Sunday, June 30, 2019

Lea Kirk is AWOL this month

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m "trapped" at scout camp with our troops** on Catalina Island being forced to sit out in the sun, listen to the waves, and <gasp!> snorkel! No need to send help.

But, I will not leave you empty handed this month, so do not despair! I’m part of a special promo featuring free ebooks in all sorts of fabulous flavors, from SFR to Contemporary to PNR and more! And all of them are freeBe aware that this offer ends tonight, June 30, 2019!

May you find books galore to fill up your summer. I will be back on July 30th with my regularly scheduled post!

~Lea Kirk





**Yes, troops, plural. We have a boy troop and a girl troop…at least until such time as BSA National figures out what we all already know—separate-but-equal doesn't work—and they finally integrate all the kids into one troop. Just like in real life. And what every other country with boy scouts has already done.... Okay, okay, I'm shutting up now. ~LK


~*~*~*~*~*~

USA Today Bestselling Author, Lea Kirk, loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her sci-fi romances. When she’s not busy writing about the blue and green aliens of her Prophecy series, or reading about dragons, she’s hanging out with her hubby, five kids (the nerd herd), and spoiled Dobie mix puppy.

She is currently working on two short stories and the fourth book in her series.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Soft Granite by @MeganSlayer #gay #gayromance #PNR #romance #paranormal




Soft Granite by Megan Slayer
Contemporary Paranormal Gay Romance
From Evernight Publishing

Celestial Mates, 5
What happens when the curse goes wrong, but the outcome is all right?


Ryan Rourke wasn’t looking for love when he sat at the foot of the statue, Michael Emerging. The inanimate object listens and he could swear there’s someone beneath the granite. One night he gives into his desire and kisses the statue. It won’t hurt anything, right? It’s just a granite statue—except there’s a soul in the cold rock.

Indio fell in love with Ryan the moment the shy college junior spoke to him the first time. The tenderness, warmth, and sense of humor were everything Indio wanted—if he weren’t trapped in granite. The attraction is stronger than he ever thought possible. Can Ryan’s kiss free him forever? Or will the power of Zeus and the majesty of the curse be too much to overcome? If Indio has his way, he will get his man.

Available wherever ebooks are sold!

Excerpt: 
Ryan followed Indio into the building. He couldn’t wrap his mind around what had happened. Indio was real. He glanced back at the empty platform. He’d seen Indio walk off the stone slab and his skin turn from harsh gray to pale peach. If Ryan believed what he’d seen, then the curse story was possible.
He walked into the first life drawing room. Indio darted ahead and snagged one of the robes the models wore between stints posing nude.
Although he should be on his guard, Ryan swept his gaze over Indio’s nude form. For a man who’d spent time in stone, he was still toned. A bit pale, but if he’d been out of the sun, he would be pasty. His inky black hair curled over his forehead. When he glanced back at Ryan, his icy blue eyes sparkled. He strode with purpose, but not swagger. His velvety voice slid down Ryan’s spine and Ryan longed to grab his tight ass. Ryan wanted to gawk at Indio’s package, but also didn’t want to look too eager.
Indio covered his nudity in a robe. “Where do you want to start? I’ll explain everything.”
“I’d like to start by undressing you and licking my way all over your body,” Ryan blurted. Shit. He’d said that out loud.
“For a man who seemed afraid of me, you’re forward. I like it.” Indio sat on one of the drawing benches. “When I convince you I’m real, we will kiss again. You’re a good kisser.”
Convince? He could see a real man who’d stepped out of a statue. There was no need to prove what he’d seen. Still, he should apologize for what he’d said. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that out loud.”
“I don’t mind. I want to kiss and explore you, too.” Indio grinned. “I’ve learned if I want someone, I need to be honest and go for him.”
“You want me? Or someone else?” He needed to stop talking.
“I do.”


