Monday, August 14, 2017

The Farther, Forbidden Paths

My first published novel was Gemini Rising, winner of the Mainstream Category in the 2012 Preditors & Editors Poll.  That year, it was also 2nd in the Paranormal Romance Guild's Reviewer's Choice Awards.  However,

Gemini Rising is a controversial dark fantasy.  I didn't expect it to be published at all, but Canadian Publisher Double Dragon Publishing released it in 2012.  This year, I took my rights back and Class Act Books accepted the novel for reissue under the new title Anointing: The Gemini Factor.  I'm currently updating the manuscript for republication.

The story is told in a 'frame', starting in the present, the majority told in flashback, then returning to the present for the end.  This excerpt is from the present and is a celebration of Alina's husband's birthday.  The hero and heroine, Alain and Alina, are identical twins.  Male/female mono-zygotic twins are a scientific impossibility, but not in the suspension of disbelief, right?

From Chapter 26 - Another Homecoming

An army of servants trooped across the lawn, their arms laden with brightly wrapped packages.  Mum motioned Rory to a chair center stage on the dais.  Alina stood behind him, her hands on his shoulders.  A young king, he smiled as they stacked the gifts around him [her husband].
With paper and ribbon littering the platform and the ground, Alain slipped into the shadows.  She’d give him ten minutes then signal the orchestra.  Her heart raced, but she mustn’t betray her excitement to Rory.  She kissed his cheek, stroked his hair.  At the soft thud of hooves on grass, she nodded at the conductor.
To Trumpet Voluntary, Alain strode the gamut of wicker torches.  Light gleamed on living gold.  Red ribbons fluttered on the stallion’s halter.  The palomino snorted, tossed his noble head.  His snowy mane flagged in the breeze.  A collective gasp rose from the crowd.
Every eye was on the dazzling pair—every eye but Rory’s.
She clasped his hand to her breast.  “Isn’t he beautiful?”
Her husband’s voice was ice.  “The man or the horse?”
Alina frowned a reprimand.  “Your birthday gift.”
A smile brightened Rory’s handsome face.  “Trust Alain to make a grand entrance.”
With a flick of his wrist, her brother halted the Lusitano stallion at the platform’s edge.  He bowed low, his hair sweeping the grass.  How regal the man and the horse were.  Alain in his tuxedo, the stallion’s golden palomino coat glistening in the torchlight.  Focused on Alain, the horse stood four-square, his ears flickering, nostrils flared.
Her brother straightened, shook his hair back from his face.  “Happy Birthday, Rory, from Lina and me.”
Her husband brushed a kiss to her lips, shot to his feet and bounced down the two stairs.
Alain smiled at her and handed Rory the lead.  “His name is Prospero.”
Rory wound his arms around the arched neck.  The stallion curled his head over the man’s shoulder, pressing him close to the warm scent of horseflesh.
Alina laughed.  “An equine hug.  See, he loves his master already.”
Rory turned, embraced Alain.  “Brother, you have outdone yourself.”
Alain beckoned, offering his hand.  “He was your wife’s idea.  Come, Lina, you must be first to mount him.”
Applause erupted.  The stallion danced to the end of the lead.  An anxious expression swept over Rory’s face.  Alain whispered to Prospero, and the horse stilled.  Alina stepped down into her brother’s arms.  A quick embrace, then she hoisted her skirt and Alain eased her astride the golden stallion.  Rory beamed up at her.
She smiled down at him and blew a kiss.  “I love you.”
Rory fisted the sky, the other hand clutching the horse’s lead.  “I love my wife,” he proclaimed to cheers.  With the same flamboyance, he spun on a heel and paraded his birthday present before his audience.
Alain walked beside Rory.  “Hold the lead tight and cluck.  He’ll piaffe.”
Alina stretched her arms beside her, threw her head back and laughed with joy as the stallion danced in place, his bare back swinging between her legs.
“Wow,” Rory breathed.
“Prospero is the reason I’ve been in Portugal for six months.  It took a long time to persuade the breeder to sell him.”  Alain stroked the muscles rippling under the stallion’s sleek hide.  “Good boy.”
“He’s magnificent.”  Rory clucked his tongue.  “But what will I do with a horse like this?”
Alain squeezed his shoulder.  “Learn to ride.  I’ll teach you, my friend.”
Alina closed her eyes, her body swaying to the two-beat rhythm.  Finally, they were together again, and she’d never allow anything to separate them.
_____________________


