Saturday, December 7, 2019

Ghosts of Yuletide Past by Jane Kindred


Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol-Cloth-First Edition 1843 It’s that time of year again. I’m watching my Christmas ghost stories: A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. I have several copies of ACC (my goal is to own every version ever made), and I watch all of them every year, from the 1951 Scrooge with Alastair Sim (hands-down, the best traditional version) to A Muppet Christmas Carol (which is honestly the best version, period) to Bill Murray’s quintessentially 1980s Scrooged to the I'm-not-crying-you're-crying Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol. I wish there were more of them. And I wish there were more winter holiday ghost stories in general.

I understand it’s a British tradition—Brits, feel free to weigh in on this—to enjoy ghost stories around this time of year (particularly on Christmas Eve), of which Dickens Carol is the most famous example. In thinking about why ghost stories might be particularly associated with this time of year, as opposed to at Halloween, as is the custom in the US, I happened upon my own blog post from December 2017, talking about the research for The Dragon’s Hunt, Book 3 in my Sisters in Sin series, which has to do with The Wild Hunt.

La caza salvaje de Odín, por Peter Nicolai Arbo

Leo Ström, the hero in that book, was Swedish (a thousand-year-old Swedish Viking, to be exact), so his Wild Hunt tradition came from the Norse legends. Odin’s Hunt rides at the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is considered to be at its thinnest, from Álfablót (the Norse equivalent of the Day of the Dead around Halloween time) through Yuletide, a twelve-day festival starting with the Winter Solstice—from whence came The Twelve Days of Christmas. But there are other Wild Hunt traditions, such as the Welsh tradition, over which my half-Welsh hero, Oliver, in Kindling the Darkness bonded with Leo.

Marley's Ghost - A Christmas Carol (1843), opposite 25 - BLTo follow that meandering tangent back to where I started, it occurred to me that maybe the pagan response to the darkest quarter of the year—that feeling of being in the presence of the dead during the thinning of the veil—was one of the inspirations for the tradition of Christmas ghost stories. Christmas, after all, is really just appropriated Yuletide. Sorry, Christians, but it is; Jesus was born in June. But it’s okay. We pagans understand why you like our stuff. ;) As much as the holiday has been sugarcoated, it’s still about whistling past the graveyard and hanging little twinkling lights to ward off the darkness and offer up sacrifices to ensure the return of the sun.

Whatever the reason, I wish ghost-stories-at-Yuletide was a bigger thing in the US—and that paranormal romance had more Christmas ghosts. Maybe it’s time to write my own holiday haunt.

By the way, if you’re looking for a Christmas-themed paranormal romance, The Dragon’s Hunt is set at Christmastime in Sedona, Arizona (and it’s lovely there). The Carlisle sisters are all big fans of the Yuletide holiday, whatever anyone wants to call it, and there are trees and lights and wassail. Psst, Hallmark, maybe you’d like a nice paranormal Christmas movie for your lovely channel? My agent is Sara Megibow at KT Literary. ;)

For more holiday-themed paranormal romance, see Abigail Owen's post about the Christmas After Dark anthology, featuring her story "The Wolf I Want for Christmas."

* I typo-ed this as The Dragon’s Hung at first, and now I have an idea for a Leo Ström erotic short. Ha.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Black-Cyber-Book-Weekend is here!


Before we jump right into the point of this blog, did you US peeps have a great Thanksgiving? The Kirk family sure did, and you can find out more about that in my December 6th newsletter if you sign-up.

All right, onward! What is Black-Cyber-Book-Weekend? Obviously, it’s the combination of Black Friday (which now seems to start the Monday before Thanksgiving—unless you’re a car dealership, in which case it starts Nov. 12. The day after the Veteran’s Days deals end.) and Cyber Monday (which now seems to start on Thanksgiving). Am I wrong??

In a nutshell, it’s all about book holiday book deals!

For the record, I tried to think of a way to shorten Black-Cyber-Book-Weekend, much in the way National Novel Writing Month became NaNoWriMo, but alas, BlaCyBoWee isn’t as catchy. It doesn’t even look good as a hashtag. If you have a better idea, please post it in the comments.

