#WriteTip - Respect the Reader's Imagination by Rosanna Leo (@LeoRosanna), spotlighting her @LSB_lsbooks #PNR

Rosanna is one of my favorite people, thanks to her encouragement and support back when I just started out (not that I've gone very far since then...). She writes super sexy romances, many of which star shifters and mythical beings. Her most recent release is Selkie's Lure, which brings us back to Orkney, Scotland to witness a battle of wits and wills (as well as smoking hot scenes, I'm sure). Read an excerpt from the 3rd installment in the Orkney Selkies series after this brief writing tip break. 


Respect the Reader’s Imagination

by Rosanna Leo

Thanks so much to Tara for hosting me today! It’s always a pleasure to visit.

My new paranormal romance Selkie’s Lure, Orkney Selkies 3, releases January 16 and I’m very excited to share it with you. This book not only features Scottish selkies but other creatures of legend such as water horses, fairies and sirens. As I wrote the novel, it was important for me to retain a bit of mystery. After all, we’re dealing with paranormal characters. Mystery is important.

In other words, I try hard to respect the reader’s imagination.

I’ve never been fond of long, flowery descriptions. As a reader, I like envisioning the scene. Let’s face it. Many readers will insert their own image of what the hero or heroine or villain looks like anyway. They don’t need them described down to the curl of their eyelashes. If your setting is a flowery meadow, we don’t need to know the color of every single flower.

I used to work as a classical singer years ago. One of my conductors, a man who was well respected in the musical community, always used to say, “There is music in the silences.” In other words, don’t hit the audience over the head. Don’t try to fill every space with noise. This applies to writing as well. Allow the reader to absorb your information so she can imagine her own setting. 

Be a little mysterious. Be a little vague. The reader will supply the rest.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy Selkie’s Lure.

Selkie’s Lure

Orkney Selkies 3

by Rosanna Leo

Amy Woods, one of TV’s famed Beast Seekers, has come to Orkney, Scotland, to hunt sirens. One of them killed her sister and she has sworn revenge. Most people think she’s crazy for believing in monsters. She knows the truth. But while patrolling one of Orkney’s cold beaches, she runs into a naked selkie man rather than a siren, and he proves to be an alluring distraction.

Edan Kirk is a selkie, one of an ancient race of seal shape shifters. When he hears of Amy’s intention to hunt sirens, tragic memories overwhelm him. He knows he must get rid of the pesky human. As much as he tries to convince her she’s on a fool’s errand, he can’t resist trying to protect her. After all, he has heard the enticing song of the sirens and he knows its deadly power.

As Amy and Edan engage in a battle of wits and wills, other emotions rush to the fore. Their connection is intense, the sort to come along only once in a lifetime. Edan recognizes her as his mate. However, another woman has set her sights on him as well, one whose powers of seduction are legendary. One whose voice has driven men to madness and devastation.

Can Amy accept Edan as her mate, making her home in the world of the supernatural? And can they save each other from a beast that cannot be destroyed?

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After patrolling the shore for the better part of an hour, Edan began to feel the call of his bed. He might possess more stamina than a human man but it had been a long day. Resolved to catch a couple hours of sleep before morning, he swam toward the shore. Relinquishing his pelt, letting it slide from his body, he stood up straight.

A man appeared before him.

No. A woman.

Because she wore fatigues, he was momentarily confused, but there was no mistaking her buxom figure. She was certainly doing her best to look like an army man, right down to her combat boots.

The lass smiled and aimed a camera phone at him. “Hello, sailor. Did you fall off your boat?”

Fuck. What sort of woman walked on the beach at four in the morning? “Something like that.”

Despite the obvious threat posed by her camera, he couldn’t help noticing she was a beauty. Perhaps not in the Hollywood starlet sense, but her imperfections intrigued him. She’d pulled her chestnut hair back into a tight ponytail. There was an asymmetry to her face that gave an edge to delicate features. Her nose was slightly crooked near the tip and one eyebrow arched higher than the other. Her generous mouth was compressed but it looked capable of wide smiles.

