Anniversary Blog Fest: Roz Lee

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My Summer So Far – Some Phone Calls to Remember
When you have two grown daughters – still single, there are certain things you’re prepared – even expect to hear just about any time. So… I wasn’t overly surprised when my oldest called me to tell me she was engaged to be married. Actually, I wasn’t surprised at all since she was the only person who didn’t know the ring had been purchased and the proposal imminent. That exuberant phone call was followed shortly by yet another requesting my presence and my credit card shopping for a wedding gown. I was more than happy to oblige, as any mother would be.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but a zillion phone calls and emails later, and most of the plans for the upcoming nuptials have been ironed out. I do envy MOB’s (Mother of the Bride) that live near their daughters. Long distance planning is a chore, but it can be done.

Then there was the other phone call. This one from daughter number two who I’m happy to report has found a job – post Master’s degree. From the beginning, this one has been hell-bent on making me old before my time. This is not a complaint. She’s a pure joy to be around, and life is never dull with her in your life. Her career choices over the years have spanned the range of every dangerous profession out there, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when she took a job as a police officer. Yep. See the gray hairs?

I weathered the phone call telling me she got the job. I even held it together when she detailed the extensive training she would go through at the police academy. The phone call that got me – the one I never expected to get from one of my daughters went something like this.

DD#2 –“Mom! I’m being fitted for my bulletproof vest tomorrow!”

Me – “Oh lord!”

By the time this blog posts I will have attended DD#2’s graduation from the police academy, purchased her graduation present (a small Glock for her personal use), bought DD#1 a wedding gown and been to a fitting for said gown. At least I wasn’t invited to the fitting for the vest. I don’t think I could have handled that.

That’s how my summer has been. How about yours?

About the Author:

Roz Lee has been married to her best friend, and high school sweetheart, for over three decades. These days she splits her time between their home in rural New Jersey, and Southern California, where her husband works. Even though she’s lived on both coasts, her heart lies in between, in Texas. A Texan by birth, she can trace her family back to the Republic of Texas. With roots that deep, she says, “You can’t ever really leave.”

Roz and her husband have two grown daughters they couldn’t be more proud of, and are currently raising a twelve-year-old Labrador Retriever, Betty Boop, who isn’t aware of her canine heritage.

When Roz isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traipsing around the country on one adventure or another. No trip is too small, no tourist trap too cheesy, and no road unworthy of traveling.

Find Roz online at

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Friday Spotlight: Roz Lee

Bon Voyage

Our time together is coming to a close. I hope you’ve enjoyed the little trips we’ve taken. Once upon a time, traveling farther than the local ballpark or grocery store was beyond our means, so when my Shaggy Dog Syndrome kicked in I picked up a romance novel and took an imaginary trip, one that eventually led to the biggest adventure of my life – being a published author.

People often ask what prompted me to try my hand at writing. Fair warning – its cliché. One day, my teenage daughters commented that I’d read so many romance novels, I could probably write my own. Like everyone, I’d read a few I found less than satisfying, so the seed was planted. Why not write one? So, it began. It took years to write that first book, and it stunk. Trust me, it will never see the light of day, but my family encouraged me to keep at it. Their faith in me propelled me on.

I found Romance Writers of America and discovered the wealth of resources available for individuals like me. I found a whole world populated by people who believed I could write a novel, and that I could become a published author. I took online classes. I entered contests for feedback, and I wrote.

It took a number of years, and lots of time and effort, but on Jan. 1, 2011, I obtained my goal of becoming a published author. We christened THE LUST BOAT with champagne toasts, and bid it Bon Voyage. Since then, the Lothario, my fictional cruise ship, has set sail again, and many more voyages are in the works.

Thanks for stopping by to visit with me this week. It’s been a blast getting to know you. I leave you today with an excerpt from the second book in the Lothario series, SHOW ME THE ROPES. Go find a fruity drink with a paper umbrella, and a cabana boy with a palm frond, and enjoy the cruise!

WARNING!!

The following excerpt from SHOW ME THE ROPES is not for those under 18 years of age.

Richard stepped in and shut the door quickly, throwing the deadbolt as he did so. She backed a few steps into the room, unsure what he expected from her. Six feet of bronzed masculinity filled the small space and overwhelmed her senses. He smelled like the wind and the sun, and exuded enough heat to raise the ambient temperature several degrees. He wore nothing more than a white Lothario passenger wrap, slung low across his lean hips. Any lower and there would be no need to wear it at all. His sun bronzed back and shoulders filled the tiny space. He turned to her. Her breath caught in her lungs. The ship could have been named after him. He was every woman’s image of a Lothario, a seducer of women. There wasn’t a woman on the planet that wouldn’t be drawn to this man. Tall and lean, his brown hair bleached sandy by the constant Caribbean sun, and his eyes like gleaming emeralds, he even stole control of her involuntary muscles.