And I totally digressed again, didn’t I?

Today…right here on this very blog…I’ll give you all the links I could find to super deals, freebies, and FB events that qualify for Black-Cyber-Book-Weekend! And in the comments, you all are welcome to include links to other book related deals and events I missed. Let’s make this a one-stop shopping spot for readers!

Enough of my yammering. Let’s get on with this!

Events

Cyborg Monday – A multi-author event on Facebook featuring cyborg-sized deals on manly machines. Join the Sci-fi and Fantasy Romance group on Monday December 2 from 6-11 p.m. EST

FB Groups featuring deals



Individual Author Sales

*Tasha Black (SFR)

*Cara Bristol (SFR/Cyborg)

*Nancey Cummings (SFR)

*Libby Doyle (SFR)
                                                                   
*Susan Hayes (SFR)

*Lea Kirk (SFR)
 Skylar’s Gift (preorder)

 *Cynthia Sax (SFR/Cyborgs)

*Elsa Jade (SFR)

*Stephanie West (PNR & SFR)

Deals and Book Fairs (end Nov. 30!)

Remember, if you have an SFR, PNR, Fantasy, UF sale going on this weekend, post it in the comments!

Happy reading everyone. See ya next month!

~Lea

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~


USA Today Bestselling Author, Lea Kirk, loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her sci-fi romances. 

When she’s not busy writing about the blue and green aliens of her Prophecy series, or reading about dragons, she’s hanging out with her hubby, five kids (the nerd herd), and spoiled Dobie mix puppy.

She is currently working on a novella and the fourth book in her series.



Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving, Windstorms and Power Outages with @MeganSlayer #gay #gayromance #erotic #life

It's craziness at my house. It's the day after Thanksgiving and we lost power on Wednesday due to the horrible wind storm, then due to the same storm, lost internet on Thanksgiving, so I'm getting back up to speed on things...like blogging. Thankfully, we have power and internet, so I'm back in business. But it made for an interesting Thanksgiving, wondering if we'd have power to cook with. Internet, it's not the best thing to lose it, but it's not horrible, either. I kind of liked having the day to be with family and not worry about anything else.

Since I'm getting back up to speed, here's a preview of one of my Thanksgiving themed stories. I love this series and am happy to share it with you!


Harvest Moon by Megan Slayer

Moon Series, book 2
Also part of the Bleh! Turkey! Series
MLR Press
Contemporary, Paranormal, Holiday
Short Story
M/M, Anal Sex
What's a guy to do when the time to be with family is the time he dreads the most?


All Matt Green wants for Thanksgiving is to propose to his boyfriend in the most epic way he knows-in front of their families. There's only one catch. His boyfriend, Reed Jordan, doesn't do family gatherings. To be honest, Reed isn't wild about Thanksgiving, but he won't say why.


Matt's willing to do anything in order to get Reed to talk, but will it make the holiday perfect or or ruin all of Matt's plans? The Harvest Moon just might be the right omen to make everything all right.

Available now at:


EXCERPT:
©Megan Slayer, 2019, All Rights Reserved

Reed stood at the counter. He’d told his boyfriend he’d be home at three. The way things were looking, he’d be more than an hour late. Damn it.
Beside him, his co-worker, Jagger, rang up a female customer with a little girl. The woman had bought a couple of Thanksgiving books. The brightly colored turkey and leaves on the top book caught Reed’s attention.
Thanksgiving. He didn’t mind giving thanks for the good things in his life. He also didn’t mind the food. What he hated were the gatherings. He wished the need to bring family to one house was not the rule. Maybe he was losing his mind, but he hated the togetherness. He’d been able to dodge the holiday for the last ten years, but since he’d met Matt, he knew he wasn’t going to get around the festivities for much longer. Matt liked family functions and preferred big parties. Reed wasn’t even sure a big family party was possible.
He finished typing out a reply email to the customer in search of an out-of-print book. Thankfully, the store had the book. He sent the customer the expected price and shipping options. He glanced at his watch once more. Less than two days until Thanksgiving. The store would be open on Wednesday, but he wasn’t working. If the customer needed the book, he could wait until Friday.
The last time he and Matt had talked about the holiday, Matt’s sister, Emily and her boyfriend were supposed to be spending the day with them. He could handle that. He liked Matt’s sister and loved her son, Nattie. Still, he wanted a small dinner, not a gigantic situation. He sighed. At least with Em and Matt, he wasn’t going to have to deal with accusations.
“I’m off until Friday morning,” Reed said to Jagger. “If there is a crisis, call me, but try not to have a crisis.”
“That’s the plan.” Jagger grinned. “You can trust us. We won’t let you down. Now go, so Matt doesn’t think you got lost.”
“Deal.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

