Friday, March 31, 2017

What Ifs by Guest Donna Steele @steele_donna

Welcome, Donna Steele.

My go-to genre has always been science fiction/paranormal. The possibilities have fascinated me since I was a kid, because there are no limits. The what if’s are infinite. Adding a little romance only enhanced what I read when I was younger. Add to that the fact that my mother said girls don’t read sci fi and my fate was sealed.

One of the things that always stood out for me was the caution that in changing a time-line, possible negatives could manifest in the future. I’ve read Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and loved it since I was “there” for that trauma. I’ve also read science fiction about such changes as assassinating Hitler earlier than his suicide. While I accept that changing the time-line could cause a major upheaval, does it always have to be a negative? Couldn’t a few small negatives be okay for the overall good that could come from change?

That brought me to Another Time. The premise, that someone could go back in time and possibly change the future for the better, drew me in. I’m a global warming warrior in my small way. I’ve been recycling since 1975 when it first became possible in my town (we took our newspapers to the fire departments for recycle back then – only newspaper – we’ve come a long way), our current recycling bin at home (the city now picks it up!) always has more in it for pickup than the trash, and hubby and I both drive hybrids. But what if these practices had started earlier, a lot earlier? What if the oil industry had never become so powerful? What if plastic bottles had always been made from recyclable materials rather than oil? What if clean energy from the sun and wind had been the norm from the beginning?

So I ran with it. What if . . . an engineer who dappled in green energy and a doctor who specialized in trauma medicine were thrust back into the past through no fault of their own? What if they were practically strangers to one another, but with only one another to rely on?

Researching what was available in 1891 became a passion, especially the medical research. So much has been accomplished in this area due to NASA and other agencies, and more is being done every day. But back then small town doctors had to learn by experience and trial and error. Even though my heroine knows a lot of treatments and potential cures, the materials she needs just aren’t there. What if . . .

Like my heroine, I’ve become accustomed to having Google at my fingertips. Which wasn’t always a good thing. I got caught up more than once in my research and forgot to write. One that surprised me was my interest in the zipper. I highly recommend you Wiki that some day you don’t have deadlines and need a time suck – LOL! Or maybe I was in a major mood to procrastinate that day (which is entirely possible).
    
 I also have a couple of doctors in my family – a surgeon and a pediatrician – who always answer questions in words of one syllable, which helped immensely. A book like this has to be researched. People who love time travel know more than any team of researchers because they love the genre and will go after any error with fervor. That means you have to be as accurate as possible.

On the other side, the family is also full of engineers—you can only imagine the talk around the Thanksgiving table some years. While I never hit up the engineers on time travel, I have engaged them on green energy a few times.



The book that resulted from all of this, Another Time was a fun write. Here’s a snippet to show you -

Blurb –
There is no time travel. Dr. Dustin Williams is a physicist and works with NASA and other companies. If time travel worked, he would know.

Dr. Deanna Stevens is a trauma specialist who gave no credence to science fiction such as time travel or flux capacitors.

But when they are drawn to one another by an unknown force and have to face the reality that they're in this alone, they have to rethink their strongly held beliefs, and rely on each other in ways neither could imagine.


Excerpt –
For the first time all day, Dee relaxed. None of this made sense. When she had left the ER for the evening, she’d been numb. She couldn’t even remember how she’d gotten to the bar. She’d walked away from the hospital, too exhausted to think. Now, out to dinner with a complete stranger, thoughts of attractive serial killers came to mind but drifted away as she watched Dusty.
He was attractive, not to mention tall and well built. If this had been planned, she might have worn heels. She certainly wasn’t dressed for a date. With a jolt Dee realized she hadn’t even changed her footwear when leaving the ER. Tiny flecks of blood decorated her work shoes. He hadn’t noticed so she pushed it aside.
For some reason Dusty’s presence lightened her mood. Maybe the fact he hadn’t turned away when she started to leave. The gloom of the day had dissipated as soon as he walked toward her and that weird buzzing started.
She eyed him discreetly, noting how his dark chestnut hair flopped over his broad forehead, nearly to those hazel eyes. The style suited him, though longer than she would have considered appropriate for meeting clients. Those short curls over his collar, so full and soft, and . . .
Okay, where the hell had that come from?
Get a grip, Dee.




About Donna Steele:

Donna writes science fiction, paranormal and small town romances about women coming into their strength and having the courage to find and accept love.

