Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Between Places

Last weekend I trekked to the V Bar V Ranch for Summer Solstice. This little-known site, in the Verde Valley near Sedona, is one of the largest and best preserved petroglyphs in Arizona.

But I go specifically on the morning of the longest day of the year.

The sun rises over the top of the rock wall, and an annual miracle occurs. Bands of light pass between two rocks and illuminate specific points in the figures permanently etched in the stone. The petroglyph art is positioned so that when the sunlight hits a specific line carved in the rock, it coincides with the start of the planting season. 

For the Sinagua Indians living in this arid land nearly a thousand years ago, this was their calendar.

The growing season was tricky. Plant too soon and the corn crop would shrivel and dry before the monsoons. Plant too late and the kernels would not have time to ripen.

Timing was everything.

My visit to V Bar V on the day of equal light and dark reminds me to keep a balance in my own life. To resist wasting my time auditioning for others: parents, teachers, employers, lovers, strangers, and friends. To stay true to myself and to Nature.

I yearn to balance dark and light, the way the earth balances day and night. The shadow has its reasons and seasons, and brings us important lessons to learn. We must know when we are way out of balance, have had enough, are stagnated, or need emotional rescue of a practical nature.

Maybe you are oriented on your path by a set of rules you didn’t make. Or maybe you coast along because it’s so difficult to change course, regardless of what strongly held beliefs that course is violating.

Can you can recall a moment when you stood at a crossroads, a point where opposites met and a choice was required: dark or light, joy or sorrow, right or wrong, be silent or speak out. Fight or flee. Do--or don’t do.

According to Goddess Mother Nature, we are now standing at one of those crossroads. Next week, the world will literally begin filling with darkness, as the wheel turns toward winter. Today we stand at the world’s still center and survey which path to choose.

The Sinaguas had their map, revealed to them at the proper time. Like the ancients, I don’t look for paths, they will seek me out. That’s what is so exhilarating about these in-between days. They are the creative nexus at which vision and craft come together.

Feel your power! Create. Let your poetry, song, art, new love or inspiration uncoil from its hidden domain and fill your core.

The between places are not horrible or frightening. They are thresholds for awakening, if the soul is alert and watchful for omens of change.

And yes, timing is important.

So look in the mirror. Meet the eyes you see there directly, because they belong to the only person in this world you can truly change.  Be attentive to the thresholds and boundaries of your life—the places where metamorphosis occurs—and find the lines you should erase and re-draw.

How will you transform in the remaining year?


Sandy Wright lives in Arizona with her husband, a super-smart Border Collie/Aussie mix named Teak, and two huge black panther cats (18 pounds each), named Salem and Shadow Moon. Their daddy, Magick, was even bigger! He's featured in her debut novel, Song of the Ancients, the first book in her paranormal suspense series, Ancient Magic.
Her debut novel involves witchcraft and Native American medicine magic. It's set in the energy-laden town of Sedona, Arizona.  
Sedona is but one earth "power site" in the world. The Ancient Magic series will travel to unravel mysteries at other sacred sites. The second book, tentatively titled Stones of the Ancients, takes us to the ancient standing stones of Scotland, where the author gets to trace her own heritage next month while researching the book. The series continues to Hawaii to learn about Pele, the Goddess of fire and volcanos. Book four  will conclude the Ancient Magic series somewhere along the ancient icy land bridge of the First People, either in Newfoundland or Alaska.  
Book 1, Song of the Ancients is available now on Amazon, in both print and ebook. Book Two, Stone of the Ancients, will be available early 2018.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The First Ever Mate

