Thursday, July 20, 2017

You Might Be a Romance Writer If...

I've been writing all my life. I think just about every writer/author will tell you that. We write long before we are published. The publication part just lets the rest of the world know that we are writers.

I've been a romance writer for most of that time. Actually I've been a romance reader ALL of that time, and the writing followed naturally. So...after 7+ years of doing this gig for publication, I've started to notice a few signs about being a writer, and especially a romance writer.




Do any of these sound like you?

You might be a writer (especially a romance writer) if:
  1. Every time you start writing a non-romance story, it doesn't get good (in your head) until a romance suddenly appears.
  2. You change the endings of movies and books in your head (or add characters, new plot lines, a better romance...whatever).
  3. Proper grammar has been drilled into your head, and you've yelled at the TV "It's 'I,' dude. The crew and I. " When a newscaster just said, "The crew and me went on location."
  4. Other writers, and definitely editors, still find mistakes with your grammar, so you are far from perfect in that department. Just perfect when it comes to "I" vs. "me". Lol.
  5. At a reunion, an old schoolmate asks if your mom (previous high-school English teacher) is proud of your writing, and you answer that absolutely she is, but it's a little awkward to know your mother reads all the sex scenes you wrote. Followed by dead silence and stares.
  6. Your husband walks into the living room to find you straddling the couch with your hands "tied" behind your back to see if you could physically reach your foot in that situation while riding a horse (in a "stealthy" manor). (Yes, it is possible, though cramps ensue.)
  7. You post on Facebook declaring for whoever is watching (big brother-style) that all your searches involving knives and knife throwing (plus martial arts, ninja skills, breaking and entering, climbing tall walls, special positions, and whatever else) have to do with research for a fictional book.
  8. You check out Wikipedia for the plot of a series of books, because you can already tell it's going in a direction you wouldn't have written, and hope you're wrong. But you don't want to read ALL those books if you're right.
  9. You stop reading a book or don't like a movie because they royally f'ed up the romance bit. (I'm talking to you Force Awakens writers.)
  10. You commonly wake in the middle of the night exclaiming "That's it!" But if you don't write it down, your brilliant idea is gone come morning.
  11. You've missed actually hearing/participating in a meeting at work, or a conversation with your spouse, because you realized the fix for your latest WIP and you were working through the details in your head.
  12. You start hearing sexual innuendo in everything people say, and it makes you snicker every time.
  13. You stop at a red light and desperately search for a scrap of paper and a pen so you can write down your latest brain wave before it disappears.
  14. Every October 31st you warn your spouse, children, family, and friends that you'll be unavailable for the  next month while you write a book. And on your fifth consecutive year of this, your husband declares that if you get to write a book for NaNoWriMo, he gets to grow a mustache for Movember.
  15. You get to a point where every month is NaNoWriMo.
  16. You tell people that the voices in your head are why you feel compelled write, and they nod and smile like that's normal, then exit the conversation as soon as they can without appearing rude. (They don't want to upset the voices.)
I hope you had a chuckle, especially if you related to a few of those. Fellow (romance) writers, what other signs have you noticed? Readers, what about you?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dragons, Swords & Sorcery...Winter is Here! by C.J. Burright

I’m one of those people who 99.9 percent of the time prefers the book to the show, but one exception is Game of Thrones. I’m not necessarily saying I prefer HBO’s version to the books. There’s no way the show could adequately capture all the intricate plot lines and characters without going on for eons…not to mention fans are in a strange position right now, something I’ve never experienced before: the show is ahead of the books. It’s hard to prefer the book when it hasn’t even been published yet, right?

Nevertheless, Sunday was the season premiere (YEAH!!) and I’m super-excited to see what happens next in one of my Favorite Shows of All Time. If you’re a fan, gush with me. If you’re not…I’m not sure we can be friends anymore. Kidding (sorta). Here’s a quick list of a few of my favorite things about GOT to tide me over until next week.

DRAGONS

There are dragons, fire-breathing, flying, magnificent dragons. That’s all I have to say about that.

via GIPHY

SWORDS AND BATTLES, WARRIORS AND CASTLES

Medieval fantasy is my catnip, and GOT has it all. Glorious warriors with brutal swords, fighting for their land and families to the death. Battles, sometimes whole armies, sometimes one on one…and some knives in the back. Or arrows to the chest while sitting on the pot (and deservedly so). Amazing castles in every kingdom, even one in the sky. The whole world is absolutely brilliant.













