Thursday, November 30, 2023

The End of the Year by Diane Burton


December is starting out with snow. Wait, can you believe we’re nearing the end of another year? How did December sneak up on us? In December 2020, I was so glad to welcome a new year. It had to be better than the year we were leaving. So how do I feel about 2023?

Do you look back at the year in December? Do your good memories outweigh the difficult ones? Subconsciously I guess I do. Usually I’m too busy to think about it. Too busy? Doing what? I’m retired. It’s amazing how time goes by without much being done. Including writing. I can say I’ve been filling the creative well by reading and binge watching television. 

As this year ends, I think about what I’ve accomplished. Writing isn’t an accomplishment this year. Neither was selling my books at craft shows. Not because I didn’t want to. Hubs didn’t do well this year. Too many falls, followed by hospital stays and rehab. Leaving him alone wasn’t a good idea. My oldest brother passed away last spring. A real shock. In October, I hit one of those “milestone” years. Can I consider that an accomplishment? I killed another computer. 

On the positive side, my family is doing well. They’ve been so supportive, encouraging me to get back to the writing. My twin grandsons started kindergarten and, boy, do they love school. Hope that continues. My oldest granddaughter is looking at colleges. All of the kids are avid readers. Taking after their parents (and grandmother). They all enjoy good health. What more can I ask for? As for Hubs, he’s in a great assisted living place where he’s getting more help than I can give him. It’s been an adjustment for both of us. But a good one.

So, 2023 is ending on a high note note. I’m looking forward to the new year. How about you?

Saturday, November 25, 2023

She’s Still Standing – Can’t Keep an Old Gal Down! (neither NOLA nor me!) by Nancy Gideon

Nothing like spending Halloween in New Orleans - especially by taking a walking Haunted History Tour along the surprisingly cold, dark (and rather treacherous with their uneven walkways!) streets of the French Quarter! Musicians playing on the sidewalks and in the streets, parades of dancing costumed revelers, marching bands, tricked out cars, noise from every open doorway . . . and a mile long line waiting for the only women’s restroom! Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let those good times roll! (and just pray there’s some paper left on that roll!) No one can throw a party like NOLA!

And nothing says NOLA like the food, starting with five-course Creole fare at Tujague’s and Mamou, a visit to The Court of Two Sisters and CafĂ© Beignet for brunch, and indulging a sweet tooth at the Royal Praline Company. Thank goodness for that trudge back up the hill to work off all that yumminess!

Though it wasn’t my first (more like my fifth or sixth) visit, this old granddame of a city can always find some new way to surprise me – especially when viewing it anew through the first-time visitor eyes of my virtual assistant. And particularly when this author is getting ready to reissue expanded versions of her By Moonlight series (books 4-8) – as soon as I get the pages rescanned (since the original handwritten manuscript pages have long since disappeared during several moves).

Being unapologetically OCD, I had lists a mile long to fill every second of our rather short six-day trip (one of them spent in the airport!). Good thing since the TV in our room didn’t work (and we both brought books to read!). With so little time, so much to see, we confined our trip to the French Quarter, except for a restful tour of the Garden District via streetcar to see the old grand dame houses. The day started down the hill into the Quarter along carefully traversed broken sidewalks (which I survived only to catch my foot on a bench while dragging suitcases outside the airport when arriving back home, taking a graceless fall that tore the heck out of my shin! At least no one was there to see me. Better returning than when arriving!).

My one regret is not having enough time to do more in the Quarter, though we did make it to the Square and the Moon Walk to overlook the Mississippi and its riverboats. Power shopping will have to wait for our next trip.

Next trip? Oh, yeah!

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Thankful Author by Tena Stetler


What am I thankful for? First and foremost, I’m thankful for the ability to record my favorite TV programs and fast forward through all the political ads! The mudslinging, public airing of dirty laundry (we all have some, but know better than publicly declare it), outright lies, and finger-pointing by all involved are fast-forwarded away.