The First Ever Mate-Match  by Francesca Quarto

 "It's no matter, my pet.  One day you'll find yourself besieged with offers of marriage.  A dear girl like you, with a  heart as big as the sky above!  Here, have another cake, love."
Her mother's answer to any challenge in life was a sweetie of some sort.  Plagued by worries about her continued spinsterhood, Corina feared her girth might soon match her dark moods.
"Mother, I am no longer willing to sit about, waiting for a suitable man to come banging on the gate, asking for the opportunity to bring me flowers and candies and pallid conversation!
I shall no longer spend my time trying to entertain braggarts, brutes and banal bumpkins!"
She stormed out of the room leaving her mother with mouth ajar, and the maid snickering behind a well-mannered hand.
Corina went straight to her rooms, asked a servant to bring her paper and pen and began to write on the creamy parchment.
"Seeking This Gentleman For Potential Loving Relationship~~ Description as follows:  
Highly intelligent, good wit, patient beyond sainthood, tolerable story-teller, intolerant of fools and braggarts, loving of the Creator's natural world, respectful of all persons, no matter their gender.  Appearance NOT relevant...Demeanor is all.  The Lazy and Arrogant need NOT apply."
Lady Corina Forthright
Handing this off to the loitering maidservant, she gave her a small coin, along with the notice.
"I want you to post this in the village square, where other news items are on display.  
 Corina sat back and waited for her replies to come in.
The first, as predictable as storms in spring, came from the town dandy.  
A lay-about heir to a vast fortune, he was seeking a new thrill to brighten his dull days as a budding cretin.  He presented himself to Corina,  two of his toadies standing ready to praise him to the heavens if called upon as character witnesses.
His puny overtures were easily deflected by the robust young woman he desperately tried to charm.  Any interest faded as quickly as his perfumed wig under her scrutiny and questioning.
Corina scanned his frills and curls, noting the touch of powder on a pale face that never saw a walk in a summer field.  She turned on her heels, left the room and smiled when she heard his gasp of disbelief.
Suitor two was not as obviously mis-matched to this fine young lady.
Sir Ralph Longstreet was a well-known intellectual, with several books penned under his name and a penchant for stirring controversy with his political rants.  His interests, however, were narrowly defined by a rather blind egotism.  He would brook no differing of opinion, as his alone, held the defining one.
Corina thanked him for contributing his humorous views of the world that existed in his very small mind.  She left him pacing, mid-lecture, on his unique insights regarding a woman's place as mere muse, in the world of letters.
This parade of sad excuses for a man in full, went on for nigh onto a year.  The parchment fixed to the wall on the Village Square was tattered and faded and nearly illegible.  Naturally, few had the gift of reading, but word circulated quickly around the countryside and beyond of this outrageous effort to find a man.  The Lady's quest soon morphed into urban legend as the months passed.
One day, before Corina's thirty-something birthday, a caller came to the gates seeking entry at an hour still deep in darkness.
His insistent clamor raised half the residents within the manor; the others, being over the age of either hearing, or caring.
Corina was immediately roused by the clanging of the gate as it swung inward.  She peered out her tall bedroom window  in time to see a hunched figure ride through the gate.  He swung himself from his magnificent stead with the grace of a boulder racing downhill.   His arms were rather longish for his seemingly short height and swung like loose tree limbs from a stout tree.
"Oh good Lord!" Corina moaned.
Feeling obligated to meet with any who answered her blind manner of seeking a husband, she snatched a comforter off her bed. Wearing it like a queen's robes, she set her jaw for confrontation and her heart for disappointment.
The stranger had his back to her as he stood in front of a warming fireplace.  Corina studied him from behind, noting the slope of his shoulders, the stubby bowed legs and a mop of hair that sat on his head like the foam on a small beer.
She cleared her throat.  He turned.  
His eyes were a deep red in a dead-white face.  He smiled and for a moment his eye teeth gleamed long and sharp in his blood red mouth.  He had pushed his long cloak to his hunched back, magnifying its deformity. 
"Good evening my dear, Lady Corina."
His voice was like the feel of silk upon her skin and she gave a little shudder as he moved toward her, suddenly within touching distance.
He stared into her light gray eyes so intently that she nearly forgot to speak.
"You come calling at an odd hour, sir."
This sounded silly even to her ears and she smiled back at him when he laughed.
"Yes, but this is one of my favorite times; when all is still, but the beating of our hearts."
Corina found this explanation totally logical and gestured for him to take a seat.
He joined her on the brocaded chair she favored in this room, and without asking her leave, took up her hand.
She looked down momentarily at the long fingers and his very pallid skin.  It seemed natural that he held her hand. He slowly raised his free hand to to her slightly heaving breast and then up to the pulse, hammering now, at the side of her neck.  It lingered there for several heart beats.
His eyes never left Corina's during this intimate exploration.  For her part, she only sighed with each contact of his roaming hand.
The fire began to burn low by the time the stranger opened the door to the sitting room.  There were no servants about now, save the gatekeeper, lying inert by his small cottage.  
They exited the murky hall way as the stranger threw open the heavy doors with a flick of his wrist.  
Passing under the velvety dome, into the moon's glow, everything seemed filtered by a heavy gauze to Corina's eyes.  She was aware that the stranger had a tight hold of her hand as he led her to his untethered horse.  The horse snorted in recognition and the stranger patted him to silence.
Turning to Corina he spoke again, his voice calm and soothing.
"I have come to claim you, dear lady.  You will share all my years of living in this world; all that you want shall be yours, in me.  My station is equal to your own."
He lifted her onto his saddle; springing like a deer to sit behind her.  The comforter she had hung over her shoulders was long dropped away, but she felt no chill as he wrapped his long arms tightly around her, pulling her to his body.  
She seemed to find her voice as they cantered out of the courtyard.
"Your station you say, is equal?  What then shall I call you sir?"
"Count will do, my dear."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Roadblocks Encountered When Writing a Series

