Sunday, January 29, 2017

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life... with @MeganSlayer #mmromance #vampires #zombies

I like to try to look at the bright side of things. I prefer to be a positive person in general. Trust me, I'm not perfect. I'm a worrier. Did I lock the house, shut the garage door, remember the detergent when I went to the store...that kind of thing.
Fifteen minutes into a six hour drive, I'm panicking trying to remember if I did whatever it was I could swear I forgot to do. Yep, that's me. I'm human.

But there's something about looking at the bright side. In some situations, there aren't many bright sides. I get it and it sucks. But I'm trying to be positive. We're here to talk about books and fun. We're talking about ideas and originality.

Sometimes when I'm writing, an idea that's so far out there comes to me and I wonder if the idea is worth chasing. That happened with my newest MM book, Never Give You Up. I already had a world where vampires, shifters and every other supernatural creature is being hunted. The forces who don't understand them want them gone. If you've read the other Battle Scarred books, then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, then what are you waiting for? *g*

In Never Give You Up, the supernatural creatures are turning on each other. Some have united, but there are a few who are out for blood, so to speak. What's a vampire or any other supernatural creature to do?

Never give up.

Okay, that sounds a tad simplistic, but it's true. They can't give up. If they do, then they're fully, really dead. Anders can't give up on Galen, despite Galen taking a risky move. How these two vampires deal with the ramifications of Galen's choices will shape their friendship and could destroy it.

So the bright mentioned? The bright side here is to cling to your friends and the people you know you can count on. They might be the only ones you've got. Never give up and keep fighting. The more you fight and stick up for yourself, the more you find out what you're made of. Never surrender.

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

Never Give You Up by Megan Slayer  Battle Scarred, Book 5
Loose Id
Contemporary, Paranormal
M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Cover art by Mina Carter
 Through time, distance and confusion, we will always find each other.

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

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

Megan Slayer - It's Always Fun to Squirm
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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Keeping writing on goal? By Barbara Edwards

I’m Barbara Edwards and writing is a major part of my life. Like most authors, I can’t imagine not writing my stories. I have the next two paranormals in my Rhodes End Series partially done, but real life has been biting hours from my writing time.
That’s not unusual, but it is frustrating.
Both have over fifteen thousand words already and I planned on sixty for each. I know the middle and the end. Now I must get the words written.

Do you like werewolves? I found I do, too. My Rhodes End Wolves have been part of my Series since the beginning. I’ve been keeping track of the Pack Law in a separate memo and found it to be useful when I add another scene.

How about Sorcerers? I’ve keep mine in the background, waiting for his own book. He’s nipping at my heels, too. 

Witch? Of course. She’s a main character in the book I’m working on. And the star of her own story.

Everyone has written about their goals and plans for their year. I tried not to make plans. I’m a punster in every aspect of my life besides writing. 

Here’s a Small excerpt from Ancient Awakening if you haven’t already read it.