Regardless of your candidate or their platform, we all have to pull up our big girl and boy pants and support this country. It may not be perfect, but in my book, it’s still the greatest nation in the world, just my humble opinion, and don’t you forget it. <giggle>

Jamming my soapbox back under the bed. (Whew) Now let’s get on with the other things this thankful author is thankful for. First of all, I’m thankful to have food on the table, I am nearly healthy enough to enjoy life (had a bout of health issues the last couple of years), and for the roof over my head.

Bless the hearts of my wonderful readers, I am so thankful for them. I hope my tales of paranormal creatures have helped them forget their troubles or relax by slipping into worlds of magic, fantasy, and mystery, if only for a few hours.  Though it’s been nearly ten years and eighteen books published, I still wake up and pinch myself every morning, thankful to be living my dream of being a published author.  A dream made possible by my supportive, extraordinary husband of many moons, and The Wild Rose Press, my amazing publisher. My editor, (though she’s retired now), well, let’s just say…she rocked! I’m so thankful for her patience and understanding.  Next chapter of publishing will be with a new editor. He/she’s got some big shoes to fill, but I’m sure they’ll be up to the task. Oh, yeah, and I’m thankful for the helpful, supportive authors of The Wild Rose Press!  They are always willing to lend a hand.

When my characters run amuck, the story plot flows in ten different directions and none of them what I had in mind. Like my recently completed manuscript and soon to be submitted. (Yeah, I know you plotters never have that happen, but us pansters… well just saying.) Three little words, “You’ve got this” are music to my ears from my family and friends. I am eternally thankful for their encouragement and support.

I am thankful for the unconditional love of my chow dog, spoiled parrot and box turtle. No matter how bad I feel or screw up, in their eyes, I’m darn near perfect. And I’m certainly not going to tell them any different!

Finally, a day never passes without my thanks to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces whose dedication keeps our great nation free. (Comes from living in a military town all my life & marrying a soldier.)  We are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. You may not agree with me, but that’s what is great about this nation.  You don’t have to.  I’m entitled to my own opinion, as are you. I can write books on any topic I choose without fear of a midnight knock on my door or being carted away. Unless of course, our characters come to life, then we’re all in trouble. ROFLOL

While this thankful author has lot more to be thankful for, those are the biggies. I wish you all love, laughter and happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, one more shameless promo for my feel-good Christmas tale, Meringue Snowflake Magic.

After being in the wrong place at the wrong time Wynter Dahl finds herself with a new name and new home.  Whisked into the Witness Protection program she finds herself in the Podunk town of Raven’s Hollow, Colorado.  She has more than one secret to keep and is not sure who she can trust, though the deputy sheriff is hard to resist.

Braydon “Blaze” Nightwing, owns Dragon Fire Pizza and takes his job as deputy sheriff seriously. He means to protect his town and its residents, including the mysterious newcomer. He rescues her after a tumble and finds himself in over his head.  He senses she’s more than she seems but so is he.

When her cover is blown and her life is in danger, it will take the whole town to save her and their annual holiday festival and cookie contest. What is Christmas without a little magic?

Tiny Sneak Peek between the pages of Meringue Snowflake Magic

The sun was warm through her large side window as she stood sipping her tea and admiring the newly fallen snow that sparkled like diamonds on the ground. Several children were running up and down the hill diagonally across the street with old-fashioned wooden and newer sleds that looked like strips of brightly colored plastic. They flew down the hill at break-neck speed. She took another sip of tea, choked, and spit it all over the window, blinds, and herself. Did that little girl just unfurl blue iridescence wings and hover above the others, throwing snowballs? She blinked, rubbed her eyes and stared at the scene outside her window. Sure enough, there were now three children hovering in the air, waging war with snowballs on the others sliding down the slope. One had fallen off a sled and transformed into a furry wolf rolling down the hill. What kind of a place have I been relegated to?

Suddenly the doorbell rang, she bobbled her mug spilling more tea on the light gray carpet in front of the window.  Geez, what now? On her way to the door, she tore off a couple of paper towels and dropped them on the stain. Pausing to look through the peephole, she hissed out a breath and yanked open the door. The children with wings, pointed ears, and fur were temporarily forgotten.

Meringue Snowflake Magic makes a great Christmas gift for book lovers Kindle or other electronic devices.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Free on Amazon: The Naughty List by L. A. Kelley

The Naughty List

Free on Amazon: November 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

This isn't a typical Yuletide tale.