MAGIC AND OTHER SUPERNATURALS

Not everyone has magic, and what magic there is seems hard won…usually with a staggering price. Think twice before copulating to produce a shadow. Just sayin’. And besides the dragons, there are a myriad of terrifying, supernatural creatures to watch out for. I love that most of the people are normal humans, which makes defeating the supernatural creatures feel insurmountable, especially since the humans are always fighting for dominance among themselves. How can they possibly come together to defeat a mighty, supernatural foe? Stay tuned.















CHARACTERS TO LOVE AND HATE

There’s the noble, rejected bastard. The clever, snarky imp. A girl who’s lost it all, intent on vengeance. A queen who thirsts for power. Another queen who seeks justice and peace. A slippery spymaster. A spoiled princess forced to face harsh reality. Knights who are a human blend of good and bad, all with their own agendas. Just to name a few. These characters bring out the love—intensely. And the hate. There are a few that, even though you know you should despise them, they’re impossible not to like. And once in a blue moon, that character who SO deserves justice actually gets it or the character who FINALLY gets the break they need. BAM! Those are some very satisfying moments.





































GAMES AND POLITICS...WIN OR DIE

One thing I learned early on—getting too attached to characters may lead to deep, deep regret. And throwing of books, gnashing of teeth, and yelling. Lots of yelling. There is political intrigue everywhere in these stories, and people die. Good people, bad people (yep, some of those in the poster above are already goners). It’s not always justice, and it often seems the most powerful and clever and ruthless people are the only ones who will survive. At one point, I vowed I’d quit reading and watching if either Jon Snow or Arya Stark died. I’d be done. And then I read somewhere that Arya is G.R.R. Martin’s wife’s favorite character, so I know at least one of my favorites will last until the bitter end. I hope it’s not a bitter end, but whatever happens, emotions will be invoked. Oh yes, they will be invoked.

I could go on and on, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I have a show to watch! If you’re a GOT fan, who’s your favorite character? Or do you prefer to stick to the books and avoid the visual?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Where Do Writers Get Ideas? by Diane Burton



Readers often ask writers where we get our ideas. I thought I’d share something with you that might answer that question. Yesterday, Hubs and I drove up to nearly the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to pick up our two grandkids from summer camp. On the way home, they regaled us with their adventures—swimming, crafts, etc. Then they settled down and quietly read. That got me thinking . . . Well, what else does a writer do on an eight-hour road trip?

Have I ever mentioned I love Young Adult stories? From Harry Potter to the Hunger Games to Divergent, and I Am Four. I’m fascinated by the stories available to young readers. (Where were those books when I was young?) A while back, I wrote a science fiction YA story. Haven’t published it because I didn’t have anything to follow up with. But . . . while returning from the kids’ camp, I thought about a camp for middle-school age kids. That’s nothing new. Rick Riordan wrote the Percy Jackson series, where the kids at Camp Half Blood (in present-day upper New York State) learn sword play and how to use their supernatural gifts to triumph over the “bad” gods, goddesses, the Fates, Furies, etc.

Since I enjoy writing science fiction adventure, my story would take place on a planet in another world, one I developed for my unpubbed YA. At my camp, the staff could be part of a faction that wants to overthrow the current regime. Along with the usual swimming, games, crafts, they teach the kids something insidious, something to help them with their cause.

Obviously, I’m only playing with the idea at this point. What happens when I start to write? What will the finished product look like? Probably little like the initial ideas. That’s the fun part of writing. Taking an idea, developing it (and the world), then putting fingers on the keyboard and seeing what happens next.

From picking up grandkids at summer camp to a story. That’s how a writer gets ideas.


Apologies for missing my regular posting day on Thursday. I could blame it on chaos on the home front. My Arizona family (son, DIL, Toddler Girl, a Great Dane, and a Lab) just moved in with us until they can find a home. Yay! We’ll all be in the same town for the first time in twenty years. Or I could blame missing my date on a laptop that wouldn’t open, even after 3 trips to Best Buy’s Geek Squad. In actuality, I forgot.



