Why Enter Book Cover Contest

The COVER THE WORDS Cover Contest entry period ends @ midnight, Sept. 4. Voting begins at 12:01 a.m. eastern time Sept 5. If you have been waiting to submit you romance book covers, the time is now!


Cover the Words 2016

You can enter any romance cover as long as the book is published and for sale now. There is no restriction on the date of publication. Your book can be brand new on the market or several years old.

Entrants do NOT have to be members of RWA. Your book(s) just need to fit one of the 4 categories:

Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense

Here are some possible benefits:

  • Your book covers will be viewed by supporters of other entrants. It’s an opportunity to pick up readers looking for authors new to them.
  • It’s a way to build market recognition in the romance genre.
  • Voting costs nothing, so all your followers can vote for you. Just spread the word to them! Anyone with an email address can vote.
  • Winners will be announced in Romance Writer Report, a monthly magazine received by thousands of romance authors and readers.
  • Winners will also be announced in The Petal Press, the Yellow Rose Newsletter, which is shared with other RWA chapters, another chance to build brand recognition.
  • Winners receive an electronic “Winner” badge. The badge can be used on the winner’s website or on an electronic cover (if independently published or with your publisher’s permission.)  A winning cover may convince readers to try your book.
  • This is an opportunity to remind your supporters to pick up your latest book OR older titles they may have missed.

Don’t wait. Enter Now! 



Monday Author Meetup: Caroline Clemmons

Visiting this week is multi-published, award winning author Caroline Clemmons.

Caroline Clemmons - Dreamin in Dallas - 4-1-11About the Author:

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romances whose books have garnered numerous awards. Her most recent novel, BLUEBONNET BRIDE, is a poignant tale of tender redemption. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline is a member of Romance Writers of America, Dallas Area Romance Authors, Yellow Rose Romance Writers, and Hearts Through History Romance Writers. Her latest publications are the acclaimed historical Men of Stone Mountain series: BRAZOS BRIDE, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, and BLUEBONNET BRIDE.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, painting, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Hi, Caroline. I’m so glad you could join me today.

I’m happy to be here, Lyn.

Please tell us about your typical writing day. What’s your best time of day to write? On average, how many hour a day do you write?

I do most of my marketing and social media early in the morning. I write most of the day, but I do my best work between seven pm and one am. I am at my computer from five to twelve hours a day.

Those are some long days. I often work late into the night too. Do you prefer quiet or do you listen to music while you write?

I write to classical music from Pandora online radio. Classical music keeps me from being distracted by the lyrics. I believe it also helps the rhythm of my writing. When I’m involved with online marketing/promotion, I listen to an eclectic mix of artists like Carole King, Ella Fitzgerald, Rascal Flatts, Maroon Five, and many more.

I love your mix of music! You’ve also had a mix of publishers, I understand. Please share your experiences if you don’t mind.

I don’t mind a bit. I began with Kensington (bad experience) for three books and a novella. After a period of discouragement, I moved to a small press, The Wild Rose Press (wonderful people!). Due to the opportunity to increase my royalties, I am now self-published and love it. I still have one contemporary western romance and one historical novella with The Wild Rose Press, but the rights will revert to me this fall.

Higher royalties are a big incentive to self-publish, I agree. Does your significant other and/or family support your writing career?

I’m very lucky. My husband is unbelievably supportive and even helps with covers and uploading book to the various vendors. Both our daughters are encouraging and helpful.

Yes, you’re very lucky. Do you have critique partners and/or beta readers?

I have the world’s best critique partners who encourage and support me. They are strong in my weak areas and definitely make my writing better. They also hold me accountable so I don’t goof off. ☺ Our critique sessions also involve a little group therapy.

LOL! I know what you mean. I’m curious, do you prefer writing and reading books in a series, or “stand alone” books?

I love writing and reading books in a series. Since I love my characters, I hate to let them go. I enjoy revisiting them to update what has transpired in their lives.