Now that she has retired from going into an office every day, she created an office at home and writes full time. Talk about living the dream!

She was the girl at the party who was yearning for the quiet corner and a book to read (go Rory Gilmore!), and has been writing in her head since she learned to read. Getting those stories down on paper (or in her laptop) has been more fun than she ever imagined it could be.

The possibilities of science fiction have always drawn her and she's read them all, there just needed to be a little more romance in them. She finally got up the courage to write them herself and is delighted to be able to share these stories with you.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA and the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. She can be reached at





Thursday, March 30, 2017

Writing Speculative Romance



I write in different worlds, sometimes scifi, sometimes fantasy or paranormal. While the subgenres are different in the bookstore, to the writing me, they are all part of the same writing process.

Sometimes you hear about authors who start writing a nice contemporary romance and all of a sudden their characters are stumbling over dead bodies. They end up writing a romantic suspense.

I'm kind of like that. My settings tend to morph into something not at all Earthlike--a water world planet with dome cities, or a fantasy Northpole cabin in the woods, or a cozy tree root home, or a nearly deserted space station. 


I have written a couple stories set in a bar in modern day southern California, but then my characters morphed into otherworldly beings--a white tiger shifter and his love interest who sees ghosts and turns into a yeti shifter, or the half human daughter of an ancient god.

I have tried to write a straight contemporary romance story before, but no matter what I do, either Sci-fi, fantasy or paranormal elements seep in there. 


I am, at heart, a speculative romance writer. I feel very fortunate that I am writing in the ebook age, when readers will take chances on unusual speculative elements. 

Sometimes I am asked where my ideas come from, and I am not sure. I'm one of those global-abstract type thinkers and I read a lot. I like paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi tv and movies, also. I have three young adult kids who keep life interesting. My mind is like Jiffy pop, a million things happening at once and then it's done. 

Often the best ideas come to me when my hands are busy with a visual task that takes no thought, like washing dishes by hand, crocheting a known pattern or folding clothes. My solution for writer's block--read a good book or two and clean house.

I like to write stories of good and decent people in extraordinary circumstances-- people who don't deserve to be stranded in space, or born with the need to suck the soul life from others to live. People who want to be loved but haven't found that special someone yet. 

My April release is a short story fantasy romance, Orc in Winter, with an Orc hero, a young widow with a baby, and magic! Firmly in the speculative camp!
~ Melisse Aires

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

When the Idea Comes Alive by @MeganSlayer #ideas #writers #PNR

Sometimes I wonder what the next story will be. I know that sounds crazy. Aren't authors supposed to have characters talking all of the time? Usually, that's correct. Most often, I can't keep a notebook close enough of a pen full because I'm scrawling information down. I can see a music video or a sequence at the store and an idea shows up. It's fun. 

But every so often, I'm in a lull. No one's talking and nothing's happening. I call it my time to recharge my brain. Hey, sometimes I need to. 

So while I was sitting here trying to decide what to write about and being mildly puzzled... I had an idea. Actually, I'd been thinking about my local library. I was given the opportunity to write a short piece about why I love my library. Now you're probably wondering why I mentioned the library. Simple. The library and this post (Yep, this one) inspired me. 

I used to love going to my local library (a bigger one than the one where I live now) and wondered what would happen if the furniture came to life. What if the paintings could talk or the books could, too? What would it be like to be in that world. Kind of a cross between Beauty and the Beast and Alice in Wonderland. When you walk in, you don't know who the librarians will be that day or what the books will tell you. It's a mystery! Could be Alexander the Great talking about his conquests while the statue of birds flies around the rafters.  I don't know about you, but I'm certainly putting this idea on the back burner and letting it simmer a while. 

What about you? Have you ever had a whiz-banger of an idea? Or one that won't leave you alone? I'd love to know. You don't have to disclose the idea, but maybe the how and why. :-)

Want to know more about Never Give You Up or the other Battle Scarred books? Here you go!


Never Give You Up by Megan Slayer  Battle Scarred, Book 5
Loose Id
Contemporary, Paranormal
Novella
M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Cover art by Mina Carter

 Through time, distance and confusion, we will always find each other.

Galen Collins knows who he loves, but the vampire of his dreams, Anders Von, isn’t interested. What’s a vampire to do when he’s been rejected? Go to the clubs for sex. He’ll get Anders out of his mind one way or another. But there’s something wicked on the horizon in the form of a virus meant to wipe out supernatural beings. Forces who hardly know Galen are out to keep him and Anders apart. Will he allow the demons to win, or will he chase Anders to the ends of the earth?

