course. I didn’t completely finish the novel until September 2009 when the final edits were done.


What was the most difficult part about writing Daughter Am I?

Pat:  The most difficult part about writing Daughter Am I was finding the words. I am not one of those authors who can sit down and just let the story pour out of them, I have to dig for every single word.


Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

Pat:  Definitely. I like complete quiet with no interruptions, so about the only time I can write is after dark. I like sitting in a pool of light, where nothing exists but me and the blank page.


What would you like your readers to take away from your stories?

Pat:  I would like readers to take away a slightly different way of looking at the world, perhaps seeing it in a better light or a maybe just a more truthful light. And if not that, I’d like them to feel good about having spent time with my characters. The best compliment I ever received was from someone who said he didn’t want the book to end.


What inspired you to name many of your characters in such an imaginative way?

Pat:  Most of the characters in Daughter Am I are aged gangsters, and they kept the monikers they used when they were young. I patterned my gangsters after those in the 1930s movies, though in the book they didn’t actually reach their prime until the 1950s or even 60s.


Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

Pat:  Interesting question, but no. No rituals. Sometimes I read a bit that I’d written to get me into the story, but mostly I just sit and think about what happens next.


Do you have a favourite snack food or favourite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

Pat:  Water. I drink lots of water. Writing is a thirsty occupation!


Have you ever lived on a farm?

Pat:  Never lived on a farm, but I live across the road from one. Does that count?


In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Pat:  The most difficult part of writing for me right now is just sitting down and writing. I don’t know why, but I have no real inclination to write. I’m sure the desire will come back, probably when I stop spending so much time on the Internet.


Do you keep a pen and note pad on your bedside table?

Pat:  Yes, lots of pens, notebooks, paper. Don’t use them, but they are there!


Is there a certain freedom in being published by a small independent publisher?

Pat:  For sure! I got a final say in the editing process, I got to submit my own cover designs, and I get to promote my books the best way I know how. I realize the last is not something most authors care about, but some publishers expect authors to keep them informed of everything they are doing to promote. In some cases, the authors have to ask permission to post excerpts of their own books.


What are you working on right now?

Pat:  Mostly I’m blogging, writing articles, doing interviews, but I do have a work in progress — a whimsically ironic apocalyptic fantasy — that is waiting for me whenever I get the inclination to write again.


Is there any thing else that you would like to share with us?

Pat:  Besides Daughter Am I, a young woman/old gangster coming-of-age novel, Second Wind Publishing, LLC has released two other books of mine: More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

More Deaths Than One tells the story of Bob Stark who sees his mother’s obituary in the morning paper, which stuns him because he buried her two decades ago before he left the country to live in Southeast Asia. So how can she be dead again? A Spark of Heavenly Fire tells the story of insomniac Kate Cummings who gathered her courage and strength to survive the horror of a bioengineered disease let loose on the state of Colorado.

 Daughter Am I

Excerpt from Daughter Am I

“How could you bear to part with the only thing you had that belonged to your grandfather?” Mary asked when they were all munching sandwiches in Teach’s kitchen. The large rooms of his apartment seemed small because of the books stacked everywhere—on shelves, on tables, on the floor, on the kitchen counters. “Even if it was only a bullet,” she added. “There’s more where that came from.” Teach lifted the top of a ceramic cookie jar sitting in the middle of the table, reached in, and pulled out a handful of metal blobs. He let the pieces of lead clatter back into the ceramic jar, then stuck two fingers in his vest pocket and took out a ten-dollar bill. Handing it to Kid Rags, he said, “Here’s your share. Usually I get about fifteen dollars per bullet.” Kid Rags plucked the bill out of Teach’s hand, carefully placed it in his wallet, and continued eating his ham and cheese sandwich. Mary’s mouth fell open as she stared at Teach. “You’re a con man!” Teach raised one eyebrow. “You say that as if it’s a bad thing.”
“Well it is. You cheated those people.”
“No, I didn’t. I gave them exactly what they wanted—romance, excitement, memories. And don’t forget, they thought they were taking advantage of a poor defenseless old man.”
“It’s still not right,” Mary said.
“You don’t get it, do you?” Teach rolled one of the bullets between his fingers. “It’s all one great big con.”
“What is?”
“Everything. Life. Love. Happiness. The OK Corral. Wyatt Earp.”
Mary shot a questioning glance at Kid Rags who shrugged and busied himself constructing another sandwich.
“Wyatt Earp was a con man himself,” Teach said. “He and a mysterious character named Dave Mather got caught pulling the gold brick swindle in Mobeetie, Texas, and they were run out of town.”
“Gold brick swindle?” Mary asked.
Kid Rags groaned. “Don’t egg him on. Now we’re going to learn more about gold swindles than we ever wanted to know.”
“I wanna know,” Crunchy said.
Teach grinned at Kid Rags. “You’re welcome to wait in the living room.”
Kid Rags waved his sandwich. “I haven’t finished eating yet.”


