Monday, November 18, 2019

20 Tips to Relieve Holiday Stress by Elizabeth Alsobrooks


     Most people look forward to the holidays, but they can also bring a lot of stress and anxiety. Let’s face it, you do your normal routine and on top of that you are expected to shop, organize, plan, and throw or attend parties and dinners. That’s a lot of pile-up on your to-do list. It’s understandable if you find the holidays a little overwhelming. So here’s a list of ways in which you can carve out a few moments of relief and bring that anxiety down a notch.

  1. Take a deep breath! There are several reasons women are coached to ‘breathe’ when in labor, and one of them is that they are focusing on relaxing and taking their mind off the obvious reasons for their anxiety.  It can also help take ‘your’ mind off the hundred little things you still need to do to get ready for the holidays and take a little time for yourself.
  2. Having taken the time to relax for a moment, remember to give yourself enough time. Don’t try to do everything. Delegate some of your chores and don’t take on more than you can comfortably achieve.
  3. Be realistic. Don’t try to tackle too much too soon. Even if you’re a great multi-tasker, you can really only do so much. Focus on one thing at a time.
  4. Give yourself some ‘me’ time. Do something you want to do rather than just things you feel you must do. Don’t forget that holidays should be fun.
  5. Not only should you learn to delegate with family members, you should also learn to ask for help--or just say no.
  6. Exercise! Do some cardio and resistance training. Or take a yoga class. Strong, healthy bodies manage stress and work better!
  7. Try to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially around those carb and sweet heavy holiday meal times.
  8. Get enough sleep! This is the biggest culprit around the holidays. You don’t have more time, so you rob it from your sleep time. You stay up late getting things done or get up early (think Black Friday?!). Don’t. You will have less stress and even help fight weight gain by getting enough sleep.
  9. Talk to your friends or loved ones. The best way to relieve anxiety or solve problems is to talk about them. That’s why so many people see psychologists!
  10. Write. If you don’t want to talk to someone else about something, talk to yourself. That’s why a lot of people keep diaries or journal.
  11. Be positive. Deliberately. Focus on saying and thinking positive things. It will elevate your mood and boost your morale.
  12. Read. The most popular escape from whatever is on your mind is to travel to another world.
  13. Be thankful. You don’t need a holiday to focus on things you are grateful for, so count your blessings instead of your problems.
  14. Pet a pet! There’s good reasons that service pets exist for people with high anxiety. Even if you only have stress during the holidays, a pet is a great way to  relieve it. Spend some quality time with your pet or visit someone else’s!
  15. Go for a walk or play in the snow (if you have some). Fresh air really can help clear your head.
  16. Have some fun. There’s nothing like laughing to brighten your mood and relieve stress. Even watching a favorite comedy show will work.
  17. Solve a puzzle instead of a problem. You can even put one together.
  18. Color! There’s a reason those adult coloring books are so plentiful and popular. And if you’re even more artistic, draw, paint, sculpt, or play music. Sing! Using your right brain helps relieve stress from your worrisome left brain.
  19. Smell! Aromatherapy comes in every fragrance you can imagine. Whether you throw some scented oil into a relaxing tub of hot water and soak it up or just light some incense, aromatherapy can quickly influence your mood and help you unwind. That’s why they use it in massage oils, too (and getting a massage isn’t a bad idea either!).
  20. Slow down on the caffeine. It may give you a boost of energy, but it can also make you jittery and anxious and prevent you from getting the rest you need at night.
 So relax and enjoy your holidays this year!

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Rules for Lying by L. A. Kelley FREE on Amazon

Amazon Free Days: November 15, 16, 17, 18

Magic isn't for sissies

WARNING: No good comes from a book with magic, mayhem, theft, murder, sass talk, demons, animals committing felonies, gleeful revenge, and bad things happening to good people for no particular reason. This story won’t encourage good habits and probably fine tune bad ones. The only lesson learned is don’t lie until you know the rules.
Life in New Jersey is tough in the Great Depression, but teenager Peter Whistler has an exceptional ability to lie. He hones his talent, convinced it’s the ticket to easy fortune. He certainly doesn’t foresee the arrival of a murderous conjuror with mysterious designs on a little blind girl named Esther. Drawn into a nefarious plot to unleash a demon, Peter leads Esther and an enchanted terrier on a desperate escape to New Orleans and meets Amelie Marchand. Like all well-bred Louisiana gals she’s trained in deadly martial arts, but with a murderous stepmother, Amelie has troubles of her own. Peter and Amelie’s one chance for survival is to head deep into the bayou and seek help from a mad shaman known as the Frog King.