Murder, mystical artifacts, an invisible demon with anger management issues, and an overbearing cupid—not what Rosalie Thatcher wished for on her Christmas list.

The holidays had always been a magical time for Rosalie, but not this year. Her new manager at Penrose’s is determined to make this season the most profitable in the department store’s history, even if it sucks the life from every employee. Enforcing arbitrary rules and forcing Rosalie into the stupid elf hat was the worst until she meets a real E.L.F. (Elemental Life Form) named David and gets lassoed into a desperate hunt for the stolen Naughty and Nice List.  Now Rosalie and David must dodge a murderous invisible demon and recover the missing artifact before hellhounds track them down. The couple race against time for without the guidance of the Naughty and Nice List the world will tumble into chaos.


A knock sounded at the door. Rosalie groaned. She was not in the mood for company. Maybe if she stayed quiet, the person would go away. Someone knocked again.

“Rosalie?” A man cleared his throat. “May I have a word, please?”

She wrinkled her brow, not recognizing the voice. Sliding the chain across, she cracked open the door.

“Hi. I’m David. I’m not a stalker—”

She slammed the door in his face. How dare he show up at her home! Rosalie’s fingers clenched.

“Please,” he begged. “I really need to talk to you.” She glanced around for her purse.

David rapped again. “Rosalie, give me five minutes…one minute?”

She reached inside and pulled out an aerosol can and her phone. He would so regret this.

“You don’t understand.” David pounded on the door. “You’re in danger.”

The door whipped open. Rosalie stood tight-jawed with a small aerosol can in one hand and her cell phone in the other. “Either cops or pepper spray. You have five seconds.”

“Rosalie, please—”


 “If you just—”


“Please, listen—”


 “Um…I know Santa.”


David vanished. An instant later two hands behind her yanked both the can and cell phone away. She spun around and stared dumfounded as he threw the pepper spray on the floor and put the cell phone in his pocket. How did he move so fast?

“Rosalie, if you only—ow!”

 She kicked him in the shin.

“Quit it! I won’t hurt you. I only want to talk.” He motioned to the bag on the floor. “I brought dinner.”

“I don’t care if you brought your own personal chef!” she yelled. “Get the hell out of my apartment. You…you…snitch.”

 He looked completely perplexed. “I think we have a misunderstanding—”

 “That’s it—I’m making some noise.” Rosalie took a deep breath as if to scream. David’s hand shot out and grabbed her. The apartment dissolved into nothingness.


L. A. Kelley Amazon Author Page

Monday, November 13, 2023

Seasonal is a Relative Term By Marilyn Barr


I love all things pumpkin. Nothing says fall like the orange gourd roasted with warm spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Fall in Kentucky starts between September 21st and 23rd, depending on lunar cycles and moon placements but our pumpkins don’t mature until later. While the average pumpkin reaches ripeness between the end of August and the end of October in the USA, our growing season has shifted later with climate change. It is not uncommon for kids to play outside in short-sleeved shirts and shorts in December. Last year my pumpkins didn’t turn orange until the week before Halloween. I wasn’t worried because historically Jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes, and apples.

(My garden's pumpkin on Halloween 2023)

However, I am dismayed to report that the national coffee chains in my area don’t serve pumpkin-spiced lattes after Halloween. The official coffee house pumpkin season goes from August 1st to October 31st…when the bulk of USA’s pumpkins aren’t mature. Growing up, November was pumpkin spice season because we needed to process all the innards from the jack-o-lanterns. Why else serve pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? With the rush to be the first to serve pumpkin treats, we have shifted the autumnal season into our hottest season. When the weather is consistently in the high nineties Fahrenheit, there’s no way I’d savor a steamy pumpkin coffee. Would you?

Don’t get me started on the Peppermint Mochas, Holiday carols, and Christmas trees in retail stores today. Bah Humbug, until December, please!

Enter the Book Fair here 

Well, if you can’t beat them…join them. Introducing the Monsters and Mistletoe Book Fair (cue off-key Jingle Bells) where your favorite winter, holiday, and Christmas monster romances bring the heat…before you turn on your furnace for the season. My snow monsters will take you on Arctic adventures, months before a flake falls in Kentucky to set the winter wonderland ambiance…as your leaves fall from the trees.