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Road Trip! Sci-Fi and Fantasy Movie Locations to Visit by L. A. Kelley


Summer is here and that means road trips. Turn off the TV, plug in coordinates to the GPS and visit real movie locations. You don’t have to settle for California. Many movies were shot in areas nowhere near La La Land and open to the public. We all know about the beauty of New Zealand thanks to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit movies. If you have the bucks you can actually can pop into Hobbiton and many of the places where the movies were filmed. On a tighter budget? There are plenty closer to stateside to choose from and they’re not exactly what or where you’d expect.

Ghostbusters Headquarters
The building is actually Hook & Ladder Company #8, a fully working and operational New York Fire Department firehouse at 14 North Moore Street in TriBeCa. Exteriors were shot in New York City and interiors in Los Angeles, Fire Station #23, 225 E. 5th Street. It was decommissioned in 1960 and is now a Historic Cultural Monument for Los Angeles.

Robocop
This one might blow your mind. Although the movie supposedly takes place in future Detroit, the downtown area is actually a mash-up of Pittsburgh and Dallas. OCP corporate headquarters is Dallas City Hall at 1500 Marilla St. Matte paintings made the building appear taller (and more ominous). Check out more before and afters posted by the Dallas Film Commission.

Star Wars: A New Hope
The Massassi Outpost rebel base on the fourth moon of Yavin in the original Star Wars film was shot on location at the Mayan temple ruins in The Tikal National Park in Guatemala. Director George Lucas picked the location after spotting a poster at a travel agency while shooting in London, England. A trip to Tatooine starts a little farther. The Mos Eisley Spaceport was really Ajim, Djerba Island, Tunisia, while Tosche Station was Sidi Jemour, Djerba. They already sound like science fiction locations. Don’t want to travel halfway across the world? The Tatooine desert was Death Valley National Park.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Poor Katniss had it tough in The Hunger Games. Yeah, sure, real tough when she spent her days basking in luxury at the Marriott Marquis Hotel at 265 Peachtree Center Avenue NE in Atlanta, Georgia. The building served as the Tributes’ Quarters and Training Center. Production designers chose the Marriot for the glass elevators and central atrium, at one time the largest in the world. The Tributes’ living quarters were filmed on the 10th floor and another set built on the hotel roof.

The Shining
Heeeere’s Johnny. Actually, here’s a conglomeration of hotels that inspired The Overlook. The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, California, inspired the interior while exterior and establishing shots came from the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon. Stephen King’s original inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in the novel was the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Kubrick never shot there, but it was used in the 1997 made-for-TV version of The Shining.

X Men
The exterior for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters is Hatley Castle, in British Columbia, although Casa Loma in Toronto and ParkwoodEstate in Oshawa, Ontario were also used. Interiors were sound stages. Hatley Castle is a National Historic Site and tours are available.

Logan's Run Before Black Friday Sales
Logan’s Run
A dystopian future never had so much great stuff to buy and check out the nummy hot pretzels at the food court. Although areas around Dallas/Fort Worth were filmed, the domed dystopian future city was actually a shopping mall named the Dallas Market Center.
Logan's Run After


Logan’s Run is one of my favorite cheesy bad movies. It’s quite awful from beginning to end and I’d always hoped to visit and check out the sales while I wandered around recreating the escape of Logan 5 and Jessica 6. Unfortunately, urban development necessitates progress and the The Dallas Market Center now looks like this, a fitting end for the set of a dystopian city.

The real Field of Dreams is a real family farm. Located in Dyersville, Iowa, the Lansing Farm has free admission and live, guided 30-minute tours. Hear stories about the Lansing family who homesteaded in the early 20th century, and the farm’s rebirth as the set for the Kinsella family in the 1989 fantasy classic. The baseball field is still there and used for games. Want to stay overnight and talk your dead daddy into a catch? The house is available for rent on Booking.com.

Groundhog Day
On my top ten list of best fantasy movies ever is Groundhog Day. While the story takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, it was almost entirely filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The quaint bed and breakfast where Bill Murray’s Phil Connors stayed was the Royal Victorian Manor, at 344 Fremont Street. Alas, it is now closed. You’ll have to settle for a selfie out front.