All I Want for Christmas is Paranormal Romance

Every year I eagerly await all the Christmas romance that comes along. Back in the nineties it was Harlequin seasonal books. Usually 1 or 2 in each of their imprints. I would get them as stocking stuffers.

These days holidays in romance happens sooner. We start seeing those Christmas themed books in October and Hallmark starts their movie run not long after. And I get to see my favorite combo in all sorts of ways.

Except... I have always lamented the lack of good holiday themed paranormal romance. For obvious reasons--different world building that may or may not include a celebration of the Christmas holiday season--we don't get nearly the numbers.

So this year, I decided to do something about it and wrote my own Christmas-themed paranormal romance! Not only that...I  joined together with 5 other fantastic paranormal romance authors and they wrote holiday paranormal romance.

We've put it all together in a limited-time boxed set anthology--Christmas After Dark! I hope you'll check it out!



Baby, it’s cold outside…

Cozy up and get lost in supernatural worlds of shifters, gods, Atlanteans, werewolves, witches, and more… A holiday treat guaranteed to jingle your bells!

CHRISTMAS AFTER DARK is a boxed set anthology of novellas from six of the hottest paranormal romance authors out there.

Warning: Christmas After Dark contains alpha heroes, sassy heroines, sizzling connections, holiday traditions, wicked intentions, snow and mistletoe, heart-racing suspense, and a little something naughty (but not too naughty, because we don’t want to bump you off the nice list). And it’s our gift to you…

CHRISTMAS 2019
Available 11.15.2019 thru 1.15.2020 ONLY
    


STORIES IN THIS ANTHOLOGY
Christmas in Atlantis by Alyssa Day:
Warrior-turned-pirate, Dare is the black sheep of all Atlantis, and black sheep and scoundrels can never deserve love. But it’s the season of miracles in Atlantis. A chance to make wishes come true. And when Lyric, an artist who sees the world through song, tells her new Atlantean friends O Henry’s story of The Gift of the Magi, the world—and Lyric and Dare—may never be the same.

Bewitched Before Christmas by Nina Croft:
Christmas is a time to spend with family, but Lola’s don’t seem to want her back. Instead, she’s stuck in the wilds of Scotland under the protection of Lachlan MacNair, a blood-sucking monster, who’s determined to make sure she has the sorriest Christmas ever. Things go from bad to much, much worse when Lola sees a vision of herself kissing Lachlan, under the mistletoe.
 Lola is a powerful witch and her visions of the future always come true. Until now. Because this one… Never. Going. To. Happen.

The Lone Wolf’s Wish by Lisa Kessler:
Shane Dodd has lost everything, his Pack, his home, and hope. His only wish this Christmas is to live long enough to exact revenge on the Nero assassin he believes killed his Pack. But when he steps between a bullet and Piper Holland everything changes. The woman dressed as one of Santa’s elves is his mate, and she ignites a flame in his heart. But hope and love are dangerous wishes for a lone wolf.

Shifting Seasons by Sheryl Nantus:
Cassie Nyre is looking forward to a quiet and lonely Christmas—until she finds an injured animal on the way home. Her big heart has her bring the hurt otter into her home and into her bathtub, to rest until Christmas Day when she can deliver it to Animal Control. But the next morning she finds a semi-naked man in her bathroom—and it’s not Santa Claus!