If you're not wary to venture into a story with a thread similar to Flowers in the Attic, look for Anointing: The Gemini Factor, a dark fantasy, coming from Class Act Books in October 2017.

The picture is a mock-up of a cover that is simply for example purposes.  The images behind the smoke will be different in the final cover.  The smoke image is from Fotolia.

Happy 14th of August!  Linda

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Solar Eclipse by Diane Burton


If you haven’t heard about the Great American Total Solar Eclipse, you must be on vacation from all news sources. Not to be confused with the Great American Cookout, which started in April and goes through November, the Solar Eclipse will last about two minutes. If you live in Hopkinsville, KY, you’re in luck. That’s where it will last the longest, two minutes and 40 seconds. It will take ninety minutes to cross the U.S. on a path from Oregon to South Carolina.


What’s going to happen? Basically, the moon will get between Earth and the Sun. Depending on where you live (or travel to), you’ll see  either the total eclipse (along that path from Oregon to South Carolina) or a partial. Where I live in west Michigan, we’ll see a partial. Think of a “fingernail” moon and that’s what we’ll see of the sun as the moon’s umbra (shadow) covers it. Like the one just to the left of the total eclipse below.

copyright: Fred Espanek

Exciting, right? We’re all going to rush outside to look. Right? Wrong. Unless you protect your eyes. Retailers all over the country are offering “eclipse” glasses for sale. Be sure they are safe or you could lose your sight.

Myths and Superstitions What could be scarier in ancient times than the sun disappearing? They had to come up with a reason. Like mythical figures eating or stealing the sun. In Vietnam, it was a giant frog, while the Norse blamed wolves for eating the sun. The Inuits thought the sun and moon were fighting. In Hindu mythology, the god Rahu devours the sun to stifle the light that provides life. Nasty guy.



The worst superstitions have to do with pregnant women. In fact, with prior eclipses, pregnant women were told to stay indoors. The Aztecs believed the eclipse might turn fetuses into mice. Yikes! I might have grandmice instead of two healthy boys. (In case you didn’t know, my daughter-in-law is expecting twins in November.) According to Mexican and South Asian myths, cleft palates are caused by the eclipse. Not so. Scientific evidence debunks those stories.

But one thing is true. Looking directly at the eclipse can damage your eyes. You can make a pinhole projector or buy special glasses. The following warnings are from the article on pinhole projectors.

Keep Safe!

§  Never look at the Sun directly without protective eye gear. Even sunglasses cannot protect your eyes from the damage the Sun's rays can do to them.
§  Always keep your back towards the Sun while looking at a pinhole projection.
§  Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole.

By the way, this is the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. in ninety years. So unless you plan to live a long, long, long time, it’s best to see it on August 21st.



Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Binge

I've heard about it, I've read about it all over the place, I've never imagined getting caught up in it.

See, I bought a fire stick from Amazon, it even has Alexa, and, boy, I'm enthralled. I have to be at work in less than 2 hours and I'm only on season one of Being Human which I'm loving by the way. I mean, a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost - what more could a viewer want? I'm on the episode where the crazy vamp b**** turned a little boy and it's intense to say the least. Not sure how it's going to turn out but after watching this episode, I've got to get some sleep or I'll never make it through 2 shifts.