The Blob
It’s alive! Well, not exactly alive, but the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania is open for business. If you’re a fan of classic science fiction, you surely can’t pass up a visit to a place where the blob nearly oozed through a building full of teenagers. July 12th this year is the annual Blobfest where you can catch a show and then run screaming from the theater.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasy and science fiction adventure with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. On road trips, she always puts her pedal to the metal.




Monday, June 24, 2019

The Boarder by Francesca Quarto

Three of the four men currently rooming with the Darby Boarding House, were of the same opinion regarding their landlady.  After a few pints each at the local pub, they began sharing those thoughts rather boisterously, among themselves. 
"Georgianna Darby is as warm as a cow pod! " Henry blurted out to the others.  A tenacious line of beer foam, rimmed the droopy mustache over his wet mouth.  It nicely highlighted the sneer on his florid face.  "Well, maybe a recently dropped pod!" he added to the delight of his listeners.  Henry used the back of his hairy knuckles to mop at his whiskers until the laughing died down around their table, and the tables nearby, of accidental listeners.
He went on describing the named woman in even courser terms.
"I have yet to see a glimmer of a smile on that pasty-white face. Always scowling like an old witch over her brew," he added with a flourish of his hand, tipping some of his own brew, onto his shabby suit lapel. "She's as tight with her good humors, as the braids she wears like a black crown on her head."
His comments opened the way for the others to speak their minds, befuddled as they were becoming with the arrival of a third pint.
"I've taken note of how she only joins us at our dinner, never breakfast.  Even then, she barely speaks," put in Tomas, the youngest man staying at the Darby. "It's mostly just 'yes' or 'no', to civil attempts at conversation." Tomas was a newly minted accountant and always spoke with the precision of that profession.
"And she never eats, only sips at her wine. I swear, her bones already poke through those black dresses of hers!  How long has she been in mourning, anyway?" Ralph asked, looking around the table.  As an insurance agent, Ralph was always concerned with health matters.
The three turned a bleary eye to Carter, the only one who hadn't offered insights regarding the cold, dour, and emaciated Mrs. Darby.  In fact, he rarely spoke more than a few words on any topic.  However, Carter's surreptitious glances at the landlady during her stony visits at supper, spoke volumes to the other boarders. They all noted how he pulled out her chair like an attentive suitor.  They observed how the lady of the house, leaned in, directing whispered remarks for his ears exclusively.  For some opaque reason, Carter was interested this eccentric widow.  Oddly, Georgianna Darby became almost attractive in those moments, with Carter looking up from his meal to stare momentarily into her dark eyes. 
"Come on Carter, being a Copper, you probably know something of Mrs. Darby's background," Henry said, giving the taciturn Peace Officer a hard tap on his shoulder.  
"I've only been at the Boarding house for a few weeks.  I can't say I know any more than you lot," Carter answer in his usual soft-spoken manner.
"But you have to agree," barked Ralph, "she has some peculiar ways about her.  And then there's those noises we've all heard late at night.  It's like the old bird is having a party somewhere in the place!" he said looking around at three nodding heads.
Tomas joined in saying, "The racket seems to be coming from the cellar.  Though upon questioning the cook, she'd only say the lady of the house was putting away wines and food stuff in their bins down there."  