The terrified servant fumbled her armload of logs as she eased the laboratory’s paneled door open. The pounding of her pulse shredded his concentration. Hunger stabbed through his gut. His fingers flattened the quill’s nib against the parchment and ink smeared the last entry like blood. Saliva pooled in his mouth while she built up the fire, then scuttled to safety. 
His low growl muffled the soft snick of the latch. Once again, he had resisted the impulse to rend, to carelessly feed. A frustrated sigh heaved his chest. The only way to keep good servants was to reward them richly and let them live. The lesson had been difficult to learn. 
He held the parchment to the fading light streaking through a slit in the thick stone. The pale glow outlined his fleshless fingers before a freshly-penned phrase caught his attention. He threw the broken quill into the fire and selected another. The correction had to be made and he bent over his desk to take care of it. 
Satisfied with the change, he straightened and stared into the dancing red and orange flames until his stiff muscles eased. He had to eat, but he resented interruptions. His latest research into a cure had been so promising; the details so fascinating, only the relentless blood hunger forced him to stop. 
Although he had searched the world, he had never found a remedy for the curse he had inflicted on himself. He eased erect and rubbed at his blurred eyes, before slowly stacking the parchment sheets, aligning the unused quills and corking the ink well with shaky hands. He was weak, but the priests would have his nourishment ready. They always did. 
A snapping log showered glowing embers onto the slate hearth. He pondered the coals for a moment before he swept them aside with his bare hand. His changed flesh didn’t burn. Along with his soul, his body had surrendered its ability to feel pain, to age, or scar. 
Legend gave him many names, but the wide halls of his mountain retreat no longer echoed with countless worshipers. He could have ruled the world had his ambition not died with the passage of time. The endless whispers were from the cold winds and the few praying priests. He didn’t care that he couldn’t remember his real name or birthplace.
For an eon he’d regretted the loss of softer emotions. Love had been the first feeling to die, along with the woman who had insisted he would never harm her. He couldn’t recall her features, just the merry tinkle of her laughter and the bright smile she had greeted him with every morning. He licked his lips. She’d tasted sweet. 

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Friday, January 27, 2017

The New York Times Bestseller List: It’s Not What you Think (by L. A. Kelley)


With little fanfare, October 12, 1931 heralded the arrival of the New York Times Bestsellers list. The first list was small with five fiction and four non-fiction titles. Intended only for readers in New York City, its purpose was purely marketing to draw readers to the review pages and increase sales of the newspaper. The list proved popular among readers and publishers and quickly encompassed other cities. In the 1940s one national list supplanted the different city lists and by the 1950s being on the bestseller list was the publishing gold standard. Mega-chain stores such as Barnes and Noble even adopted the list in their own book marketing plans, adding to the cachet.

With the modern age came changes. Until several years ago the Times didn’t count ebook sales. Now it has a separate list, but there still exists print snobbery. Ebook and print sales aren’t totaled. Getting on the list depends on print sales only. List is actually a misnomer. The Times produces eleven categories; Hardcover Fiction, Hardcover and Paperback Non-Fiction, Trade Paperback Fiction, Mass-Market Fiction, Hardcover and Paperback Advice, Miscellaneous and How-To, Children’s Picture Books, Children’s Chapter Books, Children’s Paperback, and Children’s Series. Once a book is on a list subsequent paperback or hardcover editions always have New York Times Bestseller slapped on the cover even if the book hasn’t been on the list for years or only made it for a day.

How is the List Compiled?

Nobody knows, at least nobody who’s talking.

Yup, that’s right. Remember I said the list was a marketing tool with the original intent to draw readers to the review pages and, hence, increase sales of the newspaper. The same holds true today. Marketing tools are protected as proprietary information, so the data compilation process is a closely guarded trade secret.

The list is supposedly gleaned from reports issued directly to the Times by leading booksellers in over twenty cities. (Apparently, nobody cares what you read in Middle of Nowhere, America.) The reporting vendors represent a mixture of large independent booksellers and national retailers. The Times doesn’t require proof or verification and can place a book on the list that it feels will have general interest to its readers. This means the list is a survey and not a tabulation of sales. The stores can report their big sellers or what they think will be their big sellers. Who are these vendors? Amazon and Barnes & Noble publicly release sales data so they probably contribute. Walmart doesn’t, so maybe not.

Pre-orders heavily influence rankings, which is how a book appears even before the publication date. Numbers aren’t everything though. The New York Times has sole discretionary power over the list. Sales are weighted and print is rated better than ebook. So how many books does it take? No hard and fast rules exist; placement is determined by the Times. The general belief is between 15,000-20,000 print units, but sales of nonfiction titles can be much less. Some have made it onto the list with as little as 1500. Books with sales concentrated over a short time have a better shot than books with sales over an extended period which is why publishers sweat presales. Ebook and print numbers aren’t combined, so a book without at least 5000 presale print orders isn’t in the running.