One last thing — I’d like to thank everyone for stopping by to visit. It’s always nice to make new friends!

—Pat Bertram

To read more about Pat Bertram and her work, please visit her website and her blog

* The global book giveaway is for 1 print copy of Daughter Am I, if  the winning commenter is a US resident. If the winning commenter is not a US resident, they will win an ebook copy of Daughter Am I.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

3 Guest Authors & a 3-Book Giveaway (giveaway has ended)


Book Giveaway WINNERS:

Winner of a book from Alissa: Vicki

Winner of a backlist book from Emily: Linda B

And the Grand Prize winner of A CHRISTMAS BALL is: Quilt Lady

I am so pleased to be hosting Emily Bryan, Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson as they celebrate the release of their anthology, A Christmas Ball. The official release date was last week, on September 29th, 2009.

These three lovely authors will be guest posting today with a Q & A, new excerpt from each of their stories and a 3-book giveaway. They have generously offered to giveaway 2 books from Emily or Alissa’s backlist AND a third lucky commenter will win a copy of A Christmas Ball !!!

Take it away ladies! 

Question and Answer (Q&A) with:

 Jennifer, Emily & Alissa

Where did you find your inspiration, for your part of the anthology?

Jennifer: My story, “The Longest Night,” involves two characters introduced in “Highlander Ever After,” a book in my historical/paranormal, Nvengaria series. I’d been wanting to write the story of Mary and Valentin (the “Highlander” hero’s sister and the sexy Nvengarian baron she nursed when he was shot), but I’ve been caught up in too many other books. I jumped at the chance to write their story in this anthology. So that was my “inspiration.” (More like, “Oh goody, I get to write about Mary and Valentin!”)

Emily: I decided to do a sort of Cinderella/Fish-out-of-water story and what’s more out of place at a fancy ball than a scullery maid in her well-born half-sister’s ball gown? I’m also a huge Oscar Wilde fan, so I wanted to make “My Lady Below Stairs” an ensemble piece, with several relationships on a collision course. I had great fun writing this story and hope you’ll love it!

Alissa: Well, I’ve never had entire story inspired by one person or one event, but I do take inspiration from people and places to create specific scenes (see question number 4.) And I did listen to Christmas music to get into the holiday spirit.


Who had the wonderful idea for this collaboration?

Alissa: Our fantastic editor Leah Hultenschmidt.

Jennifer: The idea came from our editor at Dorchester. She asked the three of us to participate, and then we worked with her on the details of the setting and so forth.

Emily: Since all our characters are attending the same grand ball, we had to agree on the hosts of the ball, the floor plan of the mansion, décor, etc with Leah as the final decider on the shared details. But I must say, Jennifer, Alissa and I have collaborated more on this blog tour than we did on our stories! Each of our novellas are independent of each other, except for setting.


How long did it take you to write your part of the story?

Jennifer: It’s all kind of a blur now, LOL! The story was due in March, and I think I started it at the end of January. But I was also working on another full-length book at the time. Probably about three or four weeks from first word to final, polished manuscript.