And her scent. It hit him hard and made him see stars, like that time his younger brother Calan lobbed a dictionary at his head. She smelled like strawberries, juicy and ripe from the bush. Interesting, considering she was dressed like Rambo.

His gut turned, as if skewered on a rotisserie. As his innards roiled, he couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to wind her ponytail around his fingers, draw her close and...

“Well?” Her eyebrow quirked even higher.

How much had she seen?

He stepped toward her but when she snapped several photos in quick succession, he stopped moving. “It’s not polite to take photos of a man in his birthday suit.”

“Yes, but you’re not quite a man, are you?”

She’d seen everything, then. He’d simply have to persuade her not to trust her senses. He’d talked himself out of worse scrapes. Edan waved his hand in the direction of his crotch. “I’m all man, lass, as you can see.”

She indulged in a quick glance. Her eyes widened in clear wonder, as if she’d never seen anything quite like him before. “Something more, then.” She nodded toward his pelt. “I’ll take that, please.”

“I don’t think so.” He hedged his bets he could convince her to give up whatever mischief she’d planned. How had he missed her on the beach? Too distracted by the thought of Breena, perhaps. “You’ve seen enough to understand I’m a selkie. If you know that, you know I need this pelt. If you’re looking for a lover, you need to be wily and steal the skin. I won’t just hand it over, unless of course you can prove to me you’d be worth a tussle.”

“I’m not looking for a lover and I don’t want to tussle with you.”

“I’d say that was a shame, you know, if you didn’t look as if you were out to blackmail me.”

Two men, also dressed in camouflage, emerged from behind a sand dune. One of them looked as if his sole hobby was frequenting the gym. Although the other man was smaller in stature, he presented more of a threat and it had everything to do with his professional-looking video camera.

“I’d give her the pelt if I were you,” the bigger man said.

“Who the hell are you people?” Edan demanded as he slowly handed the skin over to the woman.

She took it but didn’t lower her phone. “We’re the Beast Seekers. You’re our first selkie. Smile for the cameras.”

About Rosanna Leo

Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Romance and The Romance Reviews.

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.

A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Rosanna blogs at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com

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#WriteTip - Save a Book, Kill a Dialogue Tag by @LeoRosanna, spolighting her @LSB_lsbooks #Shifter #PNR

This writing tip by repeat guest Rosanna Leo takes me back to one of the few "writer group" meetings I've ever attended. I was about to launch into a monologue on the slaying of dialogue tags, before I shut myself up and allowed the person focus on their creative process. This isn't to say the issue is trivial--it's just something I feel deserves focus in the revisions/editing stage (as opposed to first draft). Of course, my internal editor has gotten rather adept at zapping these critters as I write. Who knows? In a decade or two, I might manage to annihilate the majority of them. *cue evil laughter*

Ahem. Sorry, Rosanna tends to bring out my theatrical side. I'll let her take over before this devolves any further. 

Save a Book, Kill a Dialogue Tag

by Rosanna Leo

Thanks so much to Tara for hosting me as I continue my blog tour for Predator’s Rescue, Gemini Island Shifters 7, my latest release!

Dialogue tags. If you’re a writer, you’re probably already sighing with me. They’re evil, little creatures, aren’t they?

What on earth am I talking about? For those who haven’t heard the term, a dialogue tag is what we call those pesky words at the end of a piece of dialogue. For example, “He said” or “She replied.”

These are words writers use many times per day. Many writing experts agree we should use them as little as possible.  Why? After all, people speak. Wouldn’t we want to show them speaking in a work of literature?

That is exactly the point. We want to SHOW them. Many agree there are more effective ways of describing a character’s actions than by simply stating what they said. I use dialogue tags here and there, but I prefer to show what the character is doing or thinking at that moment. Reiterating “He said” or “She said” tends to slow down the pace as well. It’s unnecessary. If have a piece of dialogue, we generally know who is speaking. Take this example from Predator’s Rescue:

He stopped pacing. “Look at me.”