Mention of the cook, brought other oddities about the household to light and comment.  All the men, with the exception of Carter, had strong opinions on this hugely fat woman, though all agreed they ate well.  Only the finest cuts of meat graced their table each evening and the cook was never stingy in their portions. 
At the conclusion of graphic descriptions of the bloody-red roast they enjoyed just that evening, Carter stood up, swaying ever so slightly on his feet.  His current assignment, impersonating a lowly Patrol Officer on the streets of the fourth, New York Precinct, placed him in the boarding house nearly three weeks back. 
In reality, Carter was a highly successful Investigative Officer for a burgeoning constabulary. He' d been assigned to look into five, Missing Persons Reports, posted on past boarders who resided at the Darby House just prior to disappearing off the face of the earth.  So far, Carter discovered each of the disappeared men had been given the same room he now occupied and that all, like him, were unattached.  In fact, it was their employers who filed reports when they failed to show for work after several days.   And then there was the question of Mrs. Darby.
After careful questioning, Carter learned from the current boarders, all five of the missing fellows had become strangely smitten, with the wraith-like figure and sickly pale looks of their landlady.  To his chagrin, Carter found he too, felt she exerted some sort of influence over him.  He felt more and more drawn to the darkly crowned woman, even experiencing some strangely vivid dreams, with her lying intimately close to him in his bed, speaking in a hypnotic, soothing voice. 
He always woke when the dreams became overly intense, but he'd been suffering extreme fatigue and lost focus over the past few days.
Returning to the boarding house took several halting minutes while he struggled to regain his sobriety.  I only need a good night's rest, he thought as he opened the door and entered the dimly lit foyer.
The gloom was heavy with the scent of wood polish and the sickening sweet smell of Mrs. Darby's fragrance. He noticed it the second he walked into the boarding house weeks ago.  It permeated the air, the drapes, the carpeting and every stick of upholstered furnisher.  For some reason, it was extremely strong when he laid on his bed.  Smelling it so strongly now, he shivered, knowing the woman of the house might be nearby.  He only wanted peace and rest and didn't want to hold any conversations with the landlady at this hour.
"Mr. Wellington," came her silky voice out of the cloying darkness.  "I see the pub has gotten the best of you," she gurgled like a gently flowing brook.  "Let me help you to your room, these stairs are very steep and I couldn't live... (she cleared her throat)...with myself if you suffered."
"What d'ya mean, 'suffered', Carter slurred.
"If you suffered a mishap, of course.  Now, shall we get you to your bed?"  She'd already managed to slip her bony arm through his, using his elbow like a rudder to guide him up the long, narrow staircase to the second floor.
His bed looked so inviting to him, he put up no fuss when Mrs. Darby carefully pushed him down onto the fluffy comforter.  He began to doze off immediately as she busied herself, humming softly while divesting Carter of all his clothing until he lay as innocently naked as a babe.  There was a stirring, more like a rumble, coming from the bedroom closet when the door was flung open.  
Pushing her great weight forward, the cook peered long and hard at the lean body of the sleeping Carter saying, "This one will drain quickly, Mistress, but we won't get much meat off of him I fear."
"No worries, my dear.  Just be certain to fill the wine bottles well and don't spill any this time.  You know how I detest waste."