Emily: Whoa, Jenn! Smokin’! Mine took longer because I had a break in the middle of it to wrestle with colon cancer. (If your doctor says you need a screening, go! I had NO SYMPTOMS! Early detection has given me a very rosy prognosis, thank you God and my brilliant GP!) So my story took several months, in fits and starts.

Alissa: Longer than I expected. It was my first novella, and (silly me) I thought the shorter length would equal less time spent at the keyboard. I failed to factor in how challenging it would be to flesh out my characters in the space allotted. I have a whole new respect for those who write novellas on a regular basis.


Do you model your characters after real-life people?

Jennifer: I usually don’t. That said, some people might have a characteristic or mannerism of someone I’ve met, or be a combination of people I know. But characters take on a life of their own–even if I start with someone in mind, the end product if completely different. My characters are unique human beings to me.

Emily: No, I’ve never done a “the names have been changed to protect the innocent” thing. But I did pattern the little dog in SILK DREAMS (one of my Diana Groe books) after my geriatric pound puppy, Susie! I figure she’s not going to sue me if I got it wrong!

Alissa: I haven’t, really, though the scene in which Patience eats a whole slice of cake in one bite was inspired by a friend with a similar talent.


How many years have you been writing?

Jennifer: I’ve been writing since I was eight. I’ve been writing with an eye to publication since about 1994. I’ve been writing with a really serious “I’m going to to this for a living, dang it” purpose since 1999. I’ve been a published author since 2002.

Emily: I started in 2001 and have been published since 2006 (first as Diana Groe for more dramatic historicals set in the Dark Ages, then as Emily in 2008 for my light-hearted fare!) A CHRISTMAS BALL is my 7th published book.

Alissa: I’ve been writing for fun since I’ve been old enough to hold pen to paper, but it’s been less than five years since I began writing with the goal of being published.


Is there any hope for more stories to come out of those in the anthology?

Jennifer: For me, probably not. I already have three other books in this series, and I’ve moved on to new ones (The Madness of Lord Ian series; a new shape shifter series starting with Pride Mates in Feb.; and a new UF series as Allyson James called “Stormwalker” out in May 2010). So many stories to tell, so little time!

Emily: No, I thought readers might enjoy a stand alone story since A CHRISTMAS BALL is seasonal.

Alissa: There’s always hope. I’d enjoy writing a romance for Patience’s friend, Caroline Meldrin.


What book or books are you currently working on, now that The Christmas Ball is completed?

Jennifer: A bunch of stuff–Pride Mates, by Jennifer Ashley (Feb. 2010; I’m proofreading it now). Stormwalker, by Allyson James (May 2010 at Berkley; that’s being read by my editor now). Lady Isabella’s Scandalous marriage, by Jennifer Ashley (July 2010 at Berkley; ms. being finished by me now). “Shifter Made” by Jennifer Ashley, a short story (connected to Pride Mates) in the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (I just got the edits on it). A novella to be out in Wedding Favors (anthology), by Allyson James with Berkley Heat in May 2010 (writing that now). Lots to do!

Emily: I just typed “the end” on STROKE OF GENIUS, which will be out in June 2010. So I’m in the limbo land of figuring out what’s next. It’s a little disconcerting since the story has been consuming me for a few months now. Letting go of one cast of characters and assembling the next is always a dicey time. Anything can happen. I just have to figure out what.

Alissa: The fourth book in my Providence Series, Destined to Last, is in the editing stage and due to be released in the spring. I’m working on the proposal for a new historical series as well.


What’s your favorite snack food when you’re writing a story?

Jennifer: Trader Joe’s chocolate chip merengue cookies. 30 calories a cookie. I’m trying to lose weight and I allow myself a couple of those a day. Other than that I don’t snack when I write. Bad habit, which is why I now need to lose weight! However, I do have a glass of iced tea by my side at all times. (I live in a hot climate, so I drink it year-round. Un-sweetened.)