Of course, the book has to be sold through one of the mysterious venues that reports to the Times. With a few exceptions, the list snubs self-published authors and doesn’t consider them worthy of making the print list. Another rule is that an author must be published through a major New York publishing house. That means having an agent with push. Indy presses need not apply.

Buy Your Way to Fame

Got a spare $200,000 hanging around and you might buy your way onto the list. For a tidy fee, certain marketing companies boast they can design a sales platform that includes purchasing thousands of copies of your book from different sellers that are part of the survey system. Of course, you still need a contract from the right publishing house. The Times insists it has rules in place to prevent cheating, but since it won’t release how data is compiled, who knows? Frankly, any author I know who already had $200,000 wouldn’t waste a penny of it buying cartons of his or her own book.

What Does This Mean for the Self-published or Indy Author?

The same thing it always did. Achieving success is like climbing a mountain in a blizzard with sandbags tied to your ankles while someone beats your head with a stick. It’s not impossible, just painful, time-consuming, and filled with frustration. The good news is many authors never hit the list, but still make a living with ebooks, indy presses, and self-publishing. The New York Times Bestseller List continues to exert influence, and certainly enhances a career and boosts sales, but the cachet has faded. More publishing options are available. Many readers don’t care about the list and gladly chance an unknown author.

So the next time you see the New York Times Bestseller List posted at Barnes & Noble or a book with the cover sticker on Amazon think twice about whipping out that credit card. Remember only quantity not quality got the ranking. And to fellow authors—keep the creative juices flowing and don’t get discouraged. Someone will always be better than you at marketing, but your book can find a way to readers’ bookshelves, too.

One Enchanted Evening
Belong to Amazon Prime? One Enchanted Evening is free on Kindle Unlimited. It's not on the New York Times Bestseller List.

L. A. Kelley writes sci-fy/fantasy adventure books with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Finding Your Focus in 2017

by Nancy Gideon

What could be easier than being a writer, right? I mean there are only two requirements:

Easy peasy. Until you sit at the keyboard with all those ideas swarming like pesky mosquitoes after your author’s blood, sweat and tears and you have to swat them away in order to concentrate on ONE priority.

It’s a given – no idea should be wasted. That’s why our busy brain depends upon an idea file – a place to chronicle those bits and pieces that may someday have their chance to shine. Mine often take the form of a stack of Post-It notes, but at least I know where to look for them (even if it’s in the bottom of my purse!). Some thing’s I never toss: 1) Old book proposals (I’ve gone on to sell more than one of them!), 2) Research - information on settings, occupations, kung fu moves, poisons – you never know when they’ll come in handy! I keep floor plans of houses, Oscar dresses, potential hero faces, a list of really cool names, just to name a few. And links to stuff that made a creative spark, 3) Inspirational graphics like the one above. I periodically change them out as my computer background, 4) Historical and reference info, because I always have a period piece floating around in the back of my brain – Downton Abbey, Time Life books on Pirates and American Indians, music from other centuries and cultures, history timeline books - because past influences future, 5) my shelf of favorite books from different genres to get me in the mood and feel for a particular type of writing whether it’s Regency or outer space.

But the top of my list of things to keep me on track is . . . a list. Being OCD/ADD I tend to wander. Having a PLAN doesn’t always guarantee I’ll stick to it, but it keeps my goals in sight, dangling like a carrot of potential success for 2017. Not resolutions – goals. Things I can, need to and will accomplish. Here are some of mine as a writer for this New Year:
  • Launch Book 2 in my “House of Terriot” dark paranormal shape-shifter series. PRINCE OF POWER finally has a release date of February 27, 2017! I guarantee there’ll be more on that next month! Then, it’s on to book three for a late 2017 release.
  • Attend Tucson Book Fest in March. What could be more fun? Warm weather, good friends . . . BOOKS! A chance to smooze and toss that promo material out there.
  • Get my Bass Texas historical series ready to reissue. Finally got the rights back to these award-winning western historicals I wrote as Dana Ransom and just loved (and I saved the proposal and sample chapters for an additional book in my Idea file!). I’m having scans made, have cover ideas to work up, and need to put a time line in place.
  • Meet with my dynamic critique group on a regular basis. These ladies are my creative rock!!
Well, that’s a start. Then there’s always the do more Social Media demon demanding more attention to fall back on, like utilizing Watt Pad, Triberr (Yes, Diane, I will try!), without losing my soul.