Featured in the Monsters & Mistletoes Book Fair is Betrothed to the Yeti: A Monster Brides Romance.

Here is an excerpt of this Cinderella-retelling set on the icy moon of Enceladus…

“I crept closer than I intended,” I whisper in a husky voice that I’ve never used. “I’m too short to reach the bottom and…I don’t know how to keep my face above the water’s surface.”

          “I think you found where you are meant to be,” he replies. “Don’t you agree?

          “What are you asking of me?” I search his face for clues, but his eyes are too alien to read. Each emotion flits across his features too fast. It’s like traveling to a foreign village where the customs and dialect hold you in a silent, intangible prison.

            “Stay,” he pleads. “Be my partner. Let me provide for you. Allow me to learn more about humans from you. Be the center of my world and the object of my endless fascination.”

            “You want to learn from me? I know goats, cheese, starvation, and cold…endless cold. How can I repay you? The warmth alone is worth more than what I can teach you.”

Betrothed to the Yeti is available on Kindle Unlimited in eBook form as well as in paperback form at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Or you can visit the Monsters & Mistletoe Book Fair! Ho, Ho, Ho!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Myths to Pages: Unveiling Hidden Legends by Keri Kruspe


Whenever anyone asks me why I adore paranormal romance, I’m completely honest with them. With things around us getting crazier every day, to keep what little sanity I have left I’ve got to have an outlet where I can escape in a realm where reality and imagination intertwine. A place full of captivating stories that transport me beyond the ordinary. And I’m not talking just about well-known paranormal creatures like vampires and werewolves, even though they are still some of my favorites. Besides them there exists a treasure trove of lesser-known myths, legends, and cultural folklore that are waiting to be unearthed and woven into the tapestry of the paranormal romance narratives.

Today we’ll embark on a journey of discovery and explore the art of how we can find and adapt these hidden gems into our own writing. My intent is to not only showcase how this genre is captivating readers with twists in their enchanting tales, but how we can weave them into our own stories.

At the end I’ll share some recommendations that got me started on this journey.

Unearthing Forgotten Legends

Orisha Deity

First, as a writer, how do we find new and exciting legends to delve into? In today’s ability to delve into any subject at the touch of a keyboard, it’s easy enough to examine other cultures we aren’t familiar with! Deep in the depths of thousands of ancient cultures as well as regional folklore, the world is brimming with stories that have yet to be told. If we go beyond the familiar tales of Western mythology, there are rich narratives of African, Asian, Indigenous, and other cultures. For instance, the Kitsune of Japanese folklore, shapeshifting fox spirits, offer a captivating twist on the classic shifter trope. The Yoruba tradition's Orisha deities, with their intricate personalities and powers, have intense tales that add layers of depth to any character. Just look at the thriving popularity of Japanese anime to see what I mean.

Best of all, by unearthing these forgotten legends, we can infuse any paranormal romance with a global mosaic that can’t help but attract a new base.

Weaving Cultural Authenticity

As with any new endeavor that involves a culture you aren’t familiar with, it's vital to approach them with sensitivity and respect. I know how excited I get when I’m researching a new idea. I try to understand the historical, cultural, and societal contexts where these myths originate. If you can, engage with experts and immerse yourself in their expertise. That way you not only enrich your writing but also honor the cultures that have nurtured these stories for generations.

Breathing Life into Characters

Hidden legends offer a trove of inspiration for character development. The figures within these myths often possess unique attributes, flaws, and motivations that can serve as a blueprint for any paranormal romance protagonists as well as the villains. For example, drawing from the Slavic myth of Rusalka, a water nymph can bring both love and danger to your story. She’s a complex character who struggles with her dual nature. Here’s an interplay of light and darkness that adds layers of complexity, making her more relatable and engaging to readers.

Redefining Supernatural Powers

This is one I struggle with all the time. How to I make this age-old legend and turn it into something new and exciting? Incorporating lesser-known myths lets me reimagine the supernatural powers that drive any character. The Irish Banshee, for instance, could have premonition powers that come with a haunting cost, adding depth and tension to any romantic journey.