I've now written and published two complete series with several more in various stages of publication. And one thing that is becoming clear to me is that I will always, always agonize over the last book in the series. The one that wraps it all up.  That last book of the series is - pardon the expression - a bitch to write. If you are writing your first series, or considering it, here are some of my key learnings to possibly keep in the back of your mind.
Wrap It Up
With the other books, you have the option to  mysteriously refer to something coming in future books. Really fun to do. I love laying those breadcrumbs. But with the last book, you actually have to wrap everything up with a big, red bow. Which means no more bread crumbs and ending things satisfactorily. If you can (I'm talking to you fellow pantsers), keep track of ALL breadcrumbs laid as you go. Also, when you lay them, have an idea of how you'll wrap them up and how they tie to other things.
You now have the other books published, which can paint you into corners. Not that corners are a bad thing if they get you where you want to go. But I'm the kind of author who writes fairly loosey-goosey. I have an idea of direction and some key plot points, but, beyond that, I can go where the wind blows me. But not as much with a final book. My path for that last one has to be fairly straight and narrow. So, again by keeping the series end-state in mind when writing those first books, you might save yourself some pain.
Known Characters
Typically, my main characters in each book are "known" characters. They are people already introduced in previous books, often with large roles to play in all those preceding books. This makes it harder to "reveal" something about them that we don't already know or, for example, take a goofball and make him a charming Alpha male. It also means readers have previously set expectations about that character and their voice, so you'd better get it right. Make sure to keep track of every detail of those characters in the previous books.

Starting From a Tough Spot
One of my roadblocks when writing Black Orchid, the last book in my Svatura series, was getting Nate and Adelaide back together when he'd been brainwashed and she'd been...well...broken. I'd known since writing Blue Violet (book 1) that I was going to rip the two of them apart, and I knew exactly how I was ultimately going to solve that issue. What I didn't know was the journey in between. (Note: It ended up taking four or five rewrites of Black Orchid to get there.) I don't have great advice for the pantsers out there on this one, other than try not to do that to yourself. Lol.
Upping the Ante
This part, I'll admit, is kinda fun. Each book needs to be a little bigger and have a slightly different approach from the others. I love coming up with ways to make the love unique, the fights bigger, the conflict escalate, etc. I tried to have most of that mapped out when I started the series. But - loosey-goosey remember? - the journey often gets me there in unexpected ways. Both fun and completely nerve wracking for me. Having a series map before you start can help, even if it's fairly high level.
Pressure Cooker
I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to end each series "right" - in other words, in a way that I would want to read without being disappointed or chucking the book at the wall (that's my barometer). These are characters and a world that I have come to love, sometimes over years. I want to send them off in style for me and for my readers. Granted, this is pressure of my own making, but it's definitely in the back of my head all the while. I think it's a good thing, so authors, let yourself feel that pressure.

Despite all the roadblocks and moments of learning, I'm very proud of the series I've finished. And I can say with confidence that the next series will also end the best way I can make them. Here's hoping it gets easier as I continue to write more of them. :)

Shameless Plug: By the way...I've just released a boxed set version of my first series--The Svatura Series--at 50% off the individual book price totals. Get started on this award-winning series today!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Beginnings of a Poisonous Garden by C.J. Burright

Over the last decade or so, spring has brought with it an unfortunate tradition into my life. I go outside, inspired to garden with all the lovely flowers and innocent woodland creatures, and upon my return to the great indoors, it is inevitable. It has an appropriate name: poison oak, and the things it does to me are not in any way enjoyable. Puffy face. Horrible rash. Blisters. The itching is the stuff torture chambers in horror movies are made of. And I’ll be the first to admit that me + poison oak = dark things.