Bewitch You a Merry Christmas by Juliette Cross:
With a Christmas curse to break and a Karaoke party to plan, all Evie really wants is time with her werewolf boyfriend. Private time. All-night-in-his-arms time. But as hex-breaker of the Savoie Sisters coven, the most powerful in New Orleans, she needs to take care of business and family favors first. After that, Mateo Cruz and his broody, sexy self is all hers.

The Wolf I Want for Christmas by Abigail Owen:
Cade Campbell has spent ten years in hiding, preparing to return to his small town, the pack his uncle stole from him…and the mate who doesn’t know she’s been waiting for him. When he shows up on Shyla’s doorstep a few days before Christmas he discovers the sweet, quiet girl he grew up with is all woman. The problem is she’s become a loner, is obsessively neat, and allergic to dogs. Bad news for this wolf. Still, Cade’s not giving up on her or on taking his rightful place as alpha. Maybe this year Santa could finally get things right.

Monday, November 18, 2019

20 Tips to Relieve Holiday Stress by Elizabeth Alsobrooks


     


     Most people look forward to the holidays, but they can also bring a lot of stress and anxiety. Let’s face it, you do your normal routine and on top of that you are expected to shop, organize, plan, and throw or attend parties and dinners. That’s a lot of pile-up on your to-do list. It’s understandable if you find the holidays a little overwhelming. So here’s a list of ways in which you can carve out a few moments of relief and bring that anxiety down a notch.

  1. Take a deep breath! There are several reasons women are coached to ‘breathe’ when in labor, and one of them is that they are focusing on relaxing and taking their mind off the obvious reasons for their anxiety.  It can also help take ‘your’ mind off the hundred little things you still need to do to get ready for the holidays and take a little time for yourself.
  2. Having taken the time to relax for a moment, remember to give yourself enough time. Don’t try to do everything. Delegate some of your chores and don’t take on more than you can comfortably achieve.
  3. Be realistic. Don’t try to tackle too much too soon. Even if you’re a great multi-tasker, you can really only do so much. Focus on one thing at a time.
  4. Give yourself some ‘me’ time. Do something you want to do rather than just things you feel you must do. Don’t forget that holidays should be fun.
  5. Not only should you learn to delegate with family members, you should also learn to ask for help--or just say no.
  6. Exercise! Do some cardio and resistance training. Or take a yoga class. Strong, healthy bodies manage stress and work better!
  7. Try to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially around those carb and sweet heavy holiday meal times.
  8. Get enough sleep! This is the biggest culprit around the holidays. You don’t have more time, so you rob it from your sleep time. You stay up late getting things done or get up early (think Black Friday?!). Don’t. You will have less stress and even help fight weight gain by getting enough sleep.
  9. Talk to your friends or loved ones. The best way to relieve anxiety or solve problems is to talk about them. That’s why so many people see psychologists!
  10. Write. If you don’t want to talk to someone else about something, talk to yourself. That’s why a lot of people keep diaries or journal.
  11. Be positive. Deliberately. Focus on saying and thinking positive things. It will elevate your mood and boost your morale.
  12. Read. The most popular escape from whatever is on your mind is to travel to another world.
  13. Be thankful. You don’t need a holiday to focus on things you are grateful for, so count your blessings instead of your problems.
  14. Pet a pet! There’s good reasons that service pets exist for people with high anxiety. Even if you only have stress during the holidays, a pet is a great way to  relieve it. Spend some quality time with your pet or visit someone else’s!
  15. Go for a walk or play in the snow (if you have some). Fresh air really can help clear your head.
  16. Have some fun. There’s nothing like laughing to brighten your mood and relieve stress. Even watching a favorite comedy show will work.
  17. Solve a puzzle instead of a problem. You can even put one together.
  18. Color! There’s a reason those adult coloring books are so plentiful and popular. And if you’re even more artistic, draw, paint, sculpt, or play music. Sing! Using your right brain helps relieve stress from your worrisome left brain.
  19. Smell! Aromatherapy comes in every fragrance you can imagine. Whether you throw some scented oil into a relaxing tub of hot water and soak it up or just light some incense, aromatherapy can quickly influence your mood and help you unwind. That’s why they use it in massage oils, too (and getting a massage isn’t a bad idea either!).
  20. Slow down on the caffeine. It may give you a boost of energy, but it can also make you jittery and anxious and prevent you from getting the rest you need at night.
 So relax and enjoy your holidays this year!



