Tag Archives: astraea press

Sex and the Single Romance

“Show me the money!” screams Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the film Jerry Maguire.  In porn parlance, it’s called “the money shot.” Yes, romance novels are often associated with sex—an image promoted by torrid covers of shirtless men clutching panting heroines in the throes of passion.

Is there anything wrong with that? No, of course not. It’s all good fun; escapism had for less than the price of a movie ticket. I used to gobble up bodice-rippers when I was a hormonal teen. White lines would appear on the spine of the paperbacks where the particularly juicy scenes could be found. Sometimes, with historical romances, I would actually learn something other than intimate details of procreation.

In this topsy-turvy world, writing romance novels without “money shots” has actually become controversial.  Unless the book specifies it’s Amish or Christian, some people expect a little friction between the sheets.  Even if the story is categorized as Young Adult, readers often look for the spice…and get annoyed when it fails to materialize.

In traditional Regency romance (romance set during the British Regency from 1811-1820), no explicit sex occurs. The last few years have seen the rise of a more modern Regency romance; romances of a non-traditional sensual variety (ie: more “marketable”).

So why on Earth would an author swim against the tide of filthy lucre (money) and write what might be termed “clean” or “sweet” romance…especially considering reader expectations?  Call me crazy, but personally I think readers should have choices. I don’t think novels and stories without explicit sex scenes need be antiseptic or anemic.  In my romances, for example, my characters have sexual feelings and thoughts. For me, the money shot is the kiss!  I also tend to put  exciting adventure in my stories…fisticuffs, sword fights, and escapes from death.

If you’re looking for a good time that doesn’t involve *ahem* “biology,” check out Clean Indie Reads. The blog features “flinch-free” fiction in a variety of genres.  Clean Reads (slogan All Story. No Guilt) is a publisher specializing in sweet romance and fiction in various genres.

I guess you could say “clean” fiction is now edgy.  And I guess I can call myself a maverick. ~ S.G. Rogers





The Calico Heart – Guest Post by Bestselling Author Patricia Kiyono

Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.

~Author Unknown

TheCalicoHeart 500x750

I’ve always loved to sew, and once I retired from full-time teaching I was able to join the quilting group at my church. We meet twice a month, on the first and third Tuesday, and make lap quilts to distribute to the chaplain at the hospital, the veterans’ home, and other charities. It’s been a wonderful way to make new friends, provide a creative outlet, and to my husband’s delight, a way to use up some of my fabric stash!

I love the challenge of taking a pile of fabric in coordinating colors and creating a new and different design. The group’s rules are that the quilts are 40 inches by 40 inches and be made of cotton fabric. The tops can be made using any pattern we like – so that opens us up to a lot of creativity.

It should be no surprise that when I decided to start writing a series, my thought went directly to my quilt group. Here is a diverse group of women, coming from various walks of life, at different ages, bound together by a love of sewing. I thought about the various patterns used in quilting – Log Cabin, Around the World, Sunlight and Shadows, Amish Heart – and immediately a myriad of stories popped in my head! I shared the idea with Stephanie Michels, my critique partner and friend, and she came on board with the idea. Since she’s my plotting guru, she’s great at taking my mishmash of ideas and putting them into a coherent set of storylines. And so the first book in our Stitching Post series, The Calico Heart, was accepted by and recently released at Astraea Press. ~ Patricia Kiyono

Here’s the blurb:

On the surface, Sylvia Miller has a perfect life. She’s married to her college sweetheart, has three great kids, a rewarding career, and wonderful friends. But beneath the appearances, Sylvia is restless. She loves her husband, but wants to see more of the world than their peaceful Michigan town. For years, she’s dreamed of the interesting places she wants to visit. Now, their youngest child is grown, and Sylvia is ready for adventure.

Left a penniless orphan, David Miller promised himself his family would never know the same humiliation. For twenty-six years, he and Sylvia have lived frugally, saving for the future. Now, Dave is on the brink of a promotion that will ensure their financial security, but Sylvia wants him to retire and travel with her.


The Calico Heart is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.


Patricia Kiyono can be found at her blog, on facebook, and twitter (@PatriciaKiyono)



Stephanie Michels can be found at her blog, on Facebook, and her website


The Samurai’s Garden — Guest Post by Author Patricia Kiyono

I’m pleased to welcome wonderful author Patricia Kiyono back to Child of Yden, as she discusses how her rich family heritage found its way into her latest release. Enjoy!