Creating a Richer Story World

A paranormal romance isn't just about characters. It's also about the world they live in. Hidden legends can serve as the foundation for building intricate and immersive story worlds. Especially for someone like me who writes SciFi romance, a sub-genre under the paranormal umbrella. Without this key element, my romance adventures fall flat. I’ve got to work through the architecture, landscapes, and societies of other worlds that inspire my fictional settings. I may adapt elements like mystical forests, ancient temples, or ethereal realms as a backdrop where my romance unfolds. My goal is to take my readers in a world that is both magical as well as believable.

Tapping into Emotional Resonance

This is a biggie for me. One of the greatest advantages of our cultural legends lies in their ability to evoke deep emotions. Many of these stories are steeped in themes of love, sacrifice, betrayal, and longing—themes that resonate powerfully with readers. As a writer, I do my best to adapt these narratives so I can capture the essence of these emotional currents. My intent is to layer the narrative and infused them into the relationships, conflicts, and journeys of my heroes. By doing so, I strive to create a profound connection that lingers with readers long after they've turned the last page.


In the realm of paranormal romance, where imagination reigns supreme, the sky (or universe!) is the limit for creating boundless storytelling. By venturing beyond the well-trodden paths of popular mythology and delving into the hidden legends of cultures around the world, it’s easy to unearth a wealth of inspiration that can invigorate anyone’s writing. Keep in mind any adaptation requires diligence, respect, and creativity. But, oh the rewards are immeasurable. Now you’ll have a tapestry of characters, worlds, and emotions that captivate readers and breathe fresh life into the genre.

So, embark on this journey of discovery! Let the hidden legends guide your pen to create tales that enchant, intrigue, and touch the hearts of all who read them.

And, as promised, here is a small handful of some of my favorite paranormal romances that started me on my paranormal romance journey:

Leave your comments here... we'd all love to hear your recommendations!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Unfinished ~ Why I have stories no one will ever see


Why I have stories no one will ever see
by Author Jessica E. Subject

Recently, there was a trend in Author Instagram where authors shared all the stories they had started and what happened to them. This included both published and unpublished stories. I posted with this trend, though I divided my posts into those stories which have been published, and those which haven't.

While I've seen many authors sharing their excitement over the story their currently writing, the story that's out on submission, the story that's available for pre-order, and the story that just released, I don't see posts about the stories they've abandoned. So, this trend was a first for me to see that.

As an author, I can think of many reasons why those stories have been tossed to the side, some never to be looked at again. I won't speak for all authors, but I will share the reasons why I have abandoned some of my stories.

The Zurian Child, The Zurian Legacy, Faith ~ The first book in this series was published, and the second one was contracted to the same publisher. But when the publisher folded, these stories were left without a home. This was the first series I'd ever written. It was my baby, and I was so excited to finally have it published. At the same time that the beginning of this series was being published, I started working with another publisher for shorter stories. And the editors I worked with there taught me a lot. So, when I had these stories back to do with what I wanted, I realized they needed a lot of help. That's when I tossed them aside. But not forever. I ended up rewriting the first two stories completely, with some new characters, new settings, and new knowledge. They eventually became Bryce and Jager in my Galactic Defenders series.

The Other Brother, random YA Contemporary, Good Daughter ~ These three stories were plotted and started, but I lost interest when I started writing other stories for other projects.

Always on the Outside ~ This is a story I still want to write. I have a general plot, but I have to make time to write it. I always seem to have some other project come up when I go to write this one.

Jace ~ I always planned to give Jace his own story. It was supposed to be the fourth book in my Galactic Defenders series, but I didn't have a definite plot. But then Tayrym came along with a full plot, and I wrote his story instead. I hope to one-day give Jace his story.

Before the Tour Ends, Claiming His Love ~ These two stories will involve a lot of research into culture, and that can be daunting. With the help of sensitivity readers, I might be able to tell these stories properly, but I'm not sure yet.

Special Project ~ This is what I'm writing now, and my due date is fast approaching! More details to come!
2 Fans, 3 Secrets ~ These are the next two stories in my Romance Tales from the Quadrants that I will be writing. I'm busy plotting them, too!