Emily: I actually don’t eat while I write either. I do however consume huge quantities of Cherry Coke Zero. Unfortunately, I snack while I watch TV with the DH. I think carrying weight is an occupational hazard for writers so I reward myself each day by hitting the treadmill after I finish my page count. And I do mean reward. I need to move after sitting so long.

Alissa: Just about anything you put in front of me. I have a particular weakness for sweets.


Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate…what’s your favourite?

Jennifer: Tea. Because I’m trying to lose weight and lower my caffeine intake, I’m trying a lot of green and white teas. I’m in love right now with African Rooibos, which is an herbal tea. I’m having so much fun tea tasting!

Emily: Coffee! My DH gets up each morning and grinds the beans to make a fresh pot. The aroma really gets me going! Honestly, if coffee tasted as good as it smells, it would have to be a controlled substance!

Alissa: Coffee, I have to have. Hot chocolate, I love to have. Tea, I will have cold.


Have you ever wanted to travel back in time to the Regency era?

Jennifer: Yes, as long as I get to take antibiotics with me, and I could transport my bathroom with all its plumbing. I’d make a wussy time-traveler! But…yes, I’d love to see the beautiful buildings, wear the clothes, talk the talk, try the food and drink. I guess what I need is a TARDIS, so I could visit, but still have my modern conveniences with me.

Emily: No. While I love to read about it, I wouldn’t want to live in the early 19th century. I’m a classically trained soprano and sang professional opera. In the course of my stage work, I’ve worn corsets and bustles, panniers and stays. Ugh! Of course, Regency clothing was a little more comfortable, but those long column gowns restricted movement and didn’t lend themselves to much of a brisk walk. Sometimes, the sleeves were tight enough to keep women from lifting their arms above their heads. Then when you think about the restrictions on women’s lives, restrictive clothing seems a minor convenience. Legally, a woman was treated as if she was a child or a mentally challenged person. I love the freedoms I enjoy as a woman now.

Alissa: I’d like to visit, but I’m much too attached to things like microwaves, vaccines, and the right to vote to make it an extended stay.


Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

Jennifer: I’ve really enjoyed teaming up with Emily and Alissa to bring out this fun book!

Emily: Back at you, Jenn. When Leah invited me to join you and Alissa on this project, I was thrilled.

Alissa: Just another thank you to readers for being here today!


ALL-NEW Excerpts from A Christmas Ball


FROM  “The Longest Night” by Jennifer Ashley

Valentin glided to Mary and took her arm. She didn’t trust herself alone with him, but she didn’t have enough confidence in her skating ability to push from him as he skimmed her away from the others.

“You fell?” His breath hung in the air beside her ear. “Are you all right?”

“Fine, if slightly bruised. Both my pride and my backside.”

“Perhaps we should go inside, then.”

She did not trust herself alone inside with him, either. “No, no. I am of hearty Scottish stock, not a wilting weed. I will survive it.”

Mary thought she might not survive his warm body against her side, or the way his thigh brushed hers with every gliding step. She took a long breath, trying to cool herself with the frigid air.

Valentin held her easily as they skated on, his balance supporting hers. “What have you discovered from the duchess?”

His mission. Of course. “That her favorite English Christmas customs are those that might involve men losing their trousers.”

Valentin’s half-smile returned, and Mary decided she should stop joking. She would melt right through the ice if he kept smiling at her like that. “Jesting aside, she seems harmless. We have unpacked, and Duchess Mina has made plans to skate, light the Yule log, and carry a wassail bowl about to the neighbors. She likes the idea of kissing under the mistletoe, so she has ordered it hung everywhere. Beware of that when you enter the house.”

“Hmm.” Valentin’s brow furrowed, as though he were trying to decipher what sort of code Yule logs, mistletoe, and wassail might mean.

“The duchess has so far not pumped Julia about her father’s business, tried to pry English secrets out of her, or confessed a desire to overthrow the Nvengarian government,” Mary went on. “Either she is very careful, or she is innocent. I can not believe she’d know nothing of her husband’s involvement in insidious plots.”

“Grand Duke Alexander is never wrong.”

“Perhaps not, but I do not think the avenue is through the duchess.”