Anders has always had a crush on Galen, but things never worked out right time-wise. Galen is the one vampire to make his emotional heart race. He wants to strip Galen to his core and explore every inch of him. Will Anders take the chance to be with Galen and discover how well they fit together or will the virus take Galen before Anders makes his move?



Megan Slayer - It's Always Fun to Squirm

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Monday, March 27, 2017

My Boss Makes a Great Serial Killer: Write Real People into Your Novel Without Getting Sued by L. A. Kelley

Standard writing advice is to write what you know, but the new novel in your head screams out for an arrogant protagonist; a self-absorbed manscaper with a short temper and a roving eye. The perfect model just so happens to walk, talk, and look like your boss. Can you kill him with literary abandon? If you do, will you get sued? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t? When diving through murky legal waters, the first things you need to know are the definition of defamation and invasion of privacy.

Defamation of Character
Defamation means you gave someone’s character a severe black eye. Calling a person a butthead in print isn’t enough for defamation. It’s merely an insult, and, well, sticks and stones can’t break bones or get you sued. Any accusations must be blatantly untrue and the writer must act with obvious malice. An important point to note is a defamatory statement contains specific details. The person in question must be easily identifiable so that a reasonable individual can draw a connection between the literary creation and the real thing.  Inventing a character with the same personality as your boss is fine. Giving him the same physical appearance, quirks, nickname, weird birthmark, shoe size, home address, and then calling him a probable serial killer, possible arsonist, and likely body snatcher is a no-no. The court may take a dim view even if you make it clear this is only your impression. It’s like yelling  “Fire!” in a crowded theater.  If people get trampled in the stampede for the exit you can’t shrug it off and say, “The fire was only my opinion.”

Invasion of Privacy
Invasion of privacy makes a writer sound like a Peeping Tom, but all it means is that facts have been revealed that are “not related to public concern.” In this day of show-all/tell-all this one rarely makes it to the courts, and most legal cases are in connection with memoirs or biographies. Interestingly enough, the courts generally accept a legitimate public interest exists simply because a publisher elected to publish a book. If Simon and Shuster says it’s in the public interest to read this thing, then dang it, it is. Spilling the beans in your biography that Aunt Maude ran a Ponzi scheme will more likely net a public service award than a summons. Telling everyone how your cousin, Henry, started life as Henrietta might get you booted from family reunions, but not sued. (And wouldn’t it make a dandy Lifetime movie.) However, revealing the local high school principal has sealed juvenile arrests for prostitution and drug convictions is another matter. The information has nothing to do with the stellar law-abiding citizen she is today and could irreparably harm her career and ability to earn a living.  

How often do authors get sued? Not much, and most cases involve writers who aren’t self-published. The legal precedent on self-publishing is murky since no independent third party publishing house designated your book as a legitimate public interest prior to publication. Therefore, public interest may be more difficult to prove in an invasion of privacy lawsuit. On the plus side, most self-published authors aren’t famous. The odds are your boss will never draw the connection.

Until the courts come down one way or the other, here’s a few tips to keep out of the big house and that tasteful orange jumpsuit.
  • Disguise characters. Changing physical descriptions isn’t enough if the person’s identity it still blatantly obvious to everyone in the community. Show, don’t tell.

  • Use parody and satire. No one ever sued Saturday Night Live, and have you seen what’s on the internet? They even use real names. Insult is not legal grounds for a lawsuit.

  • Get signed releases.  This includes business owners if their companies feature prominently in your story. This is surprisingly easy as most people are thrilled to be in a book. I had several elderly church-going relatives vigorously campaign to have me use their name for a dead prostitute. Auntie Loretta won.

  • If you’re writing a memoir or autobiography don’t forget people remember things differently. A few kind words at the beginning of a book about how this is your impression of events might do a lot to assuage hurt feelings and keep legal trouble at bay.





Rimrider only $0.99
L. A. Kelley writes scify/fantasy adventure stories with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She hopes one day to be successful enough to sue for defamation of character. 


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Characters: Are They Real?

I’ve been asked, “Do your characters become real to you when you’re writing?”

Absolutely!

When I’m writing a story my characters develop a life of their own. Their voices are inside my head, wanting to say, this, or that. Even when I’ve walked away from my computer they keep talking to me. 