And while I was in that bleak place where I cursed the outdoors, plants, cats that wander into poison oak and bring it back to me, and even well-meaning husbands, the dark side of me (oh, yes. She most definitely exists) was inspired to write this post. What if, instead of beautiful flowers and edible vegetables, I planted a poisonous garden? *Rubs hands together and cackles* You never know when you might need to pass on a little poison, and here are a few plants that might be helpful. You know, so others might share in the misery.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Narcissus. Grinding up its bulb and sprinkling it in…oh, I don’t know, chocolate chip cookies that your innocent victims won’t suspect…will cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Too much can be fatal, so use accordingly. Did you know that this flower was named after the Greek legend Narcissus, who saw his reflection in water, became obsessed, and fell in? He drowned and made a comeback as the flower. Also, in ancient times, the flower’s perfume had a bad rep of causing headaches, madness and death. Definitely a good fit for a poison plant garden, eh? On the positive side, the bulbs may also be used as an antiseptic dressing for wounds, and mixing it (not too much!) with honey serves as a painkiller. I suppose it’s another case of user intent.

Lily of the Valley. Consuming its leaves and flowers will instigate irregular heart rate, digestive upset and mental confusion. Serving it to an unlucky, unsuspecting guest might make for good party entertainment, at least the mental confusion part. Once upon a time, Lily of the Valley was considered unlucky, said to have sprouted from St. Leonard’s wounds after he vanquished a dragon. That sounds like good luck to me, but whatever. And the Irish believe these flowers are used as fairy ladders…with a warning. The gardener who plants a bed of them will be struck dead in a year. So maybe keep only one plant in your poison garden. The ying to the poison yang: Lily of the Valley may alleviate the pain of gout, ease eye pain, restore speech, and help treat heart disease and memory. So once your victim is poisoned and undergoing mental confusion, if you’re feeling benevolent (or guilty) maybe you can use the same plant to restore their memory.  
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Nightshade. If you’re going to have a poisonous plant garden, Nightshade is a must. All parts of it are fatal, especially the unripened berries. Ingesting it causes intensive digestive issues, but more than that, Nightshade is alleged to be a favorite for witch’s spells. In centuries past, it was rumored that consuming small quantities would allow visions into the future. Take too much, though, and it’s madness instead. Also cool, Nightshade is an important ingredient for the flying ointment witches smeared over themselves to ride the skies. And keeping Nightshade close will keep evil spirits away. If only it worked on that demon poison oak…

There are, of course, many other plants you could include in your poison garden, but I believe I’ve given you enough nefarious ideas for one day. Use your powers for good, people. 😊 Do you have any innocent-looking poisonous plants in your backyard? Are you vulnerable to the evils of poison oak like I am? 

Why are Fathers Imporant in Stories? by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Fathers add a lot of dimension to a story. This is true whether they are actual characters, or just background information of other characters. A character’s relationship with their father (or lack thereof) adds a lot of background and depth to a character, and this can be especially important if the character may harbor particular emotions, carry inherited traits, or discover secrets about their true heritage.

Take The Descendants VS Descendants as an example.  In one movie, a father is trying to reconnect with his daughters because their mother is in a comma. In the other, the kids are an amusing reflection of who their “bad guy” or “bad gal” parents are.

Authors love to pull the dad card out of their writer’s toolbox.  In my Illuminati series their dad is Osiris, an immortal god, so there’s a lot to live up to, and one sure doesn’t want to get on dad’s bad side—though mom is a force to be reckoned with too.

Whatever your dad scenarios, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hidden Figures by Diane Burton

photo credit: IMDB
Have you seen the movie Hidden Figures? Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably seen the trailers on TV about three black women whose contributions were vital to the space program. Anyone who has read my posts here and on my own blog knows that I’m crazy about space travel. When Russia put Sputnik into orbit around Earth, the adults were convinced they were spying on the U.S., that they could drop a bomb from space and obliterate our country. In school, we hid under our desks and covered our heads in preparation for a nuclear bomb. Yeah, that would save us. But, I digress.