I'll be back next month on my regular blogging date, the 13th. Have a great summer.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Three Twisted Sisters: Texas Hill Country’s Most Famous Trio

While you can legally drive 80 mph on Texas State Highway 130, also known as the Pickle Parkway, motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts flock to three Hill Country Ranch Roads.  SH 335, 336 and 337, are known throughout Texas as the Twisted Sisters.

A stretch of one of these seemingly pleasant curvy roads starts off pretty straight, but then bucks, snorts, twists and turns in an effort to throw us like a bull in a Bandera rodeo. This is whitetail deer country, and they will pop up at the most inopportune times, like in the middle of a downhill, off camber, decreasing radius turn! Then there’s the occasional cage…they can be as unpredictable as a deer and seem to show up at inopportune times, as well.


I hail from South Carolina and from the time I got my first sports car drove the mountainous curves of North Carolina, Tennessee and northern Georgia.  These curves wind so tight you can almost hear them whine.  Recently, I returned from a visit to my son in Yorkshire.  Let me tell you there are curves in ‘them thar hills’ where you can say hello to your own arse coming around a sharp bend!

The second weekend in June, along with a friend and fellow author Toni Sweeney, I drove the Twisted Sisters with my car club.  My license plate surround says it all:  ‘Houston Miata Club – Our members love to go topless’.  Toni navigated on this epic adventure.  I trusted her to know left from right—which I do not! Luckily, the HMC go as a 'convoy' around the twistys and turnys.  We drive to have fun not to set any records--a good thing for one who doesn't know N, S, E & W as more than letters of the alphabet


So here’s to Black Magic, his Momma and Toni Sweeney—On the Road Again…

You might enjoy this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOjO3HSqD1Q

Sunday, July 9, 2017

#GetBitten with a #MilitaryRomance meets #ShifterRomance this summer



Buttoned-up Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is dangerous on every level. As a human, she poses a threat to Marine Captain Jax Raymond’s special Force Recon unit. Though the team has a reputation among the other recon units, only their commanding officer knows their secret. As a woman, the danger posed is entirely different. Jax can survive the temptation for only so long before his wolf takes over and pursues what it wants.

Military intelligence specialist Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is the first woman in the Marines to be assigned to a recon team. And everyone’s watching her. Her mission? Not only prove herself worthy of her place in the group, but uncover the mystery of why Bravo Team is so successful. A mission that gets more difficult every time she’s near Jax...


Excerpt of When Danger Bites

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ode to a Romance Hater

So another one of those pompous screeds is going around about how dreadful the romance genre is. Or so I’ve gathered. I didn’t read it; I just know what’s in it because all of those articles are the same. (See what I did there?)

Every few months, it seems, some douchebag feels the need to tell the world that the romance genre is trash. “It’s lowbrow.” “It’s addictive and dangerous to your health.” “It gives women unrealistic expectations.” “It’s formulaic.” “It’s sexist.” “It’s unfair to men.” Blah, blah, ad nauseam.

First of all, Douchebag McScreedwriter, romance readers don’t actually care what you think. They read romance because they like it. You can shame them all you want (and plenty of you have, including my college writing teacher in my Freshman year), but they’re just going to keep reading it.

As for the romance writers? We’re just going to keep writing it—for them. You see, Douchebag McScreedwriter, romance isn’t about you. It isn’t for you. We aren’t writing it with you in mind, and we don’t care if you like it or not.

We do care that you belittle our readers and malign their interests and intelligence. We care that our readers are infantilized and talked down to by smug, self-appointed arbiters of literary taste who, for the most part, have never even read a romance novel. Because our readers are awesome and smart and feminist and fully able to discern the difference between fantasy and reality all by themselves, and they are tired of your shit.

And do you know what happens in romance novels after your little screeds are published? We write you into them and find interesting ways to plot your demise. The Nazi that gets punched in my upcoming paranormal romance, The Dragon’s Hunt? That’s you, Douchebag McScreedwriter. I gleefully created a composite of Internet scolds and mansplainers and political douchebros and orange-faced baboon trolls—and, yes, literal Nazis—and I punched you in the face.