When I talked to my husband about my books I forget that I’m not talking about real people.
For example, in my first book, Immortal Love, my husband would come home, and I said, “Guess what happened today?”

“What?” he asked.

“Dominick saw Eleanor’s mother’s ghost when a log fell on Eleanor in the rain,” I said in rapid fire.  And a few days later, “Eleanor finally said, I love you to Dominick after he came out of that burning building.”

“Really,” he said, and then gave me that look.  You know what look I’m talking about, the, Do I need to call the doctor about this?

In my second book, Powers of the Heart, I told my husband, “Kiera healed Ian’s leg after he got kicked by a horse.

“Who’s Ian?”

He’s Erik’s brother-in-law,” I said, like he should already know this.

He nodded his head patiently. 

A week later I said, “Kiera just healed Erik’s aunt after she got stabbed in the stables. Now everyone knows she’s a healer.”

He calmly replied, “Did you take your meds today?”

In Destiny’s Promise, I finished a chapter and turned to him, “Randolf created a lightning storm in Disa’s room after he found out she was making Carina sick.”

Being a fan of the fantasy genre his interested was peaked. He no longer treated me like a crazy lady. He would come home and ask, “What are Randolf and Carina up to today?” and “What evil conjuring is Disa up to?” 

When it came to editing he became as invested as I was in my characters and helped me develop them even more.

At the start of each novel I would write a profile of each character, and not only their appearance and moral code but I would also ask, “What are his, or her goals? What is their motivation? How does it fit into the plot?” This works whether I’m plotting, or pantzing

When I use these character profiles while plotting they can sometimes derail my story and send me in another direction, some have worked, and some I have to reign in to get to where I planned to go. 
While I’m in pantzer mode, my characters take me on a journey, developing the plot as I go along.

For me, it’s important to be as invested in the characters as much as the plot. They helped my story move forward. As my characters evolve, my plot became deeper, and richer and they took me where I hadn’t planned.

At the end of each book I come back to reality, happy that my characters have reached their goals and moved on. Like my children, I watched them grow and setting them free.

OK, yes I’m a little bit crazy, but don’t authors have to be from time to time?


Now I have to ask, do your characters talk to you?

My first book, Immortal Love, just came out in audio. With summer vacations coming up and when your traveling you may want to listen to something other than the radio. 

You can find it on Amazon, audible, and itunes. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rhythm of the Night: Creating a Playlist

by Nancy Gideon

I'm often asked if I write while listening to music. The answer, no. But that said, music is an integral part of my writing process. Each book has its own rhythm, its own beat that throbs like the heart of each character. The minute I start imagining scenes, a soundtrack starts to develop based on the backgrounds and emotions I intend to develop and refine. Those levels of conflict, of heat or social strata trickle down into a tempo that threads through the chapters, influencing what's playing in my 6-disk changer as I drive to work thinking up dialog or pull off iTunes.

My "House of Terriot" shape-shifter series has a rough and rocky backbeat driving my bad boy princes. Cale, their new king's is hard and heavy (Imagine drivers in the next car glancing over to see this old gal head banging to German metal and Rob Zombie!). Turow, the quiet, dutiful brother in PRINCE OF HONOR is a mellow 60's kind of guy, Colin, the heartbreaker in PRINCE OF POWER, my new release, is lost in the '70s and '80s of classic rock, and hot-headed Rico, in PRINCE OF FOOLS, my W-I-P is hip-hop. What's left for Kip, in PRINCE OF DREAMS? Show tunes?

Beyond the type of tunes, there's the message that resonates in the heart and soul of what the characters are dealing with, past, present and potential future, lyrics that speak of their personal journey, longings and fears. That "take a knife all edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley through the middle of my soul" The Boss sings about. These are universal melodies that bridge classifications from Pop to Soul.

Putting together a playlist is like laying out the plotline of the book, with arcs and dark valleys, sweet dreams and fierce dramas. Colin and Mia's journey in PRINCE OF POWER comes with a wealth of my old rock favorites that I used to spin on the stereo when I had big hair, mixed with modern hits plucked from Sirius Satellite that speak of his demons and desires, of the volatile love triangle between an enemy and two brothers, and the fragile nature of love. Take the playlist for a spin and feel the heartbeat of the story.





Obsessed with an enemy - the only female to ever walk away from him . . .