Welcome to an alternate 1930s where both jazz and magic fill New Orleans’ air. Can a little luck, mystical lies, and a dash of Cajun crazy help Peter harness the power to kill an immortal demon? If not, the Depression will be a picnic by comparison when hell arrives on Earth.


   The Grimaldis knew the truth about Pike. He drove their car, so they must be involved in his scheme. A little snooping to discover the truth, and then Mrs. Hart could get on the horn to the Feds. I imagined a squad of G-men storming Grimaldi’s Market and then Nico and Carlotta’s faces peering morosely out the back of a paddy wagon as it drove through town. Maybe I could even convince the coppers to stop for Chauncey.
   The unlit streets were deserted as I made my way to the Grimaldi’s house. The black roadster was parked outside the garage. A light shone in a downstairs window, so I snuck across the lawn and peeked in.
   Pike sat at the kitchen table; fingers clasped placidly in front, not a glowing eyeball in sight. I gave myself a mental kick in the pants for being such a dope.
   The Grimaldis huddled over a piece of paper. Mr. Grimaldi looked up and cleared his throat. “Everything is in order. The carriage house suited you?”
   Pike slid an envelope stuffed with cash across the tabletop. “Yes. It was private and exactly as described. We have a deal.”
   Mrs. Grimaldi snatched at the bills with undisguised greed. “We wouldn’t do this, you understand, but the Feds raided all the local speakeasies. Our best clients shut down. Times are tough.”
   Mr. Grimaldi scrawled a signature on the paper and handed the pen to his wife. She added hers, and then Pike tucked the paper in his pocket. “You needn’t be concerned about the girl.”
   My ears pricked up. Girl? What girl? If Pike meant Mrs. Hart, the doctor needed to get his own eyes checked.
   Mr. Grimaldi shifted in his seat, a flush tinting his fat cheeks. “People might get the wrong impression if the arrangement is discovered. You understand—they don’t realize our actions are for her own good.”
   I sucked in my breath. Mr. Grimaldi lied big time.
  “Don’t worry. No one will ever find out.” Pike’s voice was as cold as midwinter ice.
  A teensy doubt jabbed at my mind that all this had to do with gangsters, but I brushed it roughly away. Pike and the Grimaldis rose from the table. I darted from the window and ducked behind a tree right before the kitchen door opened.
Mrs. Grimaldi beamed at Pike. “If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to stop by.”
   The dark man set the fedora on his head and snapped the brim over his eyes. “I’m quite satisfied. You won’t see me again.”
   For some reason, the truth shook me more than a lie. Mr. Grimaldi closed the door, but Pike remained on the stoop. The kitchen went dark and then a light switched on in an upstairs bedroom window.
   I peered from behind the tree. Why did Pike wait? To rob the joint after they fell asleep? If so, I had no plan to stop him. I had half a mind to help.
   The bedroom light flicked off and the yard went pitch black. One second…two seconds…three seconds…A yellow beam danced across the door, and my throat nearly closed in terror.
   That was no flashlight.
   The ray from Pike’s eyes narrowed and focused pencil-thin. The smell of burning wood drifted across the lawn as he etched a smoldering hieroglyphic of a flame in the middle of the door. The outline of glowing embers flared and then snuffed out. Pike stepped back from the stoop. He paused for a moment as if to admire his handiwork and then sprinted down the alley.
   Heart thumping, I darted to the door. My fingers stroked the spot where I last saw the little flame. The wood was still warm.
    I snatched back my hand. The wood now blazed hot, more scorching by the second. The glowing outline flared to life again. A spark shot out, soared overhead, and landed near the chimney. Patches of shingles exploded in flames.
A long thin spark slithered from the symbol, a fiery snake writhing toward the keyhole. Without thinking, I reached to sweep it away only to jerk my fingers from the scalding heat. The spark slid into the opening. With a roar, a curtain of fire engulfed the downstairs windows.
   In a panic, I banged on the door. “Wake up! The house is on fire!”
   A thick choking cloud of smoke billowed under the doorframe, and I staggered back in a coughing fit. In a blink, the first floor was an inferno. How did the fire spread so fast? Mrs. Grimaldi’s terrified screams cut through the crackling fusillade of flames.
   Blistering heat drove me across the yard. The panic-stricken face of Nico Grimaldi appeared at the bedroom window struggling to open the sash.
   The wooden supports inside the house splintered and gave way. Mr. Grimaldi vanished in a thunderous crash as the second floor collapsed on the first. His wife’s screams cut off.
   Multiple sirens wailed in the distance. I stumbled down the alley as hot cinders rained from above. Embers lit on my clothing, and I slapped them away. The Grimaldi house was now a nightmare of hellfire. I flinched as all the outside walls caved in with a deafening roar.
   The first of the fire trucks screeched around the corner. Cops would surely follow asking questions I couldn’t answer. As I ran across the street, the glare of a headlight caught me for an instant.
   Tires squealed, and a man yelled, "You there, stop!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What About V'ger? by Diane Burton