The local book group I belong to read the book Hidden Figures, which seemed more like a textbook. But that didn't stop the producers from making a movie about three amazing black women, representative of hundreds black and white. Women who responded to the government’s call for mathematicians and physicists during World War II. Because of that need, President Roosevelt desegregated the defense industry thereby paving the way for black women to earn three times as much as they made teaching. Who wouldn’t jump on that? But, just because the president ordered desegregation it didn't erase years of treating black women as second/third class citizens. I could get on my soapbox about treating women, in general, as second class. Again, I digress.

The contributions of women to the space program is immeasurable. They were called computers. That was their job title. They performed all the scientific equations, by hand, that enabled NASA to propel a man into space and bring him home again. Even when what we know as “real” computers (IBMs) were brought in, the women learned to use them. But people back then didn’t trust machines. In both the book and the movie, we learn that John Glenn refused to launch until Katherine Johnson confirmed the machine’s computations, computations she performed by hand.

Even though I’ve followed the space program since the original seven astronauts, watched the liftoffs of Alan Shepard and John Glenn on television, listened to news anchors describe what was going to happen and brought in scientists with diagrams, etc. I never knew about the contributions of the women who worked behind the scenes. Without them, we would’ve been playing catch up to the Russians for years.

Remember, that was during the Cold War. Nationalism in the U.S. was so strong in the 1950s and 1960s we had to be better than the Russians. If they put a rocket into space, why didn’t we have one? Their man got into space before ours. Talk about humiliation. President Kennedy challenged us even more—that before the end of the decade (1960s) we would put a man on the moon.

Once we did that, we didn’t have a national challenge. Even though NASA continued with the shuttle and the space station, Americans couldn’t see that those were preparations for exploring more of our solar system. Next stop Mars. Did we not listen or didn’t NASA explain their goals well enough? Maybe we didn’t care anymore. Budgets have been cut. Isn't it ironic that we send our astronauts to the former Soviet Union to be launched? (Side note: watch Interstellar to see what happens when all funding for the space program is cut.) 

Hidden Figures was truly an inspirational movie. I saw the movie on DVD and the extras, especially “behind the scenes”, were even better. As I watched, I remembered the pride in our country that I felt in those days. But more than that, I felt pride that women contributed so much and inspired others to go into the space program. Along with that pride, I felt anger that their contributions have been ignored for far too long.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Creating Your Own Fantasy

I have to confess, I’m a fantasy reader. I love the genre, and can’t get enough of it. If the author can transport me to another world, I’m hooked. Technically it’s not considered paranormal, but the elements are there. Wizards, mages, psychics, empaths, and ghosts, same as the paranormal.

Currently, I’m on the fifth book of Michael G. Manning’s Mage Saga. That man can create a world and make you see his vision like very few can. Other great authors I found are good is, C. Greenwood, Sara T. Roeti, Terry Brooks, Ron Collins, and D.W. Jackson to name a few. You may not find these authors on the New York Times Best Seller list, but there work is phenomenal. They suspend reality and make it easy to step into their world. I’ve used them to inspire my own work.

Of course we can’t forget J.R.R. Tolkien, one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time. His books have transcended through the years. He made you love Frodo, Aragorn, and Legolas.

There is nothing better than creating a world of your own and walking around in it. The possibilities are endless. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing Sci-Fi, Vampires, Shifters, or Ghost stories, as authors we are creating worlds the reader can live in.

I write what’s considered paranormal historical, yet I don’t use specific times or places. I’ve created my own. I did research on the medieval time period for a point of reference, but I didn’t want to be tied down by events, politics, or specific people. I wanted the freedom to use my own imagination, but that is a personal choice. Many authors do a great deal of research that add authentication to their stories that people can relate to.

The lines between paranormal and fantasy are now blurred. There is a freedom we didn’t have before. As a matter of fact adding romance to fantasy just makes sense. Guys who read fantasy swear they aren’t reading romance but they are kidding themselves.They cheer when the hero and heroine to get together. You can't say they don't. 

In all the fantasies I’ve read there is always a romantic element. A partner that helps the hero evolve. That’s what makes a story great.

Ultimately, we are all fantasy writers. That’s what makes writing fun.

What kind of world do you live in?

Here is an excerpt of my paranormal/fantasy for Destiny’s Promise. Tell me what you think.