Do you hear from your readers? If so, please quote your favorite fan letter.

My favorite is a note from a fan about BRAZOS BRIDE: “This was soooooo good. I love this book so much I’ve read it about twenty times.”

Wow, what a compliment! I’m sure your fans eagerly await your next book. What project(s) are you working on now?

I’m writing the third book in the historical Kincaid series. The hero is Storm Kincaid and the title is THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP. As with all but one of my books, it’s set in Texas. I expect to release it in September. I also plan a Christmas novella in the Stone Mountain series, CHRISTMAS ON STONE MOUNTAIN, to be released early November. This novella will feature Sheriff “Buster” Parrish. Maybe we’ll learn his real first name.

Sounds like you’re super busy. How about a blurb from your latest release?

Sure. This blurb is for Tabitha’s Journey. front cover

Would you become a mail-order bride?

Tabitha Masterson is certain whatever awaits her in Radford Springs, Texas will be better than what her brother and that awful William have in mind in Boston. After her father’s death, her brother has become a tyrant. She escapes to begin her new life in Texas, but trouble can’t be far behind. She believes if she’s married when trouble arrives, she’ll be safe. But her fiancé is reluctant to accept her as a substitute for the mail-order bride he’d courted.

Bear Baldwin is crushed when he receives a wire notifying him that the woman with whom he has corresponded for almost a year has passed him off to her friend. Do the two women believe he’s like an old shirt to be handed down? His mother urges him to give the substitute fiancée a chance, but his pride is stung and he hasn’t decided.


Tabitha sat in the Witt family’s parlor and wiped tears from her face. “I’ve never been so miserable. Prissy, what am I going to do?”

“Are you certain he’d send you to an asylum if you resist?”

“Yes, but I don’t know which would be worse—being married to William or being locked away. The man gives me shivers in the worst way.”

“Me, too.” Priscilla paused and smoothed the folds of her yellow and black plaid taffeta skirt. “I-I’ve had another letter from Tobias.”

Her attention captured and anger deflected, Tabitha leaned toward her friend intent on hearing the missive’s contents. “Did her send for you?”

“Yes.” Suddenly, Priscilla’s face puckered as if she, too, might cry. “Oh, I don’t know what to do.”

“Prissy?” She leaned back to stare at her friend. “What do you mean? I thought you’d accepted his proposal.”

Tabitha was half in love with Tobias Baldwin herself. Already she knew they shared many interests. Priscilla had shared each of his letters, and Tabitha had assisted Priscilla in answering them. Assisted so much, the writing became Tabitha’s heartfelt missives to him.

“I was all set to leave, just as I said. But…oh, Tabbie, Virgil Allsup has finally spoken to Papa for me. If only Virgil had come forward sooner I never would have answered that mail order bride agency’s advertisement.” She sniffed and dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. “You know I’ve yearned for Virgil ever so long. By now I thought he didn’t want me.”

“What are you going to do?” Tabitha knew what she’d do. In her way of thinking, a man who dragged his feet as Virgil had all these years couldn’t begin to measure up to Tobias as a husband.

“That’s just it. I-I accepted Virgil’s proposal.” She sobbed into her handkerchief.

Tabitha couldn’t help her own tear-filled eyes widening in surprise. “You’re engaged to two men? Prissy, that’s—“

“Unethical? I know.” Priscilla waved her handkerchief. “I think it’s even illegal. Breach of contract or something.” Priscilla met Tabitha’s gaze. “But don’t you see? This could be a solution for your problem.”

Tabitha sighed and shook her head. “I don’t think mine has a solution.”

“Since you hate living with David and Bertha, and you always thought so much of Tobias, maybe you’d like to take my place.” She chewed at her lip as she glanced at Tabitha.

“Me? Go to Texas and marry Tobias?” Incredulous as the idea sounded, already Tabitha’s mind considered the option.

Romance At Random series has begun!