credit: IMDB

Do you remember the first Star Trek movie? The original that came out in 1979. The thing I remember most is how slo-o-o-ow that movie was. Star Wars IV: A New Hope, with its fast action adventure, had come out two years before. Star Trek: The Motion Picture  couldn't compare. To me, it was such a disappointment.

One thing I remember most is the “alien” who talked through one of the crew and threatened the starship Enterprise. It called itself V’ger (vee-ger). Since the movie has been around for forty years, I’m not going to warn “spoiler.” If you haven’t seen it by now, my telling you about V’Ger won’t make a difference. It turns out that V’ger was the probe Voyager sent out over 300 years before. Its purpose: to collect data and transmit it back to Earth.

credit: NASA: artist's concept of Voyager in interstellar space

For over forty years, the Voyagers have been sending back data and pictures of the places they've been. The scientists who've been working on the Voyager project now include second and third generations. Imagine working on the same project as your mother/father and grandfather/grandmother.

credit: NASA: Earth and its moon taken by Voyager
Every time I hear or read about the probe Voyager, I think V’ger from that movie. NASA sent out two Voyagers 42 years ago. They are the only machines that have gone beyond our solar system and crossed over into interstellar space (Voyager 1 in 2013; Voyager 2 in 2018).

credit: NASA

They both carried a “golden record” that would give alien civilizations who encountered Voyager a glimpse of Earth. That glimpse includes images from Earth, sounds of nature (like surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals), musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings from Earth people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim.

Are you wondering who decided what to put on that record? A committee chaired by Carl Sagan. They even included illustrated directions on how to play the record. [I hope the directions are better than those that came with my air fryer.]

"The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space." - Carl Sagan

Considering the scary movies in which aliens invade Earth or wipe out the inhabitants to they can salvage Earth’s resources, I wonder if we really want to reach out to alien civilizations. Do we want them to know we’re here?

But then I think remember awe-inspiring movies like Contact, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Star Trek: First Contact. Aliens could be friendly. They could want to help us achieve interstellar travel.

What do you think? Was it a good idea to send out the Voyagers?

Monday, November 4, 2019

Finding The Time to Write

By Maureen Bonatch

I love to write. I’m a better person when I make the time for fiction writing—I must differentiate this from freelance writing, or academic writing or other writing tasks that don’t tap into the well of creativity I associate with writing fiction.

Over the years I’ve had many people come up to me and ask about my writing and then share how they, too, planned to write a book if they could ever find the time. I always tell them, you have to make the time. There is no well of time just waiting for you to fill it with a story. 

We all get the same 24-hours a day that is quickly filled with tasks, obligations or any variety of things that suck the time out of your day more effectively than a vampire.

National Novel Writing Month

I always tell these wanna-be fiction writers about NaNoWrimonth in November. National Novel Writing month is my favorite. When November rolls around it gives me an extra reason to make time for fiction writing. 

The enthusiasm of everyone participating in NaNoWri makes me feel like my fiction writing is a priority, despite all the other things vying for my time.

No Time to Write

This year was the first time in the past 10 years that I hesitated when I went to sign up for NaNoWri. This year has been a whirlwind and my fiction writing has definitely suffered. I’ve had very little time to devote to writing. 

I asked my daughter (who has done NaNoWri with me the past several years- and won) if she planned on doing NaNoWri. I almost expected her to say she didn’t have time. 