“Randolf!” Disa shouted.
He came out of the shadows with two balls of lightning, one in each hand.
“I warned you to stay away from her.”
“She came to me.”
“She doesn’t know who you really are.”
“What are you talking about?” Carina shouted over the wind.
“Tell her, Disa. Tell her it’s been you all along making her ill.”
It suddenly occurred to Carina that the moment she took the earrings out of her ears she actually had felt better. “Disa, what did you do?”
“I was just having a little fun.”
Disa sent a blast at Carina and she flew through the air, landing hard enough to knock the wind out of her.”
Randolf ran over to her and stood between her and Disa. “Stay behind me,” he shouted.
He sent a blast toward Disa, but it bounced off a protection shield. She returned fire, but with a wave of his hand he threw it aside toward the cottage. A window exploded the fire spread inside.
Randolf raised his arms and lightning shot out of the sky. Disa barely had time to throw up her shield.
For Carina it was like a bad dream. Disa’s face was almost demonic with her rage. How could Carina not know what Disa was? The evil that Anadar warned her about was in this woman. The thought of what she could have done to her when Carina had run away, what she had in fact planned to do to her, sent chills running along her spine.
The fire in the cottage was growing and she could feel the heat, but it didn’t warm her. Randolf seemed too preoccupied to notice. “Randolf, we need to move away.” He didn’t seem to hear her. He was too focused on Disa.
Thank you for reading my blog and I will be talking to you soon. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Persistence of Wonder by Jane Kindred

As I hinted in my last post, there are times in a writer’s life when the words don’t come easily. The months during which I wrote The Dragon’s Hunt, beginning in November 2016, were some of the worst. When I finished Hunt, I assumed I was over that hurdle, that slogging through mental mud for words. But the next book in the Sisters in Sin series is proving to be just as difficult to write.

But as I said before, writer’s write, regardless of whether the words come easily and regardless of what’s going on in the world around them—and sometimes they write because it’s the only thing they can do.

After my first and second novels got rejection after rejection, I spent eight years in a creative depression, writing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing; I revised both books incessantly. And that did finally come to something with my first break in publishing with my novella The Devil’s Garden; and later, one of my endlessly revised novels was published as the Looking Glass Gods trilogy. But those breaks didn't come until Id finally written something new. And those years of not creating anything felt like not being truly alive.

It’s the main reason I keep going even when I’m not feeling it. Like Buffy Summers sang in Once More With Feeling, sometimes going through the motions is all you can do, with the hope that you’ll feel alive again at some point and regain that sense of wonder that makes you create in the first place.

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to see someone else’s wonderful creation: the new Wonder Woman movie. There were a lot of moments in this fantastic movie that reminded me how important even the smallest acts of resistance are in a dark world. As Steve Trevor said when Diana asked him why he was bothering to do his small part to end the war, “You can do nothing, or you can do something. I tried doing nothing.” Me too, Steve Trevor. Me too. There’s one particular moment later in the film when Diana takes that advice to heart and makes an effort against the darkness that seems impossible, and that impossible effort inspires everyone around her to do the same.

So we do what we can do, even if it may not change the world, and my little bit of something, my act of resistance—against my own darkness and the darkness in the world—is writing about love…and occasionally about punching Nazis.

Writing romance can be a revolutionary act, believing in love and hope when they seem almost impossible. As Diana discovers in Wonder Woman, “only love can truly save the world.” And I am still on the side of love.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The New Old

I've spoken here before about receiving rights back to quite a few of my stories.  Today I'm going to talk about the Archangels in Love book 1, Hope in Love. What with my hand issues and resulting surgery, there's been a delay in getting Hope in Love and Repent in Love, book 2, back up for sale. This week, Hope in Love will be returning and Book 3, Death in Love, is in the works for release this year.

I like the new cover a lot and I'm sharing a favorite scene from the book -

Ram arrived below and saw a man who stood on the wall of a rooftop with the business end of a revolver in his mouth. Shit! He began his mantra without much feeling. “You are a child of the Lord and your life is important to our Father.” Beings he assisted heard his voice deep in their subconscious mind. He infused his words with hope and fulfillment in life. It lifted their hearts. Most never saw him. Those who’d reached this point sometimes did see him but thought he was a figment of their warped imagination. They were harder to deal with.