“I need a shower,” she blurted, blinking over itching eyes. “I smell like fish dinner leftovers someone forgot to put in the fridge.”

“We can shower later.”

She raised an eyebrow.

“I mean, you can shower later. We need to talk.”

“Talk, talk, talk. I’ve never known any other man who wanted to talk so much.”

Here, I use one dialogue tag (She blurted) to point out heroine Fleur’s state of mind, more than the fact she is responding. It’s a quick sequence and the reader doesn’t lose track of who says what.

Have you ever read a piece of dialogue that distracted you with its use of tags? Chances are, there were too many of them.

Save a book. Kill a dialogue tag today.

Predator's Rescue

by Rosanna Leo

Tiger shifter Jani Fodor should have washed his hands of Fleur Bissette long ago. However, when she disappears from the shape shifter sanctuary on Gemini Island, he can’t forget her, and launches a fraught two-week search to find her. He thinks she’ll be grateful but the petulant she-wolf resents his intrusion in her life.

Jani recently liberated Fleur from a vicious cult of shape shifters, where she was brainwashed by the sadistic August Crane. The wolf shifter terrorized their friends at the Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort on Gemini Island. Labeled a “bad girl” all her life, Fleur knows she’ll never fit in with the good guys at the Ursa, no matter how much Jani tries to convince her of their regard. Besides, she can’t stay with Jani. Although he’s the closest thing she’s ever had to a friend, their chemistry is explosive in the worst way.

When a new menace arises, in the form of a vicious drug dealer with a grudge, Jani is adamant Fleur accept his help to rehabilitate her addict mother and remove her from the influence of her dealer. Fleur accepts Jani’s assistance but as they work together, friendship erupts into passion. Neither can deny their lust-struck spirit animals and before long, they realize their connection runs deeper than they ever expected.

Despite the threats posed by the drug dealer, the worst danger of all dwells inside Fleur. Haunted by the spirit of August Crane, Fleur is inundated by visions that torment her. She is consumed by guilt and plagued by old hostilities. Can this bad girl make good? And is Jani’s love enough to save her from her demons?


Once again, Jani’s temper flared but he swallowed his simmering rage. He stood and raised his voice so he could be heard over Loretta Lynn’s tinny warbling as it emanated from the jukebox. “Now I’m going to ask everyone in this shithole one more time. I’m looking for Fleur Bissette. Where is she?”

There was a crash and a feminine cry from behind one of the closed doors. Jani didn’t hesitate. He launched himself off his stool and toward the door, already on the verge of shifting. His tiger hairs danced in anticipation under his skin, ready to burst through his pores.

The two men who’d approached him grabbed him by the shoulders and hauled him back.

“Hey, asshole,” the grizzly man shouted. “You’re not allowed back there. Private parties only.”

Jani glanced at the hand on his shoulder and then at the man. “One warning. Take your hands off me.”

The idiot snorted and looked at his pal. “Why waste your time lookin’ for Fleur anyway? That girl’s nothing but trouble. Trouble loves her. In fact, she’s probably spreading her legs to trouble right now.”

Jani reached for the man’s arms and spun him around. “What did you say?”

“It’s all the bitch knows how to do. That’s all women like her are good for anyway.”

Jani reared back and let his fist fly, cracking it against the man’s face. The grizzly shifter flew across the room, hitting the back wall, collapsing to the floor. The grim satisfaction of seeing the man crumple overrode any pain in his knuckles. In fact, it felt so good to hit the jackass he had to hold his hand behind his back so he wouldn’t hit him again.

No one, no one, insulted Fleur. The man was lucky Jani didn’t kill him for the slight. Fleur had been called too many names in her time, and he’d made it his mission to see she was never belittled again.

Jani nodded toward the other men. “Don’t even think of stopping me.”

He tried the closed door, relieved to find it unlocked. He flung the door open and his tiger senses homed in on her immediately.