Greetings! If you have time today, please stop by Romance At Random. My article in the new series about western romance is posted. http://www.romanceatrandom.com/

Written as a make-believe interview with the hero of Darlin’ Druid, this is kind of tongue-in-cheek but also informational about the roots of modern western romance. Enjoy!


Western Romance, The Story of Us —– Conclusion

New Darlin' Druid cover.small

Scoot over to the side bar and scroll down if you want to read about me. >> Jessie's water vision



For fun, check out video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om4QX4NCMBw

Cowboys, Time Travel & Not One Single Alien

by Lyn Horner

When assigning topics for this series, I saved paranormal western romances for myself because my book, Darlin’ Druid, falls in that genre. Well, sort of. Some readers class it as a regular western romance with a psychic heroine, while others consider it an action western. Fine by me, as long as they enjoy the read. Nevertheless, I chose WPR to blog about, thinking it was right up my alley and I’d have no trouble finding various types of parCowboys & aliensanormal within the category. Boy was I wrong!

After hours of scouring the net for paranormal romances set in the Old West, I’ve concluded the only ones out there are time travel romances. The recent movie Cowboys and Aliens notwithstanding, I found no trace of visitors from outer space in Old West romances. No trace of psychics, either – kind of strange since séances, mesmerism and other psychic phenomena fascinated many people in the nineteenth century. A western romance with a psychic character isn’t that much of a stretch. Perhaps such books exist, but I couldn’t find them.

Left with little choice, I dove into western time travel romances, seeking info about the history of this sub-genre. I couldn’t find any articles online but did manage to dig up some info from book descriptions and reviews on amazon.com. Thank you Big A!Time-Kept Promises

Dubbed the “Original Queen of Time Travel Romance,” Constance O’Day-Flannery has written numerous time travels. Her “Time-Kept Promises,” published in 1988, is “one of the original and best time travel romance novels,” according to the Library Journal. From the book description on amazon.com, I couldn’t tell if this is a western, but I suspect it’s not. However, O’Day-Flannery did write some western time travels, including A Time For Love and Anywhere You Are.

Linda Lael Miller has penned several popular western time travels, including There and Now, Here and Then, My Outlaw, and Beyond The ThresholdSierra's Homecoming. A daughter of the West herself, Linda writes beautiful descriptions of the land she loves. She uses time travel to compare the past and present and to draw her characters together emotionally.

Another of Miller’s books, Sierra’s Homecoming, uses time in a different manner. In it she connects two women, a grandmother and granddaughter, who live in the same house in parallel time dimensions. What a clever idea! I have this one waiting on my kindle. Can’t wait to start reading it!

Eugenia Riley is another prolific author of western time travels. Two examples of her work are Wanted Across Time and A Tryst In Time. Many others have dipped their toe in this sub-genre, but I confess I haven’t read much of their work. I needed a change. Hmm, maybe that’s why I chose a different paranormal twist for my Texas Druids series. You think?

Well, pardners, this brings us to the end of our western romance series. I want to thank all of the gifted ladies who contributed their time and talent to this project. We’ve had fun getting to know one another better, and I’m delighted to say we will be participating in another blog series together.

Sue Grimshaw, Editor at Large and Category Specialist for Ballantine, Bantam, Dell (Random House) has invited us to write a series for Romance At Random  beginning on September 28. The topic will of course be western romance, but our format will be very different. Fictional reporters will interview favorite characters from our books and find out what life was like in the Old West. I hope you will stop by and meet them for yourselves. http://www.romanceatrandom.com/

’Til then, happy trails from all of us!

Western Romance, The Story of Us —— Part XIII

Under A Texas StarAlison Bruce has an honours degree in history and philosophy, which has nothing to do with any regular job she’s held since. A liberal arts education did prepare her to be a writer, however. She penned her first novel during lectures while pretending to take notes. She writes mysteries, romance, westerns and fantasy.

Copywriter and editor since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer in the past. She currently manages publications for Crime Writers Canada and is a volunteer with Action Read Family Literacy Center. A single mother, she lives in Guelph, Ontario with her two children, Kate and Sam.

The Canadian Connection

by Alison Bruce

Why would a Canadian set her story in Texas? Blame it on Mexico.

My sister and I had whooping cough. I was five; Joanne was two. She was the reason we had to seek out a warm, dry climate for Christmas instead of visiting family in Montreal. Since my parents weren’t exactly flush with funds, they packed up my fatMazatlanher’s company station wagon and we drove south, headed for Mazatlan.

With the self-centered clarity of a child, I only remember the parts of the trip that had an impact on me. I remember the switchback roads in the mountains. Dad loved them. Me – who was car sick on a straight road – loved them. Mum and Joanne were throwing up.

When we reached the beach, I stepped on a crab and was scared of the sand for years after. I remember eating peeled shrimp like candy… and my first real pineapple.

For some reason, I also remembered Laredo. I don’t remember much about the town except the name. It etched itself on my consciousness, the sound of the word was as exotic and exciting to me as Paris or Istanbul might be to someone else.

Travelling to Mexico became a family habit for a while – especially after we acquired a camper. It was in the camper that I started reading Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. I had run out oLouis L'Amourf Georgette Heyer and had not yet developed an interest in the mysteries my mother brought along for the trip. Dad gave me a copy of Riders of the Purple Sage, followed by a couple of L’Amour’s short story collections. Suddenly I started taking an interest in the country we were travelling through. The United States – particularly Texas – ceased to be a geographic obstacle between home and our destination.

“Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour

When I needed to research Texas history and geography for Under A Texas Star, memories of those trips floated up to the surface.

One other trip cinched the deal – but it wasn’t one I took. My parents decided to go to Mexico when my mother retired. The family camper was long gone. Instead they outfitted a van with a kitchenette, bed and porta-potty. Feeling a bit envious, I wished them bon voyage one chill November morning. A couple of days later, they called from the Mexican border.

They had forgotten the vehicle permit. They couldn’t get into Mexico.

Stifling a laugh that I would have paid dearly for, I suggested they visit Texas while they were there – and bring back guide books. I was writing a western.

“What is writing texas-rangers-sketchbut an expression of my own life?” – Zane Grey

Over the years I’ve developed a great interest in the Texas Rangers and their history, especially in comparison to our Canadian Mounties. The Rangers are legendary. Their history goes back to the early years of the American colonization of Texas when Stephen F. Austin hired ten experienced frontiersmen as rangers for a punitive expedition against a band of Native Americans. In 1835, the Texas Rangers were formally created as a law enforcement and defensive organization. They fought for Mexico against Spain, against Mexico for independence, then against the United States for the Confederacy.

Organized into companies that were given the task of protecting and keeping the peaceTexasRangersCoB in their bailiwick, the Rangers were a paramilitary, ununiformed group.  Many didn’t even have badges. There was no uniform badge until 1936 – a hundred years after the official formation of the Rangers. As peacekeepers and lawmen, their star rose in 1874 with the formation of the first Special Force of the Texas Rangers by Captain Leander McNelly. This became the force that was immortalized in fact and fiction.

Meanwhile, in Canada…

With the Treaty of 1846, the 49th Parallel was established as the border between the United States and British-Canadian territories in the west. For almost three decades, the border wasn’t recognized by trappers, traders or natives. Then, in 1873, the North-West Group of MountiesMounted Police were established to police the Northwest Territories. This included what would become Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Modeled on the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Mounties recruited men of good character, able to speak and read English or French. No married men need apply.

Unlike the Texas Rangers, who were recruited from settlers already in country, the Mounties migrated west ahead of the European and eastern Canadian pioneers that would follow. Where the Rangers were initially recruited to fight “Indians” and outlaws, the Mounties were sent west to protect the natives as well as secure Canadian sovereignty in the territory.Mountie in color

The Mounties were a uniformed force. Many were former British Regulars or Colonial Militia soldiers. The officers included other professionals. The enlisted men included farmers, tradesmen, clerks, two policemen and a bartender. Over a third of the original force came from Ontario. Others came from Quebec and eastern Canada, Britain, Ireland, Europe and even the United States.