Those jeweled eyes made a quick sweep of her nakedness before they returned to her feet and slowly inched up, stopping at the juncture of her thighs, on the neatly trimmed mound there. His gaze lingered, but at last his eyes moved further up, pausing again at her breasts, now aching for his touch, her nipples painful rubies.
She should have felt like a bug under a microscope, or worse, a cheap whore, but underneath the obvious arousal, there was nothing but admiration, and perhaps reverence in the way he looked at her. He might be a despicable player, but it was hard to remember that when he looked at her that way. No wonder women threw themselves at him.

At last, he looked into her eyes. “Turn around.” She turned, willing her trembling legs to hold her. No one had ever looked at her so. She felt exposed, vulnerable, yet aroused beyond anything she’d ever felt. With her back to him, she waited for his command, wondering if he intended to take her now, or if he ever would. She’d wanted him for so long, she didn’t know if she could wait any longer. It wasn’t up to her. She’d ceded control to Richard in his office earlier. What they did or did not do was on his time schedule now, not hers.

“You’re more beautiful than I imagined.” His breath whispered across her shoulder. She jumped. When had he come so close? Metal jangled behind her and she quaked. “Easy. Relax, sweetheart. You followed my orders, so I have a surprise for you.”
Richard raised his hands over her head. An intricately wrought gold chain dangled from his fingers. She’d seen them in the gift shop, custom-made slave chains. She recognized it as the one from the display mannequin. Exquisitely handcrafted to look like solid gold rope, it must have cost a fortune. Richard had more money than God, so she shouldn’t have been surprised. The Lothario was a very small portion of his portfolio. “Do you want the gift, Fallon?” The chain dangled in front of her face. “Everything we do for the next week is up to you. This chain is simply a reminder for both of us, and anyone else who might want to claim you, that you are mine. No matter what we do, the choice is always yours whether we continue, or not. Nod your head if you understand.”

She nodded. Cold metal draped around her neck. Richard’s fingers scalded her skin where he fastened the intricate collar. “Do you have a code word you would like to use? Something that will tell me to stop?”

She nodded again.

“Tell me. What is it?”

“Stop,” she whispered. She’d gone from Ph.D. to dunce, in a matter of minutes.

He chuckled.

She closed her eyes. His full lips would be drawn up on one side, a dimple creasing the opposite cheek.

“Not very creative, but it will do.” His hands slipped under her arms and clamped like heated vices over her breasts. His front pressed against her back. The hard shaft of his arousal branded her buttocks. “Try it, Fallon. Tell me to stop.”

“Stop.” Her voice broke on the one simple syllable, but his hands instantly dropped away, leaving her breasts aching and cold, but he remained pressed against her.

“See. That’s how it works. Now, let’s get the rest of this chain on you. Turn back around.” He moved a step back then, allowing her room to turn.

Richard sorted the delicate chains and rings and smoothed them over her skin. Two woven gold ropes hung from a ring on the front of the collar and criss-crossed her chest in an intricate pattern before widening to form two rings of the same woven rope pattern, one to encircle each breast. Roped chains fell from under her breasts to repeat the elaborate diamond pattern across her stomach, down to her waist. Richard fastened the rope around her waist to a ring at her bellybutton with a small, jewel-encrusted lock.

There was much more to it. Every few months a new piece had been added to the display. Fallon had even tried on a few of the pieces. She’d been looking at the display one day when the jeweler came out to add the new wrist shackles. He’d noticed her interest in the piece and asked if she wanted to try them on before he added them to the display. They’d fit perfectly, and she’d admired the way they felt, as well as the exquisite workmanship. When the matching ankle shackles were ready, he’d called her and asked her if she wanted to try them too. She’d turned an appointment over to Kelsey and hurried to the gift shop.

Richard knelt before her. “Spread your legs.” She shifted and his hands on her thighs spread her further. “So beautiful.” One finger swiped through her juices. She bit her lower lip to keep from crying out. “Look at me.”

She turned her eyes to the man kneeling before her and watched as he sucked his wet finger into his mouth. Her knees buckled. Richard caught her before she fell. He steadied her, and then helped her to the one chair in the room. “There are more pieces. Every day I’ll reward you with another piece if you have earned it the day before. Now, put on the silk sarong. I want to take you to dinner.”