“Please, keep watching her.”

Mary sighed. “I’m not comfortable spying on my friends. I know you grew up in a country of mad political conspiracies, but I had a fairly normal childhood in a Scottish castle. That is, if you consider being the only girl among a pack of half-crazed Highland men normal. I only had to deal with feuds within my own family, and those weren’t secret.” She broke off under Valentin’s unnerving stare. “What is it?”

“Nothing,” he said in a low voice. “I like to watch your lips when you speak.”


FROM  “My Lady Below Stairs” by Emily Bryan

A scene in which Ian tries to convince Jane not to continue posing as her well-born half-sister Sybil.

Gripping the carriage rail, Ian Michael worked his way along the bouncing rig to the right side door, finding what toeholds he might, swinging by his arms alone when he couldn’t locate a resting place for his feet. Then just as they neared a corner, he pulled open the door and swung his body into the moving carriage, feet first.

Jane yelped, but he covered her mouth with his hand.

“Easy, girl. It’s only me,” he said with the same soothing tone he’d use for a spooked mare. “If ye cry out, Tom will stop the carriage and ‘Lady Sybil’ will be found in a compromising position with a mere stable hand.”

Her eyes widened in the soft carriage lamplight and then she bit his finger as hard as she could.


She leaned forward and clamped her palm over his mouth. “Guess you don’t like being surprised either.” Jane withdrew her hand and crossed her arms. “Now, what are you doing here, Ian?”

“Trying to talk sense into ye while there’s still time to stop this foolishness.”

Her mouth set into a firm line. “You know I won’t listen.”

“Then I won’t talk.”

He pulled her across the narrow space onto his lap. She smelled of rose petals and her cheek was as soft as one beneath his palm.

Her eyes were enormous in the dim coach. “Ian, I—”

“Ye don’t need to talk either, love.”


FROM  “Traditions” by Alissa Johnson

A scene in which William and Patience discuss who will be responsible for taking William’s nephew and namesake, Will, to see his nanny.

William looked to Will. “Do you want me to take you?”

The boy shook his head. 

“It appears I cannot.” He smiled at Patience. “He wants you.”

“Oh . . . er . . .”

“Is something the matter?”

 “No. Yes. I’m not certain. I . . .” She eyed Will a little nervously. “I am fond of children, but to be honest,” she leaned toward William and whispered, “I’ve very little experience with them. I’ve never been responsible for one.”

“I see.” Was he going to have to take Will himself, after all? He sincerely hoped not.

“I imagine I’ve not much more experience than you.” He leaned toward her and whispered, “I avoid them whenever possible.”

“Will is your nephew.”

“Yes, but you’re a woman. Women are born with the instinct to . . .” He waved his hand about, searching for the right word. “To nurture. Or what have you.”

She rolled her eyes, but knelt down and smiled at Will.

“You are adorable . . . even though you’re messy.” Will grinned at her.

William grinned wider. “There you go.” He gave her a gentle but bolstering pat on the back. “Just scoop him up and take him down the hall.”

Patience straightened and took a step forward. Then a step back. “What if I should drop him?”

William shook his head. “You’ll not drop him. A firm grip is part of the womanly instinct.”

She sent him a withering look. “And I suppose men are born with a natural urge to toss them about like sacks of flour?”

“We’re a stupid lot.”

She laughed and offered Will her hand. “We’ll walk, if it’s all the same to you, Will.”

A Personal Message from the Authors

Jennifer Ashley:  I want to thank my readers for being so fantastic. I really have the best readers! When I meet them in person, they’re smart, nice, fun, and just…nice! I hope readers of my Nvengaria series enjoy Mary and Valentin’s story, and if readers haven’t tried that series, I hope you like the story too!

Emily Bryan:  I’ve been so blessed by the love and support I’ve received from my readers.When I was going through the cancer, you can’t imagine how much it meant to me to receive so many emails, notes of encouragement and promises of prayers. Thank you with all my heart! I know it’s early yet, but I’d love to wish my readers a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah!). May you all receive the gift of love!