It would’ve made me a little sad, since she’s such a good writer, but her excuse would’ve been legit. In her first semester of college with a heavy class load, I thought she might hesitate. But she didn’t. So neither will I. 

Books don’t write themselves.

There’s Something About NaNoWri

I love to talk about NaNoWri month. Here are a few past posts about NaNoWri. There are many more…but I have to get back to writing my NaNoWri novel.

Who’s Doing NaNoWri this year?  

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

Be the first to know about Maureen’s book sales and new releases by following her on BookBub, Amazon and/or signing up for her newsletter

Saturday, November 2, 2019

My Five Foundational Principles for Writing in 3 Genres

It’s always fun to return to Paranormal Romantics as a guest and talk about books!

I write in three genres – scifi romance, fantasy and paranormal and I’ve had a release in each in the last few months. The stars must have aligned for me! The three genres are very different, especially since my paranormals are set in 1550 BCE in ancient Egypt. I’ve never had any problem switching ‘voices’ when I move from one set of books to the next and I think there are several factors at play (besides of course The Muse who I credit for all my creativity).

I do have five foundational principles, no matter which world I’m writing in - Your Mileage May Vary on what works for you:
·         People are people, in the far past or the far future. They care about most of the same things we do and they fall in love…
·         Action and adventure existed in all eras, but scaled to the world around the characters…
·         A version of Special Forces kickass military existed in every time, even if they aren’t called by that title…
·         Any story is improved with a bit of mysticism and the inexplicable, judiciously mixed into the plot…
·         This is ROMANCE so there will be a Happy Ever After.

For the ancient Egyptian novels, I do tons of research, which undergirds all my stories set there, even though I do take some anachronistic liberties. I think, however, because my starting point is a culture so different from ours, and my going-in assumption is that the gods are ‘real’ and do play a part in every day events, I fell into a use of language and a frame of reference that lends itself to a “you are there” feeling for the readers. My characters can’t refer to anything that didn’t exist more than 3000 years ago – no computer-based terms like data or off the grid, no items “as hard as steel”, no borrowed French words (I love faux but not for these novels) and their way of looking at life was so different from ours, especially with their complete faith in an Afterlife lived exactly as life on earth was lived, only better if you took worldly goods into the tomb with you.

I’ve read translations of poems, songs and official records from the period so I’m familiar with terms they did use. The reviewers at Dear Author paid me what I regarded as the supreme compliment once, saying of one novel “…these definitely aren’t 21st C people in linen kilts.”

For the scifi romance, I just let the writing and the story telling rip and put adventures out there. I don’t explain the blasters or the spaceships any more than you explain your microwave to yourself. I invent the desired surroundings, be it a space ship or an alien planet and I put my main characters into jeopardy and step back to see how it all works out. (I’m a seat of the pants writer, no outlines.) I have created an extensive galactic world for my novels, called The Sectors, with additional details as needed, and I’ve got a standard interstellar luxury cruise liner and other elements that reoccur. There’s an interstellar crime syndicate and an opposing crime fighting unit, mysterious elder aliens, an alien goddess ruling over a Brotherhood of bodyguard/assassins…rock stars, fashion designers and of course my Special Forces warfighters. Certain characters may pop up repeatedly from time to time, but the books are pretty much standalone.

My fantasy world of Claddare is on a smaller scale, with only two books set there so far, but when I “go there”, I know I’m in a medieval type setting, not-Earth but maybe a distant alternate, with powerful magic at play. I think for those books my Muse summons up memories of all the books and movies I’ve read that were set in such places, like Andre Norton’s Witch World and the movie ‘Ladyhawke’ and provides me with a ‘voice’ and a flow of language that fits the time and place, to tell my own stories. 

I don’t write to music as I find that too distracting but I like to listen to music when I’m thinking about plots and characters. I have a treasure trove of Celtic music that really puts me in the right mood.

I enjoy writing for the various worlds – some of my readers like all three, some only read one genre but I appreciate every single person! YAY for readers! Occasionally someone is a little irritated that I wrote an Egyptian instead of the next book in my Badari Warriors SFR series, but I love the creative exercise of switching back and forth and it’s refreshing to me to tell such different tales.
Here are the three most recent novels:

STAR CRUISE: IDOL’S CURSE in the USA Today Best Selling Pets In Space®4 anthology: An unusual bequest….Juli Shaeffer, the Nebula Zephyr’s cruise director, receives a mysterious bequest from the estate of a longtime passenger – a lump of rock taken from a reef on the planet Tahumaroa. Legend states anyone who steals from the ocean gods will be cursed. The passenger’s will requests the rock be returned to the beach so his heirs won’t be affected by the bad luck he believed he’d incurred. Juli doesn’t believe in superstitions and she agrees to carry out this small favor on the ship’s next stop at the planet in question.