Friday, November 15, 2019

The Rules for Lying by L. A. Kelley FREE on Amazon


Amazon Free Days: November 15, 16, 17, 18


Magic isn't for sissies

WARNING: No good comes from a book with magic, mayhem, theft, murder, sass talk, demons, animals committing felonies, gleeful revenge, and bad things happening to good people for no particular reason. This story won’t encourage good habits and probably fine tune bad ones. The only lesson learned is don’t lie until you know the rules.
                       
Life in New Jersey is tough in the Great Depression, but teenager Peter Whistler has an exceptional ability to lie. He hones his talent, convinced it’s the ticket to easy fortune. He certainly doesn’t foresee the arrival of a murderous conjuror with mysterious designs on a little blind girl named Esther. Drawn into a nefarious plot to unleash a demon, Peter leads Esther and an enchanted terrier on a desperate escape to New Orleans and meets Amelie Marchand. Like all well-bred Louisiana gals she’s trained in deadly martial arts, but with a murderous stepmother, Amelie has troubles of her own. Peter and Amelie’s one chance for survival is to head deep into the bayou and seek help from a mad shaman known as the Frog King.

Welcome to an alternate 1930s where both jazz and magic fill New Orleans’ air. Can a little luck, mystical lies, and a dash of Cajun crazy help Peter harness the power to kill an immortal demon? If not, the Depression will be a picnic by comparison when hell arrives on Earth.


Excerpt

   The Grimaldis knew the truth about Pike. He drove their car, so they must be involved in his scheme. A little snooping to discover the truth, and then Mrs. Hart could get on the horn to the Feds. I imagined a squad of G-men storming Grimaldi’s Market and then Nico and Carlotta’s faces peering morosely out the back of a paddy wagon as it drove through town. Maybe I could even convince the coppers to stop for Chauncey.
   The unlit streets were deserted as I made my way to the Grimaldi’s house. The black roadster was parked outside the garage. A light shone in a downstairs window, so I snuck across the lawn and peeked in.
   Pike sat at the kitchen table; fingers clasped placidly in front, not a glowing eyeball in sight. I gave myself a mental kick in the pants for being such a dope.
   The Grimaldis huddled over a piece of paper. Mr. Grimaldi looked up and cleared his throat. “Everything is in order. The carriage house suited you?”
   Pike slid an envelope stuffed with cash across the tabletop. “Yes. It was private and exactly as described. We have a deal.”
   Mrs. Grimaldi snatched at the bills with undisguised greed. “We wouldn’t do this, you understand, but the Feds raided all the local speakeasies. Our best clients shut down. Times are tough.”
   Mr. Grimaldi scrawled a signature on the paper and handed the pen to his wife. She added hers, and then Pike tucked the paper in his pocket. “You needn’t be concerned about the girl.”
   My ears pricked up. Girl? What girl? If Pike meant Mrs. Hart, the doctor needed to get his own eyes checked.
   Mr. Grimaldi shifted in his seat, a flush tinting his fat cheeks. “People might get the wrong impression if the arrangement is discovered. You understand—they don’t realize our actions are for her own good.”
   I sucked in my breath. Mr. Grimaldi lied big time.
  “Don’t worry. No one will ever find out.” Pike’s voice was as cold as midwinter ice.
  A teensy doubt jabbed at my mind that all this had to do with gangsters, but I brushed it roughly away. Pike and the Grimaldis rose from the table. I darted from the window and ducked behind a tree right before the kitchen door opened.
Mrs. Grimaldi beamed at Pike. “If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to stop by.”
   The dark man set the fedora on his head and snapped the brim over his eyes. “I’m quite satisfied. You won’t see me again.”
   True.
   For some reason, the truth shook me more than a lie. Mr. Grimaldi closed the door, but Pike remained on the stoop. The kitchen went dark and then a light switched on in an upstairs bedroom window.
   I peered from behind the tree. Why did Pike wait? To rob the joint after they fell asleep? If so, I had no plan to stop him. I had half a mind to help.
   The bedroom light flicked off and the yard went pitch black. One second…two seconds…three seconds…A yellow beam danced across the door, and my throat nearly closed in terror.
   That was no flashlight.
   The ray from Pike’s eyes narrowed and focused pencil-thin. The smell of burning wood drifted across the lawn as he etched a smoldering hieroglyphic of a flame in the middle of the door. The outline of glowing embers flared and then snuffed out. Pike stepped back from the stoop. He paused for a moment as if to admire his handiwork and then sprinted down the alley.
   Heart thumping, I darted to the door. My fingers stroked the spot where I last saw the little flame. The wood was still warm.
    I snatched back my hand. The wood now blazed hot, more scorching by the second. The glowing outline flared to life again. A spark shot out, soared overhead, and landed near the chimney. Patches of shingles exploded in flames.
A long thin spark slithered from the symbol, a fiery snake writhing toward the keyhole. Without thinking, I reached to sweep it away only to jerk my fingers from the scalding heat. The spark slid into the opening. With a roar, a curtain of fire engulfed the downstairs windows.
   In a panic, I banged on the door. “Wake up! The house is on fire!”
   A thick choking cloud of smoke billowed under the doorframe, and I staggered back in a coughing fit. In a blink, the first floor was an inferno. How did the fire spread so fast? Mrs. Grimaldi’s terrified screams cut through the crackling fusillade of flames.
   Blistering heat drove me across the yard. The panic-stricken face of Nico Grimaldi appeared at the bedroom window struggling to open the sash.
   Crrrack.
   The wooden supports inside the house splintered and gave way. Mr. Grimaldi vanished in a thunderous crash as the second floor collapsed on the first. His wife’s screams cut off.
   Multiple sirens wailed in the distance. I stumbled down the alley as hot cinders rained from above. Embers lit on my clothing, and I slapped them away. The Grimaldi house was now a nightmare of hellfire. I flinched as all the outside walls caved in with a deafening roar.
   The first of the fire trucks screeched around the corner. Cops would surely follow asking questions I couldn’t answer. As I ran across the street, the glare of a headlight caught me for an instant.
   Tires squealed, and a man yelled, "You there, stop!"