There’s nothing that pisses me off more than bullies. And you, Douchebag McScreedwriter, are a bully. In my current WIP, the hero’s job is to send the deserving to hell. So guess where you’re going next, Douchebag McScreedwriter? That’s right: straight to the devil. So buckle up, buttercup. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What Kind of Fireworks Are You Looking For In a Story?

by Maureen L. Bonatch 
Happy 4th of July (Independence Day) for all those who are
Photo Courtesy Creative Commons/Pixabay 
celebrating today! On this day, and many other days of the year, people are often looking for a reason to set off fireworks. Whether it’s the loud sound that gives your heart a little jump-start, the threat of an underlying danger, the risk of dealing with such a volatile substance, or the magnificent colors that light up the sky, so many people love fireworks.

But what kind of fireworks are you looking for in a story? You know, not necessarily the genre—because you can mix and match elements of the story with different genres—but more that little something that makes your heart beat a little faster. That essential part that makes you pick up the book in the first place. There’s often something that gives a story the edge that keeps you from putting the book down.

Did You Know…

Fireworks were invented in the 7th century in China and were believed to scare away evil spirits and bring luck and happiness.

Light the Match

There are so many wonderful books available to read. So many that unfortunately we are often consciously, or unconsciously, navigate toward certain elements in a story. When you discover those little things in the blurb, an excerpt, or first pages, you know that you’re probably going to like the book. (And if you’re here, I can only assume you enjoy the paranormal and fantasy in a story as much as we do!)

Burn The Fuse

So you’ve chosen your next book from your TBR (to-be-read) pile. You might love the author’s voice, the characters, the setting, but
Photo Courtesy Pixabay Creative Commons
often there is one part that you’re waiting for. That something that keeps you hurrying through the pages. You know—the good parts. Nope—I'm not just talking about the sex scenes. The best parts of a story are based upon personal preference.

The Fireworks!

Here come all the Ooohs! And Ahhhs! in the story. I’ll name a few story fireworks, but I’m sure you have more to add to our glorious display.

        Love Scenes
Okay, for many people this is the part they’re waiting for. Their sweet spot is when the hero and heroine finally hook up.

Magic
I must admit, in most stories, this is what I’m waiting for. Where’s the magic? The moment when Harry found out he was a wizard? Wow—in my opinion, that’s when the story just got started.

Mystery
Do you love fishing for those red herrings in the story? Maybe you love lining up the clues and guessing who the bad guy really is.

Kicking-Ass
I have to say, this might come in second for me. I love a kick-ass heroine. It’s nice for the hero to sweep her off her feet now and again, but nothing is more exciting than seeing a heroine landing on her own two feet on her own. Especially since I have two teenage daughters who are avid readers. Those are the kind of women I want to inspire them.

So, Where Do You Find the Fireworks in A Story?


Hurry before the fuse burns out— the .99 cents sale ends is a few days—snag some story fireworks in DESTINY CALLING where you’ll definitely find my two favorite fireworks of magic and kick-ass heroines.


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


Thursday, June 29, 2017

When the Plan Comes Together by @MeganSlayer #iamwriting #authorcollaboration #writingwithfriends #pnr

Not quite a year ago, I was asked to take part in an anthology. I came up with a story and had a good start on said story. A paranormal tale featuring a vampire. The problem was that the anthology fell through. I had a story, but nothing to do with it. Well, not nothing, but it was temporarily homeless.

That's when the idea struck. Well, kind of. Heh heh. I had some ideas to wait a year, since it was rumbling quickly toward Halloween by the time I finished my story and there was no way I'd be able to put it out before the holiday. So I shelved the book and planned to release it during the next Halloween Holiday Season.

Fast forward to February. I can't release a vampire story at Valentine's day when it has to do with Halloween, but I had another idea. I'd always wanted to write with Madison Sevier. She's one of my best friends. Why not? And what if we created something super special and super secret for the convention we were going to do in June? That's when the idea of writing Faeries After Dark came about.

I also happened to find my faerie wings in the closet.

So I thought, wouldn't it be cool to write a pair of faeries. Sisters. Since I had blue wings, mine could be blue and since Madison loves purple...well, you get the idea. What we did with the faeries was up to us. Madison and I discussed the idea and once the ball started rolling, we ran with it.