Until the rock disappears from her office…

When the rock disappears and reappears in various locations around the ship, and seems connected to a steadily escalating series of mishaps, Juli turns to Third Officer Steve Aureli as the only one she feels she can trust. Along with Steve and his elderly Aunt Dian – a passenger aboard the Nebula Zephyr for this cruise – she investigates the strange series of malfunctions plaguing the interstellar luxury liner. Steve and Juli enlist his Aunt Dian’s dog, Charrli, a retired Sectors Z Corps canine, to help them track the missing rock as it moves about the ship.
Juli and Steve must find the rock, hang onto it and transport it to the planet’s surface, before the alien idol’s curse turns deadly. The attraction between the two of them grows as the threat to Juli becomes more and more focused. Can she carry out her task while he keeps her safe from the alien curse? Will the capricious alien idol bring them good fortune…or disaster?

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook      Google

RETURN OF DANCER OF THE NILE (GODS OF EGYPT):  Nima, formerly a tavern dancer in the land of the Nile, has settled into the leisurely life of her dreams as the pampered, beloved wife to a high ranking general who’s also a member of Pharaoh’s court. She’s sworn never to dance for anyone else but Kamin, the man she loves. All is fine until one day news arrives that her husband has been killed in a chariot accident while on a trip to a remote city on Pharaoh’s behalf.

But as a reward for their previous service to Egypt against a dangerous enemy, the gods had promised Nima and Kamin they’d die at the same moment…so if she still lives, so must he.

Why is the ruler of the city lying to Pharaoh about Kamin’s death? What is the woman covering up? And where is Kamin?

Time for Nima the elegant lady to vanish from Thebes and Nima the skilled dancer to make her way in disguise to the far distant province and fight for Kamin’s life.  She’ll have to deal with angry gods, black magic, an enemy prince and a deadly ghost along the way.

Nima is the only one who can rescue her beloved from the dark fate planned for him by Egypt’s enemies…
Amazon     Apple Books       Nook    Kobo     Google

WINTER SOLSTICE DREAM: A MAGIC OF CLADDARE NOVELLA:  Torn from her home in the Dales as a child, Nadelma has made a place for herself as the head cook in the Witch Queen of Azrimar’s castle. She stays in the background of the busy court and uses her gentle magic gifts sparingly to help others. More or less content, she’s made peace with the hard facts of her life. Romance, marriage, a family – all beyond her dreams any longer.

Then Halvor, an ambitious Dales lord rides into the city, bringing his mercenaries to serve the king, with the promise of a rich reward, including a title and an estate. The only catch? He has to marry a highborn Azrimaran noblewoman to seal the treaty.

Fate conspires to throw Nadelma and Halvor into each other’s company and the connection is instant and deep but both resist the attraction. She knows she can never have him for herself. He must fulfill the treaty to secure a safe place for his people to live, since their holding in the Dales was destroyed by the black magic of the Shadow. Marriage to a noble damsel of the king’s choice is his fate.

Until he met Nadelma he thought his heart was frozen by the loss of all he cared for, back in the Dales. Now he knows better but his people must come first.

The situation is hopeless…or is it? For the king declares the city will celebrate Winter Solstice and hold a ball, where wishes and dreams just might come true.
Amazon      Apple Books      Nook      Kobo      Google

Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author
 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 read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Day After Halloween by Diane Burton

Halloween is over for another year. The kids (and some adults) dressed up in costumes, running from door to door for candy, decorations in windows and on doors, scary movies. All done for another year.

My favorite aspect of Halloween is watching the kids in costumes race down our street, dart up driveways. Hubs and I usually sit in our open garage with a huge bowl of candy between us and welcome the neighbor kids. Yesterday was bitter cold and rainy. The day before we had our first snow. Snow in October? Yeppers. It melted as it hit windshields and the streets. Nevertheless, we had snow in west Michigan. That’s pretty rare. At least the Trick-or-Treaters didn’t have snow.