Thursday Spotlight: Roz Lee

Shaggy Dog Syndrome

My dad used to say my mother was like an ‘ole shaggy dog – open the car door and she’d jump in. It’s not very complimentary to be sure, but it was said with a good measure of affection. The saying also had the ring of truth at our house. I inherited a few things from my mother, my hair coloring for one thing, and her resemblance to an ‘ole shaggy dog whenever there’s an open car door in the vicinity.

So when our girls suggested we take a trip for the holidays instead of buying each other a lot of gifts we didn’t really need, I started packing. After much discussion, we decided on a Caribbean cruise with some interesting ports of call. What began as a family vacation, turned out to be a life-changing event, at least for me. Somewhere in the middle of an onboard show, I dreamed up the idea for the Lothario, a hedonistic cruise ship that later became, THE LUST BOAT, my first published work.

To say we had a good time is a gross understatement, and we have the photos to prove it. We saw Mayan ruins, swam with the fishies and, in order to lounge on a Honduran beach, took a bus ride that rivaled any theme park ride we’d ever been on.

Our ship dropped anchor off the port city of Roatan, Honduras on an overcast, somewhat cool day. My shaggy dog syndrome kicked in before the lifeboats were lowered to take us to shore. I loaded up the family-sized beach tote with bottled water and sunscreen, and we stood in line for the short boat ride to our waiting pre-paid shore excursion transportation.

We were an excited bunch. The green hillsides with colorful buildings at their base beckoned us. Our excitement grew as the charming dockside plaza came into view. Our arrival was met by locals wearing, shall we say, creative costumes, dancing to… creative music. We glanced longingly at the shops lining the walkway, but our transportation awaited us. We could shop later.

It was easy enough to find our group, and soon we were ushered to a line of waiting busses. We eyed our assigned bus skeptically. This was not the air-conditioned tour bus we’d had in Belize, the one with the sealed windows and…padded seats. The paint had lost some of its yellow luster, and as my youngest stepped aboard and turned to make sure we were behind her, I contemplated the relative strength of rust, and whether it was something I should be concerned about. My husband gave me a little nudge, and I followed the girls onto the bus, the rusted out front fender mostly forgotten, overshadowed by our pending adventure.

The interior reassured, somewhat. The seats, although not padded, were clean. The open windows were clean enough to see the passing scenery, a must in my book. On the bulkhead above the driver, and just above the rear emergency exit, were hand-painted murals depicting what I assumed was the local landscape. As my girls were not accustomed to riding school buses, they didn’t know how special the extra art really was. I suspect it might have been a diversion so we wouldn’t look too close at the important parts of the vehicle – like the brakes. Or maybe we weren’t supposed to question the sanity of the driver.

In retrospect – I think we should have done both.

When every seat was filled, the driver closed the door and we headed out into the Honduran countryside to a private beach where we’d been promised a lazy day with good food and plenty of fruity drinks with paper umbrellas. I pulled out my ever present camera and prepared to document the ride. And I did. To a point.

We skirted the beach for several miles on a two-lane road lined with colorful houses and the occasional store before turning inland. It wasn’t long before I stashed the camera in favor of hanging on for dear life. The road, and I use that term loosely, wound like a corkscrew through dense jungle, rising and falling until we reached the summit of …something. I vaguely remember the tops of giant banana trees as we whisked along. Our driver slowed, sort of, at the blind, hairpin curves, and I closed my eyes and prayed nothing was coming because there wasn’t anywhere for us, or them to go, but to the base of those giant banana trees. And the road didn’t go there.

Once we reached the summit, the bus slowed as we passed a few tourist trap souvenir shops and the shack where the zip-line adventurer’s would begin their descent via a harness and pulley attached to a cable stretched over the tops of the giant banana trees. I was glad we’d chosen the lazy day on the beach. That thought lasted until we crested the summit and headed down the other side of the mountain.

Banana trees sped past our window in a blur of green. We jostled, shoulder to shoulder, hands fisted on the bar across the seat in front of us in a white knuckled grip. I came to dread the sound of the horn, as it signaled yet another curve where we might or might not play chicken with oncoming traffic. On the descent, compact cars scrunched to the edge of the road to let us pass, some with a mere heartbeat to adjust their position before our faded yellow monster would send it to the base of a giant banana tree.

You know we made to the beach and back because I’m writing this, but I can honestly say, the theme park designers need take a shore excursion to a lazy Honduran beach. There isn’t a ride yet invented to equal that one. It took a few fruity drinks with paper umbrellas to calm our nerves, and a few more to give us the nerve to get back on the bus to make the return trip to our ship.