Thursday, June 20, 2019

How I Became a Wino (And Put It Into Books!)


The first time my husband asked me on a date, he decided to do so in a loud bar where we could both hardly hear. He lead off with, “Do you like wine?”

The answer at the time was a resounding NO. I found wine to be too sour. Not my preferred drink. But I could also tell that he was leading up to a date invite (or at least hoped so). If I said no, he might think I was rejecting the date, which I wasn’t. So, of course I said… “Yes!”

You saw that coming right? I mean, yes, our relationship started out on a lie, but can you blame me? Of course, once we got to the wine tasting party he took me to for the date, he figured out pretty quickly that I did not like wine. Lol. (Or, for that matter, spending time with large groups of total strangers, though I hide that pretty well. It took him longer to cotton on to that facet of my personality.)

A few years later, we married and moved to California. To northern California in particular. The heart of wine country. If we drove west, we hit Napa and Sonoma. If we went a bit south we hit ???. Every party we went to wine was served (it’s basically the California version of beer). Parties and corporate team builders were held at wineries. I couldn’t escape the stuff.

And then I started to like wine. Granted, my journey into wines started with the sweetest of the whites (the dessert wines). I’m still not much of a red wine drinker, even now, unless it’s in sangria. But I do love wine. However, it wasn’t Napa, or the tastings, or the parties, or the teambuilders that got me hooked. It was my favorite winery.

Boeger Winery.

Boeger was the closest winery to us, and also the most beautiful. East of where we lived, it’s located in the rolling western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in a region called Apple Hill. Apple Hill is mostly beautiful apple orchards, but also sports a few other things—a Christmas tree farm, pumpkin patches, a brewery or two…and Boeger Winery.

Boeger is set on a gorgeous piece of land. It has a modern tasting room. Then, beside a babbling brook, rolling green grass with picnic tables. Those lead down to an origitial, restored farm house where the owner’s daughter lives upstairs (or did at the time). There’s also an original, still operation forge on the property, some ancient apple trees, and, of course, the beautiful rows of vines which can be seen over the rolling mountains.

The place is idyllic. We even took a series of family photos there. In the summers, the owners take advantage of the weather and the beauty of the spot. On Friday nights, they would bring in a live band. We would come with friends who had children about the same age and set up blankets and chairs, eat a picnic dinner, drink wine, and listen to the music as the kids ran around and played. Many of my favorite California memories take place at Boeger Winery. Granted, it’s not all about the wine (which is excellent by the way), but the wine was part of it. Now, any time I open a bottle, regardless of brand or type, I think of that place.

They say write what you know. That can be a little tricky when writing dragon shifters in paranormal romance. Since so much of the world has to be created from scratch in my head, one of my tricks is to try to set things in places I’m already familiar with. This is why my Fire’s Edge series is set in northern California, where I lived for ten years. Even better, especially in my latest release The Rookie, I set portions of the books at…you guessed it…a winery that looks and feels just like Boeger.
If you’re ever out Apple Hill way, near Placerville, California, I highly recommend, you make Boeger one of your stops.




EXCERPT FROM THE ROOKIE

Sera glanced up from opening a new bottle of wine at a burst of noise from outside to find Aidan’s gaze on her. Again.
That was the third time he’d looked over at her since he and the team arrived at the winery. While she and Delaney worked beside her other summer servers doing tastings by the caboodle, Finn, Aidan, and the team had settled in with camping chairs by one of the picnic tables, listening to the live music.
Wide double doors to the tasting room stood open, spilling light onto the grassy area outside to mix with the lights strung through the trees. The honeyed scent of blossoms floated in on the evening breeze to blend with the oiled wood of the bar. Through the doors, Sera had a direct view of Aidan from her spot behind the large mahogany bar that wrapped around two sides of the room. Granted, that view was often blocked by the stream of guests meandering inside. People stood in groups swirling wine in glasses. Other guests perused shelves displaying goods and treasures from local artisans.
But she still caught those looks through the throngs. Looks that set her on edge.
Oddly, though she had no idea how, she sensed a significance in that lingering gaze, almost a yearning. Like he wanted to share something with her, but couldn’t.
Or maybe he’s not looking at you, and it’s just coincidence.
The man kept his emotions tightly leashed, giving the world only the side of him that was determined, capable, and unwavering in every step he took. But even in real life, she could see more. See how alone he was, though surrounded by friends. She could see it, because she was the same.
Except sharing and truly seeing each other…that wasn’t the relationship they had, not in waking life at least.
It’s the relationship you want, the devil camped out on her shoulder whispered.
The time she spent in her dreams just talking with him… In moments of weakness, she missed that even more than the physical pleasure.
With ruthless focus, Sera shoved the small glow his sudden attention gave her down deep.
She couldn’t deny she wanted Aidan, but that didn’t mean she had to give in. The guy presented too many problems to her already complicated life.
You are leaving. The stern mental retribution helped. Sort of.
Sera plastered what she hoped was a warm, receptive smile on her face for the patrons standing in front of her and tried her best to ignore the presence of the sexy shifters gathered outside with the patrons to enjoy the evening.
At least she was inside the tasting room while the guys sat outside, lounging around. That low rumbled voice wasn’t in hearing range to skate over her nerves and distract her, or she’d be a worse hot mess than the wicked witch with a bucket of water poured on her. However, she also had a direct view of how his attention kept being pulled back to a twenty-something brunette with hair tumbling down her back and big tits on bold display in a low-cut shirt.
Sera tucked her own fine, pale blond hair behind her ear and refused to compare her chest, which could only be described as “perky” on its best days, to the other woman’s ample curves. The woman was practically in his lap. Why hadn’t he blown her off? The man was uber serious, his only focus on his role within the team. She’d even call him myopically obsessed with his job. He usually didn’t pay any attention to women. Or at least, not that Sera had noticed.
She shouldn’t be noticing or caring anyway.
You’re leaving, she reminded herself as she uncorked a new bottle of Pinot. Leaving, leaving, leaving.
But a glance up showed him watching her again. Unwanted heat surged into Sera’s cheeks. She couldn’t let this go on. With raised eyebrows, she tried to play it off like she was only mildly curious.
“What?” she mouthed.
Aidan shook his head, just barely. “Later,” she thought he mouthed back.
So there was something?