~ S.G. Rogers

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, S.G! I’m very excited about the release of The Samurai’s Garden. In writing this, I drew on my own Japanese heritage, and I thought today I’d share a little bit about it.

Growing up, we celebrated American holidays like our friends and neighbors did. My dad, though he was of Japanese descent, was born and raised in America, so our home looked much like everyone else’s, except for a few touches that my mom, who lived in Japan until she married her Japanese-American soldier, insisted on. In our living room, beautiful kimono-clad dolls posed in glass cases. In various places of the house, streamers of origami cranes attested to her belief in their ability to grant wishes. And occasionally, when I got home from school, I’d hear the stereo playing recordings of traditional Japanese songs.

In one corner of the living room was a small case with a picture of my deceased grandparents. It had a candle in front of it, and every day mom would put fresh water and fruit. Sometimes she would put a small bowl of rice there, too. She would bring the food and water, ring a little bell, and then bow. This was the family shrine, or obutsudan. I didn’t know much about the traditions surrounding these rituals. Maybe it’s because I didn’t ask. My brothers and I just accepted these actions as part of mom’s life.

Now that I have a home of my own, I realize these rituals were an important part of who mom is. My living room also has touches of Japan. I have a two-foot tall Japanese doll in a glass case—a wedding gift from my relatives. She stands in a place of honor, next to my piano. She’s a reminder of where I came from. This reminder was one of the reasons I needed to write a story full of the traditions and history of the land of my birth. And so The Samurai’s Garden came to be. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about them, and about the characters who bring these traditions to life.


Hiro Tanaka prepared for a life as a samurai warrior. But his world changed when Japan’s feudal system was abolished by the Emperor. Now, he must find a new vocation. Disillusioned with fighting and violence, he travels alone, going north to the island of Hokkaido.  Many other samurai wander through the country and are known as ronin. Some have forsaken their honorable way to prey on the less fortunate.

Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by these disreputable wanderers.  The previous winter, they raided her farm and killed her husband. Now, she needs to rebuild but has no money and no prospects — except for the dubious intentions of the town merchant.

When Hiro, tired of his wandering, encounters Hanako in the market, arguing with the merchant, he poses as her late husband’s cousin then offers to help her on the farm in exchange for a place to stay.  Working on the land, Hiro finally finds the peace he has been seeking. But the reappearance of the rogue ronin, led by an unscrupulous leader from Hiro’s past, forces him to take up his swords again. But now, the stakes are higher.

This time, he’s fighting from the heart.

The Samurai’s Garden is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website, blog, facebook, and on Twitter (@PatriciaKiyono)

Ghostly Moments — Beware the Gnoamian Imps

In my Halloween celebration series of ‘ghostly moments,’ I next offer a ghastly moment from my young adult fantasy novel, The Last Great Wizard of Yden.  May it send a chill up your spine!

~ S.G. Rogers


Ylan Bay fishermen moved to lash down their vessels in the face of gathering storm clouds. The eldest one pointed at the four dark strands swirling into one large mass overhead.

“Something unnatural is astir!” he screamed.

The mass dipped down toward Ylan, as if the heavens had opened and poured out a bucket of black, clotted blood. When the leading edge swooped near the ground, villagers recognized the Imps. People shrieked and ran for cover. Puledens pulled free of their tethers and bolted in every direction.

The Imps veered away from the village at the last moment and headed out to sea. The trailing edge of the flock split off to descend upon a lone, terrified puleden. As the Imps dipped down to feed, they lifted the beast off the ground with their ferocity. In the next instant, the puleden skeleton clattered to the street, picked clean, and the Imps sped up to catch their brethren.

For his sixteenth birthday, all Jon wanted were the keys to the family car. Instead, he got a lousy magic ring…

Artistic prodigy Jon Hansen yearns to fit in, but when he stumbles onto a supernatural kidnapping, his life changes forever. Unfortunately, his search for answers uncovers a magical secret—one that makes Jon a danger to everyone around him.

The Wolf Clan wizard Efysian has been draining the magic from Yden. On a quest for eternal power, he’s willing to kill to feed his addiction. To harness the ultimate source of energy, he travels to Earth. This time, however, he has a witness to his crime.