Colin . . . Prince in the House of Terriot

Brawny, cynical negotiator for his clan, Colin Terriot sees a move to New Orleans as an escape from a painful past and his reputation as a legendary lover. What he didn't expect was to fall hard for a rival spy, the female who tricked and betrayed him by leaving his bed for his brother's. Now, he now must work with her, up close and personal, as the envoy for her clan. Things are about to heat up.

Determined to have him - even if having him means losing all . . .

Mia . . . Strong-willed Guedry heir

Denied her rightful legacy, Mia Guedry plans to stake her claim over the bodies of those who killed her family. But best laid plans fall before her desire for the one male she can't resist, the one who will never trust her once burned by her necessary deceptions. Saving her Terriot prince from plans already in motion may cost more than her inheritance . . . the price could be her life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Get ready for fifty shades of tall, dark and deliciously dangerous with Colin Terriot, the hottest shifter yet! Five Stars!” – Book Bling

“Hold onto your heart (& your panties, ladies!) . . . the Terriot princes are back! Things are heating up in New Orleans in this powerful story of obsession, betrayal and revenge. Intricately woven plot lines and complex characters carry PRINCE OF POWER to a block buster revelation in another Page Burning Must Read! Five Hearts!” – Cross My Heart Reviews

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What's on your current playlist?

Happy listening and happy reading!

Nancy Gideon on the Web



Friday, March 24, 2017

Sedona Sacred Earth






Like the scene outside the Mars rover, Sedona, Arizona is a mystical landscape of dusty red rocks and towering boulders, strewn in haphazard formations like a giant Martian toddler's abandoned building blocks.

The land here has some serious vibe. I'm not surprised that the Navajo, Yavapai and Hopi recognized the energy and spiritual power of Sedona's vortexes. They came here for thousands of years to pray, seek guidance and alignment for their people, through vision quests, ceremony and ritual. But they never lived in this red rock country. It was considered sacred.

So, what is a vortex? It's swirling energy. Hurricanes, tornadoes and cyclones are examples of vortexes.

In Sedona, the vortexes are natural geomagnetic points that create a swirling energy center radiating from the earth's surface. A place in nature where the earth is exceptionally alive with energy.

Some clues you notice when coming upon a vortex include tingling in the hands, or a buzzing throughout your body. You may heat up, feel a rush of energy, or a shift in consciousness or perception.

Often, the land around a vortex will be unearthly beautiful, and trees may show twisting trunks and branches, spiraling in the energy field. 

There are fifteen vortex sites within a ten mile radius of Sedona. The rock formations are composed of ferrous oxide mixed with sandstone and basalt, giving the Sedona landscape its rich red color. The earth here also has an unusually high iron content. The summer lightning storms awe-inspiring.

Most of the area was once an ancient seabed with subsurface volcanoes. When the volcanoes erupted, molten magma forced its way into cracks of the sandstone. Over time, the softer rock wore away, leaving spires called volcanic intrusions.
 For centuries these giant monoliths have served as natural shrines for prayer, meditation and connection with Great Spirit, Creator, or what some term God.

I feature one of the most well-known vortexes, Cathedral Rock, in my paranormal novel, Song of the Ancients.

Excerpt:

       I pulled a brochure out of my bag, brandished my latte toward the red mountain in front of us, and lectured in my best peppy, tour-guide voice. "According to local lore, Cathedral Rock is one of five major vortexes in Sedona. Each site has its own personality. Some radiate male, yang energies, active and energizing. Others are female, calming and tranquil yin."

I studied Cathedral Rock. This one was definitely male. It looked like a larger rock wall had been blasted apart, leaving vaguely phallic slivers of rock jutting through the center.

Rumor pointed to a flat spot between two spires. "Up there is where we're going. It's steep but only about two miles round trip."

I turned to Rumor. "Kamaria says it has magical energy. What do you think?"

"She's not the only one who feels the area is unusual," Rumor said. "The Native people think those rock spires work like satellite antenna, connecting to one of those mountains out in the middle of the valley called Vision Butte. Tribal medicine men have used the site for hundreds of years for vision quests and ceremonies. Cathedral is state land, but Vision Butte was decreed sacred. No non-Native visitors."

"Do you know which one is Vision Butte?"

Rumor shrugged. "No idea. It's not on any of the maps."