My faerie is the pistol of the pair. She's blue and excels at using blue language. She's a love faerie, but love isn't her strong point. She's been kicked around a little by life and isn't looking for a partner, but if a merman needs a hook-up, she'll help him find the right man. Of course, another guy comes long ready to knock her off her feet. Good things she's got wings.

Once we had the stories written, I created the cover art and poof! Done. Okay, there were edits in there and like most edits, they weren't the most thrilling thing I've ever done, but they made the story better.

Then it was ready for print and eventually ebook upload. We revealed our plan in clues and super secret posts on social media. By the time we got to the party for the book on Friday at the event... we were overwhelmed by interest. So cool. Now the book is out in print and ebook for everyone to purchase. I hope you enjoy it.

If you're an author looking to write a story with someone, think about a few things first. Do I trust this person? Will this person do something naughty? Is this partnership possible? I got lucky. Madison and I work well together and are willing to compromise often. We've even got the next super secret project planned for Halloween and for next June. Writing with other authors is fun, but stay on your guard. If you don't trust the situation our your concerned, then don't be afraid to say something. It might go wrong, but it might be exactly what you need to get the project off the ground.

Speaking of Faeries and off the ground, here's a little more about the Faeries After Dark:

Faeries After Dark by Madison Sevier and Megan Slayer
Published by WZD and Coffee Queen Publications

Contemporary, Paranormal, Erotic Romance
M/F pairing
Novella

Faeries finding purpose, magic and love... 

FIONA 

A faerie on the run with a stolen bear. An attraction neither can deny. Magic is the key when these two hearts collide. Fiona Blake has always been the faerie who’s done the right thing. She's avoided trouble and love her entire life. Now, she's unemployed and on the run--with a stolen bear. By using her magic, she's unbalanced the laws of nature and Fiona is in deep scat. She must fix things before she loses her powers and her heart to a sexy stranger who might get her locked up in faerie prison. 

Kash Bruin needed a break from his overbearing, matchmaking father. He never imagined he'd wake up in a cage, naked and kidnapped by a crazy, violet-eyed, beautiful woman who believes she's a faerie. Can a spark of magic bring these two creatures from separate world's together? Or will the truth be too much to bear and tear them apart fur-ever? 

CORDELIA 

What’s a love faerie supposed to do without her magic? 

Cordelia likes to play fast and loose with the rules. So she’s made a few mistakes with magic along the way? No one got hurt…right? The blue-haired faerie, prone to the occasional blue language and dirty jokes, loses her right to create magic after one goof-up too many. But she’s about to find redemption in the form of a merman named Henry and a human named Jinx. Fix them up and she’ll get her right to create magic back. There’s only one problem…Liam. 

Liam could be the right man to help Cordelia rise above her troubles…but first she’s got to make him believe she exists. Not impossible, right?


Megan Slayer - It's Always Fun to Squirm

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

For the Love of Wolves by Barbara Edwards

I love wolves. I think I’ve loved them since I was a child. 
Why?
I don’t really know except I was fascinated by their beautiful faces and intelligent eyes.
Wolves are interesting if you take the time to study them.
They are monogamous. A single mate for life. Which means they are more faithful than many humans.
In a pack, the alpha male and his mate will have the first litter if there is enough food to support pups. In an abundant area, the other pairs will have litters in order of dominance. Wow. Who would believe wild animals practice birth-control?
wolves hunt as a pack. They will take turns running down a deer or moose. Each wolf resting between runs. 
Wolves were almost decimated by cattle ranchers in the Western states when they were blamed for large numbers of deaths in the young animals. A bounty was given for the scalp. A nasty reminder of the Indian wars.
Recently wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and the pack is thriving. When we visited we were told it was very unusual to see them. they are extremely shy. To my shock, my husband was driving one of the forest roads when a wolf crossed the road in front of our truck. I had the camera in my hand and was too surprised to snap a photo.
The love of wolves is probably the reason why I love the werewolf pack in my Rhode End Series. I’ve based their pack law on the real wolves loyalty and intelligence.