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What About V'ger? by Diane Burton

credit: IMDB


Do you remember the first Star Trek movie? The original that came out in 1979. The thing I remember most is how slo-o-o-ow that movie was. Star Wars IV: A New Hope, with its fast action adventure, had come out two years before. Star Trek: The Motion Picture  couldn't compare. To me, it was such a disappointment.

One thing I remember most is the “alien” who talked through one of the crew and threatened the starship Enterprise. It called itself V’ger (vee-ger). Since the movie has been around for forty years, I’m not going to warn “spoiler.” If you haven’t seen it by now, my telling you about V’Ger won’t make a difference. It turns out that V’ger was the probe Voyager sent out over 300 years before. Its purpose: to collect data and transmit it back to Earth.


credit: NASA: artist's concept of Voyager in interstellar space

For over forty years, the Voyagers have been sending back data and pictures of the places they've been. The scientists who've been working on the Voyager project now include second and third generations. Imagine working on the same project as your mother/father and grandfather/grandmother.

credit: NASA: Earth and its moon taken by Voyager
Every time I hear or read about the probe Voyager, I think V’ger from that movie. NASA sent out two Voyagers 42 years ago. They are the only machines that have gone beyond our solar system and crossed over into interstellar space (Voyager 1 in 2013; Voyager 2 in 2018).

credit: NASA

They both carried a “golden record” that would give alien civilizations who encountered Voyager a glimpse of Earth. That glimpse includes images from Earth, sounds of nature (like surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals), musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings from Earth people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim.

Are you wondering who decided what to put on that record? A committee chaired by Carl Sagan. They even included illustrated directions on how to play the record. [I hope the directions are better than those that came with my air fryer.]

"The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space." - Carl Sagan

Considering the scary movies in which aliens invade Earth or wipe out the inhabitants to they can salvage Earth’s resources, I wonder if we really want to reach out to alien civilizations. Do we want them to know we’re here?