Ignoring the burning muscles in my thighs, I climbed to the top and stopped, panting. "Wow."
The overlook was like a wide sidewalk, with steep drops on each side. The view was jaw-dropping in both directions.

We walked to the edge and sat down, dangling our legs over the side. The breeze came up the ledge from the desert below, lifting my damp shirt away from my sweaty skin. I sighed and raised my arms over my head, stretching out my shoulders.

 The place slipped into me, a shimmering wind I drew in with each breath. It wasn't just the view, or the breeze; there was a vibration in the air, not quite audible, like a dog whistle barely above hearing range. I closed my eyes and listened.

I didn't know how long I sat, feeling the wind whoosh up my legs from the valley floor far below. At some point, the vibration increased, and I could hear words, in a simple melody:
"Wakan, wakan, every creature,
Wakan, wakan, every rock.
Tuku Skanskan, the time surrounds you.
From sacred earth we send our voices.
Wachin ksapa yo! Be attentive!"

I reached for Rumor, to ask if she heard it, but she was gone. I jerked my eyes open and looked around.

Rumor was standing, eyes closed and arms outstretched in a "V" over her head, oblivious to the precipice beyond her. The wind spiraled around her head, swirling the dark strands of her long hair across her face.

 I stood up slowly and tiptoed over to her, took her hand and pulled her gently away from the edge.

"Oh." She made a little, surprised sound, like she'd forgotten I was there. Then she crossed her ankles and sunk to the ground. 
"Wakan tanka, we watch the Earth.
To Man below, we send our voices.
Wakan, wakan, every creature,
Wakan, wakan, every rock."

The song rode the wind, ebbing and fading until it was no more, swallowed by the air currents from the valley floor below.
 ---------

Each book in my four-book series will be set in a different sacred site around the world. This summer I'm traveling to England, Scotland and Wales to finish research Book 2 of the Ancient Magic series, set in the magical standing stones of Great Britain. Book 3 is set in Hawaii and features the Goddess Pele, goddess of fire and volcanos. The final book will take place in Alaska and Newfoundland, and will trace the history of the ancient land bridge between the continents.

Have you ever visited a physical site where you felt an innate, unexplainable boost of power?  Was it positive or negative? Was it male yang, active and energizing? Or female yin, calming and tranquil? Did the land speak to you, and if so, what did it tell you?  Please share your experiences, I love to learn about unusual power sites.


Sandy Wright resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, her college student son, a rescued Australian Shepherd named Teak, and two twenty-pound domesticated black panther cats. She fell in love with the southwest desert, including its Native American influences, when she relocated from the Midwest.

Song of the Ancients, the first novel in the Ancient Magic paranormal suspense series, introduces readers to witchcraft and shamanism, seen through the eyes of an ordinary woman.

Readers interested in witchcraft—or just a dark, spooky tale—will enjoy this paranormal suspense, written by a real-life Wiccan High Priestess.

Song of the Ancients was published in May 2015 and is available on Amazon.

Visit Sandy at www.writersandy.com. For additional articles and short stories, see www.readerlicious.com and www.desertmuses.com.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Paranormal Romantics: Steaming Up the Windows, by Francesca Quarto

Paranormal Romantics: Steaming Up the Windows, by Francesca Quarto

Steaming Up the Windows, by Francesca Quarto

The windows were fogged over with the moisture of their heavy panting.  She could no longer see out into the darkness and felt a tingle of claustrophobia unless she shut her eyes.  
It was close in the car, already overstuffed with his backpack, sleeping bag, books and whatever else he deemed too important to leave in his apartment.  After dating him for a few months, she was getting used to his rather eccentric behavior. 

She accused him once of living in the tiny electric car.  He purchased it at the beginning of their freshman year at Community, when they met. He blew off her comment about the cost, saying it was his "duty to try to heal the "Great Madonna"; whatever that meant.

He was always making statements that sounded like they'd been lifted off an ad for donations to Green Peace.  She admired his dedication to an altruistic cause, but had lingering doubts about its sincerity.  Reflecting on all the money he paid for the tiny, non-environment harming vehicle, she couldn't help but factor in how that amount could have paid for her next two semesters and more.

She began to get a little drowsy with all the closeness of the car and the way he was nearly absorbing her with his body.  He'd pressed her back against her seat, scooting over the gear shift.  He wrapped his arms on either side of her head, supporting himself as he kissed her deeply.  She pushed him back so she could catch her breath. He smiled down at her, their faces only inches apart.  