Fleur had clearly been serving drinks to the small group of shifter bikers inside, but one of them had gotten a little too close to the new waitress. Her tray of drinks lay on the floor, smashed, and one of the men had her over his lap. His large hand caressed her ass as she squirmed in his grip.

As time seemed to freeze for Jani, Fleur turned to glance at him. She mouthed his name.

The silent plea made his heart twist in his chest. Had she actually spoken aloud? He wasn’t sure. He couldn’t hear her voice. His ears were ringing too much as his tiger roared her name.

Her dark eyes seemed to grow darker, black with emotion, but he didn’t take time to analyze the sentiment flitting behind her irises.

With a noise that must have sounded more animal than man, Jani raced toward her and pulled her off the man’s lap. He moved her toward the door, so she wouldn’t be hurt in the melee. He then turned to the shithead who’d grabbed her, a growl emanating from his furious core.

The biker, startled and likely drunk, didn’t react quickly enough to shift. Jani hauled him off his chair and thrust him toward the wall.

“Jani,” Fleur called, her voice loud and clear now. “Don’t. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

“His hand was on your ass. I know enough.”

One of the other men was foolhardy enough to try to stop him. He tried to yank Jani away but Jani snapped his arm back, using his elbow to hammer the man in the face. Cradling his bloody nose, the man retreated.

Jani turned his attention back to the shifter who’d groped Fleur. “That was the last time you ever touch her.” Bracing himself, he head-butted him. A sickening crack sounded in the room. The man moaned, his eyes rolled back, and he dropped to the floor.

Ignoring the pain exploding through his forehead, Jani marched toward Fleur, picked her up, and hauled her over his shoulder.

“Hey. Put me down! You have no right.”

No right. He might have laughed if he wasn’t concerned about getting her out of there in one piece.

Holding out his free arm to warn off any others who might consider having a go at him, Jani carried the writhing Fleur out of the room and out of the bar. His heart thumped against his chest just from holding her. Granted, he hadn’t quite envisioned holding her like this, her ass high in the air near his face, but it pleased him more than he cared to admit out loud. Something about the scenario made his inner caveman very happy.

About Rosanna Leo

Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Romance and The Romance Reviews.

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.

A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Rosanna blogs at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com

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#WriteTip - Rosanna Leo (@LeoRosanna) Explains the Joys of Plain, White Paper (and shows off NIGHT LOVER, her @HartwoodBooks #PNR)

I'm delighted to welcome Rosanna Leo back to my blog today. She's developing a reputation as quite the paranormal romance guru, and she's also one of the more prolific authors I've met to date. As such, this writing tip has my rapt attention (along with her newest paranormal romance from Hartwood Publishing). 

The Joys of Plain, White Paper

by Rosanna Leo

Thanks very much to Tara for hosting me today. I love her writing tip segments and am honored to be featured in them.

Today’s writer has so many resources. There are programs out there that help you plot your book online, that will dictate your work to you and God only knows what else. Of course, I’m sure we all use our trusty Microsoft Word to the pointwhere our laptops want to give up the ghost. My own keyboard is so well used some of the letters are rubbing off. It’s a good thing I know where to find ‘S’ because it disappeared long ago.

However, there is a tool I use frequently and I sometimes wonder who else still makes use of this archaic resource. I’m talking about plain, white printer paper. Yup. Your basic 8 ½ x 11 stock, the kind you find in offices and homes everywhere. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t write for me but when it comes to those crucial early days of plotting a novel, it’s invaluable.

I always plot initially on paper. Why? Well, because I change my mind about a hundred times or so. I never have a complete picture when I set pen to paper and for me to start creating Word docs at this point seems ridiculous. I prefer to set out several sheets of paper, one that documents my hero and heroine in detail, along with their histories. Others may chart the course of the action in the novel. Others still may detail certain motivations or the background of my villain. Once I see it all on paper, and it makes sense, then I feel ready to move it into a soft copy.