Check out Ancient Blood 

After narrowly escaping a stalker’s vicious attack, Lily Alban is left with the ability to see human auras. After moving to the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End, she finally feels safe, and against her better judgment, falls in love. But she soon discovers the man she loves is not a man at all. As a botanist, werewolf Cole Benedict has dedicated his life to researching healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy. He resists his attraction to Lily to protect her from the beast inside him. But when Lily’s stalker threatens her again, he’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Even if that means embracing the instincts of his wolf. Together they must use extraordinary gifts to catch Lily's stalker before he attacks again. But will revealing their inner-most secrets to one another destroy their growing love or save them both? 

Ancient Blood (Finding Rhodes End Book 2) 
by Barbara Edwards is available 
Link: http://a.co/6mOWH09



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Solstice Rituals: There's Still Time to Light Your Fire Wheel by L. A. Kelley

Greetings Earth Mothers and Fathers. There's still time to light your fire wheel.

The movement of the sun during the course of the year held particular fascination for the ancients. Rites of renewal often involved the different solstices. Named from the Latin words for sol (sun) and sistere (to cease), the solstices occurred during times when  the sun appeared to magically stop one progression and begin another. The summer solstice in the northern hemisphere is on June 20.  On that day the sun reaches the highest point in the sky, signaling the start of the hottest days of year, followed by more rapid crop growth, and an eventual harvest to fend off starvation. Not without proper mystical intervention, of course.

Pagan beliefs
The summer solstice held the most importance to pagan or nature worshipping religions, and they spanned the globe.  Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Vikings, Native Americans, and Druids among many others had celebrations linked to the longest day of the year. They often encompassed wild abandonment and fertility rituals (rather like spring break today). Ancient Greeks marked the solstice with a festival of Cronus consisting of feasts, games, and the strange tradition of having slaves served by their owners for a day. In ancient Rome, the festival marked the only time married women could enter the temples of the vestal virgins to make offerings to Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home. In Chinese mythology, the summer solstice was a time to celebrate yin (femininity) and earth. As the Catholic Church attempted to lure pagans to its beliefs, it adopted June 24 as the festival of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, appealing to ancient beliefs and encompassing the theme of birth.

Summer solstice festivals in Great Britain's pagan times often involved fire. Flames, smoke, and ashes were believed to have purification powers to drive away evil spirits and protect homes, families, livestock, and crops. Hence the continued use of burning palms on Ash Wednesday. Rituals also involved singeing horses or cattle with embers or driving them through the smoke to invoke magical protection. One of the more bizarre practices is still done for tourists.  Locals roll a giant flaming wheel down a hillside and (hopefully) into a lake and not the neighbor’s barn. The wheel is stuffed with straw or hay. Pagans believed if it rolled all the way to the bottom and into the water the harvest would be good. If it didn’t make it or skewed off the path, the harvest would be bad, and probably make the neighbor with the burning barn come after you with a pitchfork.

Changes in Sunlight and Psychology
Psychological reasons may also explain why the summer solstice holds such importance. A lack of sunlight has long been associated with increased depression. Scientific American reported on a study of tweets done in 2011. Researchers looked at random tweets and analyzed them for emotional content as a function of the time of day, the day of the week, and the amount of actual daylight (i.e., the season). They found the amount of daylight was not as important as the relative change in that daylight. Meaning that when the change was positive (days grow longer), people expressed more positive views. When the change was negative (days grow shorter), attitudes soured.

Myths Associated with the Summer Solstice

  • The seasons change because of the Earth's distance from the sun
The Earth rotates around the sun in a fairly regular orbit and the closest point is during the winter. Seasons change because of the Earth’s tilt on its axis. In the summer, the Earth tilts toward the sun bringing more warmth to the surface, while in the winter, it's tilts away.


  • Summer solstice is the overall hottest day of the year
The solstice brings the most light, but not the most heat.


  • On the summer solstice an egg will balance upright on a table.
Actually, you can do this anytime. Shake a raw egg until the yolk breaks inside the shell. Place the egg back in the carton. Once the yolk settles to the bottom of the shell it will stand upright because more weight is at the bottom. Now, invite family and friends into the room, recite mystical mumbo jumbo about the summer solstice, and place the egg upright on the table. Try not to laugh at their stupefied expressions.