But then I think remember awe-inspiring movies like Contact, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Star Trek: First Contact. Aliens could be friendly. They could want to help us achieve interstellar travel.

What do you think? Was it a good idea to send out the Voyagers?





Monday, November 4, 2019

Finding The Time to Write



By Maureen Bonatch

I love to write. I’m a better person when I make the time for fiction writing—I must differentiate this from freelance writing, or academic writing or other writing tasks that don’t tap into the well of creativity I associate with writing fiction.

Over the years I’ve had many people come up to me and ask about my writing and then share how they, too, planned to write a book if they could ever find the time. I always tell them, you have to make the time. There is no well of time just waiting for you to fill it with a story. 

We all get the same 24-hours a day that is quickly filled with tasks, obligations or any variety of things that suck the time out of your day more effectively than a vampire.

National Novel Writing Month


I always tell these wanna-be fiction writers about NaNoWrimonth in November. National Novel Writing month is my favorite. When November rolls around it gives me an extra reason to make time for fiction writing. 

The enthusiasm of everyone participating in NaNoWri makes me feel like my fiction writing is a priority, despite all the other things vying for my time.

No Time to Write


This year was the first time in the past 10 years that I hesitated when I went to sign up for NaNoWri. This year has been a whirlwind and my fiction writing has definitely suffered. I’ve had very little time to devote to writing. 

I asked my daughter (who has done NaNoWri with me the past several years- and won) if she planned on doing NaNoWri. I almost expected her to say she didn’t have time. 

It would’ve made me a little sad, since she’s such a good writer, but her excuse would’ve been legit. In her first semester of college with a heavy class load, I thought she might hesitate. But she didn’t. So neither will I. 

Books don’t write themselves.

There’s Something About NaNoWri


I love to talk about NaNoWri month. Here are a few past posts about NaNoWri. There are many more…but I have to get back to writing my NaNoWri novel.


Who’s Doing NaNoWri this year?  

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

Be the first to know about Maureen’s book sales and new releases by following her on BookBub, Amazon and/or signing up for her newsletter

Saturday, November 2, 2019

My Five Foundational Principles for Writing in 3 Genres


It’s always fun to return to Paranormal Romantics as a guest and talk about books!

I write in three genres – scifi romance, fantasy and paranormal and I’ve had a release in each in the last few months. The stars must have aligned for me! The three genres are very different, especially since my paranormals are set in 1550 BCE in ancient Egypt. I’ve never had any problem switching ‘voices’ when I move from one set of books to the next and I think there are several factors at play (besides of course The Muse who I credit for all my creativity).

I do have five foundational principles, no matter which world I’m writing in - Your Mileage May Vary on what works for you:
·         People are people, in the far past or the far future. They care about most of the same things we do and they fall in love…
·         Action and adventure existed in all eras, but scaled to the world around the characters…
·         A version of Special Forces kickass military existed in every time, even if they aren’t called by that title…
·         Any story is improved with a bit of mysticism and the inexplicable, judiciously mixed into the plot…
·         This is ROMANCE so there will be a Happy Ever After.

For the ancient Egyptian novels, I do tons of research, which undergirds all my stories set there, even though I do take some anachronistic liberties. I think, however, because my starting point is a culture so different from ours, and my going-in assumption is that the gods are ‘real’ and do play a part in every day events, I fell into a use of language and a frame of reference that lends itself to a “you are there” feeling for the readers. My characters can’t refer to anything that didn’t exist more than 3000 years ago – no computer-based terms like data or off the grid, no items “as hard as steel”, no borrowed French words (I love faux but not for these novels) and their way of looking at life was so different from ours, especially with their complete faith in an Afterlife lived exactly as life on earth was lived, only better if you took worldly goods into the tomb with you.

I’ve read translations of poems, songs and official records from the period so I’m familiar with terms they did use. The reviewers at Dear Author paid me what I regarded as the supreme compliment once, saying of one novel “…these definitely aren’t 21st C people in linen kilts.”