Alissa Johnson:  Thanks so much for joining us! Working with Jennifer Ashley and Emily Bryan has been an absolute pleasure for me, and I hope you’re having just as much fun.


Thanks so much for joining us and a great big thank you to Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan and Alissa Johnson for being our guests today! You ladies are welcome at Book Reviews By Bobbie, any time!  :)

Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win 1 of 3 books: 2 backlist titles from Emily Bryan or Alissa Johnson & 1 copy of A Christmas Ball!

Guest Author’s visit MOVED to Monday, October 5th 2009!!

12_Days_of_Christmas_Blog_Tour_Image 1

We were scheduled to have Emily Bryan, Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson as our guest authors for today; due to unforseen circumstances, they were unable to forward the information that I needed to set up the guest post. 

I am very hopeful that the issues will be ironed-out and I also hope to have another opportunity to host these three, talented authors, very soon.

I apologize to everyone who was looking forward to the guest post and the book giveaway. I hope that you’ll stay tuned and I will let you know if we can re-schedule for a later date.

Don’t miss A Christmas Ball by Emily Bryan, Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson!


Coming Soon – Guest Authors & 2 Free Books!


I am pleased and very excited to announce that Book Reviews By Bobbie will be hosting the authors of A Christmas Ball on:

 Monday, September 28th, 2009

A Christmas BallEmily Bryan, Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson will be joining us for the day as they promote their upcoming anthology, A Christmas Ball.

They will be finishing up their 12 Days of A Christmas Ball Blog Tour, shortly after their stop here.

As a special surprise, 1 lucky commenter will win 2 books from Emily Bryan’s or Alissa Johnson’s backlist!!  That’s right 2 fantastic, FREE books, just for commenting! :)

So mark it on your calendar or write yourself a  reminder note; you don’t want to miss these incredibly talented, Guest Authors.

Guest Authors – TLC Book Tours

Something Beyond Greatness imageI am happy to be involved in the TLC Virtual Book Tour promoting Judy Rodgers & Gayatri Naraine’s book:
Something Beyond Greatness.

I would like to take a moment to welcome Judy and Gayatri as well as all the visitors who are dropping by today. Thank you!



Without further ado, I’ll hand the post over to our Guest Authors…

“Greatness is an intrinsic quality in every soul.  We know it when we see.  When we witness heroic acts, it evokes an overwhelming feeling of admiration, appreciation, and  adoration.  When we are in the presence of greatness, we are transported to a domain in which there is a natural shift in our way of being, and something gets transformed.  Such moments that invite us into the experience of greatness occur in the daily living of our lives.  Time is our friend.  The drama of life provides the opportunity.  All we need to do is to see with love and to act from the heart.

We are very close friends with a 93 year old yogi and a 80 year old scientist.  Three years ago when the yogi turned 90 we were inspired to do a book on her life.  She refused.  And we persisted.  She finally agreed.  The premise —  Service, Altruism, Courage.   We spent 3 years traveling the world interviewing people to explore and understand these concepts in relation to greatness.  Even though people recognize greatness in the heroic acts of others, they could not quite grasp the concept enough to give it words.  It was as if to understand greatness, we had to somehow go beyond greatness.  So we went beyond greatness.  We access the minds of two great friends whom we called the man of science and the woman of God and engaged them in conversation.  We went on a joyous journey with two friends whom we love very dearly and who gave us access to the depth of their hearts and the heights of their souls.  We were not writing, we were capturing experiences and threading them together into a piece that reflected wisdom and simplicity.

The world knows a lot about listening.  Now it is time for us to explore the transformative power of seeing with love.  How does this phenomena work?  What are its ripple effects?  And how does it create communities of greatness?

The time is auspicious as it is the time of fundamental changes, transformation.  Seeing with love is bigger than thinking.  Ask the self what does our world need from us and what quality of being is required to do it?  Read this book and find the answer in the domain of something beyond greatness.  A domain available to all!”