My viewing thus far has been very controlled if I can use that word in this instance. I've stayed away from shows that haven't ended because I'm impatient which has caused me not to watch many newer series which are running on Netflix. Some I know I'll never watch like, don't shoot me - Game of Thrones. I've seen some clips, read lots about it, and there is just nothing that really appeals to me and I seem to be in a very small camp on that one so I'll move on. Last week I did all of Bitten about werewolves and prior to that I binged the Almighty Johnsons, a take on Norse gods and goddesses reborn in people on earth. Before that there was one about teenaged merpeople. After Being Human, I don't know where I'll head but I seem to be on a paranormal spree. Anyway...

Hello, my name is Joann - I'm a binger!

Now if only I can get back to writing. Haven't done much since my hand surgery other than re-reading older stories in preparation for getting them back out there. I didn't realized I had so much! Contemplating new covers boggles my mind but in a good way because I'll finally have complete control over that process.

Well, thunder and lightning have arrived so I'll end by asking for any good suggestions to while away the final days of summer.

What programs have you binged on that you'd suggest to a novice in the arena?

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

Oh The Amazing Places You Can Travel to With a Book

by Maureen L. Bonatch 
Photo from our vacation at Islamorada, Florida
While on vacation this year at Key West, Florida, we talked with a girl, who said that she spent two months traveling on a boat, and currently lived on a sailboat and absolutely loved it. I stood there with a million questions running through my mind. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around living like that since it was so foreign to what I was accustomed to.

I could feel her enthusiasm, but shuddered at the thought of enduring the long hot nights until she saved up for some kind of air conditioning­—while I envisioned having so few possessions and so much freedom. Yet, I knew in reality I could never live that life. I was too set in my ways, too much of a willing slave to my routines and possessions. But in my imagination, I could live that life.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

As a writer her story intrigued me. It would be a fabulous setting for a character, or something I would enjoy reading about. Because as a writer, and a reader, there’s something magical about exploring places I might never see. For every beach I walk upon, I think of a book I read years ago about sea turtles, I believe it was The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. I know nothing about sea turtles, but after reading this book, in my mind I think I kind of do, because I lived that life with that character.

What an indescribable joy to live so many lives in one lifetime. In reality, I’ve lived in one state all of my life, but in my mind I’ve been to many places that exist in the world, and others that only exist in an author’s imagination—and mine.

Get On The Train

There are two camps. Those who love Disney and all it entails and those who…don’t. I admit it. I’m in the second camp. I kind of put all those places—Disney, Epcot & Universal etc.— in one category.  I apologize to all of you who adore this magical world. It could’ve been a few unpleasant experiences, or it might’ve been because I’m rather introverted and don’t enjoy masses of people and long lines, but so far I’ve never seen the magic that enchants others.

But now that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter world exists in ‘reality’ at Universal Studios, I have to admit I would really love to see that. To be able to actually physically arrive at Platform of 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station (and not just in my imagination) and get on the train to Hogwarts would be fabulous.

I’ve been to Hogwarts in my mind many times and could only imagine the thrill of seeing it brought to live and how amazing that must feel to J.K. Rowling to see her imaginary world introduced to reality— to mere Muggles ;)

I’ve Never Left the Mountain

I live in Pennsylvania, so there are always some mountains in view, but they’re not the Misty Mountains. You know, The Mountains of Moria. Those of you who’ve read the Hobbit, and the Lord of The Rings books will understand. I read these books years ago, but I still think of that world as if it actually exists because the author brought it to life so magically.

They enchanted me, and still do. I traveled through those mountains with Bilbo Baggins and his crew and experienced the awe and terror they endured. I loved it­—in my imagination. In reality I might be more of a wimp than a warrior.

Sail Away

Photo from our vacation at Islamorada, Florida
I love puttering around in my home, surrounded by familiar things and places. Thus, exploring the world writing or reading a good book is a fabulous way to get away from the everyday all while staying in the comfort home. 

There are days I just want to sail away from all my troubles and daily stressors, and I can, just by sitting down with a book, or writing a new character. Perhaps one who lives on a sailboat might be in my foreseeable future.


Do You Have a Favorite Book Destination?

Need a New Home for Your Stories? Don’t Miss Your Chance at Winning a New Kindle right Here.

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