Our town (and the one we lived in before) had specific times to trick-or-treat: from 6 pm to 8 pm. People put their porchlights on if they were handing out treats. I’m amazed at the politeness of kids as they stick to the street (we have no sidewalks) and don’t run across lawns—even when we told them to cross the strip of grass between our house and the one next door. They almost always thanked us for the candy, too. And, if outdoor lights are off, they don’t bang on the door.

When no little witches, goblins, or Wonder Women were on our street, we turned off the light and went inside at 7:30. Considering how nasty the weather was, if I was a parent, I’d bribe the kids to stay home, turn out the lights, and give them the trick-or-treaters’ candy. 😊 And watch a scary movie.

Having done our "civic" duty, we proceeded to watch that scary movie. If you’ve read any of my posts, comments on FB, etc. you know I don’t do scary stuff. No roller coasters, no Stephen King, no Friday the 13th. It took me years before I watched Alien (and the sequels). When I made the mistake of taking my kids to Gremlins, they begged to sleep in my bed that night. And I let them because I’d been scared, too. LOL

credit: IMDB

So, consider yourself amazed that I willingly watched a scary movie last night. Jekyll & Hyde (1990) with Michael Caine and Cheryl Ladd. I love Michael Caine, so I thought why not? I’d never read the book but sort of knew the story. (Who doesn’t?) That it was written by Robert Louis Stevenson surprised me. I hate to say it, but it wasn’t very scary. Gremlins scared me more. But, hey, I was trying to get into the mood. LOL

As I said at the beginning, Halloween is over for another year. We do have some candy left over, which I’ll take to the craft show on Saturday where I’ll sell my books. Candy always makes people stop. The spooky decorations will come down, and those for Thanksgiving will go up. Another holiday and one I look forward to.

Enjoy the post-Halloween time, if your kiddies aren’t hyped up on all that candy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Book Release, an Eye Surgery, and a Drawing

I tell ya what, it’s nice to be back with my PNRom peeps this month, and with a functioning eyeball. For those of you didn’t know, life dumped me unexpectedly (and rather rudely, I might add) into the ER for eye surgery...the night before my next series short-story released. Nothing Earth shattering, just a detached retina. 

Unfortunately, the doctor did not replace my failing eyeball with a bionic one, this time. I'm still working on him about that. Fortunately, Linda Nightingale kindly stepped up to fill my September blog slot, and for that I’m grateful.

This month my eye is better and I’m back to my usual shenanigans. Let’s start with the release I missed.

Space Ranger--the story of what really happened to Graig that brought him back to Simone--re-released on Sept. 24th. This is a companion/fan-service story to my novel Prophecy. Companion, meaning while it can be read alone, it will flow smoother if read in sequence after Prophecy. Fan service, because so many readers wanted to know exactly what Alex did to help Graig see the light. Aaaand also because you all keep asking for more Alex and Gryf.

Oh, and "re-release"...well, this story was my contribution to the first ever Pets in Space anthology from a couple years ago.

Check it out:

Graig Roble, Matiran Senior Security Commander for the Guardian Fleet, is an expert weapons specialist and combat master. Protecting others is what he was born to do. So why has his focus wavered since returning to duty aboard the Atlantis? All he can think about is the enticingly brilliant human woman he walked away from.

Simone Campbell uses her experience as a botanist to help Terr recover from the devastating Anferthian invasion. Yet she can’t seem to immerse herself deep enough in her work to expunge the memory of one blue-skinned hunk-of-an-alien. What is it about Graig that keeps pulling her attention, and her heart, away from her job?

One thing’s for sure, their bond runs deeper than either of them realized—but can Graig convince Simone of this before he loses the best thing to ever happen to him?

(This is a revised edition and originally appeared in the first Pets in Space(R) anthology.)

There are two ways to get your copy of Space Ranger:

1) Subscribe to my newsletter and get a FREE complimentary copy**
2) Purchase it from your favorite online store

** If you already subscribe, go to your email and look at the September 2019’s version of Lea’s Letters from Space for the link to get your own copy.

In other news…

Tomorrow’s Halloween! What better way to celebrate than with a sexy vampire? And boy do I know the guy for you! Read on to find out how you could win a Kindle version of my vampire novel, Made for Her….