I have some other short stories that I've shared in my newsletters, but I have no plans to share them in any other way. 

If you're looking for the many stories I do have published, be sure to check out my website, or my profile on Books2Read!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Books Are Magic by Diane Burton


This is the time of year when we think a lot about the paranormal. Considering all the "visitors" we had last night, we writers aren't the only ones whose thoughts drift to things "out of this world." Witches, ghosts, SuperHeroes, dragons, magicians.


Why not? Hogwarts produces many magicians. Magicians make me think of magic, which isn't totally out of this world. Books are magic.

Which made me think of a post I wrote almost ten years ago. What was true then is true today.

I can’t remember when I started reading. I do remember how books transported me into places I’d never visited or ever will visit. Books still do. Through the magic of books I can visit Rivendell, Hogwarts, Camp Half-Blood. I can go back in time to Regency England or travel on a starship to alien planets.

Until I read a blog post by Jeannie Ruesch on Writers Unboxed, I’d forgotten that not only reading but writing is magic, too. In her post, Ms. Ruesch quotes from Stephen King’s On Writing: “Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art.”

Writing is magic. Characters pop into our heads, some fully formed, others only give us sneak peeks until we write their story. Sometimes they hint at a major road block to any type of relationship. Others are blatant about it. Digging into their pasts, making them open up can be quite a challenge. Non-writers may question this. You’re the writer. You made up those characters. Why don’t you know what they’re thinking? As many writers have discovered, characters don’t always behave the way we expect them to. They take on a life of their own and force us to listen to them. Secondary characters demand their own story. Villains insist they have good reasons for what they do. That’s magic.

While writing, we can enjoy a sunny Caribbean beach while it’s twenty below outside or a mountain retreat when everyone around us suffers through ninety degrees with ninety-nine percent humidity. The best time of year and location for our stories seem to flow from the story itself. While we are writing, we shut out the here-and-now and are transported to that place and time. It’s magic.

The spark that leads to a story can hit us in the middle of the night, while driving, or doing laundry. A first scene. An opening sentence. They seem to come out of nowhere. We have no idea why. In the middle of writing the current book, especially when we’re stalled, a strange character will pop up, saying "I’m more fun, write my story." I used to call that my Muse talking to me. Now I think it’s magic.

Writing is a job. Like most jobs, we start out all bright-eyed, full of enthusiasm. After a while, the job can become onerous. The crunch of deadlines. Hours spent in promotion when we’d rather be writing. Great ideas fizzle out. Stress from outside sources undermines our creativity. Throw in other roadblocks and we forget what we knew in the beginning. Writing really is magic.

I’m too much a wuss to read Stephen King’s fiction, but On Writing is fabulous, a must-have for any writer, and an interesting read for non-writers. I’m especially glad I read On Writing.  Thanks, Mr. King for reminding me that Writing is magic."


Friday, October 27, 2023

Fortunetelling With Food by L. A. Kelley

Fortune Telling with Food

I hate surprises. I want to know exactly what’s going to happen, with whom, and how can I keep the cops from finding out? While I don’t have a crystal ball, my kitchen happens to have a few food items traditionally used to predict the future.


Halloween is associated with pumpkins but it used to be the perfect time to kick off a grand old cabbage theft to see if love was in your future. A blindfolded participant enters the cabbage patch at midnight when the barrier between the world of the living and dead thins, yanks up a cabbage, and then analyze the roots for clues. Are the roots thick? A big beefy person was in your future. Weedy or withered? Look out for a pasty-faced wimp. Why anyone would settle for a love interest that resembles cabbage roots is beyond me.


Forget scrambled, boiled, fired or an ultrasound. If pregnant, grab an egg like the ancient Roman Empress Livia Drusilla and incubate it between your breasts. The chick’s sex predict the baby’s. In the Ozarks, girls hollowed out a hard-boiled egg, filled it with salt, and ate it. That night, she’d either die of high blood pressure or dream of her true love bringing her a pail of water to drink. People in Colonial times used a Venus glass, egg whites suspended in warm water. The shape of the egg white predicted the occupation of the future spouse. For instance, if the whites kind of looked like a cow, you’re true love would be a farmer (or a cow.) No telling what would show up at the door if the squiggly egg whites only looked like squiggle egg whites.