Regardless of the differences in their origins, the Texas Rangers and Canadian Mounties share significant similarities. Both organizations were tasked with keeping the peace with small forces in impractically large territories. Both were divided into battalions or troops that served their areas from a local base of operations. Both were more than police forces. They also served military and judiciary roles.

Both are the stuff of romantic heroes of the old and new west.

www.alisonbruce.ca       www.alisonebruce.blogspot.com  www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books

Western Romance, The Story of Us —– Part XI

OdessaGinger Simpson officially became a published author in 2003 with the release of her first western historical romance, Prairie Peace. She retired early from the University of California to devote more time to her writing and has since signed more then twenty contracts. Although she’s dabbled in several genres, her favorite remains historical westerns. A steady TV diet of Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Rawhide as well as reading every Laura Ingalls Wilder book in grammar school led her down the rootin’ tootin’ path of cowboys and Indians, and now they are her passion. The cover of her latest release, Odessa, is featured today.

  • Odessa available on amazon.com

Civil War: Romance & History

by Ginger Simpson

There have been many historical romances built around the American Civil War, but the era (1861-1865) was far from a time filled with love, hearts and flowers. Given the reality, authors draw romantic interest based on the separation between hero and heroine, the obstacle (war) that keeps the characters apart, the pending possibility of a safe return, and the final joy of seeing a loved one appear unscathed from a battle that claimed so many lives. The joy and return is what is called an HEA (Happily Ever After), usually a staunch requirement in all romance novels. Gone With The Wind

At the mention of this particular historical era, we automatically picture tree-lined streets and exquisite architecture as seen in Gone with the Wind. Sexy heroes like Clark Gable and the imagery in the movie gave credence to romance in the south. Showing a story is a wonderful thing to stimulate the imagination.

Jenny's PassionA favorite author who writes in this particular genre is Diane Wylie. Her novels, Jenny’s Passion, Secrets and Sacrifices and Lila’s Vow are great examples of historical writing where love conquers all. You can find her at http://www.dianewylie.com. Bet you’ll fall in love with her writing just as I did.

But back to some interesting and true facts about the Civil War: In reality, eleven Southern states declared their intent to separate from the US and formed the Confederate army. Twenty-five states, comprised of mostly slave-free Northern states became the Union Army. Four more slave states joined the succession effort when the Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in North Carolina.

It’s no surprise the Confederacy lost the war. Consider this information:

Civil War Flags1. The Union population exceeded the Confederacy 71% to 29%.

2. The slave population in the south (who of course wanted their freedom) was 3,500,000 as compared to 400,000 in the north.

3. The number of enlisted serving in the Union exceeded the South 67% to 33%.

4. Northern railway lines numbered 21,788 miles as compared to 8,838 Confederate miles.

5. Firearm production speaks for itself. North 97% – South 3%. Battle of  Antietam

The war ended when the Confederacy surrendered on April 9, 1865, yet on April 14, 1865, a southern sympathizer assassinated President Lincoln. The true number of casualties from the Civil War will never be known, but an estimated 623,026, or one out of eleven men, died during this period of time. If you combine the destruction of property, families, and the long road to reconstruction, things don’t look quite so romantic, do they?

Thank Goodness for fiction which allows authors to weave imaginary tales into historical facts to make them much more appealing. There’s nothing quite like a great Civil War romance. I’ll take mine with Tom Selleck playing the lead opposite me as the heroine.

The bottom line…being an historical fiction writer allows an author to take creative license with any era as long as the facts relating to the period are correct. There is nothing more dreaded by an historical author than losing one’s credibility because of a factual faus pax. Add as much character, sex, and romance as you’d like, but make sure you get your history straight.

http://www.gingersimpson.com          http://mizging.blogspot.com