Racing against time to return a legendary dagger to the land of the Fae, Donnie McAllister must rely on a dangerously sexy vampire to navigate a world she never knew existed. If she doesn’t deliver, it’ll cost Donnie her life and leave the ancient weapon of untold power in the hands of her corrupt, venomous boss.

Mikhail Cherneski’s nemesis is after Donnie, the human woman whose blood calls to Mikhail like no other. When Mikhail comes face-to-face with his enemy, he must risk his immortal life or watch Donnie suffer the same fate as his family.

Another bewitching story from Magic, New Mexico


Here are the entry rules:

1) To win, you must have a Kindle/Kindle email address (no exceptions, sorry).
2) Winner will be drawn at noon PST November 6, 2019.
3) The author will contact winner via email; winner will have 24 hours to respond.
4) If winner does not respond in the requisite amount of time, or does not qualify, a new name will be drawn. 
5) With the winner’s consent, the author will post winner’s name in her November 30th blog.
6) Your entry is your consent for the author to contact you, and your agreement with the author’s privacy policy.

Good luck, everyone, and have a safe and fun Halloween!


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 a novella and the fourth book in her series.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Shifters and Halloween! Oh my! @meganslayer #shifters #gay #gayromance #catshifters #sanctuaryseries #halloween

It's that time of year to be scary and have a spooky time. I love this time of year because I have a thing for cats. Okay, shifters, to be exact. I love the idea of cats, dogs, big cats, etc switching forms and becoming people. I've always thought my cats and dogs could really be people. They've got so much personality. What do you think? Is it too far-fetched? Let me know.

Speaking of shifters, give my Sanctuary series a try!

Embracing His Roar by Megan Slayer

Sanctuary, Book 11
Gay Paranormal Erotic Romance
From SuperNova Indie Publishing

A bobcat who doesn’t think he belongs and a lion who believes he is unlovable…can they make a relationship work?

Avan has made his share of mistakes, but those are in the past. Moving forward means forgiving himself and having a life at the Sanctuary. He wants just one shifter—Oscar. The bobcat shifter soothes his soul and seems to see the best in Avan. But will he want to be with Avan, even after everything Avan’s done?

Oscar’s lusted after Avan since he first saw him. He doesn’t care what Avan’s done because he believes everyone deserves a second chance. But Oscar’s got a past, too. He’d never felt like he belongs, even at the Sanctuary. The one place he feels safe is with Avan.

The odds a bobcat and lion should be together are low, but the passion between them sizzles. Can they find common ground and embrace their roar or will their differences destroy the blossoming relationship?

Available at

©MeganSlayer, 2019, All Rights Reserved
He left his seat. “I’m going out. I need some air.” He walked out of the library and collided with a solid wall of man. “What the hell?” He knew the scent wafting around him. Oscar? He met the gaze of the person he’d run into. “Oscar.”
“Hi.” Oscar blushed. “I meant to find you.”
“You did.” He wanted to run his hands all over Oscar. The lion knew the bobcat was there, and he wanted to keep him. The lion yearned to rub his scent all over Oscar. He held back, despite the cat shredding him from the inside.
Oscar opened his mouth three times before he said anything. “Are you going to leave?”
No way in hell. Oscar was there, and he’d take advantage of the situation. “With Markas? Or those two?” He gestured to the library.
Oscar edged his shoulder up in a tiny shrug. “Either.”
Was he trying to be coy? Was that hunger in Oscar’s eyes? Desire? Well, fuck him, yes, it sure looked like desire. Avan nodded to the doorway then brushed past Oscar. The lion hated Avan for making it wait.
“Let’s go to the porch.” His voice cracked. Damn. He didn’t care if Oscar knew he was nervous, but he didn’t want the truth to be so obvious.
“Yeah.” Oscar followed Avan outside. “Phew. It got hot in there. Did they have the heat on? It’s May. Isn’t it too warm out for the heat inside?”
“I doubt they turned on the furnace.” But it was nice to know Oscar was affected, too. Avan had thought he was the only one with a fever. He needed the change in temperature to clear his thoughts. “Here.” He pointed to the swing. “Join me?”
“The guys won’t make fun?” Oscar sat with him. “I’m not exactly popular with them. Ryder even jokes about me, and he’s supposed to be a friend.”
“Why?” Once Avan found out why Ryder had said anything to upset Oscar, he’d give Ryder a new asshole.
“I stuck up for you.” His blush deepened. “He’s a jerk.”
“He is.” He paused. Oscar intrigued him. He hadn’t thought Oscar cared—not enough to say anything. “I’m glad.”
“You’re happy he’s a jerk?” Oscar frowned. “I wish he’d lay off.” He stared at Avan. “Ryder told me I’m attracted to you, and everyone knows. I didn’t know.” He froze, and the color bled from his face. “Shit.”
“What?” He didn’t care who saw them. “Do you like me?” He and his lion wanted the attraction to be mutual. “Oscar?”
“I don’t know.” Oscar sagged in his seat. “Avan.”
Avan faced Oscar and tipped up Oscar’s chin, forcing Oscar to meet his gaze. “I get the feeling you do like me.” He wanted to look into those green eyes forever—especially when he sank deep into Oscar. “But I understand you’re not ready to admit it, and that’s cool.”
“It is?”