Can Jon survive long enough to outwit the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known? Or will Efysian add the young wizard to his gruesome collection of trophies?

The Last Great Wizard of Yden, a full length fantasy novel. E-book available now through Astraea Press, Amazon, BN.com and other fine outlets. Now available as a trade paperback too! (HERE)

Element of Surprise – Excerpt from CHILDREN OF YDEN

Children of Yden is the sequel to Last Great Wizard of Yden, and it’s jam-packed with action, intrigue, and teenage angst. I don’t have an exact release date yet, but it’s in the wings. Jon and the gang are back, along with a several new fun, feisty characters and nasty bad guys. There are also delicious hints and undercurrents throughout the story that foreshadow things to come in the final book in the trilogy, Secrets of Yden. Enjoy this sneak peek, and keep your eyes peeled for the release date announcement. ~ S.G. Rogers


While balancing the rigorous demands of regular schoolwork, Jon eagerly begins his magical training on Dragon Isle. At the same time, the Dragon Clan starts to search for other Earth-born sons and daughters of Yden’s wizards. Using a purloined map, however, the Fox Clan has already begun recruiting the children of Yden for their own sinister plans. Jon soon discovers Guinn of the Fox Clan is searching for a magical artifact called the Portal Key — and he’s more than willing to kill for it. Worse, Guinn’s desire to settle an old score puts Jon directly in his sights. As Guinn’s schemes fall into place, Jon is forced to hurt a close friend to protect her. Can he learn enough magic in time to thwart Guinn’s ambitions? Will he find the inner strength to survive injury, bitter betrayal, and horrendous loss? The fate of Earth and Yden hangs in the balance.


Without any warning, Jon flew backward, right into a tree. He shook his head, stunned. Just when he managed to focus his eyes, the hooded wizard stepped into view.

Oh, no.

Dazed, Jon struggled to recover. Guinn’s fingers moved and Jon barely managed to deflect his binding spell. Fueled by adrenaline, Jon returned as strong a repulsion wave as he could muster. Caught by surprise, the Fox Clan wizard was blasted off his feet. Jon didn’t linger to savor the moment. He transported home.

When he materialized in his room, Jon was so amped up he couldn’t catch his breath. Pacing back and forth, he raked his wet hair off his face with his fingers.

“I just fought a powerful wizard.” He stopped pacing. “I just fought a powerful wizard — and won!”

At first he was jubilant, but as the impact of his words seared themselves into his consciousness, Jon’s mirth faded. The only reason I’m alive is my sparring drill practice and the element of surprise. Guinn didn’t think I was capable of defending myself. He won’t make the same mistake twice.

Jon paused to stare at his reflection in the mirror.

Guinn had seen his face, but Jon couldn’t identify the Fox Clan wizard except by his distinctive voice. I need to tell Dad, but how? Considering his father’s history with Guinn, Jon hesitated to talk to him about it.

“What on Yden have I done, Ophelia?”

Jon sank down on his bed and dropped his head in his hands.

Thanks for stopping by to read my excerpt! If you haven’t already read The Last Great Wizard of Yden, what are you waiting for? The e-book is available now through Astraea Press, Amazon, BN.com and other fine outlets ($2.99 MSRP). Now available as a trade paperback too! (HERE)

To return to Sweet Saturday Samples, go HERE

The Last Great Wizard of Yden Excerpt

Excerpt from The Last Great Wizard of Yden:

He stood in a large, dimly lit cave. Long stalactites streamed down
from the ceiling, and towering stalagmites thrust up from the floor of the chamber. The walls of rock surrounding him were embedded with iridescent crystals shining with reflected light. The place struck Jon as beautiful, but he felt apprehensive. With a sense of foreboding, he searched for the source of the shimmering light, hidden among the forest of rock and mineral formations.

As he wound his way past clusters of stalagmites, his foot
dislodged a fist-­‐‑sized raw diamond that skittered off into the shadows.
Suddenly Jon spied a column of bluish light in an open space. He darted
toward it but accidentally skidded on a pile of loose crystals. When he fell,
jagged gemstones lacerated the soft skin of his palms. Blood welled up in
the wounds, and as he struggled to his feet, red droplets flowed down his
trembling, throbbing fingers and splashed to the stone floor. Emerging
into the open space at last, Jon saw a man, rigid and immobile, imprisoned
in the column of light. The man’s eyes were closed—as if in death. Jon’s
heart thudded inside his chest and horror spread through his veins as he
stared into the man’s face.