About the Authors:

Judy Rodgers has worked at the intersection of media, business, and education for over 30 years.  In the early days of the prerecorded videocassette industry, she worked for CBS and then for CBS-Fox Video in their first forays into this new industry – first in sports and subsequently in educational videos.  During those years she worked with best selling authors such as John Naisbitt (Megatrends), Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence), and public figures such as CBS news anchor, Walter Cronkite.  In 1985 she and other investors bought a small division from CBS-Fox in a leveraged buy-out.  They renamed the company Video Publishing House and continued producing and distributing educational films for a number of years.

She likes start-ups.  In 1997 she started her own company, The Communication Architecture Group, through which she does organizational consulting, writing, and communication projects.  She was founding director with Dr. David Cooperrider of the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit in the business school at Case Western Reserve University.  She is also the founding director of Images and Voices of Hope.  Founded in 1999, Images and Voices of Hope is nonprofit organization created to strengthen the role of media as a constructive force in society.  

She is a mother of two grown children and grandmother of two.  She lives at the Brahma Kumaris retreat center in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

Gayatri Naraine is a spiritual educator, writer and speaker. Since 1980 she has been the Brahma Kumaris’ (BK) representative to the United Nations in New York. As the BK’s representative to the UN, her role has been to identify areas of UN policies with practical relevance for individuals’ lives; to explore and develop values-based and spiritual dimensions of these areas; and to create programs and publications to expand awareness through the BKs network in 120 countries. Gayatri was pivotal in the development of the Living Values Education program and worked closely with UNICEF and UNESCO in its implementation. She has also contributed to ILO’s (International Labor Organization) Agenda on Decent Work in their consultation with nongovernmental organizations.

Gayatri has been a part of Images and Voices of Hope since its inception, working as one of the main organizers of the first IVoH Conversation in New York City in 1999 and helping to facilitate conversations in Africa, Malaysia, and various locations in the United States. She currently serves on the board of directors of Images and Voices of Hope. She is also part of the design team for the Call-of-the-Time Dialogues, a global leadership dialogue and has spent the last ten years exploring the transformational depth of silent reflection and the impact this has on the actions we take for world benefit.

Something Beyond Greatness




For your chance to win a copy of  Something Beyond Greatness, please email with “Book Reviews by Bobbie contest ” on the subject line and include your comment. Your email address will be collected for a monthly SBG newsletter (completely opt-in basis only).




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Emily Bryan is our Guest Author TODAY!

A warm welcome to…Emily Bryan


…who is our Guest Author, today.
Emily is making a stop here on her
50 Day/50 Blog Tour which is promoting her sizzling, upcoming novel, Vexing the Viscount.
Emily Bryan, who also writes under the name Diana Groe, is giving away One(1) copy of Vexing the Viscount to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post, today (Open to all countries!).

* Congratulations to Aja Jackson on winning a copy of Vexing the Viscount

Literary “First Times”

Thanks for having me here today, Bobbie! I love your blog!

When I tell non-romance readers that I’m a romance author, the first thing they do, after a giggle or two, is ask if my sex scenes are autobiographical. (If they ask my DH, he just smiles and says, “Of course!”)


The truth is I write explicit scenes when the story demands it.

Writers work with nothing but ink on a page and somehow hope to breathe life into our characters. We play on their hopes and dreams. We catalogue their triumphs and failures. Nowhere are these more evident than in our character’s sex lives. Even if a character is not currently sexually active, he thinks about it as often as we do. Sex is a ripe store house of emotions and motivations. Commercial fiction is rife with sex scenes. It’s not just for romance novelists any more.

It never was. My literary “first time” was not a romance book, at all. It was Rabbit Run, from the highly respected and recently deceased, John Updike. I was a junior in high school, an extremely naïve junior. The scene where Updike’s hero, Harry Angstrom, talks a hooker into giving him oral sex while his wife is giving birth was a shock to me. First because I had no idea people did such things (told you I was naïve) and second, because the relationship in which the act occurred was so cold and devoid of joy.

But did it deepen my insight into the characters and propel Mr. Updike’s story? Like a runaway locomotive.