READ THE ROOKIE NOW!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Where Do Writers Get Ideas? by Elizabeth Alsobrooks



“It is the beating of his hideous heart!” says Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘insane’ narrator.

Wait. Narrator? What kind of story has a narrator the reader can’t depend upon to tell them the truth?An ingenious one is the simple answer. The longer answer is that one of Poe’s great talents was surprising his reader, letting the truly horrific details of the story unfold, page by page, until the reader realizes that yes, the nagging suspicions they had, the unbelievable reality they suspected actually happened.

In Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, a horror story almost all eighth grade English books contain in order to grab the attention of even the most lagging and reluctant readers, the narration is in a rare second person point of view which draws the reader in, despite themselves.  The narrator begins by addressing his audience and asking why they say that he is mad when clearly he is not. Instantly the reader wants to know why the narrator has been accused of being insane, and why the more he protests, the more the reader realizes he is indeed raving mad.

Two of the most frequently asked questions many authors get asked is who inspired us to write, and how do we get ideas for our writing. While I read many, many different authors growing up, one of my favorite books was the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. What kid didn’t love to watch Saturday fright matinees on TV staring Vincent Price bringing classics like The Pit and the Pendulum to life? 


The unusual way in which he masterfully manipulated his reader’s response, how he anticipated their reaction and was thus able to deploy the pace and flow of his stories with twists and turns and breathtaking surprises still fascinates me.

There are reasons that classic tales become just that, and the intriguing use of point of view in Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart is just one of the many reasons he’s still one of my all time favorite authors. If it’s been a while, you may want to revisit some of those classic tales. 

What stories inspire you?


Friday, June 14, 2019

Mutated DNA, Morgan and You


In my mythos, my vampires never died to be resurrected corpses.  They are mutants, a virus having altered their mortal DNA into immortals with powers greater than their original human selves. 

My anthology, Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody and in the soon to be released Sinners’ Opera, the book of my heart, both star Morgan D’Arcy, my favorite of my characters. These vampires can’t bear sunlight, but the Cross and garlic have no effect on them. The vampires as a race are called Vampyre. Morgan is something of a rebel and determined to marry a mortal. Lucien, the Chief Councilor of the council that rules the Vampyre, must prevent him from doing so. Rhapsody is now available on Amazon and other on-line sites.



Back to the mutated DNA! Interestingly enough, I found the information below on the internet.  My viral mutations are actually possible (maybe not to the extent in my books yet still within reason):
  
Date:  January 8, 2010
Source:  University of Texas at Arlington

Summary:

 “About eight percent of human genetic material comes from a virus and not from our ancestors, according to a new study. The research shows that the genomes of humans and other mammals contain DNA derived from the insertion of bornaviruses, RNA viruses whose replication and transcription takes place in the nucleus.”