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For the scifi romance, I just let the writing and the story telling rip and put adventures out there. I don’t explain the blasters or the spaceships any more than you explain your microwave to yourself. I invent the desired surroundings, be it a space ship or an alien planet and I put my main characters into jeopardy and step back to see how it all works out. (I’m a seat of the pants writer, no outlines.) I have created an extensive galactic world for my novels, called The Sectors, with additional details as needed, and I’ve got a standard interstellar luxury cruise liner and other elements that reoccur. There’s an interstellar crime syndicate and an opposing crime fighting unit, mysterious elder aliens, an alien goddess ruling over a Brotherhood of bodyguard/assassins…rock stars, fashion designers and of course my Special Forces warfighters. Certain characters may pop up repeatedly from time to time, but the books are pretty much standalone.

My fantasy world of Claddare is on a smaller scale, with only two books set there so far, but when I “go there”, I know I’m in a medieval type setting, not-Earth but maybe a distant alternate, with powerful magic at play. I think for those books my Muse summons up memories of all the books and movies I’ve read that were set in such places, like Andre Norton’s Witch World and the movie ‘Ladyhawke’ and provides me with a ‘voice’ and a flow of language that fits the time and place, to tell my own stories. 

I don’t write to music as I find that too distracting but I like to listen to music when I’m thinking about plots and characters. I have a treasure trove of Celtic music that really puts me in the right mood.

I enjoy writing for the various worlds – some of my readers like all three, some only read one genre but I appreciate every single person! YAY for readers! Occasionally someone is a little irritated that I wrote an Egyptian instead of the next book in my Badari Warriors SFR series, but I love the creative exercise of switching back and forth and it’s refreshing to me to tell such different tales.
Here are the three most recent novels:

STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE in the USA Today Best Selling Pets In Space®4 anthology: An unusual bequest….Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.

Until the rock disappears from her office…

When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.
Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?

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RETURN OF DANCER OF THE NILE (GODS OF EGYPT):  Nima, formerly a tavern dancer in the land of the Nile, has settled into the leisurely life of her dreams as the pampered, beloved wife to a high ranking general who’s also a member of Pharaoh’s court. She’s sworn never to dance for anyone else but Kamin, the man she loves. All is fine until one day news arrives that her husband has been killed in a chariot accident while on a trip to a remote city on Pharaoh’s behalf.

But as a reward for their previous service to Egypt against a dangerous enemy, the gods had promised Nima and Kamin they’d die at the same moment…so if she still lives, so must he.

Why is the ruler of the city lying to Pharaoh about Kamin’s death? What is the woman covering up? And where is Kamin?

Time for Nima the elegant lady to vanish from Thebes and Nima the skilled dancer to make her way in disguise to the far distant province and fight for Kamin’s life.  She’ll have to deal with angry gods, black magic, an enemy prince and a deadly ghost along the way.

Nima is the only one who can rescue her beloved from the dark fate planned for him by Egypt’s enemies…
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WINTER SOLSTICE DREAM: A MAGIC OF CLADDARE NOVELLA:  Torn from her home in the Dales as a child, Nadelma has made a place for herself as the head cook in the Witch Queen of Azrimar’s castle. She stays in the background of the busy court and uses her gentle magic gifts sparingly to help others. More or less content, she’s made peace with the hard facts of her life. Romance, marriage, a family – all beyond her dreams any longer.

Then Halvor, an ambitious Dales lord rides into the city, bringing his mercenaries to serve the king, with the promise of a rich reward, including a title and an estate. The only catch? He has to marry a highborn Azrimaran noblewoman to seal the treaty.

Fate conspires to throw Nadelma and Halvor into each other’s company and the connection is instant and deep but both resist the attraction. She knows she can never have him for herself. He must fulfill the treaty to secure a safe place for his people to live, since their holding in the Dales was destroyed by the black magic of the Shadow. Marriage to a noble damsel of the king’s choice is his fate.

Until he met Nadelma he thought his heart was frozen by the loss of all he cared for, back in the Dales. Now he knows better but his people must come first.

The situation is hopeless…or is it? For the king declares the city will celebrate Winter Solstice and hold a ball, where wishes and dreams just might come true.
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Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author
 Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
 She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”