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Literary Devices by L. A. Kelley

What is a Literary Device?

It isn’t pen, paper or a thesaurus. Literary devices are specific writing techniques used to add depth to a story. They can create atmosphere, convey information about persons, places, or things or provide in-depth psychological insight to a character’s motivation or ethical dilemmas. Literary devices also can work on a deeper intellectual level or merely aid the flow and pacing of a story.

Understanding the proper use of literary devices can helpful to an author. With proper use, a writer can emphasis a particular point or give clarity to a scene or help the reader relate to the author's choices.

Common Literary Devices in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Allegory is a narrative that uses characters and plot to exemplify abstract ideas and themes, such as racism, patriotism or illustrate a moral or spiritual truth. Events and characters are more than they appear on the surface.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a commentary on the events leading to Stalin's rise and the formation of the Soviet Union. The pigs represent figures such as Stalin, Trotsky, and Molotov.

Although Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss is a children’s story about a turtle who yearns for too much power, on a deeper level it’s a reference to Adolf Hitler and the evils of totalitarianism.

Anthropomorphism comes from combination of the Greek words for “human” and “form” and attributes human emotions and qualities to non-human elements. They can be characters like animals or objects like the weather. It's a common device in fantasy and science fiction.

Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Artoo-detoo. Anthropomorphism can also be used as a descriptive element such as calling the relationship between two countries a friendship or saying a storm had a “raging” wind.

Irony is used to convey an opposite meaning
than the one expressed. Irony is often used in a humorous context and sorry, Alanis Morissette, rain on your wedding day isn’t ironic. It’s merely bad luck. There are three types of irony in literature:
Verbal irony: Words spoken with a hidden meaning. It’s similar to sarcasm, but not as mean. An example is using the phase “clear as mud” to describe confusion. In the movie, Annie, the orphans insist “We love you Miss Hannigan” when they obviously don’t.

Situational irony: An action occurs that's the opposite of what was expected or intended. It’s a surprise to the reader. At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends find out they had the power to attain their hearts’ desires all along.

Dramatic irony: The reader is aware of the true intentions or outcomes, while the characters are not. As a result, certain actions and/or events take on different meanings. This was a common tool for Shakespeare. Macbeth appears to be loyal to Duncan, but is actually plotting his murder. Romeo believes Juliet is dead but, being a dork, doesn’t bother to check her pulse before downing poison.

Foreshadowing is an excellent device to add tension to a narrative. It involves indirect hints to future action in the story through the use of dialogue, description, or characters’ actions. Often the foreshadowing event seems inconsequential, but in retrospect is a clue to what is to come.

The prologue of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton alludes to a settlement relating to a genetic crisis caused by a company called InGen that occurred off the coast of Costa Rica.

In the Lord of the Rings Frodo tells Gandalf it’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill Gollum when he had the chance. Gandalf responds pity stayed his hand. “Many that die deserve life, and some that live deserve death.”

Symbolism is a way for an author to represent abstract concepts and ideas in
 stories. Symbols are typically objects or characters and often appear multiple times throughout a text, sometimes changing in meaning as the plot progresses.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis is actually a Christian allegory with the symbolic use of Aslan as Jesus Christ and Edmund as Judas. Yeah, I know. That one blew my mind, too.

The first time Dark Vader strides on camera in Star Wars, no one can miss that he is a symbol for all that is evil in the empire, but his symbolic sacrifice at the end of the trilogy frees his son and his soul.

L. A. Kelley writes science fiction and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. The Great San Fransico Earthquake is also an allegory for her lovelife.