L. A. Kelley writes fantasy/science fiction adventures with humor, romance and a touch of sass. She was cast out of the local druid chapter for admitting summer is her least favorite time of year. Check out the books on her Amazon Author Page.






Monday, June 26, 2017

Getting The Details Right

When writing a paranormal fantasy you have the great potential to create your own worlds. You can walk around in it. Create new acquaintances, and make new friends and allies. You’re comfortable in your own skin and your imagination has no limits. I love those kinds of stories.

My stories are paranormal historical, primarily written in the medieval time, and you have to get the details right. You have to learn the customs, the food, clothing and traditions. It all comes down to research. Sometimes it takes more time to do the research than actually writing the story, but those details help to create the story. Not to say that my characters don’t break convention. What fun would that be if they didn’t? They are led by need and desires that would make the church blush.

My contemporary suspense is set in Chicago. I literally have to walk the streets of downtown to get the culture of a big city, what it smells like, look like, and feel like. Crossing a city street is a talent all its own. My favorite time to be in Chicago is during the Christmas season. The lights, the smell of coffee coming out of the coffee shops, and the smell of food as it puffs out the restaurant doors as patrons go in and out.

I’m working on a time travel story now, and I get to use everything I learned from both time lines and combined them together. I have copious notes of both medieval Europe and present day Chicago. All the research I did is helping this story move much more quickly and allows me to compare and contrast the two times periods and explore their differences and the conflict it creates between the hero and the heroine.

The heroine finds herself in the middle of the woods after being chased through a portal by two drug dealers. When men in armor ride up to her she thinks she had somehow found herself at a renaissance fair. She was unaware she had actually traveled back in time.
Here is a little taste of Quin and Grace’s first meeting.

Thank God, somebody who can help me. A group of men were wearing chainmail and metal helmets.
Grace let out a chuckle. “Sorry,” she said as she raised her hand. “I don’t mean to laugh, but you guys look great. Your costumes look so authentic. You’ve taken the medieval thing to a whole new level. Is the renaissance fair nearby?”
One of the men stepped down from his horse. The others moved around her in a tight circle. When he removed his helmet Grace’s heart tripped up. He had to be most beautiful man she ever saw in her whole life. Like Chris Hemsworth in the Thor movie. His blond hair fell just below his shoulders. Even though he was covered in chainmail there was no hiding the strong body beneath it. All he needed was his hammer. He was something right out of a romance novel.
“Who are you and what are you doing here?”
First thought. Handsome or not, what a jerk! There was no Hello, or are you lost, can I help you in some way, just ‘Who are you?’ like I stepped on his cat.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize I was trespassing” She said curtly. “Can you tell me where I can find the nearest road?” She raised her phone over her head to see it still reading ‘No Service.’
“Do you guys get cell service out here? I can’t seem to get any bars.” The ringing of metal scraping metal set her teeth on edge. Handsome had his sword pointed it at her chest.
“Give me the box.”
“Not on your life,” she said, pressing her phone to her chest.
“I assure you it won’t be my life. Now hand me the box.”
He towered over her, but most people did since she was only five-two. She gave up her resolve then slapped the phone in his hand. “Fine. Happy now?”
His stone like expression made her wary. “Your bag.”
“What is this, a hold up?” Stone silence. She blew out a puff of air and slid the bag off her shoulder and handed it to him. He in turn tossed it to one of the men behind her. “Hey! Be careful with that. It has my computer in it.” She turned back to him. “Now what? You have my things.”
He looked her up and down. Not in a creepy way, but like he was sizing up a sandwich. “You are oddly dressed.”
“It’s called jeans and a leather jacket. Look I’m not interested in your little roll playing game. All I want are directions out of here and you can give me back my things and  carry on with your reenactment, thing.”
Suddenly, two arrows thumped down at her feet Thor didn’t hesitate. He picked her up and threw her in the saddle and jumped on behind her. The small band of men broke their circle and flanked them on both sides.
Arrows came out of nowhere. “What is going on?” she yelled
“An ambush.”
“You mean those arrows are real?”
“Why would you question that?”
“Right now I can’t think of, why.”
He pressed her head down and lowered his body around her like a shield. Her heart beat like a jackhammer. The saddle pressed against her hip. This wasn’t as comfortable as it looked on TV. “I’m tired of this game. You’ve had your fun, now let me go!” She tried to shift herself in position to jump but he held her too tightly.
“Sit still, woman, I am trying to save your life.”
“Knock it off, or I’ll press charges for kidnapping. Now let me go!”