Suddenly, he was hungrily devouring her slightly parted lips, his tongue probing her mouth. Without warning he thrust two fingers where his tongue had been, running them along her teeth and the soft tissue at the roof of her mouth.  It was nauseating to her and exciting beyond reason.

He withdrew his wet fingers and began sucking them like lollipops. She watched fascinated, still in shock from this new sexual experience.
She couldn't move if she wanted.  He had both of her arms in his strong hands and held them down to her side.  Her feeling of claustrophobia was replaced now by a new feeling; fear.
His smile never faltered as the long incisors peeked through his sensual lips. He could clearly read the alarm in the blue depths of her wide eyes.

He leaned back toward her now, his tongue running down the soft skin of her cheek and curving around the slim stem of her neck.

The last thing she heard him say would be the last thing she'd hear anyone say.
"Delicious and I'm so hungry!"


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Building a Sanctuary by Guest Beth Caudill


Building a Sanctuary


            Everyone dreams of a place they can feel safe and protected. A private nook where they can be themselves. Where wishes and dreams are built. A sanctuary.

Merriam Webster defines sanctuary as:

2.         a (1) :  a place of refuge and protection (2) :  a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal
b :  the immunity from law attached to a sanctuary


            In Tethered, my first Zodiac Shifters novella, I created the town of Willows Haven. A sanctuary for all the magical creatures inhabiting on East Coast which is protected from humans and anyone with intent to harm.

            The town butts against the imaginary Gracelynne Shroud State Park with its large lake. Along the water’s edge, five willow trees along with their guardians provide the power for the protection spell that keeps away those with malicious intent from the town. 

            I adapted this from my own sanctuary. The neighborhood I live in is next to a city park. It’s a great place to walk, let the kids play or take in nature.  I wanted my paranormal characters in Willows Haven to have the same experience. Only on a larger scale, including a bubble of protection that I can’t wrap my kids in.

            Aside from the lake, another attraction of the town will be the Cherries and Berries Diner. I wanted something like the old 1950s diners, but a lot of the interior inspiration came from the Normal Diner which I found in an online search. Situated in one of the downtown buildings, everyone stops by the Cherries and Berries diner at some point for some great food, gossip and pie or cobbler.

            Nothing makes you feel safer than being surrounded by food and friends.

           
Blurb

Evelyn Brooks lives with the freedom only her kind can know—in her human form as a photographer, and in the skies as a falcon. When a stalker drives her from her home, Evelyn discovers a beautiful, wild sanctuary in North Carolina. After a bolt of magic knocks her from the sky, leaving her helpless, she realizes too late that danger invaded her refuge.

Park ranger Lawke Morgan’s day goes from bad to worse when his ex-wife unexpectedly drops off their 13-year-old daughter in the beginning of a dangerous storm. His life takes a turn for the bizarre after he finds an injured Peregrine falcon that transforms into a lovely woman. 

When his daughter is kidnapped by an Aztec priest, one who should have been dead for centuries, Lawke learns that Evelyn holds the key to the priest’s demands. Together they must confront blood sacrifices, defy ancient gods and find a way to trust each other when a young girl’s life hangs in the balance. 

Can a woman used to soaring amongst the clouds embrace love with a man firmly rooted on the ground?