Jon stretched his blood‑soaked hands into the bluish light and his
wounds began to close. He knew, somehow, his father had healed him.
“Thanks, Dad,” he whispered, his voice choked with emotion. “I’ll find a
way to rescue you.”

Suddenly a feral growling came from the shadows. Startled, Jon shrank back as a huge black wolf leaped from the darkness, its cruel fangs aiming for his throat…

 Amazon, Astraea Press, BN.com

Book Trailer HERE

New Book Club With Benefits

Pure. Fiction.

Astraea Press has started a new book club on Facebook you will want to join. Why? For a two week period at the beginning of each month, Astraea Press will offer ONE free e-book to readers to read and enjoy 🙂 At the end of the month you can come back for a chat with other readers and the author. Readers are encouraged to post a reader review on Amazon, B&N and/or Goodreads with their thoughts on the book 🙂  There will also be the opportunity to win author swag!  You really don’t want to miss out.

The fun starts in June, and you must join the group HERE to be eligible to receive the book.  The very first free read will be…Come on over to Facebook and join the fun.

~ S.G. Rogers


The following is an excerpt from my work-in-progress, Children of Yden.  It’s the second installment in my Yden series.  Look for it later this year.  Enjoy! ~ S.G. Rogers

“Sela, I’ll wait for you under the blue fruit tree,” Jon said, edging toward the next archway. “It’s through here.”

Sela climbed onto the unicorn, throwing her leg across as if she were riding a horse.  “Um…okay. I’m right behind you.”

“Don’t try sitting on a real unicorn. They sometimes have a nasty attitude.”


He passed into a mossy clearing populated by several fruit trees and sculptures of fairies.  Focusing on an intricate sculpture of a brownie, he nearly smacked into a strange kid.

“Whoa,” Jon said, rearing back. “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

The boy, perhaps eighteen, was bare-chested, muscular and gripped a six-foot long staff. “State your Clan and your business.”

Jon’s jaw dropped. “What?”

“Your Clan and your business,” the boy repeated, giving his staff a threatening twirl.

Annoyance flickered in Jon’s eyes. “I don’t answer to Manga comic book rejects.”

He glanced over his shoulder to check Sela’s progress and suddenly found his legs swept out from under him.  He landed on his back with a loud thud, wincing from a stinging pain across his calves.

“Hey! What’s wrong with you?”

The kid responded by rotating the staff around and around like an incoming helicopter blade.  Jon scrambled to his feet, leaving his duffle bag on the ground. From somewhere behind him, Sela gasped. His attention riveted on the weapon, Jon held up a warning hand.

“Stay there, Sela. This guy is seriously nuts!”

The wooden staff whooshed toward Jon’s head and he jumped back out of reach.  Unfortunately, he stumbled over his duffle bag and fell. At that, the stranger dissolved into mocking laughter.

“You’re mean!” Sela cried.

A nearby fruit tree provided Jon’s sister with juicy ammunition.  Her aim was wide, but the teen ducked anyway. While the kid was distracted, however, Jon tackled him to the ground and wrestled the staff from his hands. Jon burned the weapon with the flames shooting from his fingertips and flung the seared wood onto the gravel path.

“Stay down, punk, or there’s more where that came from.”

The kid raised his hand and Jon noticed –too late– he wore a Clan ring.  In the next moment, Jon flew backward as if yanked by an invisible elastic cord. He twisted in the air and slammed face-first into one of Quixoran’s stone sprites. As Jon spat blood from a cut inside his mouth, the stranger advanced.

“More of what, lightweight?” he sneered. “Seems to me like you got nothing.”

The situation disintegrated fast.

Fair Lady of the Waterfall

“How can we break the Guardian’s spell?” Jon asked Dorsit.

“I’m not certain,” Dorsit replied. “But—”

“Terrific,” Fred interrupted. “So we’re stuck.” He waved to get Lialia’s attention. “Look, honey, what’ll it take to get the door open? Money? Jewelry? I’m sure JonBoy here will be happy to conjure you up a Porsche if you want.”

Lialia examined her manicure, bored.