The adventure didn’t cure my shaggy dog syndrome, but next time I think I might try the zip-line. At least the bus trip would have been shorter.

Bon Voyage! Stop in tomorrow to chat some more.

Wednesday Spotlight: Roz Lee

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

By far, the most memorable family vacation we’ve ever taken was to the Redwood National Forest. We did this when the girls were young, and long before vampires and werewolves roamed every patch of trees in North America, otherwise, I doubt we would have gotten the girls into a tent in the woods, much less gotten them out of it.

I could go on and on about the majesty of these monumental trees, and the awe of camping beneath them, but one evening stands out in my mind, an experience to carry with me the rest of my life.

The Ranger-led trek began late at night. We met at the trailhead and were instructed to leave our flashlights behind. It was a moonless night, not that much moonlight could find the forest floor anyway. We followed the Park Ranger deep into the forest, our only illumination the single beam of his flashlight. We walked carefully for some time, and finally arrived at a clearing. That deep in the forest, the only sounds were of night creatures, and the small circle of humans huddled together on fallen logs, listening avidly to our guide.

No sooner were we seated, feeling safe and secure in our little huddle, than our guide extinguished his flashlight. A chorus of squeals and groans rent the night. He offered assurances in the dark, and we settled. He explained. We were to remain there for twenty minutes or so, allowing our eyes to adjust to the total darkness. Once we had acquired our night-sight, we would advance deeper into the forest to a spot where the canopy obscured even the brightest sunlight.

We learned that light is measured in candlepower, the lowest measure being the light of one single candle. Once we reached our destination, the Park Ranger told us he would light one candle, and he promised, with our newly acquired night vision, we would be astounded at the power of that one candle.

When we were sufficiently adapted, we joined hands like Kindergartener’s and walked single-file into the deepest section of the Redwood Forest. It was a hushed group. We mumbled under our breath as our feet faltered on exposed roots, and the sound of things scurrying about as we intruded on their nocturnal wanderings met our ears.

The Ranger knew his stuff. We could indeed see much better than we thought possible in the absence of light, but as we made our way, cautious step by cautious step, what little we could see became less and less. After what seemed like hours, but was probably only twenty minutes, we came to a halt beneath one of the largest trees on the planet. In the total darkness, we could make out the outline of the enormous tree trunk, and if we got close enough, the wood rail fence surrounding it.

We huddled close, stood silently for a few minutes as our eyes adjusted to the curtain of black surrounding us. It was impossible not to be grateful this wasn’t our life. Distance meant nothing. The smallest sounds elevated to ear-splitting levels. We relied on each other, and our limited sight bonded us.

Our guide called us together, though we hadn’t strayed far from each other. We gathered near and he took a single candle from his pocket. The rasp of a match on the wooden rail, followed by the stench of sulfur and a blinding flash startled. We shrank back, then surged close again as the Ranger put match to wick and a single flame flickered in the night.

Our eyes darted away from the beacon and landed on faces, now clear as if the sun had made a miraculous appearance. We looked beyond our group to the surrounding forest, amazed at the shadowed recesses, now visible in the light of a single candle. We could make out individual trees, limbs, the curve of the path we’d walked like blind mice on a string a few minutes earlier. Our girls, grateful for the light, took in the change, impressed, despite their young years at this lesson in the natural sciences.

The candle burned low, and eventually, extinguished. We waited until our eyes adjusted to the darkness before reforming our string of human bodies and retracing our steps. Gradually, we began to make out more and more of the trail, as the canopy thinned and the light from distant stars illuminated our way. What we’d previously thought as total darkness now proved to be passably well lit. Slowly we dropped hands and walked more naturally, enjoying the sights and sounds of the dark, but not sleeping forest.

To this day, our daughters speak of this adventure as a singular moment in their lives. It was a few hours out of our busy lives, but a memory to carry with us the rest of our lives.

Tuesday Spotlight: Roz Lee

Running Away from Home

I promised I wouldn’t talk about Texas for the entire week, so today I thought I would tell you about some of my favorite places around the U.S. I’ve been to all of the fifty states, except Tennessee, Kentucky, North Dakota and Alaska, and I’ve found something special in all of them. I really hope to make it to those last four in the near future, though I’m not sure how I’m going to work North Dakota into my travel plans. Maybe a writer’s conference up that way?

First, I have to say, there isn’t anything like spring in Texas when the Bluebonnets blanket the roadways and hillsides. No matter where else I go, a little bit of my heart remains there. Texas is a part South, part West, laid back countryside and fast paced urban. It’s sparkling lakes and sun dappled woods. It’s wildflowers and neatly rowed fields. It’s gulf coast shrimp and smoky barbeque. It’s skyscrapers and cabins at the lake. It’s Friday night football, rodeos and fireworks on the Fourth of July. It’s oil rigs and pecan groves. It’s a little slice of heaven. No – make that a big slice!