Writing a sex scene is not about being an exhibitionist. It is not about me. It’s about my characters and their relationship. Which leads me to my first rule about writing sex scenes.


1. It’s about serving the story first and foremost. If I can replace the scene with the words, Then they had sex, with no change in what comes afterward, then the scene is unnecessary and must be cut.

Not all stories call for hot, sweaty monkey sex. The bedroom door can remain completely closed and yet be totally romantic. Less is often more.

What to call it . . .

“The sun glinted off his chiseled pectorals.” No, that’s not from a romance novel either. It’s a Washington Post reporter waxing poetic over President Obama’s work-out regimen. It’s also a shining example of trite wording (why even mention a pec unless it’s chiseled?) and dangerously close to Purple Prose.

All writers face word choices and nowhere is it more important to choose the right word than in a sex scene. When in doubt over what to call something, I ask my characters. What would they call it? In the 80’s a romance writer might get away with “the raging beast of his desire,” but if I tried that now, my editor would have me in a headlock. Beauty of language is one thing, but there’s no room in any scene for, pardon the pun, flaccid prose. I want my readers with me the whole time, not giggling over my Victorian silliness. (Unless of course my story is set in the Victorian era, but even then I try to keep the use of euphemisms down. Or better yet, let one of my characters joke about the verbal coyness.)


So here’s the second rule:

2. Call it what the characters would call it. When the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense. Technical terms may not sing, but they don’t confuse anyone either. And it is possible to write a totally hot sex scene without mentioning any body parts at all.

Not even a chiseled pectoral.

It’s about sex and . . .

So often sex scenes will stop the story dead. If we know what’s at stake, it’s more interesting. The basic tenets of the writer apply. What does my character want? How will he/she go about getting it? How can I, as the writer, throw obstacles in his/her path? What’s the subtext? It’s rare that both parties will be in complete accord. It’s also boring.

In Vexing the Viscount, both my hero and heroine are virgins. That means the angels don’t sing without a few fizzles and moments of comic relief. (Face it. Sex is pretty darn funny.) Two inexperienced characters lent itself to plenty of trial and error, some pleasurable, some frustrating. Fiction may be made up, pleasuring_the_piratebut that doesn’t mean it can’t be true. Which leads to my last rule . . .

3. The scene must be about sex and something else. For the writer, a sex scene is a chance to examine how the relationship between two people changes, how they feel about themselves as well as each other. A tryst interrupted, a near miss because someone lost their nerve, a wardrobe malfunction—these are all grist for the mill and a story propeller instead of a stopper.

Sex scenes, like every other scene, should reveal my characters, help or hinder their growth, challenge them, uplift or dash them. I’m not afraid to follow my character into the bedroom, or the library, or the . . . well where ever the action leads me.

Sex is part of who my hero and heroine are. It’s part of who we all are.

I won’t wimp out. I’ll tell the whole story.


An excerpt from Vexing the Viscount:

Daisy and Lucian have finally become lovers, but the games that started it all are still definitely afoot.

“Lucian climbed the stairs, his body thrumming with anticipation. Would Daisy be wearing that naughty red gown again or maybe the elegant corset with all those lovely lace ties? Perhaps this time he’d manage not to befoul the ribbons as he undid her. Continue reading

Upcoming: Guest Author, Emily Bryan and Book Giveaway!! ** Tuesday, February 3rd **



The lovely and truly delightful  Emily Bryan (you’ll see what I mean) will be here as our guest author for the day as part of her Blog Tour, on February 3rd.  :-)

Emily will be talking about LITERARY “First Times” and providing us with an excerpt of her upcoming novel, Vexing The Viscount.

Emily is giving away (1) copy of Vexing The Viscount !

*Please ask Emily Bryan a question (on February 3rd) about her books, writing or any other type of romance or book-related question and you might be the lucky winner.

Please join us on: Tuesday, February 3rd !

You can pre-order your copy of Vexing the Viscount, today.

*Please note that entering a comment on this post will not enter you for the the book giveaway.