Does this seem old-fashioned in this age of technology? It probably is. It may not even be the most efficient use of my time. However, it makes sense to me. My brain likes it and whatever makes my brain happy during the plotting process, makes me happy.

I would urge other writers to explore their options as well. Gadgets are fun, but sometimes tried-and-true methods streamline our thoughts. Writing on paper allows me to disconnect and concentrate on the task at hand. It frees up my thought process. If it’s been a while since you’ve written “old school,” I would encourage you to try it.

Like Harold and his purple crayon, sometimes all you need is a pen, a clean surface and your imagination.

Night Lover

by Rosanna Leo

Canadian soprano Renata Bruno is tired of waiting for her big break. Unfortunately, her boss, the conductor of a chamber ensemble, sees her as little more than background material. When she learns of an opportunity to sing solo with a different troupe in England, she knows she must seize it. Especially when she hears the group is to perform Mozart's Requiem, her favorite work.

As soon as Renata decides to make her move, a strange, sultry presence invades her life. She begins dreaming of a man, one who makes love to her, bewitching her. It isn't long before her night lover leaves startling proof of his nocturnal presence, making her doubt her senses.

To compound her discomfort, she learns her new conductor is the college boyfriend who broke her heart years ago. As Renata grapples with old hurts and renewed passion, she must also fend off the increasingly fervent advances of her night-time visitor. She realizes she is under the influence of an incubus, a sexual demon.

It becomes harder to resist the incubus when she learns he has a name and had a tragic history. The more she discovers about his past, the more she realizes they are linked in more ways than one. Renata begins to rediscover love and her sense of faith, but will it be enough to save her night lover from an evil curse? And will it destroy her in the process?


When I saw the face in this painting, I gasped, feeling as if someone had punched me in the gut.


It was the portrait of a man, much in the style of a Gainsborough painting. Full-length, it displayed the man in Regency dress. Tall Hessian boots reached up over his pants, accentuating his height. A waistcoat peaked out from under his soft blue riding coat. I looked up to the face above the coat, clean-shaven and somehow boyish with its round features. His hair was the color of honey and quite curly, with long sideburns travelling down his cheeks. Although he bore a fashionably serious countenance, his blue eyes smiled.

 It’s him.

The man from my recurring dream, the man from the theater mezzanine in Toronto. I blinked several times, not believing my eyes.

I couldn’t move. I returned the stare of the man in the portrait. A friendly face, it still managed to unnerve me. The artist must have been a master because its subject seemed to be looking right at me. His pale eyes bore into mine. As I continued to gaze at my dream man, other objects in the background began to blur. The portrait frame and the wallpaper behind him dissolved into nothingness. I could only make out the man, and his gaze seemed to issue me a challenge, daring me to look back at him. My head swam. My tongue grew thick. Pain shot through my stomach and I clutched it so I wouldn’t keel over.

Lizzy came out of nowhere and bounded up behind me. “What's up? Ooh, he's cute.” She, too, had noticed the portrait. She also saw how intently I stared. “Hey, are you okay?”

“No.” I couldn’t look away from him, couldn’t stop myself from raking my gaze over every painted inch. “It’s him. The man from my dream.”

“Yeah, right.” She frowned.

Finn walked up to us and put a hand on my back, oblivious to my shock. “So you’ve found the lord of the manor.”


“Hugh Dawlish, scion of Dawlish Manor. The women in the ensemble love this portrait because they think he’s, ah…easy on the eyes. So, shall we rehearse?”

I let him lead me away, but I couldn’t stop looking back at Hugh Dawlish’s portrait.       

He was real. Not a wraith from my imagination.

Real. And dead.

Lizzy elbowed me. “You look like you’re going to pass out.”

“I’m fine.”

As we left the room, I looked back once more. The eyes of Hugh Dawlish followed me. I shivered.

A slight smile played on his lips.


Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Romance and The Romance Reviews.

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.

A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Rosanna blogs at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com

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