This pretty much describes those who rely on fortune telling. One popular method was to take two chestnuts and roast them side-by-side in the fire; if they stayed in place without rolling away, it was a good omen for a happy marriage. Alternatively, you could take a hazelnut, representing your lover, and throw it into the fire. If it burst into flame, it was a sign of trouble to come.


Peel in one single peel. Throw over the shoulder and the initial it formed was future husband/wife. Sometimes the apples would be labeled or marked by young men and women before they were put in a tub of water: the person who caught your apple could be your mate. In another version of snap apple, a hoop is suspended from the ceiling, and different treats and tricks, including cake, candies, bread, apples, and peppers, are stationed along its rim. The one a player caught with their teeth would foretell the nature of their love—would it be sweet, spicy, too hot? Would it nourish or burn them?


Not all food items reflect affairs of the heart. Germans had an onion calendar called a zwiebelkalender. Set out twelve pieces of onion, one for each month. Sprinkle them with salt and the amount of moisture that appears indicates the amount of rainfall in its corresponding month. Unless you selected particularly sweaty onions.


Young women in the European countryside would predict future husbands by writing the names of suitors on pieces of cheese. The first to mold was believed to be the ideal mate. Frankly, I think the last man to get moldy is the best of the bunch.

L. A. Kelley writes science fiction and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. Her future generally involves carbo-loading.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Take a (fang) BITE out of this Tasty MIDNIGHT ENCHANTMENT $0.99 SALE! by Nancy Gideon

A dead (literally!) sexy dark hero, a gutsy, desperate, and driven heroine in a historical Turn of the Century setting I can’t wait to return to (at the end of this month!!) all in one spine tingling setting – New Orleans! Gerardo Pascale first appeared as a villain in the original trio of my Midnight vampire romance series – a villain who quickly became my favorite character (I DO love a bad boy!!). He was just too good to waste. Scarred and in hiding, he’s been living undetected by the human world – until an unscrupulous bargain binds him in unholy matrimony to a woman carrying another man’s child. Here’s a tasty nibble from MIDNIGHT ENCHANTMENT . . .

Midnight Enchantment (Touched by Midnight - Book 4)

Published: May 3, 2011
Length: 230 Pages

 The Excerpt 

“Now, I may not be able to convince anyone that you are a . . . a vampire, sir, but, if I give this information to the newspapers, they will hound you unmercifully, and without access to your monies, you’ll have no means to flee the city.”

Silence as the dark night creature pondered this, unperturbed, and that alarmed Percy, as did the words that followed.

“And if I were to just tear out your throat before you could give that information to anyone?”

The casual way he presented Percy’s death made the lawyer’s blood run icy because it was no idle threat when dealing with a dangerous being who’d survived centuries by preying upon human lives, and would snatch his soul without a moment’s remorse. But prepared for that, too, solicitor told him, “The original papers are in a safe place with instructions to turn them over to the authorities should anything happen to me, and be assured, they might not believe what you are, sir, but they take murder very seriously.”

A frustration of rage pulsed from Gerardo Pasquale in palpable waves. Suddenly, Percy knew an instant of true terror as the solidity of Pasquale’s figure seemed to flicker before his eyes, becoming so faint as to be transparent, edges shifting, transforming into something else, something horrible, alien and monstrous, but exactly what was not quite clear. Standing frozen, Percy feared he’d made an irrevocable error in believing himself safe.

Then, to his relief, Pasquale assumed his human shape once again and with a deadly quiet, asked, “What do you want?”

“I want you to marry my sister.”

Hmmmm! A vampire in the family . . . How’s that going to work out? Not as planned, I guarantee!

While you’re devouring ME, I’ll be trying to stuff my entire wardrobe into a travel suitcase and sighing over my five-day agenda for a vacay in New Orleans! Warning: Pictures to come!! And maybe another NOLA-set book or two . . . historical, contemporary, suspense, paranormal? Which would you like to read?


Nancy Gideon on the Web