In the 2000s, a scientist at the University of Michigan studied people with HIV and found other viruses in the blood of these subjects.  Surprisingly, these viruses came from within the patients’ own DNA.

Retroviruses, including HIV, share three common genes:  gag, which gives rise to the inner shell that stores the virus’s genes; env makes knobs on the outer surface of the virus, allowing it to adhere to the cells and invade them; and finally pol.  The latter makes an enzyme which introduces the virus’s genes into the host cell’s DNA."

Actually, the human genome contains segments of DNA matching pol, env, and gag.  Scientists have found sizeable quantity of retrovirus DNA in our genes, in fact, as stated above, eight percent of the human genome.  Both in human and other species, studies of these endogenous retroviruses reveal that they have genetically merged with the human DNA.  Retroviruses regularly infected our ancestors, but rarely infected sperm or an egg, but when they did, they managed to permeate an embryo, new cells in the embryo inheriting the retrovirus DNA.  When the child grew into an adult and produced offspring, the DNA of the virus was transmitted as well.
So, Morgan, Lucien and the Vampyre could possibly exist.


Happy Friday!  You have viral altered DNA.  J




Thursday, June 13, 2019

Walk Like An #Egyptian by Diane Burton #myths


In high school, my favorite subject was Latin. Weird, I know. Probably because it was taught by my favorite teacher. Mildred Bell make the class so interesting. From her, I learn Roman mythology and the Greek equivalents of gods and goddesses. Even today, we often come across references to Roman and Greek mythology. 

When Rick Riodan's Percy Jackson series came out, I devoured the books. Greek mythology. Right up my alley. Then, he wrote The Red Pyramid with Egyptian gods and goddesses. I tried but couldn't keep them straight. Soon the story lost interest. Oh, well. He wrote more stories with Greek myths.

In April, Veronica Scott visited here with her new release, Song of the Nile. Ah, Egyptians. Because I enjoy her science fiction romances, I gave it a try. Wow. Talk about devouring books. Like eating potato chips, I couldn't stop at one. I was so fascinated, I read all in the series. The story, of course, came first. But, she wove into the story enough details about the particular god or goddess to inform the reader without overwhelming.

Isn't that what we're supposed to do? It's the same with backstory. We have to weave in enough detail to help the reader understand without overwhelming. First chapters are so hard. We have all this information about our characters that we want to share. Yet if we do so, we run the risk of exasperating the reader who's mentally saying, "Get on with the story."

Without being overwhelmed, I'm happy to say I've expanded my knowledge of Egyptian mythology. 



Thursday, June 6, 2019

Guest: Keri Kruspe & CHAKRAS #authorkkruspe



Squirrel!

…dealing with shiny objects that demand constant attention


By Keri Kruspe


The other day I was at a writer’s meeting, (Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter) chatting with Diane Burton when she noticed a ring I wear on my right middle finger. She exclaimed what an unusual ring it was and wanted to know what it represented. The gal sitting on her other side called out “it’s a chakra (pronounced shah’krah) ring!”, which made me smile since that’s exactly what it was.





 I admitted that I wear it for a couple of reasons, (the main one is because it’s pretty!) but also because it’s a constant reminder to keep myself in balance. While I am not a “hard core” practitioner, I do like the idea of keeping oneself in balance.

During our conversation, Diane confessed she’d never heard about chakras and wondered if I’d write about it and share it on Paranormal Romantics blog. I immediately said “yes”! I’d love to share with others my search for balance. Besides, maybe the info could be used as a personality trait for a heroine in a paranormal romance novel….