Excerpt

Willows Haven appeared to be a typical small town. There were residential streets intermixed with strip malls and a large shopping area near the highway. Even the downtown section had been revitalized with eateries, businesses, and professional offices. Like the local newspaper.
Several willow trees grew along the edge of a deep lake on the north side of town. They must have been the inspiration for the town name. Although that didn’t explain the businesses use of nature-themed titles. Someone must have an earthly sense of humor.
Lawke escorted Evelyn into the Cherries and Berries Diner. It occupied a large storefront on Main Street. They stood between the checkout counter and a large refrigerated pie case while waiting to be seated. A modest décor consisted of dark wood booths along the street-side windows and near the kitchen a beige countertop was lined with bright silver cushioned stools. The walls held paintings of different types of fruit trees.
“You can sit anywhere. I’ll be with you in a minute,” an older redheaded woman in a mint green uniform told them as she walked by carrying a tray filled with steak, eggs, and waffles.
He slid into the end booth where he could keep an eye on the door and anyone walking around the side, near the restrooms. Evelyn sat across from him and slid him a menu. They offered an eclectic selection of sandwiches, dinner platters, and breakfast entrees. Desserts, mostly pies and cobblers, covered the entire back page.
“What can I get you, sweetie?” the waitress asked, tapping a pen on her pad.
“I’ll try the strawberry French toast.”
Lawke shook his head at Evelyn’s sweet tooth. “I’ll have an omelet with mushrooms, onions, ham, and cheese with a side of fried potatoes.”
“Any coffee?”
Evelyn flipped through the menu. “I’d like a glass of apple juice.”
“I’ll just have sweet tea.”
The waitress nodded. “Be back with your drinks shortly.” She walked away.
Lawke glanced out the window at the empty street. Even for a Sunday, downtown appeared eerily deserted. Except for the bike parked in the lot next to the brick building across the street. Which happened to contain the offices for When the Tree Falls, the local newspaper.
“Why three days?”
He didn’t want to think about having to break the law, but he couldn’t pretend he didn’t understand her question, either. “It’s long enough to observe any patterns in the brothers’ lives while still being short enough that the priest shouldn’t kill Zoe.”
On the counter, a portable TV showed the projected path for the tropical depression. At least the storm was weakening, although they’d still have the potential for flooding.

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Bio
Although Beth grew up in West Virginia, she currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who makes an excellent lap warmer. Blending the analytical and creative sides of her brain, she delights in creating fantasy worlds for others. Catch her online most days except when NCIS and Once Upon a Time air.

Author Website: http://BethCaudill.net/
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Author Email: beth@bethcaudill.net




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Science Fiction in Your Head by Guest Saharra K. Sandhu


What’s it like to have science fiction rolling around in your head?

I have been asked over the years why I chose to write in the science fiction genre. The answer is simple, there is so much versatility and I am only limited by my imagination. Of course once I chose science fiction, the next question is subject matter. Science fiction has a broad range from fantasy to faery to paranormal and everything in between. My favorite is paranormal romance. Basically, people who have other powers but have to fit in with ‘humans’ in order to live. As a budding writer I was advised to write what I like and this is how I came up with my paranormal series.
Of course the next thing to decide was their powers and the conflict  (And still keep it original). When I looked at all of the material out there, I saw a lot of the same themes; vampires, witches, gods and demi gods most of them from the Greek pantheon. A little research and a LOT of reading later, I decided on using stories and folklore from different countries. Now this opened my universe wide open!
One more thing, I am scientist and I love Earth science. I decided to add in a pinch of science fact to the stories. For instance, did you know there is a place on Earth called the Eye of the Sahara? Google Earth the name and take a look. It really does look like someone carved a gigantic eye in the desert sands of the Sahara. I wove a story around this site and get a kick when people tell me I have a wild imagination. I nod, smile and tell them you have no idea!
There are so many natural phenomena in our world and I believe there is a story to tell for all of them. Anything is fair game and I troll around constantly for odd factoids about the world around us. When you have science fiction rolling around in your head, a simple cloud formation could turn into an alien invasion…or better yet a love story.

Blurb:

Astronaut Sarai Mathews knows the end is near when a giant wave rolls in and pulls her from the beach weeks before her space launch.  But something strange happens: she doesn’t die. Instead, she grows gills and breathes underwater.  While in the depths, she meets a man named Jon Luc. According to him, they’re both children of Yemalla, an ancient African queen of the sea. They are half human, half Earth spirit and she is a descendant from their missing children who were lost in slavery. Now, with Jon Luc’s help, she must solve the mystery of her heritage because someone is after her and they are determined to stop her from reaching orbit!

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ibook

Good reads


 About the Author:
Saharra K. Sandhu is a mad scientist during the day and a romance writer at night. Great combination! She has traveled throughout South America and the Caribbean collecting folklore and Afro-Caribbean stories. With her library full of material, she set out to weave tales based on these treasured finds. Thus, the half sea spirits, half human Gaiian (sounds like Hawaiian) people were born. Her debut novel Daughter Of The Missing is a finalist in the Harlem Book Fair Wheatley Book Awards and a winner of the Beverly Hills Book Awards for African American Literature. The sequel Fire In Ice (Due out February 2017) placed second in the Valley Of The Sun Hot Prospects Contest. She currently resides in the South West with her husband, two children and pet dog named Derby. To learn more, please visit her Web Site at www.saharraksandhu.com.

Twitter: @Saharra_k
Pinterest: @saharrasandhu
Instagram: SKSandhu

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