So, those are my plans. How ‘bout you? What’s on your To Do list?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Guest Tessa McFionn Needs a Hero

Whether it’s a tatted up biker, a devilish shifter, or a demanding billionaire, readers love bad boys. But why? Is it that maternal instinct that drives women to chase after the dangerous ones?
My first introduction into the paranormal world was Anne Rice’s classic, An Interview With A Vampire. From then on, I was hooked. I devoured every romantic vampire out there, then moved into the shifters. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Jeannine Frost. You name it; it’s on my shelf. But when I sat down to pen my first novel, I was shocked to find myself writing heroes. Still in the paranormal world to be sure, but good guys.
My heart was drawn toward the notion of a strong man fighting on the side of the right. People doing the right thing for the right reason, and helping others to find their path to peace and happiness. And of course, having them as drop dead gorgeous specimens of pure alpha male power didn’t hurt.
To create my first Guardian Warriors, Malakai, I stood on a very high bridge in my home town of San Diego and looked over the edge. Things had not been going too good and I was wondering what was on the other side of this life. I glanced over for only a second when he appeared in my head, along with the rest of his world. Needless to say, I spent the next two years discovering this strong and chivalrous man who truly did save my life. Since then, I am eternally grateful for the heroes that continue to speak to me in both whispers and screams.
 Malakai hit the shelves in Spirit Fall in 2014, followed by Galen in Spirit Bound in 2015. In 2016, my most recent Guardian joined the ranks. Personally, Bastian was such a joy to write. He is my grumpy protector. I wondered what would happen if what society deemed as a “bad guy” was forced to fight for the side of right. Would he rebel? Would he do his duty? What would any of us do?
As a taste of my latest book, Spirit Song, here is a blurb plus a short excerpt.

Danger has always swirled around reluctant Guardian Warrior Sebastian Lambert. Trained as an assassin and recruited out of desperation, he now battles the evils of power hungry Rogue Warriors in Chicago. When his friend and fellow Guardian Viktor Arnhart drags him into Franchiolli’s, he would have never imagined to find an angel at the mic.
Miranda Devalande had long since given up on her dreams of a happy life. Forced to sing at notorious mob boss Slick Sal’s seedy southside lounge to cover her brother’s rising gambling debts, she survives from day to day as a caged bird. Things shake up when she is caught by an intoxicating pair of whiskey eyes.
As dark forces threaten to destroy them, can they trust and take a chance on forever?
“Boss says he wants to see you now.”
Miranda’s heart began to pound as she frantically searched for a way out. “I’ve had a long night. I’m tired and I want to go home.”
Salvation came in the form of a deep and growling voice that flowed over her shoulders and a forceful physical presence at her back. “I believe you have your answer, signore...I think it would be best if you got back into your car and told your boss that you were unable to catch her before she went home for the night.”
She fully expected a brawl to break out around her. However, what she did see was a thousand times more frightening. Sal’s lackey let go of her arm and turned away, heading toward the black Mercedes on the curb. Her jaw hung agape as the man simply drove away. Just like that.
This time, curiosity outweighed her sense of self-preservation. She had to see what kind of man could order around the meatheads that served as muscle for Francciolli. She spun around, eager to get a better look at her timely shadow.
The fierce scowl aimed at the receding lights softened as he shifted his whiskey eyes to meet hers. His face was cut straight from some ancient battlefield. A strong, square jaw dusted with the day’s stubble supported defined cheekbones chiseled out of the most intriguing shade of sun-kissed marble. A faded scar ringing his throat peeked from under the collar of his expensive-looking black sweater, further cementing her opinion of his true nature. Another jagged pale line trailed from the center of his left eyebrow to terminate somewhere in the thick hair.
“Are you all right?” His voice rumbled low, gravelly and intoxicating.
His amber eyes remained passively attentive as her gaze roamed across his face. Her head bobbed slowly as his words wove their way into her ears between the rapid beats of her heart. He was alpha male all the way, a predator who had seen the deadlier side of life and come out on the winning side. She wondered how many bodies he had crawled over to stand so casually before her on this cold night, one hand tucked into the front pocket of his black slacks.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized she didn’t care.