“A poem may be the key,” Dorsit said. “It’s called Fair Lady of the Waterfall, and I think it must refer to Lialia.”

“Oh, no,” Fred moaned. “If you start with the poetry I’m gonna throw myself down that hole, guaranteed.”

“Hush,” Brett said as she smacked Fred on the arm. “How does it go, Dorsit?”

Dorsit recited the poem:

“Fair Lady of the Waterfall,

 Was stole away by Blackest Knight,

 Her heart this Knave he did Enthrall,

 Forever Cloistered far from Light.”

“The Rosebud may return to Flower,

 Young Champion of Fire and Claw,

 With Truest Love and Hell-born Power,

 From Driest Rock her Essence Draw.”

As Dorsit finished speaking, Lialia burst into tears.

“Okay,” Fred groaned. “I’m jumping into the pit now.”

(Excerpt, The Last Great Wizard of Yden)

~ S.G. Rogers

For his sixteenth birthday, all Jon wanted were the keys to the family car. Instead, he got a lousy magic ring…

Now available in paperback and e-book at Amazon, BN.com, Astraea Press

The Creation of a Character – Author Lindsay Downs

I’m so pleased to welcome author Lindsay Downs to the pages of Child of Yden.  She’s a writer with a very unique voice and a very big heart.  100% of the proceeds of her novel, Emily Dahill CID, Part One (dedicated to the brave women and men in the US Armed Forces) is donated to victims of the Japanese tsunami.  Thank you, Lindsay, for being my guest. – S.G. Rogers


The Creation of a Character


How Did Emily Dahill, CID Come to Be

How do you come up with your main characters? A question authors are asked all the time.

When I came up with the idea/concept of doing a series of books, featuring a special agent with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, more commonly referred to as CID, I knew what I didn’t want.

A special agent who was: arrogant, egotistical, self-centered, had a fault, but wouldn’t let others know it, coffee swilling (fine Emily does drink coffee, but she’s not walking around all the time with a cup). I also didn’t want someone, when wrong, who wouldn’t apologize. Or make someone else they a job they could.

I also didn’t want someone who let the others, working in the team, harass, debase, demean, or pick on fellow members.

I also didn’t want a leader who thought they were so special they could just take over the investigation at the most critical moment thereby winning the day.

Or the sexiest person alive.

That left the question-What did I want from my main character?

Actually, I decided not on one, but two main characters.

Since I write strong female characters, actually that’s the only kind I do, that was a no-brainer. A woman. So I came up with Emily Dahill. The last name, Dahill, was a very minor character in Target Identified, currently off the market and in major rewrites. And Emily, I just picked out of thin air.

The other main character was also easy to decide on. Since I’d enjoyed writing Kebi, a collie, into Target Identified, I knew a collie was the logical choice. Read Final Mission in Emily Dahill, CID Part 1 to find out what I mean and also how they met.

I wanted Emily to be determined, driven, but more so, self-assured. Confident, so to speak, in her own skin. If someone got in her way, she’d tell them to move, walk right over, or through them. A leader who also listened to those around her, even if that individual is a collie.

She has to look out for the people who work with, not for, her. If they make a mistake, she corrects, through teaching, them without raising her voice. That was something she’d learned from her father. And when she’s wrong promptly admits it to the person, not storm out leaving the wronged party in limbo.

All work and no play make Emily a dull girl. To that end I have stories, and even scenes where she kicks back, and relaxes. For a laugh read Right Place, Wrong Day, and Dog on Fishing.

In short, between work and play, I am trying to create a real person. One that you, my readers, will and can relate to. Not someone so full of themselves, and their self-persevered importance that they aren’t real.

As far as any romantic interests in her life, personal, not professional, I haven’t decided how I will address that particular question. To begin with, anyone she might get involved with will have to have Dakota’s lick of approval.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, she does have one individual out to destroy her. This person, only known as ‘the brown-haired man’, will periodically pop up in stories, but at the last moment, will escape, frustrating her to no end.

All the stories I’ve mentioned here, except for Target Identified, a romantic thriller, are in my current release, Emily Dahill, CID Part 1, where you will get a little insight into what makes her tick.


To request an autograph on your kindle (Linday’s author page)


Buy links for Emily Dahill, CID Part 1-

Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookstrand

You can follow Lindsay at:

Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn