Saturday, December 30, 2017

Auld Lang Syne, or, Reminiscing About Stuff (and a special offer)

A couple of weeks ago, my hubby, son, and I went out to walk around a quaint little district in Fremont known as Niles Canyon. Maybe you better know this place as the Almost Silent Film Capitol of the World? The haunt of Charlie Chaplin before he went to Hollywood? No? Well, it’s an awesome little historic town full of cinematic history in the Niles Silent Film Museum, antiques stores, restaurants, and the amazing Niles Canyon Railway (Side note: if you love trains and are in the area during the holidays, their Train of Lights is a must-see experience.)

But, I digress. Let’s get back to the antique stores, shall we? It happens to all of us at a certain age. You walk into an antique store and, bam! There’s your favorite lunchbox from when you were a kid. It’s sitting on a shelf above your head, a round green sticker with the neatly handprinted number 35 stuck to its underside. (That’s dollars, not cents. Or 1935.) Several thoughts go through your head at that point.

Wonder what ever happened to my lunchbox? Could be at mom’s somewhere, but she probably gave it away, or it’s in a landfill. Too bad, we could sell this stuff for the big bucks now. Geez, I’m old! Hmm. What if this is my lunchbox?

Of course, deep down I knew this wasn’t mine, and in the 60s and 70s no one could’ve predicted the future resale value of a Mickey Mouse School Bus lunchbox. Back then old junk was just that…old junk.

I strolled through the shop regaling my unsuspecting twenty-two-year-old with my past memories. Some were things I, or my sister, had owned as we grew up, others were just (nerdy) things I remember or coveted from TV commercials. Wisely, he made suitable sounds of being impressed, bless him.

Just for fun, let’s play a quick game. Did any of you own one or more of these items as a child?


I grew up watching "Machinga" on Japanese TV
Here's the one my son found from his childhood
Who didn't want a Pigs in Space lunchbox? 




If you look closely, you can see the interior of the Falcon

I still want one of these!



I had this doll house. Still miss it.
It’s kinda nice to revisit those fun moments of our past, huh? Memories can be a wonderful thing, whether they’re toys, loved ones, or experiences. Since joining the ranks of social media users, I’ve discovered that Facebook loves to remind me of my past. Friendships made, posts, etc. I’ve also observed that at the end of every year there’s a rash of posts proclaiming what a terrible year the current year has been, and that next year can’t come soon enough.

Every. Single. Year.

Certainly, good things happened to everyone during the course of any year, right? Events worth celebrating. Births, marriages, graduations, friendships, vacations, personal milestones, new jobs, time spent helping others, time with family. The list of potential happy moments is endless, and I can't believe social media is populated solely by chronically unhappy people, so why the negativity?

Yes, life is hard, it downright sucks sometimes. But all the time? To the point that it’s all we remember at the end of each year? I write romance because it gives readers a happily ever after (HEA). After all the trials my characters experience, they and my readers still can find hope and believe in the goodness of life.

So, here’s my New Year’s challenge to all of you: This New Year’s Eve, post about the wonderful moments of your life in 2017 on your social media platforms. Share the things that lifted your spirit and gave happiness to others. Celebrate 2017, because even during the worst of times, good things happen. By sharing just one spot of happiness from your life in 2017, you could help someone else pause, reflect, and find the bright moments in their own life over the past twelve months. Write your own HEA to the end of the story called “2017”, because I guarantee you someone out there is looking for it.

May 2018, and every year you walk through during this life, be so blessed that the negative parts fade from your memories. Happy New Year to you all!

~Lea

(P.S. - Fortunately, my son never asked, “Hey, mom, whatever happened to my <fill in the blank>?” LOL!)

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No, I didn’t forget that I mentioned a special offer. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter and get a FREE copy of my short story, ALL OF ME! For $0.00—a bunch less than a gym membership—you can get updates, announcements, special offers, exclusive sneak peeks, and quarterly newsletter giveaways from me. 

This offer expires at 11:59 p.m. January 31, 2018. So, what are you waiting for?





USA Today Bestselling Author, Lea Kirk, loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction romance. She's currently working on book three of her popular SFR Prophecy series. She lives in California with her wonderful hubby, their five kids (aka, the nerd herd), and her "baby", an adorable Dobie mix.  

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 ~ Looking Back #thinking #planning and more #thinking with @meganslayer ~ #iamwriting

I've been thinking hard about this past year. It's been an oddity. Really has. So many things have happened. You'd think 365 days wouldn't involve that much change, but it's unreal.

I've had lots of good points. I got to work with a dear friend on not one, but two projects. It was a great collaboration. I've been invited to work in Kindle Worlds. I've seen some of my best stories come out and weathered changes in editors, publishing houses as well as characters that want to be difficult. I've had the good fortune of being signed with a new-to-me publishing house and have had my stories from other houses that are defunct picked up by other pubs. That's some good fortune.

But there have been some interesting, yet, tough parts of this year. I've seen friendships I thought were tight go kablooey. I've seen publishers change hands, or close. That's been tough. I love my publishers and have had mostly fantastic experiences with them. It can't all be wine and roses, but I've had a good time. I can't complain. I'm terribly sad that one pub is closing. They weren't the easiest, but they brought out the best in my writing. I'd rather have a hard edit than a super easy one. If I know there are issues and I'm working on them, I think it makes the whole story stronger to fix them.
I've had rejections this year. I don't mind rejection--sometimes the project just isn't for that pub--but one thing I'd love to change is the flat, blunt thanks but no thanks rejections. How can I get better if I don't know what's wrong with the story? I've had a few revise and resubmits - which I actually embrace. I prefer to know what needs fixed in order to make the grade. 
I've seen the passing of my grandfather and the passing of my cat. Not just the family cat or a cat...my cat. My writing buddy. My snuggle baby. The one I raised from kitten-hood. I'd always wanted an orange cat and he was mine. I miss having him beside me when I write. His low pitched meow, the way he'd make the crackle sound to get my attention and how he'd seemingly appear out of nowhere to sit with me. Yep, I'm still struggling with that loss.

So I've been thinking. Lots of thinking. I've taken a few leaps this year, but I'll save those for another post. I like to go into my year with a plan. My author friend, Cheryl Dragon, and I talk each January about the plan for that year. I've tried to make one, but going into 2018, it's tougher. I'm a write by the seat of my pants kind of girl. If the story comes, I write it. If it doesn't, I don't force it. If it shows up, then goes away for a while, I keep the notebook full of notes there, but to the side. But this year...I'm not sure what to do. I have story ideas percolating. I'll probably write them down and give them a chance, while keeping an eye on the market. I'm not the type of writer to write to the market. If the story is there, I run with it. If it's not what's popular...then I weather the storm. But as for that plan...yeah, no idea what I'm going to do. But I'm open to suggestion.

What about you? Did you get a shiny new kindle or phone for Christmas? Want to add some books on it to read? You should. Here's a suggestion from me and one of latest short stories, Christmas Box:

Hayes Carter knows what he wants out of life -- to be the best lawyer he can, to balance his work and home life and to please his Sir. This Christmas, he wants to belong to Sir for good.
Ford Rogan loves his boy, Hayes, but Ford's not sure he's relationship material. Hayes, though, makes him think otherwise. Then there's that naughty Santa at the club... Submit and your wish will come true 
Can Santa, even a naughty one, grant their wishes? Will the magic of the season be enough, or will they end up with nothing more than a lump of coal?

See? Not the standard here's a gift and I hope you like it fare. A person in the box? Now, don't get wonky on me. This isn't a creeper story. I like feel good Christmas tales. Everything works out in the right way at the end. There's magic, mayhem and a spanking or two. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

What about you? What's your favorite thing about Christmas? I'd love to know!! 

Want to know more about Christmas Box? Then check it out at Changeling Press! Out now and on sale!! Gotta love a sale!

* * * * * 

Megan Slayer - It's Always Fun to Squirm
Subscribe to our newsletter ~ http://ymlp.com/xgjmjumygmgj 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Goofs, Boo-boos, and Big Time Blunders. Oh, Those Hateful Typos. (by L. A. Kelley)

On the cusp of a glorious New Year it’s time to reflect on all the dumb writing mistakes we’ve made in the past twelve months; dangling modifiers, an overabundance of commas, misspellings, wrong word usage. The lists go on for each of us, but fear not, we keep famous company.

A History of Boo-boos
Some of the most famous books, past and present have had their share of problems and not even having God as an editor helps. In 1631 Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, the royal printers for Charles I, put out a new edition of the King James Bible with a teensy little error. Glory hallelujah, adultery was now not only legal, but required. The book soon became known as the Wicked Bible, Adulterous Bible, or Sinners’ Bible. All have a nice ring to them. Neither the king nor the Archbishop of Canterbury had a sense of humor and the publishers of the Wicked Bible were called to the Star Chamber and fined £300. Copies were destroyed, but a few escaped and are now highly sought after collector’s items.

You’d think having won a Nobel Prize in Literature for a dang book means a letter perfect copy, but not so. There have been multiple editions of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, but the first, second, and third are flawed. Page 100, line 17, describes a wall. “It stretched out long and grey and very high, and against the base the small mat sheds clung like flees to a dog's back.” Copies of the book that include the misspelling can go for as much as $9500.

In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain’s Huck Finn spoke in dialect. “Spos’n” in place of “supposing” isn’t a mistake, but hidden in the first edition is a genuine (or gen-you-wine) error. “I took the bag to where it used to stand, and ripped a hole in the bottom of it with the was.” I’m supos’n he meant the saw.

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser is one of the more well-known examples of poor copy editing. It’s rife with small typos such as “if” for “it” or “to” for “too”, but some really miss the mark. On page 340 he describes people “like two small chips being tossed about on a rough but friendly sea.” My only question is Doritos or Lays?

Modern Mistakes
Mistakes are not a thing of the past. Typos and
grammatical errors have become increasingly common. The explosion of self-publication gets a bad rap, but big-time publishers are equally guilty. The hot mess of the Twilight trilogy has so many mistakes that websites are devoted to them. George R. R. Martin’s Fire and Ice Series is rife with errors and plot inconsistencies. Even Harry Potter isn’t immune. A rare first edition with the word “philosopher” misspelled on the back cover recently sold for £43,750. The all-time Big Daddy of modern typos has to go to The Pasta Bible, published by Penguin Group Australian in 2010. The company recalled 7000 copies of the book when someone discovered a recipe for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto told cooks to “add salt and freshly ground black people.”

Disregard, for a moment, any self-published books that have obviously never seen an editor’s hand. If it seems mistakes are on the rise, even in releases from major publishing houses, you’re not mistaken. Publishers used to exist for the purpose of distributing as near perfect copy as possible. Errors were met with chagrin. Not anymore. Before the recession and the onset of digital publishing, companies had armies of copy editors clutching their little red pens. Manuscripts went from editor to galley proof then revised proof and finally blue line. Each step in the process was another chance for review and correction of mistakes. To cut expenses, companies dumped droves of copy editors and then leaped on the bandwagon of digital publishing.  Ebook sales soared. Expenses for book production plummeted while overall profits shot skyward. Large publishing houses such as HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Hachette are rolling in dough, but no one’s rehiring the editing staff. No wonder mistakes slip by. The Pasta Bible gaffe was blamed on a spellcheck error. Someone should tell the CEO of the Penguin Group you can’t rely solely on a computer and still need a sharp pair of human eyes.   

Egad. My Book has a Boo-boo
So what does all this mean for today’s self-published writer? First, find yourself a good editor. There are plenty out there and they can use the work. Produce the cleanest manuscript you can and stop beating yourself over the head if a typo makes it into your final work. They will. They always do. Shrug it off and submit a corrected copy and be proud of your creation. If you find a typo in a book from a major publishing house, don’t bother to send them a message. They couldn’t care less.


L. A. Kelley writes fantasy and sci fy adventure novels with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She aways licks for hypos. Check out her books on her Amazon Author Page

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Christmas Goblin: Another Tall Tale by Francesca Quarto


"Nothin' tastes better, me dear, than a nicely roasted goose!"
The old man looked proud of himself as he plucked the big black and white bird of its feathers, its head drooping like a large tear drop, from his knees. 
He was quite pleased with this acquisition, newly made by him after he raided the farmstead of Cormack Murphy, in the dark of the night and made off with his prize.
His comments were addressed to his wife of nearly thirty years, having begun their union very young.  Him, barely needing to shave. Her, just learning the meaning of womanhood. They had many challenges over that span of time, but stuck together like a glue pot and its lid.
"Benny, ye are a neat rascal, ye are! I been fussin' an' worryin' these past weeks, what vitals we'd be havin' fer the Yuletide!  An 'ere it tis!  A goose ta size o' a cart!" she chortled loudly.
He loved to see the merriment on his Megan's face, so bereft she was most days, working around their tiny cottage and tending her small garden plot at the side.  
They had lost their only son into his second year, grateful they'd had the foresight to have him Christened, else he'd been buried outside the Church cemetery as a baby heathen. 
They called him Jamie, but he never heard his name, or any word for that matter; him being born without hearing or speech. 
He was as quiet as a passing cloud and as soft in the head the villagers said, behind their hands. They reckoned his passing as a blessing to the very young couple. He would have proved a sorry burden in their life, and clearly, no help in filling their larder.
"Are ye certain this 'ere goose be free to our needs then, Benny?" she asked again, still amazed at their great fortune.
"Oy, why da' ya' bother yerself, so, my Megan?  Tis' a Christmas gift from that young fella down in Baleyroost Haven.  He was cullin' 'is flock, so ta speak, an' I give him a quick hand ta set him straight on 'is day.  No use ye worryin' yerself.  Let's jest enjoy our feastin'!"
With that, clearly his last word on the subject of the goose's provenance, Benny continued his plucking while Megan gathered the feathers, imagining to herself, the fine pillow she'd be making.
That night was Christmas Eve.  A deep snow had accumulated throughout the day, gathering the tiny farm into a cold embrace and a peaceful silence.
Benny and Megan had prepared a meager dinner for themselves, looking forward to the rich meal of goose, with the little bit of garden produce Megan had stored in their root cellar. They would rise at their customary hour, just before dawn and welcome Christmas into their world. 
Meantime, the goose was hung near the crude front door of their cottage, keeping it fresh for the cooking, next morning. 
That night they slept on their straw-stuffed pallet, curled around each other like a tea pot and its cozy.
In the darkest hour, with the wind beginning to rattle the cottage door and the snow falling in a curtain of white, a shadow passed over the elderly couple.  Never disturbing them, they were made to sleep even more deeply, when a vaporous cloud appeared, hovering over their gray heads. 
A pale light was filtering through the single window and the shadow took form within its glow. 
The goose they had plucked earlier was now tucked under the arm of a very large and hairy Goblin. 
This creature was not unknown to the sleeping couple, or the other folk of the hamlet.  It occupied a prominent place in their colorful folklore and was the subject of many a good tale as told by the roaming story tellers and entertainers.
The Church tried diligently to dismantle or debunk tales of the Little People and Faeries and Hobgoblins.  But over the long eons, through many dark times, the allure of magic and mythical creatures clung to the culture of the people like dew to the morning grass.
The Goblin stood, hulking over the pallet, listening to the couples gentle snores and sighs.  He had visited all of the villagers during  their meager lifetimes and over several of his own.  Always cautious, he only rarely frightened a small child.
For some reason, these two decrepit humans, touched something in him.  Perhaps it was their kindness to others, even when they had so little themselves and especially when it wasn't the Yuletide!
 He had witnessed the old man take the goose from his neighbors pen, scattering a few tufts of red fox fur around the yard, disguising his part in the theft.  At the time, the Goblin thought this clever, but was curious, because Benny never struck the Goblin as being devious and cunning.
You must understand, though they suffer a reputation for their terrifying appearance and ill tempered nature, Goblins have a deep and curious nature. Sadly, it is often the case that judgments are made solely on the superficial aspects of a being.
His curiosity compelled him to follow Benny back to the small cottage.  Hiding in the woods, close enough to be privy to the conversation inside the cottage, the Goblin heard Benny's explanation about the neighbor's gift of the goose, as payment for his help.
Goblins are not known to have any concept of selfless love, but it gradually dawned on him that the man risked his freedom, and possible hanging, to bring some cheer into his wife's dour life. While the theft would cost the other farmer very little, it gave the old man and his wife so much. 
The Goblin wondered at this moral conundrum.
That morning dawned frosty and clear as the bells from the Church belfry.  The old couple shook the deep sleep from their bones. Benny stepped into worn woolen breeches, Megan covered her thin shoulders in a woolen shawl.  They both suddenly stopped, sniffing at the chilled air.
"A beast has been visitin' us, Benny!  I ken smell it, I ken!" Megan was thinking their goose would have been snatched by such an intruder.
But Benny was on to something else altogether.  Besides the pungent odor wafting about the cottage on each breeze poking through the walls, he smelled cooking goose!  
They woke their legs to the task, creeping slowly from the back of the cottage where their pallet was tucked. A glow greeted their sleep-dulled eyes.
Standing by the fireplace, looking as homely as a mud bog next to a rose garden, was the Goblin.
The fireplace was merry with fine prancing flames. The spitted goose was dripping fat onto the hot coals, sounding like the crack of a whip with each plop. The Goblin turned the spit, making minor adjustments to the goose's position.  All this the old couple watched, without an utterance passing between themselves.
After a few good turns, the Goblin left off working the spit and began setting the roughly made table nearby with two dishes of battered pewter, knowing this was their best plate. Without acknowledging their presence, he then turned back to the fireplace where he shoved two large loaves of dark bread into their pots for baking.  Vegetables were in a side pot, ready for the cooking.
The fragrance of the cooking Yule goose and the baking breads, made their mouths water in anticipation.
While the old man was still overcome by fear of the giant, hairy creature, his wife took a different view of the situation.
"We be grateful fer ye to be joinin' us, on this 'ere Christmas morn, Goblin.  En ye have outdone yerself wit all this fine cookery."
The Goblin gave his shaggy head a quick shake and grunted.
"Tis me first Yule feast, an' I've no place ta be, 'cept wit yuns. Benny, I've sent yer invitation ta the farmer, Murphy, down the way, " he said in a deep, gravelly voice. "He'll be 'ere fer ta feastin' and is grateful, seein' he's all alone like."
Being a creature of Magic, sending this message to Cormack Murphy was as simple as slipping a word into the sleeping farmer's ear.  He awoke, believing he'd been asked to dine with Benny and his wife and readied himself to do so, whistling merrily at the prospect.
This marked the first of many Christmas feasts to follow over the next decade of years alloted to the elderly couple and their new friend.  The Goblin returned each holiday, with a goose tucked under his arm, preparing the feast and then going to fetch the farmer, Cormack Murphy to join in the fine company of the happy couple and himself.
The other villagers were curious about the large visitor coming every Christmas to the couples door.  
"Tis like magic I tell ye!  We be blessed wit long, lost kin ta me." Benny would explain whenever this was brought up in idle conversation around the Christmas Season.
The villagers all agreed, the huge, shambling man, did hold a family resemblance with old Benny.  And from the size of the geese he supplied for their table, he was both rich and generous. 
Before he passed on, joining his Megan in eternal feasting, old Benny asked the Goblin to bring a second  goose.  He took it to the farmer's yard, adding it to his flock of geese pecking around the dirt.
Benny felt grand with this compensation for the old wrong he did.  Another lesson for the rest of us who have read this tale perhaps.  
"While your goose may be cooked, it's always better to share the feast with those more monstrous then ourselves."


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Why Do Fairy Tales Appeal?


It turns out researchers believe the origins of many fairy tales go back thousands of years, long before written history, and were passed down orally for generations. If you look at most classic fairy tales, what you find are cautionary tales--don't travel through the woods alone, don't take candy from strangers, look past appearance (both good and bad) to the heart of people, and, of course, never trust a step mother.

Just kidding about that last one. However, human nature being what it is, most people don't like to be preached at. So is the moral of the story what draws us? Or is it something else?

Most fairy tales involve a magical or mystical element or folkloric fantasy creatures like dwarves, dragons, fairies, and so forth. Perhaps it's that which captures our imagination. In more modern times, we've altered the endings so that most fairy tales have a happily ever after aspect to them. (Don't even get me started on The Little Mermaid.). So maybe that's it?

All I can say is that, personally, for me it's all of the above. I'm a paranormal romance writer--so magic, fantasy, and romance, combined with a positive message or something that we can all related to, and, of course, the HEA, and you've totally got me hooked.

What about you? Do you love fairy tales? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

****

If you're a lover of fairy tales and legends, I have a new release coming January 29th (on preorder now) that I think you'll love!

Co-written with USA Today Bestselling author Nicole Flockton!

Modern-day King Arthur meets Snow White for a surprising happily ever after in this magical mash-up of legends and fairy tales.



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Mysteries of Mistletoe by C.J. Burright

With Christmas and all its traditions only a few days away, it got me thinking…what is the deal with kissing under the mistletoe? I always thought it was some plan concocted by pervy dudes who lurk under the mistletoe and try to catch pretty girls there so they can kipe a kiss. Oh, wait – it is…depending on what folklore you look at.


The Druids, those sly dogs, believed mistletoe berries represented the sperm of the Gods. Press one of the white berries and you’ll get why, and coupled with the shape of European mistletoe...I’m sure your imagination can take you there. That’s all I’m saying about that. Mistletoe was considered a magical aphrodisiac, so when a girl stood beneath a sprig of mistletoe, she might be asking for more than a quick kiss. *Nudge, nudge, wink, wink*



Another English legend says a kiss is required for each berry on the mistletoe bunch. After each kiss, a berry was plucked and tossed aside…and the kissing doesn’t stop until the berries are out. Needless to say, guys went about hunting for the branches with the most berries. Hopefully, a girl wasn’t required to kiss whatever random lad confronted her with a berry-laden mistletoe branch. Shudder. That could be a long torment session.

But have no fear, the myths don’t all revolve around lust, fertility and questionable activities. In Greek mythology, Aeneas (pronounced uh-NEE-us as opposed to…other possibilities) picked a bough of mistletoe at the gate of the underworld, which was his safety charm. In Sweden, mistletoe is sacred, associated with Thor, and used as protection against fire and lightning. I'm not sure I'd put up much of a struggle if Thor accosted me with a healthy branch of mistletoe. Just sayin'.

In ye olden days of yore, mistletoe was called Allheal and used for all sorts of cures and antidotes—and it’s still used medically today. Not only that, but if enemies met by chance beneath mistletoe, they would call a truce until the next day. Any kisses in that situation were more a sign of friendship and goodwill, but who’s to say it didn’t lead to more? And if you’re afraid a witch might cast a curse on you, hang some mistletoe on your doorpost for protection. Mistletoe, such a useful plant.

So what about you? Do you willingly kiss any sap that lurks hopefully beneath the mistletoe, or are you more prone to keep a sprig with lots of berries handy, just in case?

I will be taking a hiatus from blogging, but it has been a pleasure to be a part of Paranormal Romantics for the last year or so. To all the ladies at Paranormal Romantics and the faithful readers, best wishes for the merriest of holidays (with or without mistletoe) and a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Give Yourself a Break! by Elizabeth Alsobrooks


Everyone deserves a break, but they probably need it even more during the hectic holiday season. Writers and even non-writers should take a break from their usual routine to read more and differently.



Authors often have such intense writing schedules they don’t take time to read much at all, but during the holidays put down your pen and relax with a good book written by someone else. Try reading a book on craft or reading a popular book in your own genre, both of which with improve your own skill set, as an added bonus to the relaxation of switching your routine to do something fun.

Non-writers too can use the holidays as a time for some fun reading. Read something your entire family can enjoy and talk about why you enjoyed it. Or just let everyone read what they love and take turns discussing their finds. This is also a great opportunity to read something you don’t usually read. Perhaps you always read one specific genre. Now’s the time to read an historical fiction rather than paranormal, or something by an up and coming new author.



So light those Yule logs, turn on some soft holiday music, grab a glass of wine or a hot toddy and curl up with a good book.  Here’s to escaping the season’s chaos inside your next great adventure story. Happy Holidays!






Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Silver Metal Lover - An Inspiration from Tanith Lee


In 2015, my second book--well, actually the first was a short story--novel was released by The Wild Rose Press.  I was very pleased to be returning to the Garden with a sci-fi romance, Love for Sale.

March Morgan always set her standards for men high.   Divorced but still a dreamer, she readsLove for Sale, sentient androids indistinguishable from human, programmed for love.  She flies to London and meets the image of the man she has been searching for her entire life.  Christian loves March at first sight, without programming, but internal and external forces soon threaten their happiness, indeed their lives.
Buy Link:  http://a.co/7NA9pBZ

Recently, I finished the sequel Life for Sale, which brought to mind the inspiration for both of these novels.  Has anyone ever read Tanith Lee’s The Silver Metal Lover?  I read this many years ago, and the book stayed with me all this time.  I recently re-read it and enjoyed it just as much the second time as the first time I read it when I was a teenager.  In those faraway years, it was a Book of the Month selection for some book club or the other to which I subscribed.  That was quite a feat because at the time the genre wasn’t as well known.  The Silver Metal Lover is a different coming of age story.  I love Ms. Lee’s lush writing and have read many of her books, but this one is my favorite.

Here is the Plot Summary from Wikipedia:


“Robots have replaced human labor on earth, causing massive unemployment in a world devastated by pollution and natural disasters. Then Electronic Metals releases a new line: performing artists and sexual companions designed to entertain human partners. Jane, a rich, lonely, and insecure 16-year-old, meets one, the minstrel Silver, and falls passionately in love, despite revulsion at the idea of preferring a mechanical man to a human. She gives up everything she has known for him, and discovers herself. Silver becomes more and more "human" in loving her—a clever illusion created by his programming. Or is it? This unstable society can't afford any evidence that some robots might be indistinguishable from humans. Tragedy is inevitable.”

In researching SML, I find that it is part of the S.I.L.V.E.R. series.  Metallic Love was published in 2005—immediately added to my TBR.  SML is currently out of print though in 1985, it was published as a graphic novel.   There is a rumor that Ms. Lee will write a third in this series.  I, for one, sincerely hope so.

Love for Sale isn’t a retelling of The Silver Metal Lover at all.  I simply got the idea of a sentient robot from Ms. Lee and ran with it in my own direction.  I hope it is as memorable as its inspiration!

Visit my website for a free vampire story and information regarding all of my books.

Linda Nightingale




Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lights by Diane Burton

Throughout the year, we use candles as part of our celebrations. Candles on a birthday cake, candles inside a jack-o-lantern. This time of year we see many more uses of light in celebrations.

Winter Solstice, a celebration of Light and the return of the Sun, has been celebrated for thousands of years. It was known in old Europe as Yule. People burned the Yule log to celebrate. 

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and is a remembrance of the miracle when there was only enough oil for the Temple lamp for one day. Instead, it lasted eight days. Starting last night (December 12th), a candle in the menorah is lit each day until the celebration ends on December 20th.


Kwanzaa, a modern holiday celebrating African-American heritage, uses a special candle holder called a kinara that holds seven candles, each color has a special meaning. Kwanzaa lasts from December 26 to January 1st. Each day a candle is lit.

nationachristmastree.org

Christmas is celebrated many days before the actual day, December 25th. Lights play a large part in Christian celebrations because of the belief that Jesus is the Light of the World. Lights on trees, on houses, around the inside of houses. In a time without electricity lit candles were used instead. Lights on the Christmas tree came with the German immigrants and became a tradition. Candles pinned or glued with wax to the branches of a dead evergreen? I can just imagine the danger of fire.

a Christmas card designed by Adele Soderberg
Today is St. Lucia’s feast day in Sweden. Legend goes that while secretly bringing food to persecuted Christians (around 300 AD) she wore candles in a wreath on her head to keep her hands free. 

newcastic.com

A tradition popular in the American southwest that has spread around the country are luminarias, candles in a bag with sand that outlines the path to one’s house. Christmas traditions in other countries can be found here.

Michiganlife.com
Some people really get into decorating with lights—to the point of competition. Others like to coordinate the lights with music. All fun unless they go overboard. Imagine their electric bill. As entertaining as they are, I’m not so sure I’d want to live next door.

There is something, though, about lights that bring joy and happiness. Maybe because light dispels the gloom and early darkness at this time of year, when daylight is shorter, and reminds us that spring isn’t too far off.

When I asked my cover designer to incorporate a candle in the cover for my latest release, Romance Rekindled, she did a great job.

Blurb:

Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.




Tuesday, December 12, 2017

GUEST Veronica Scott - New Release; New Series

Thanks for having me back at Paranormal Romantics! Always a nice feeling to be back here for the day.

I’ve got a new release, Aydarr  (A Badari Warriors Scifi Romance Novel), Sectors New Allies Series Book 1. This is the first book in a new series I’m launching, connected to my scifi world of the Sectors, but with the action taking place elsewhere. I’m excited about writing an actual series with a specific overarching plotline, although of course each individual book has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine. No cliffhangers! Each book will focus on a different couple, but the primary characters in the series will be showing up in the story no matter who is front and center. It’s a bit different for me, so I’m hoping my readers will like it!

I thought I’d share a short excerpt from the book today.

The blurb:
Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.

Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway?  Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?

As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.

The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

The excerpt from the beginning of the book:

Why am I lying face down on the wet grass in the rain?

         Jill rolled over, putting a hand to her forehead in an attempt to quell a ferocious headache. Opening her eyes gingerly, she blinked at the vividly colored pink, purple and blue leaves on the tree above her, which certainly had never grown on Amarcae 7. She’d been all around her home colony on various repair jobs, and nothing there had riotous leaves in these colors, much less with spikes at the tips. As she watched, one of the leaves snapped into a tight roll to capture a slow moving insect.
         “Thank the Lords of Space I’m too big a bite.” Wary, nauseous, she sat up, swaying a bit, and examined her unfamiliar surroundings. She was in the midst of an old growth forest, with other forms of vegetation besides the carnivorous trees but nothing recognizable.
       A loud roar in the distance gave her the shivers, and she forced herself to stand, staggering a few feet to lean on a less colorful tree’s broad trunk to stay upright. Despite the rain, her mouth was dry, and she had a hard time swallowing. “What the seven hells?”
Her mind was curiously blank, no memory of how she’d gotten to this place, or what had happened in the last few hours. She guessed it might be late afternoon here, from the glimpse she got of the white sun above the horizon, before the clouds drifted in front of the orb again. She refused to contemplate the fact that the star providing heat and light to her colony was yellow. If the sun here was white hot, the reality of where she stood, lost in the galaxy, was terrifying.
                She remembered eating dinner in her small modular house on the edge of the colony, falling asleep watching an adventure trideo she’d seen a hundred times then…nothing.
                “And now I’m here.” She took a closer look at her left arm and did a double take. A black bracelet she’d never seen before was solid against her skin just above the wrist, with no visible hinge or fastening. As she gawked at it, prying at the edges in an increasingly desperate attempt to make the band move, flickers of red and yellow pulsed inside the cool, hard surface. The bracelet and what it might mean scared her more than the loss of short term memory or even the unknown sun above her.
                The roar came again, closer, and was answered by another. Something hunting me maybe?  Distracted from the ominous mystery of the bracelet, she was briefly tempted to try climbing the tree, but the lightheadedness persisted. Also, the smooth trunk didn’t offer anything in the way of handholds. She pushed off, realizing she was barefoot, wearing her short, pink-and-black nightgown, molded to her body by the rain. Lingerie was her secret luxury after a day spent in technician’s coveralls, but certainly not suited to this experience.
                Am I dreaming? She paused, gazing at the sky and pushing her damp hair off her face. The shower had tapered off and now the sun was shining but an ominous gray storm front was advancing. A bolt of lightning arced across the sky, and Jill broke into a zigzag run, forcing her body to respond to her terror. Standing anywhere close to a giant tree in a thunder storm was a recipe for disaster.
I’m in a nightmare, not a dream, but it’s all too real. In her headlong flight, she stepped on a rock or a sharp root and cried out, but she kept going as thunder boomed. She had to find either a stand of small trees surrounded by taller ones or a ravine. Of course, an actual shelter would be better than either of those make-do options but probably too much to hope for.
                Running full tilt, ignoring the pain from her foot, she suddenly slammed into an invisible barrier and bounced off, falling on her back. Cautiously she rose, extending her arms. The barrier was a tingling against her palms. She tried going right then left, but the wall ran for quite some distance in both directions. Being in an invisible cage was the most unsettling thing since she’d awakened, especially when coupled with the bracelet affixed to her arm.
                 A boom of thunder directly overhead startled her into motion, and she ran in a new direction, terrified of being struck by lightning. The rain lashed her face and barely-covered body, like stinging nettles, adding impetus to her desperation to find cover.
                The ground gave way under her feet. She teetered on the edge of the sinkhole or pit, but her precarious state of vertigo betrayed her. Screaming, she half slid, half fell into the deep hole, debris raining down with her.

Buy Links: 


Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog 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 was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”




Saturday, December 9, 2017

Escape to Willow Bend! #Shifters #Wolves #Series

As we wind the year to a close and I'm recovery from surgery, I wanted to spend some time looking back at the Wolves of Willow Bend.

In Wolf Bite, released in July 2014, Mason Clayborne heard the sound of a familiar woman being mugged—pursuing the sound he raced into an alleyway in Dallas in time to see Alexis Huston breaking the nose of her would be assailant. Coming face to face with his past dropped a pebble into the still waters, and those ripples would become a tidal wave.

The wave would gather force as the ripples spread out to include wolves like A.J., abandoned by his previous alpha and left to stew in a prison, and Owen, the senior Hunter whose love for a journeyman healer drove him to follow her to another pack when Hudson River needed her help.

Available now!

Mason’s relationships with other alphas like Brett and Serafina opened the door to new challenges and changes for more than only Willow Bend. With each subsequent novel, we journeyed to the five different packs and even met an alpha from Italy.

Each arc from Rise of the Alpha (books 1-3), Dawn of Three Rivers (book 4-6), Wolves of Change (Books 7-9) to Guardians of the Wolves (Books 10-12), has played a role in the evolution of a world which brings us to Ghost Wolf.



I can say any number of factors, events, and people inspired this novel. It covers a range of time from World War II to the present day. Each decade has a different flavor, a lingo, and rhythm to it that affected the point of in the tale blossoming. More, many of the events occurred during my lifetime and it was fun to look back at moments like needing a phone book to look up someone’s address.

Hello, no Internet!

More, at the heart of the story were two people who share a convoluted journey and a long history—it was a romance, which fired my imagination. I admit to loving all the books I’ve written, but Ghost Wolf is special—because it weaved so many threads together.


At the end of the day, each novel in the Wolves of Willow Bend adds to the overall mythology, but remains focused on the core couple and how their lives are changed by knowing each other. 

Looking for some great paranormal escape this month? Head over to Willow Bend for some small town romance with a bite!