Tessa McFionn is a very native Californian and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Northern California and Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher. Insatiably curious and imaginative, she loves to learn and discover, making her wicked knowledge of trivial facts an unwelcomed guest at many Trivial Pursuit boards. She also feeds her artistic soul through her passions for theatre, dance and music, as well as the regular trip to The Happiest Place on Earth with friends and family. She is currently the treasurer of the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? A Parable for Today By Francesca Quarto

It's a rare kid that hasn't heard the children's story "The Three Little Pigs".  The three brother pigs set off to make their way in the bacon-eating world and are each beset over time by the evil character, The Big Bad Wolf.
Depending on how each pig built their domicile, straw, twigs, and brick, gave the wolf his main advantage in gaining entry and being the uninvited guest for dinner.
I remember reading this story to my own little ones, trying to get them to connect the moral of the story with their own choices. Now, these would be limited to what toy to play with and becoming a more creative story teller themselves.
It wasn't until years later when I got to revisit this classic tale that I realized what the true moral was.  I'd always seen it as being prepared in life so you could protect yourself against stronger and potentially destructive people. 
Well, that is part of it, but I think if we look at the Big Bad Wolf himself (Herself, to be politically correct) we have another, more important take-away message:
Avoid those people in life that are full of themselves and the hot air of self importance. They can only see their own desires and will fill their bellies with you and your dreams of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  
The individual's rights become an easy target if they are not built on a solid foundation; using strong laws to shore up any weakness in the walls protecting them.
Feeling safe and secure behind flimsy safeguards for our freedoms is as foolish as using straw or twigs to build our fortress against the winds of The Big Bad Wolf.  We may feel we've done enough to safeguard ourselves, but without the solid bricks of law and order, we are like so much pork in the pot.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Guest: Pamela S. Thibodeaux

When I was invited to be a guest on Paranormal Romance blog my initial thought was, “I don’t write Paranormal.”

Hmmmm….on second thought, I guess I do! (sort of)

My debut women’s fiction novel, The Visionary (2011) has paranormal (or supernatural) elements. The heroine, an architectural designer has a unique gift….
            A glimpse of splendor, a glimmer of brilliance caught her eye, like fairy dust dancing on sunlight. She turned her head with caution when a pulse at the base of her skull began to throb and familiar vibrations stole over her. She lowered herself to the floor and let the sensations envelop her. Her eyesight blurred, fingers trembled and heartbeat quickened while her mind swam with images. Visions guided her hand until she filled the remainder of the sketchbook.

Her twin has a supernatural experience….
            Once ensconced in his apartment, Trevor allowed his emotions to run their course. Exhausted and in pain, he took a couple of pills, stretched out on the couch, fell into an uneasy slumber, and dreamed.
            He stood alone in a meadow. Two lions approached, one scraggly and unkempt, the other stately and regal. He turned as they circled in on him, closer and closer until he could almost feel their breath on his neck. One grunted, growled, and snarled. The other responded likewise. They crouched, prepared to attack, then lunged. He ducked, rolled out from beneath the tangled mass of muscle and fur, and watched them go at each other in a battle of wills. Within moments, the large, regal cat had the other pinned beneath his huge paws, his teeth clasped in the throat of his foe. He snarled, shook his head, and released the lesser animal which then pounced to his feet and ran off with his tail tucked between his legs. The big cat roared in triumph then sat, head high, and eyed Trevor.

            Trevor kept a wary eye on the lion and inched backward until a tree stopped his escape. Though his eyes followed his every step, the animal never flinched. Trevor watched and waited for him to pounce, but the lion didn’t so much as twitch a muscle. That’s when he noticed the crown. Trevor shook his head and rubbed his eyes. Sure enough the crown remained, embedded in the animal’s scalp. The crown turned to thorns. The lion’s face changed into that of Christ crucified and then back into a lion’s face.

            Trevor rubbed his eyes again and shook his head. “Who are you? What do you want?” he felt compelled to ask.

            “I am the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Come, Trevor, follow me,” the cat answered and turned to walk away.

Some may consider this Sci-Fi or Fantasy, but this is an example of a supernatural experience based on the book of Joel (2:28), where the Lord says, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions."

My latest release, Keri’s Christmas Wish also contains paranormal (or supernatural) aspects.

An image began to form in her mind…a young girl being led around on a horse by an ethereal figure. As the trio came closer, Keri felt as though she looked in a mirror. Her heart swelled. Tears clogged her throat, filled her eyes, and slipped down her cheeks.

“Hi, Keri!”

The childlike voice reverberated through her entire body. Keri smiled and whispered, “Hello.”

Excitement lit the youngster’s eyes. Brilliant colors vibrated around her. “Do you know who I am?”

“You’re me as a little girl. That’s Spark, my horse who died when I was a teenager.”

Spark nodded his head as the girl giggled—a joyous melody that rang through the atmosphere. “No, silly, I’m your big sister. Only, I didn’t live very long.”

Tension seeped in, a mixture of shock and awe.

“Don’t be afraid. Ask mom.”

And then the mirage disappeared.

Here’s the Scoop: I don't write Sci-Fi, fantasy, or paranormal novels. I write romance & women's fiction with an occasional suspense thrown in (although I never intended to write that either — it just sort of showed up in the story LOL!).

Therefore I thought I’d clarify the difference in Sci-Fi, Paranormal, and Supernatural.

According to the definitions I found, Science Fiction is based on "imagined future scientific or technological advances."(IE: Time Travel).

Paranormal is defined as, “Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation: such paranormal phenomena as telepathy; a medium's paranormal powers.”

On the other hand, Supernatural elements, are, "manifestations or events considered to be of supernatural origin. Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature."
Supernatural are events like those listed in the Bible ... Parting of the Red Sea, burning bushes that are not consumed, God speaking through a donkey, fire from heaven burning up sacrificial offerings that have been so heavily doused with water there is no natural way fire is possible, feeding thousands with five fish and five loaves of bread, walking on water, etc.

Do I consider myself a “paranormal” writer?

Not at all.

Am I upset when the term paranormal is associated with my writing?

Again, not at all–especially if having ‘paranormal’ applied to the book will cause someone who wouldn’t normally pick up an “Inspirational” or “Christian” title to read the story and have their own personal experience with a supernatural God, and/or get a clearer picture of Him, then I'm all for it!

Blurb for Keri’s Christmas Wish:
For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas so much she seldom enjoys the holiday. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?

A devout Christian at heart, Jeremy Hinton, a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Energy Medicine Practitioner has studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens the life of the woman he loves, will all of his faith and training be for naught?

Purchase Links:
Amazon Print: 

Blurb for The Visionary: A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society.  Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

Purchase Links:
Amazon Hardcover 
Print @Create Space:  
Deeper Shopping  

Author Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Website address:    
Twitter: @psthib
Amazon Author Page: 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Guest: Debut Author Lori C. Thompson

As readers of this blog, you know we don't usually have just a spotlight. But we made an exception with author Lori C. Thompson's debut novel, Degrees of Darkness

Visions of the future. A dark family secret. A beloved uncle seduced by evil

Julia Elliot is a nurse practitioner working in a busy trauma room. She is good at her job and well respected by her colleagues—but she harbors a secret. One which has made her an outcast all of her life. Now able to suppress the visions of the future that have tormented her for as long as she can remember, she is living life on her terms—that is, until the fragility of her “normal life” is shattered when a vision breaches her defenses and sends her running back home to Savannah, Georgia.
      Once home, Julia learns the truth about her family: a genetic anomaly has woven its way through the generations … a gene that allows Julia to travel through time.
But she is not the only living family member who has inherited this ability—her Great Uncle Eli has been using it to commit crimes under the cover of the Civil War in order to make himself more wealthy and powerful in the present.
As the only other person in her family with the ability to time travel, it falls to Julia to stop Eli. Forced to travel to 1862, Julia must finally embrace her visions and learn to use them to escape with her life and reclaim her future.
Julia’s plan to slip in and out of time to stop Eli without anyone being the wiser is shattered when she meets Confederate Captain Reave Montgomery. Julia finds herself equally attracted to and frustrated by Reave as his insistence on protecting her gets in the way of her hunt for Eli. As she investigates she discovers that Reave is doggedly hunting The Phantom, an elusive criminal mastermind, and Julia realizes their quests may be connected.
Despite her ability to see the future, Julia is not prepared for the effect Reave has on her or the connection she feels to the Savannah of the past. She feels a sense of belonging for the first time in her life, to the city and to the man. How will she leave them if she is able to stop Eli and the time comes to return to her present?


The sun would be up soon and I had been lying here for hours trying
to go back to sleep. I couldn’t pinpoint the reason for my insomnia
other than an uncomfortable niggling in my subconscious. I tried to
ignore it, knowing what it meant, but I could tell I was losing the battle.
Then I felt it, a familiar tension gathering in the pit of my stomach-there
was no stopping it now. I sat up and pressed my back against the
headboard. Bracing myself for what was to come. I pulled the quilt to my
chest, clenching the fabric in tight fists. The gray light of early morning
filtered through the window as the familiar shapes of my bedroom began
to shift, the scene before me transforming.

I watched myself walk through a forest dense with smoke as the vision
played before my eyes like a feature film. I gripped the quilt tighter, trying
to remind myself that I was only a witness to the movie and not a
participant. Still, I jumped as the sounds of gunfire and cannons exploded
all around me. The air thick with the metallic scent of blood and the
stench of death. Suddenly I felt as though I were living the vision, no
longer in the safety of my own bed. I looked around, taking in the scene,
and noticed the ground was littered with bodies. Blood soaked the ground
at my feet. Fear gripped me. My pulse raced, pounding in my ears, and
adrenaline flowed through my veins. I prayed the vision would end.

Knowing it would not.

As I looked around I could see the faces of the dead illuminated in
flashes from the musket fire and cannon blasts. Dead eyes staring. Blood
everywhere. Panic seized me and I started running. Making it only a few
feet, I stumbled over something and fell hard to the ground. I felt around
in the dark looking for whatever made me trip. My hands moved across
the tall grass searching, then came in contact with something warm and
wet. The metallic smell of blood became stronger. Another cannon flash
illuminated the dark and I could see that I lay inches from the face of a
dead soldier. One dead eye stared back at me, the other half of his face
blown off. My hands were covered in his blood. I screamed and clambered
away from him. Wiping my hands off on the long grass beside me, I
scrambled to my feet and started running again. The flashes of light from
the battle guided me over and around the bodies littering the forest floor.
As I ran, I frantically searched them for signs of life, turning over one
after the other.

They were dead. All dead.

Degrees of Darkness is available at Amazon.

Author Bio

Lori has been a nurse for the last 25 years. She holds three degrees in nursing: a bachelor’s degree, a Master of Science and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She continues to work as a pediatric nurse practitioner and lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband John, and two children Shelby and Hunter. She enjoys time with her two miniature English bulldogs, Fergie and Peaches, and her Blue Heeler, Harley.

Lori is an avid marathon runner and audiobook addict. As a fan of the time travel genre, Lori’s love of history combined with her medical background inspired her debut novel.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Witches, Then & Now

Each Halloween, I've researched different tradtional Halloween monsters. So far I've done Frankenstein's monster, vampires, zombies, and werewolves/shapeshifters. I enjoy finding out a little bit about how the mythology of such creatures evolved.

I know it's not Halloween now, but I thought I'd touch on the mythology of witches seeing as how I have a new release out today which is guessed it...witches. (More on that later).

According to Wikipedia, "witchcraft (also called witchery or spellcraft) broadly means the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that are able to be exercised by individuals and certain social groups. Although witchcraft can often share common ground with related concepts such as sorcery, the paranormal, magic, superstition, necromancy, possession, shamanism, healing, spiritualism, nature worship and the occult, it is usually seen as distinct from these when examined by sociologists and anthropologists. It is said to have been an ancient religion." (Wikipedia, 2017)

From what I can tell, there is still dispute about the historical original of witches and witchcraft from country to country and continent to continent, let alone worldwide.

Most of the mythology which feeds the modern day Halloween witch image seem to stem back to Ancient Greece. For example, in Homer's The Odyssey, the titan Circe is described as a witch and her brother Aeetes as a wizard. The term magic is derived from the Greek mageia, which came to Greece from the east and referred to rites and ceremonies performed by a magos.

In Asia, meanwhile, witchcraft seems to date back to antiquity (documents referring to it as early as 2000 B.C.E.). Obviously, regionally, the types of mythology differ. Many are associated with religions. But in Japan, for example, there seem to be two types: those who employ snakes as familiars and those who employ foxes. And the countries of Africa and the various island countries they lump together as Oceania, have too many mythologies for me to explore today.

Given the documentation of beliefs about witches all over the world, I find it interesting that, when doing a simple search, most websites are dedicated to the prevalence of witches (or at least copious amounts of fear directed toward them) in 1600s Europe which bled over to America. It's during this time period that witches become one of the many iconic monsters associated with Halloween.

It's also during this time period that we get the more traditional image of witches: deformed old hags who are terrifying and horrifying to behold. In addition, many of the traditional symbols emerge, including the black cat, who was thought to be the witch's spirit out in the night. Because much of the fear concerning witchcraft seems to have been the church's effort to stamp out paganism, other symbols (the moon, the pentagram, runes, etc.) are also traditional symbols.

The persecution of anything remotely suspected of being magic reached it's zenith in the late 1600s (think Salem witch trials) and deescalated from there, largely attributed to the Age of Enlightenment. Today's witches, particularly in literature and pop culture, range from cute, to precocious children, to sexy ladies, to alpha men.

No matter what century you're in, witches fascinate and spark the imagination.

Here's a bit of shameless self-promotion. My new release comes out today!


A Legendary Consultants Book

Rowan McAuliffe has been hiding most of her life. Secretly trained in her powers by an unusual source, she’d been taught not to trust anyone. Especially other witches. However, after she was forced to perform a hateful act against her will, she now hides from the Mage High Council who seek answers, and possibly her life.

Greyson Masters is the Council’s best enforcer–a witch hunter who lays down the law. Despite the danger of his job, Greyson is also raising his triplet daughters. Alone. Budding new witches who display an alarming combined power no one understands. Too bad he hasn’t got a clue how to deal with them.

Little does Greyson realize that the new nanny sent to him by Legendary Consultants is the very witch he is hunting. When the truth is revealed, can these two opposing forces find a way to listen to their hearts? Or will Greyson have to follow orders and kill Rowan–the one woman who has made his soul come alive?

**GIF linked directly from