So I did a little research and this is what I’ve come up with:

In a simple definition, Chakra physiology is the connection between the physical body and the metaphysical centers of energy, called chakras, believed to be located throughout the body. A general consensus is there are seven major chakras located along or near the spine from the base of the spinal column to the top of your head.
Each chakra is thought to influence the internal organ or section of the body where it is located, along with the associated endocrine glands and nervous system.
Yogapedia defines Chakra Physiology as:
When the chakra energy is balanced, it helps keep the body healthy. When it is not balanced, the physical body – as well as your “emotional” body – can be negatively affected.
The chakras, their associated glands and the effects on the physical body include:


·         Root chakra (reproductive glands) – affects sexual development and secretes sex hormones.
    • Color – Red 
    • Element - Earth
·         Sacral or spleen chakra (adrenal gland) – controls metabolism and the immune system
    • Color – Orange
    • Element - Water
·         Solar plexus chakra (pancreas) – also controls metabolism
    • Color – Yellow
    • Element - Fire
·         Heart chakra (thymus gland) – also regulates the immune system
    • Color – Green
    • Element – Air
·         Throat chakra (thyroid gland) – regulates both metabolism and body temperature
    • Color – Light Blue
    • Element - Sound
·         Third eye chakra (pituitary gland) – produces hormones and controls functioning of the lower five glands
    • Color – Indigo
    • Element - Light
·         Crown chakra (pineal gland) – controls biological cycles
    • Color – White or Violet
    • Element – Thought
Hmm…this information may be interesting, but how can I apply this to my everyday life and not just use it as a research assignment?  How can I maintain some type of balance in my life as I tend to obsess with my writing all the time?

 Here are some thoughts:
1.      Meditation is probably the most effective way to balance the chakras. There are many chakra meditations that can be found online, but it is also easy enough to practice on your own. Each chakra is associated with a color that can be used to help you go deeper into your meditation and make it more effective.
2.      A regular yoga practice is incredibly effective at balancing the chakras. As with meditation, you can visualize and focus your attention on the different chakras throughout your practice. Visualize the colors that correspond to the chakra you are focusing on as you are doing the postures.
3.      The use of breathing techniques not only helps to relax the body, but it also allows you to control the flow of energy throughout your body. There are numerous techniques you can explore that works best for you.
4.      Aromatherapy can be used for a variety of different ailments. Plant-derived oils can also be used for chakra balancing as they correspond to different chakras. The oils can be used by simply breathing them in or applying them topically.

It’s easy for us as writers to lose sight of taking care of oneself. Like most writers, I tend to get absorbed in the worlds I create, and I sometimes forget to stop and “smell the roses”. I’m so concerned about launching my third book while marketing the first, creating a reader magnet and making an outline for the next installment while checking on my social media while creating a new ad while….while…anyway, enter my inner squirrel and see how easy it is for me to get lost with “shiny” things. 




Not to mention how I work full time, have a forty-year relationship with my husband that needs constant TLC along with trying to be a part of my children and their children’s life.
…and we got a new puppy to nurture…a Jack Russell. The dog should be a redhead – she’s so feisty.



By no means do I think I’m unique. We all have busy lives, constantly being pulled in a hundred different directions. Any time I feel overwhelmed, I glimpse at my silver ring and take a deep breath and notice what I’m paying too much attention to. That way I can “listen” to what my body is telling me, (am I tired, stressed, confused?) and take a step back and know it’s okay to come back to my passion of writing once I’m rejuvenated.

Oooh…look…pop up…snap chat…gotta check…

Keri Kruspe, author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures – to inspire others to discover the possibilities of “what if…

Keri has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Her current sci-fi romance trilogy, An Alien Exchange (winner 2018 SPF Galaxy award) had its first release winter 2018. The story continues with D’zia’s Dilemma and concludes with Ki’s Redemption, releasing end of May 2019.

A native Nevadan, Keri resides with her family in the wilds of Northwest Michigan where she enjoys the stark change in seasons and the pleasures each one brings. An avid reader, Keri loves an enjoyable bottle of red wine, a variety of delicious foods and watching action/adventure movies…usually at the same time. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world on her latest novel while foot tappin’ to classic rock. When not absorbed in her writing, Keri works alongside her husband in building their dream home or discovering intelligent life in America in their RV. 
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