If there was a time you could go back to where would it be?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fall In Love All Over Again . . . For The First Time by Nancy Gideon


How often have we wished to recapture that first glow of love that the passing of time seems to tarnish? When I brought back my "By Moonlight" fan favorite couple, Max and Cee Cee, who anchored the series with the initial four books, after teasing readers with peek-a-boo appearances in the four book "Shadows" spin off books, I realized a lot of time had passed (almost 7 years!) since they steamed up the pages to reviewer raves, and new readers hardly knew them at all. So, in keeping with where the plotline was taking the series, I brought my fav couple back . . . to fall in love all over again when she rescues him from the hands of their enemies only to find out they'd stolen his memories . . . in REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT, my first self-pubbed book. I loved everything about it - control over story, cover, promotions, blurb - everything (an OCD dream come true!) and especially returning this magical pair, my shapeshifter bad boy and his take no prisoners NOPD detective mate. Here's a tease . . . (and for how this scene begins, skip over to my MAIN BLOG for today's post.)
Excerpt


“I’m sorry.”

In lieu of explanation, Cee Cee simply leaned into him, resting her cheek upon his broad back, slipping her other arm about his waist in a loose circle. Her palm rode his slow, even breaths. For a long moment, he didn’t move, then his voice rumbled like distant thunder.

“Whatchu sorry about, cher?”

“For taking things for granted.”  She sighed then just let go of all the confusion. “I’m so used to you getting me.  You’re the only one who does.  You know me better than I know myself.  You’ve always been one step ahead, knowing what I want, what I need,  just the right things to do or say. I never had a connection like that to anyone else. Not to my father who I thought walked on water, not to Babineau who’s had my back on the street for years, not even Mary Kate who shared all my secrets. None of them understood the things I kept in my closet.”

Silence, then a husky, “What do you have in your closet that you only shared with me?”

She chuckled and gave him a swat. “Not a literal closet, Savoie.”

“Oh. Forgive me for thinking naughty thoughts. You tend to inspire them, sha.”

Her arm tightened about him as he lifted her other hand to his lips for a light stroke.

“It’s where we locked away our fears, our darkness, our pain. We’d just started to do some serious housecleaning together when—I lost you.”

“You haven’t lost me, Charlotte. I’m right here.”

“I know you are.” Her voice hitched slightly. “It’s just so hard, Max. So hard to be with you and still feel so far apart. To expect things that aren’t returned. Silly things like a joke that only we understand. Signals that aren’t received. I feel like I’m standing on the outside again, and I know it has to be the same for you.  I tend to forget that I’m not the only one frustrated here. I’ve been too focused on my own situation to consider yours. That’s why I’m sorry. I want us to be in this together, not standing apart and alone.  I don’t want to lose you, Max. I can’t go through the pain of that again.”

He turned, releasing her hand so his could cup her cheek in his palm.  His thumb brushed away the tears that threaded through rain drops. His features were drawn in dramatic plays of light and shadow, his eyes bright, the only splash of vivid color upon that stark palette. He was breathtaking, and hers was gone. She held herself still and left herself open, something she’d never been able to do with anyone but him.  She didn’t try to hide to her vulnerability. Or her longing.


“I’m not going anywhere, Charlotte.”

And being self-pubbed, this OCD freak has control of the price, too. So through June 30, REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT is ON SALE for only $1.99 as part of my "FROM MIDNIGHT TO MOONLIGHT" price slashing tour. What a great chance to jump into a new series (or two)!! And as a bonus, I'm also giving away a $10 Amazon gift certificate to a lucky tour follower (hop over to the TOUR PAGE for deets).


T
wo series to sink your teeth into - Vampires AND Shapeshifters all at a low, low price.

If you need more convincing, here's a visual behind the scenes look at REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT . . .



Happy Summer and Happy Reading!!

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Nancy Gideon on the Web