Another place high on my list of favorites is the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I’ve traveled that way many times, and each time I’m almost afraid to step out of the car. I’m afraid if I do, I may not get back in and continue on my way. It’s that lovely. It’s rich in beauty and in history, and I could be perfectly content to spend the rest of my life there. If you decide to take a look, get off the freeway and venture into the countryside. You won’t be disappointed.

I had a college professor once who asked us to write down where we would go if we decided to run away from home. She explained that we all needed a place in reality, or even in our minds that we could go to recharge our batteries when things got tough. That place for me is Lake Solitude, high in the Grand Tetons. It’s a charming glacial lake, accessible only on foot. Tenacious mountain grass grows right up to the edge, and tiny dots of color on closer inspection turn out to be wildflowers. There’s a hushed reverence there, as if the humans who made the climb are afraid voices will cause it to vanish.

When our daughters were small, we took them camping in the Redwood National Forest. It’s an experience I will never forget. The towering giants are beyond my ability to describe. They stand like sentinels guarding lesser beings, and everything is a lesser being in comparison. Their massive trunks and green crowns block the sun, creating a perpetual twilight on the forest floor. One cannot stand beneath a centuries old redwood and not be humbled.

And lest you think I’m only happy when I’m communing with nature, I conclude with one more of my favorite places – New York City. I love the towering monuments to man’s ingenuity and intelligence. I love the shameless bowing to commerce, and in its midst, the theaters dedicated to the expression of human creativity. I love the constant hum of activity, and carved out of the every moving tableau is – you guessed it – Central Park!

Thanks for touring the country with me today. I’ll be back tomorrow. Come by and visit with me again.

Monday Spotlight: Roz Lee

It’s a Texas State of Mind

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by today. I can honestly tell you I was thrilled to find out I would be doing this week’s Author Spotlight – until I found out I would need to write five blogs! As a writer, it shouldn’t be difficult, but writing blog posts is nothing like writing erotic fiction. This is scary stuff, folks! For some reason my brain froze when I asked it to pop out these blog posts. I couldn’t think of a single thing to talk about. I knew I should tell you something about me, but writers are really bad when it comes to talking about themselves. We live in a fantasy world where we create characters and worlds to suit us. Rarely does the real world suit us.

Frankly, I’m tired of telling people about myself. Do you really want to know all that stuff about my family (one husband-for a very long time, two daughters and a dog), or that I live in New Jersey (some of the time), or that I was born and raised in Texas? I was skeptical about my readers interest, so I put out a call on Facebook for some new questions I could answer. Guess what? Readers really do want to know that stuff!

I promise not to bore you with this for the remaining posts, but for the person who asked me to tell you about Texas – here it is. Hold your breath… It’s coming… Something you didn’t know about Texas…

Texas is BIG!

Yep. It’s true. For example – El Paso is half way between Los Angeles, CA and Dallas, TX. I should know. I’m a Texan. Long Live the Republic! *waves Lone Star Flag wildly*

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

Seriously – I can trace my family roots back to the short span of time Texas was a country all its own. Did you know Texas is the only state in the union that entered as a country? As such, the Lone Star flag flies at the same height as the Stars and Stripes. The capital building in Austin is a replica of the U.S. capital building – only bigger…and taller! (And it’s pink!)

Texas had to fight for their independence from Mexico, so the decision to ally with the United States was a big one (pardon the pun) for the Republic. Those ten years of independence, I think, contribute to the ‘Texas State of Mind’. And if you doubt such a state exists, you haven’t met a Texan!

I’ve lived outside of Texas for more years than I lived in it, but I still proudly refer to myself as a Texan. Texans have a ‘can do’ attitude. It all goes back to the days when my forefathers were fighting the massive Mexican armies. The small Texas militia were no physical match for Santa Ana’s troops, but what they lacked in numbers they made up for with heart and determination. (Remember the Alamo, where less than 200 men and women held off an army of nearly 5000 for two weeks.) It’s this spirit of determination and tenacity that most characterizes my home state.

So don’t try to tell a Texan it can’t be done. We’ll prove you wrong every time! Perhaps that’s why I dreamed up the Lothario, the cruise ship in my first book, THE LUST BOAT. Who says a cruise ship can’t have an erotic theme?

It’s been nice talking to you today. Ya’ll come back now! (Sorry! I couldn’t resist!)