The man’s head turned toward his voice. “Fuck off, whoever you are, I want to die.”

Okay, guess he sees me. Ram had had enough bullshit today. “Then finish it already. I could be buried deep in my woman. Instead your creepy ass pulled me here. Look, you got no hope and I have none for your sorry ass. I’m fresh out of hope. So, do us both a favor so I can get back to my bed.” The man squinted in an attempt to clear his vision. Leaning closer, Ram yelled, “Fucking jump already, or pull the trigger.”

Ram never saw it coming.

The bolt of lightning slammed into his body, dead center of his chest. It sizzled loudly as it flowed through him. He flew off the wall, careened through the air and hit the sidewalk ten stories below with a thud, breath knocked out of him. He watched feathers float around above him, some carried away on the breeze.

Bones were broken and fractured throughout his body. So many he didn’t want to count. Some protruded hideously through ripped and torn flesh. The walkway flooded with his blood. He hurt like hell. “Fuck me,” he croaked, blood dribbling across his cheek. He looked up and saw the guy with the gun now stood behind the wall and looked over at him. His mouth hung open in shock. Ram whispered in agony, “Guess there’s nothing like show and tell, huh, buddy?”

As soon as you can get up, I want to see you. Michael used his angel-of-death voice.

Really pissed you off this time.

Don’t push it, Ramiel.

You could help me up.

You must be kidding, right?

Okay then. I’ll be a while getting myself… back together.

I got all the time in the world.

Ram grumbled out loud, “God damn it to he—”

Go ahead. Say it. You know how I feel about taking our Father’s name in vain mixed with hell. You are working my last nerve. Get your ass up, NOW!

The now came accompanied by lightning which rode a boom of thunder across the sky. Ram knew he was bested.

When Michael cursed, things were really bad.

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out. - J. Hali Steele

Sunday, June 4, 2017

When to Stop Waiting for the Right Time to Start

Somehow June has arrived, announcing that we are six months into 2017. Half way through the year. How did that happen? I glance over at my 2017 list of monthly and yearly goals and realize many of them are still unfulfilled. Some may have even been on the list for 2016. I have a long to-do list, and a plethora of goals. For many of them, it’s almost as if they come with a disclaimer.  It seems that the more goals I have, the more excuses I acquire to delay starting.

  •      That diet I need to recommit to? I’ll start right after the holiday—on Monday—after I go to the store.
  •      That manuscript wallowing away on my computer? I’ll submit it once I read it one more time—finish editing it—figure out where I might submit it.
  •     Those updates and tweaks I need to do on my website? I’ll finish them when I have time—when I can hire someone to do it—someday…

Excuses Multiply Like Rabbits

I have always loved to write. It made sense to pursue freelance writing in addition to my paranormal and fantasy fiction. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that although there were similarities, these were two very different birds. 

Fortunately, the things I learned would also benefit me as an author. Things like SEO, structuring blog posts, marketing etc. The more I looked, the more information I found. It’s a bit overwhelming. 

Everyone claimed they had just the information I was looking for, and many of them for a price. I signed up for multiple online classes, newsletters and read every article I came across. I started to think that I’d never learn everything. Until I had somewhat of an epiphany this week.

When You Find Out What You Already Knew

A freelance writer recommended a class that she claimed provided her with all the information necessary to succeed in freelancing. 

There it was! The answer that I sought—even though I wasn’t sure what the question was. 

I eagerly asked for the information for the class, and discovered…it was the same one I already took…a year ago. There was no magic answer. No easy button. Have I had the answers all along and just not the confidence? I wasn’t taking the very advice I gave my daughters. (I wrote about that in this blog post.)

Time Waits for No One

It seems what I discovered could be applied in more than one area of my life. I’m always looking for the answer, or waiting for the right time, and neither of these are apparent when they come along. No one announces that this is the right time to start that diet, finish that book, submit that story. We must decide that for ourselves. 

Granted, there are always obstacles to reaching a goal. But perhaps some of them are ones we impose upon ourselves. We might be ready right now, but it takes overcoming the fear of change, rejection, or a new endeavor to move forward. The only way to grow is to have the courage to learn from our mistakes. That's when the magic happens.

Do you struggle with finding confidence? How do you push yourself to stop stalling and chase your dreams and goals?

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter