Friday, March 30, 2018

A Dose of Inspiration

I love strong heroines. I love reading about them, and I love writing about them. They satisfy my writer’s soul. But, where does my inspiration to write self-assured heroines come from? Often, from real life. The thing about that is that no one knows when reality will drop some serious inspiration square on your head.

Last week, I got an amazing, heart-full of inspiration from of all people an eleven-year-old I’ve known since she was a baby. I had the privilege of witnessing a historic moment as this young lady—we’ll call her Valerie—revealed her own inner strength. She stood up in front of a room full of people holding a sign that read “Brave”. Then she said these words:

"A Scout is Brave. A Scout can face danger although he or she is afraid. He, or she, has the courage to stand for what he or she thinks is right even if others laugh at them or threaten him or her."

Valerie bridged up from cub scouts that evening, and “Brave” was her word from the scout law. And she owned it even before she stood on that stage. You see, she’s been a part of scouting since she was a baby because her older brother went through cub scouts. It was no surprise to me when she signed on as a Webelo 2 before the ink was dry on the BSA proclamation that girls could join cubbies last year. 

Honestly, the night of the bridging I stood in the back of the room fighting happy tears as I watched this little girl—sorry, young woman—speaking these words with such courage and grace moments before she became the first girl to unofficially bridge to our troop. Unofficially because BSA won’t start accepting girls in boy scouts until February 1st of next year. So, she’s in a holding pattern until then.It was an honor to be one of the adult representatives to receive her as she crossed over. I hope I’m also there to see her achieve Eagle Scout rank.

It’ll be a long ten months of waiting until girls can join boy scouts, but Valerie is committed, along with a handful of the sisters of some of our current scouts. They are trailblazers, bar setters, and modern-day pioneers. Brave, strong young women who are finding their voices in this crazy, ever-changing world. At a far younger age than I did, I might add. And they are an inspiration to this world—and to me—on so many levels.

I hope all my heroines reflect the spirit that burns in Valerie. If they do, then I'm doing my job right.

Always remember to watch for those daily moments of inspiration in your own lives, and never hesitate to be someone’s strong heroine. You never know when or how you'll make a difference.

Author Bio
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, she’s hanging out with her hubby, five kids (the nerd herd), and spoiled Dobie mix puppy.

Keep up with Lea here

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Panic! At the Writer's Desk with @meganslayer #iamwriting #paranormal #vampires #series #end

I have a few series going and at least two of them are paranormal. Now this isn't strange. I mean, I like paranormal stories and vampires are some of my favorites. I'd love to do nothing but write in those worlds. They're fun. Dark, passionate, sometimes naughty as heck...and I love them. 
But with the march of time, I'm losing publishers. The Battle Scarred series was originally with Turquoise Morning Press. I loved the covers, the artists, the editors and the whole experience with them. But that publisher folded. Honestly, I think they wanted to move on to different things. I don't mind. It's life. It happens. I have no hard feelings. I loved them. 
The problem was the series then wasn't available any longer. I'd had my hopes high the series would end up in print. Nope. So I shopped it around to new publishers. Loose Id picked up the series. I'm glad. I love the series. Love Loose Id. It was a learning experience working with them. They edits weren't easy, but I learned a lot. The covers rocked. I mean...rocked. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. But Loose Id is closing, too. 
I had a whole 'nother book planned for the series. Hot, sexy and with vampires...but I'm not sure what to do with it. Some have said, self-publish it. That's a possibility. I don't mind self-publishing. It's rather nice to control the different aspects of getting the book out there. But I love the safety of a publisher. I do. I love having a place to land and someone to help with the art, the edits, the marketing. But this would be the third time around for this series. Would anyone want it? Do I want to make a third set of changes, go through a third complete set of edits...and obtain brand new art...again? 
I'm not sure what I want to do. No clue. I've plotted out that book, though. It's in a notebook and waiting for me and the time to be right to go into the computer. I don't know when that'll be. Really, I don't.
But that's the fun of the publishing business. One day you feel comfortable and safe, then the next the bottom seems to fall out. It's scary, fun and I love my job. I just wish I had more answers. Grin. I'll admit it. I'm a little panicked, but I'll figure something out. I'm open to suggestion. 
Speaking of the series, you can get the free story in the series, Chasing Sparks at Loose Id. It's free! Grab a copy! You might find you like the rest of the series. Snag 'em while they're still available. :-) 

Chasing Sparks by Megan Slayer 

Length: Fling (free short story)
Series: Battle Scarred 
Genre: Vampires LGBTTQFantasy & Paranormal 
Cover Artist: April Martinez 
Prev Book: Battle Scarred 5: Never Give You Up 

Who wouldn’t want to take a step and chase sparks?
Two vampires have the chance to step into the sunshine without being charred. Most creatures of the night wouldn’t chance losing their undead life for good. But Anders and Galen have heightened abilities. They won’t char. What are they going to do? Celebrate summer, being together, and sunshine. Mix in hot sex under the veil of stars and fireworks…who wouldn’t want to take a step and chase sparks?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Paranormal Trilogies? What's the secret? By Barbara Edwards

’ve been working another three books for my Rhodes End paranormal series. It’s been slow going. Now I’m second-guessing my reasons for writing them before offering the next to my publisher. There’s a lot of chatter about  the best way to boost sales. Several authors mentioned that publishing books in close order seemed to have that effect. Instead of waiting months or longer for the next book, a reader could grab it within a couple months. 
Or this was the rational.
So what is the best way?
Has anyone done this?
Did it work?
I’m speaking a my local chapter on this topic and need some input.
Can you share your experience? 
I’ve been reading other trilogies. Nora Roberts writes some great stuff. She draws in the reader and keep the action moving. I’ve read all of her JD Robb books. Although they are set in a futuristic  world I’m not sure if they would be considered paranormal
Christine Feehan’s ‘Dark Series,’ were my first experience with her and I admit to buying her novels as they are available. Another bunch of ‘keepers’ to crowd my shelves although I’ve been switching to ebooks.
Please take a little time to respond to my questions.  I’d really like to know your opinions.

 Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
Amazon Author’s Page

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Don’t Stop with a Cop. Unusual Law Enforcement Agencies to Write About by L. A. Kelley

A common occupation for either a hero or heroine in an action novel is law enforcement officer. The profession makes sense. When dealing with the evil aspects of the paranormal, a person needs steely nerves and ready access to firearms. By why stop with a cop when other agencies might do nicely?

NYPD Intelligence Bureau
Did you know an arm of the NYPD is an international intelligence organization? The mission of the NYPD Intelligence Bureau is to detect and disrupt criminal and terrorist activity. Officers and civilian analysts in the Intelligence Bureau collect and analyze data from a variety of sources here and abroad in the pursuit of criminal and terrorist organizations. The Bureau consists of two divisions; the Intelligence Operations and Analysis Section (IOAS) and the Criminal Intelligence Section (CIS).

The objective of IOAS is to thwart potential terrorist plots. The sector uses investigators and civilian analysts to collect and analyze information about individuals or groups engaged in unlawful activity. CIS has a similar function, but concentrates on the criminal realm. A critical component of CIS is the Field Intelligence Officer (FIO) program. FIOs are ranking uniformed officers deployed to each NYPD precinct, where they collect and disseminate criminal intelligence information to support narcotics, firearms and other criminal investigations, ranging from simple short-term cases to complex long-term ones.

While members of the Intelligence Bureau in New York City work closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement, through its International Liaison Program officers are posted in law enforcement agencies around the world. These officers support the NYPD by providing intelligence and working with local police. Nothing is said about hunting down demons that roam the sewers and pose a threat to the good folk of New York City, but one can only hope.

Need an overseas agent provocateur to handle those pesky gremlins, banshees, rakshasha, and strigoi? Don’t bother looking for a dashing Interpol agent. There aren’t any. INTERPOL’s mission it to train, offer investigative support, collect data and provide communications channels among cooperating law enforcement agencies. INTERPOL also analyzes crime trends and facilitates international police cooperation even where diplomatic relations don’t exist between countries. In other words, no hunky experts in daring-do, just office drones. Agents don't even carry guns. (Although nothing is said on their website about stakes or silver bullets.) It’s more useful to think of INTERPOL as a bulletin board where national police forces around the world post wanted notices and requests for information. Some nations have decided to give these requests binding legal force, but the United States isn’t one of them.

All INTERPOL member countries are connected through a secure communications system known as I-24/7. This gives police real-time access to criminal databases containing millions of records and can alert member countries to fugitives, dangerous criminals, missing persons, or weapons threats. Unfortunately, instead of hunting supernatural menaces through the sewers of Paris, an Interpol is agent is more likely to conduct an online learning course in investigative techniques or an administrative management program for senior police staff.

Texas Rangers
The Texas Ranger Division is the primary criminal investigative branch of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Most functions are common among law enforcement agencies. Rangers investigate murder, robbery, sexual assault, burglary, theft, fraud, threats against state and federal officials, and missing persons.

Unlike standard police forces in the rest of the country though, Texas Rangers also have special duties involving border control. The Ranger Reconnaissance Team is a highly trained tactical force and their primary responsibility is to carry out missions along the Texas-Mexico border region.  They conduct overt and covert operations in remote areas where conventional law enforcement can’t operate. The focus is to gather intelligence and disrupt criminal activity usually associated with drug cartels. According to the official website, one of their duties is to “conduct interdiction” which, if you know what the word “interdiction” means, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I prefer to read between the lines and like to think they really mean “benedictions” before pursuing supernatural creatures. Although, the website is sketchy on this subject too, so chupacabras may still run free in the Big Bend National Park. It’s a nice thought.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasy and science fiction adventures with humor, romance and a touch of sass. She is wanted by the Texas Rangers for keeping an unlicensed  chupacabra. His name is Snuffles. Links to her books are on her Amazon Author Page.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Where In The World Am I? by Nancy Gideon

While on a working vacation two weeks ago in Arizona to sign at the Tucson Festival of Books (thank you, Elizabeth and Tell-Tale Publishing!), I had some early morning quiet time trying to get back in the swing of Daylight Savings Time before going home to Michigan, and decided to get reacquainted with the paranormal on my backburner in a glassed-in nook at 3:30 a.m., with strong coffee and a H.o.T. ("House of Terriot") hero. I'd been away from the story doing final edits and stumping for my Tell-Tale Regency-set romance, SWEET TEMPEST (written as Lauren Giddings - my very first book, re-released and pretty fit for 30 years old!). I hadn't expected the words and characters to feel so distant - probably miffed because I spent time with . . . other characters! But also because it's the fourth and final book in a series with a lot of loose ends to tie up.

A four book series with overlapping time lines (why was I thinking THAT would be fun?) is hard enough to manage. Add to that, these four books are a mini-continuation of my TEN book BY MOONLIGHT series with characters and plotlines from those books popping in and out, too. FUN just became a major headache. Just where in this convoluted world was I when I left off?

The care and feeding of a paranormal world can be a headache for a solo project, but when combining characters, events, and over-arcing scenes to make sense to someone reading them cold is like trying to whip up an Emerill-class meal from a frozen microwave dinner. Not only are the storylines cold and the minor characters kind of tasteless, half the creative time is spent trying to find the name of that walk through guy in the first series' Book 6, who had one line who's soon to become the main villain of your WIP. Did his kids have names? Had I given him a prime evil directive? Had I mentioned where he lived or if he had a mustache?

I've tried to keep things organized (ADD with OCD rising!) knowing that the storylines would continue. Five books in, I went back and jotted down the main plot points by chapter. They're on a couple of legal pads . . . I used to know where before I moved. Then I developed a sheet for each scene complete with who, what, where, when and how with pull quotes and excerpts tagged. Most of it fairly useless now that the books were trimmed down in final editing so the pages numbers mean next to nothing in Kindle or paper final format. Knowing there has to be a better way, I've been investigating Evernote which seems (on the placid surface) like it can do the organizing I desperately need without having to go back college to learn Scrivener. We'll see. If I ever have time to devote to the learning curve . . . Please tell me that it can find anything, categorizes and provides quick and easy access to plotlines and characters that span more than one book. And that it can keep up with the editing process? I feel like I'm back at school needing to take a semester off just to catch up.

The book is rolling along . . . with lots of ( )s to fill in when I find that need-to-know detail that will keep their eyes from changing color or stop me from having someone leave one place before they first arrive.

Who said writing was easy? Probably the same fool who said My World, My Rules. Oh, yeah. That was me. Welcome to my world.

Careful of the mess. Work in progress.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nancy Gideon on the Web

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Few Poems In Passing by Francesca Quarto

A Few Poems In Passing by Francesca Quarto

Fighting the Time Thief  
He enters silently, leaving no trace of his having touched me while I slept.
He is without conscience in the damage he inflicts, his only concern is marking me, the next day, the next month, the next year.
Marked with the passage of his unseen hand, I am altered, moment by moment, until I become a stranger in the mirror.
Escape is impossible, Time will own me.
But a truce will be struck in this battle against the inevitable Thief stealing my youth, my vigor, my life.
I shall go gracefully, falling eventually to the winnowing floor.
I shall, however, go with my thumb in his eye when he winks me out of Time.
Could I do less?
Rich and Poor
If life was comprised only of the generous souls,
would our perceptions of kindness be diminished by its constant presence?
Perhaps we are hard-wired to expect the least amount of good in others
so that we can appreciate the gift, even in its paucity.
Book Fly
Sitting at a local book store
my own penned words on display
A woman looking over my books from the corner of her roving eye
Coming close enough now to inspect, but never to light
Not enough food for thought perhaps?
On Being A Writer
Writing is like a boat that you climb aboard
without knowing what your destination is
how long you'll be on the journey
or who's manning the wheel.
What an amazing trip!
Loves Remembered
How cruel, the hand of time
pushing us unresisting, into the arms of an unknown tomorrow
How unforgiving the pressure of decline
Twisting, bending, etching the very passage of our memories
upon the once pristine palates of our faces
But also, how kind the echoes of time
while it makes its journey
carrying us along like kites tied to long, colorful ribbon
floating forward and backwards
always gathering the beauty and shedding the weight of mortality
Remembering loves of yesterday and quickly renewed
by the power of their love having been ours.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Favorite Ways to Build Chemistry in Romance?

I know you're expected a show don't tell king of blog post here, but not today. :) The other day I posted a question on social media. I wanted to know readers' favorite ways to show/read chemistry and build up of tension between the hero/heroin in a romance novel.

I got some great answers, so thought I'd start a list. That way when I get stuck or feel like I'm repeating myself, I've got a resource. So here we go, favorite ways to show chemistry:
  • The moment when they're eyes meet and they connect for the first time.
  • The way they avoid each other, even though they are attracted to one another, but still have to be in the same room or elevator.
  • The first casual touch. It doesn't have to be sexual. (But not a handshake) It can be as innocent as a hand on the arm, or a hand on the lower back to guide them.
  • Where you can tell they really, really want to kiss, but neither will make the first move. Then they're interrupted and the moment is gone, but they're both just SMOLDERING.
  • That "will he/won't he" moment when you're hoping he will.
  • When they're laughing and then the chemistry kicks in and they stop abruptly
  • That shared joke or inside piece of information that no one else in the room knows about, but you see them connect over it.
  • When they share a vulnerability, fear, or experience that builds intimacy and connection.
  • When the other person sees more than everyone else.
  • Becoming hyper-aware of each other. Both physical - the sweep of her neck, the way she blushes, his strong forearms, and personal - the way she's nice to everyone, how he defended her when he didn't need to.
  • A feisty dialogue exchange where the underlying tension just screams through both words and actions
  • Their inner thoughts reveal that they both WANT but can't HAVE, but still WANT
Okay - that's what came from Facebook and Twitter (and me lol). What else? Help me add to it!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Why Attend a Book Fair? by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Nancy Gideon, Elizabeth Alsobrooks, and Rob Tucker
at The Tucson Festival of Books, 2018

So what’s so great about book fairs? Well, if you’re a reader, you’re in Valhalla. Not even the biggest bookstores have the diverse collection of books you will find at a large book fair, and you will get to have many of them autographed by your favorite authors. If you’re an author, nothing is ever better than being surrounded by avid readers and fellow writers.

Book fairs have more than books, too. There are panels of authors discussing a myriad of topics from how and why to write particular genres to talks on cooking, gardening, crafting, parenting, and pet care. Both nonfiction and fiction books of all genres are represented, including comic books and graphic novels. Along with hundreds of book tents hosted by large and small publishing companies, and even individual authors, there are tents with artists and craftsmen, offering their designs from jewelry to pottery and new age wares. You can learn to manage your finances or get your fortune told.

 Book fairs have something for everyone. You can meet storybook characters, comic book heroes, and even Darth Vader and a movie star or two. Spend the afternoon watching children dance an Irish jig, a Mexican folk dance, or demonstrate a Karate Kota. Listen to bagpipes, rock bands, and marching bands. Visit the juggler, or the aerobatic performers.

Nearly every special interest group is represented, from the League of Women voters, to religious organizations, universities, media organizations, libraries, literacy groups, parks and recreation, and even museums. 

Getting hungry from all that walking around browsing and shopping? Let’s not forget the diverse ethnic food booths. Mexican, American, Thai, Italian, BBQ and Creole, just to name of few of the hot meals to be had. If you just want a quick snack, they have yogurt, gelato, salads, popcorn, corn on the cob, wraps, and smoothies.

These pictures and video are from the Tucson Festival of Books, held on the University of Arizona campus every March. It's the third largest book fair in the country and well worth the visit. If you get the chance, visit a book fair near you, and if you're an author, by all means participate. Nothing beats meeting fans first-hand. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Back East!

In mid-January (new year, new decisions, right?), I decided on a big life change. I was going home…
Back East. Back to South Carolina. Back to the red clay soil of the Piedmont area and the only family I have left.

So, I began looking around for a new home.  First, I had to sell my house in Texas, and that happened lightning quick.  We listed it on the MLS Friday night and by Monday—with the realtor’s sign never having gone up—it was under contract at above listing price!  Now, I’m in a pickle.  In approximately a month, I’ll have nowhere to go.

The housing market in my hometown of Anderson, SC is really tight now. It’s definitely a seller’s market. I lost 5 houses before I could get a contract in on them.  There was a house in the area of town where I wanted to buy, a brick ranch with a side sunroom ad a turquoise door.  I thought it was really cute, but never had interest in looking at it because I thought it was too small…not that I need a palace…but the rooms appeared smallish in the listing photos.

In mid-February, I went home to look at houses.  I still didn’t want to look at this one.  For the space,  I thought it was overpriced.  I went back to Texas ‘empty-handed’.  Finally, my realtor talked me into sending my aunt to look at the little brick house.

She loved it!

It has a marvelous chef’s kitchen, for one thing, and it was much bigger than I thought.   So then the negotiations began.  The long-and-short of it, several offers and counteroffers flew back and forth, but in the end, I have a contract on the brick house right beside a big Baptist church separated by a tall, white picket fence.

Next post will most likely be from the Palmetto State.

But this is a Paranormal Romance blog.  Well, I have 3 paranormal romances now available in audio:

Love For Sale is about Christian and March.  March is a disenchanted dreamer. Christian is her dream man, but…inside he’s all circuits and wires while outside he is perfectly human and programmed to love her unconditionally.
Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody is an anthology of stories told by my favorite of my characters. Morgan is an English lord, a concert pianist...and a vampire.
Love for Sale and Rhapsody are read by a woman with a lovely British accent and are enchanting to listen to.  Here are the links:
Her General in Gray is a ghostly love story. Think the Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
Can you believe it is March already?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Muse by Diane Burton

In Greek mythology, Zeus created The Muses to celebrate the victory over the Titans and to forget the evils of the world. I’m sure you already know that Zeus was a prolific father. According to myth, he laid with the goddess of memory nine times to create the nine Muses, goddesses of literature, sciences, and the arts. Two of them are directly related to literature—Melpomene (tragedy) and Thalia (comedy). Although I claim Thalia as my muse because I’d rather write humor than tragedy, I can’t ignore Melpomene. A good book must contain both. Tension and danger need the comic relief.

They say inspiration can come from anywhere. I claim Thalia and Melpomene visited last week. My work-in-progress, a romantic suspense, began fifteen years ago. It was the only story I’ve ever written out of sequence. I’m such a linear writer that I have to start a story at the beginning and write through to the end. This story was an anomaly. I wrote scenes as I thought of them. Worse, I named the files poorly. Even worse than that, I saved every variation of the story in separate files on 3.25” floppy disks. Considering that the story began at least four computers ago, I’m thrilled that I found it on those disks. Good thing Hubs purchased an external reader for those disks.

As a place-holder, I named the story Katie’s Story then The Camping Trip. Finally, it became Unpredictable Nature. None was a good title. For one thing, since my daughter-in-law's name is Katy, I changed the main character to Maggie. (I couldn't write love scenes and not think of my son and his wife. Not going there!) At the time, I thought the focus of the story was about camping and the outdoors, especially as it related to Maggie and Drew, the main characters. As I said, that was fifteen years ago.

I’ve been sharing snippets from this story every weekend for the Weekend Writing Warriors’ blog hop. On four Mondays (including yesterday), I shared character sketches of the main characters on my blog. Enter the Muses. A new title. Numbers Never Lie. Why didn’t I think of that sooner? Inspiration can strike at any time. Being open to inspiration is the trick.

Here’s the blurb for Numbers Never Lie:

A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie. 

As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack's an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.

Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that—an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.

A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack leave behind?

As I edit and revise Numbers Never Lie I feel so much better about the title. Thank you, Melpomene and Thalia.

Has your Muse helped you in a big way?

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She blogs here on the 13th of each month.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

That Old Black Magic: Paranormal Suspense Panel at Left Coast Crim

By Sandy Wright

I’m excited to announce that I will be moderating a panel at the Left Coast Crime conference in Reno, NV this month. It’s titled “That Old Black Magic: Paranormal Suspense.

My panelists are:

Alice Henderson (Voracious, Shattered Roads)

Alice has an interesting background in science and paleo-climatology, and she has traveled to wild places around the globe, so I’m sure she will have much to say about the accurate portrayal of “place” in fiction.

I’d also like to find out how she landed her sweet gig of writing books for Star Wars, Buffy and Supernatural!

Eileen Magill (House of Homicide)

Eileen actually lived in a house that was haunted by a serial killer, so the ghost questions will be directed to her first.

Interestingly, when the house was put up for sale, there was a bidding war and it sold for $111,000 over the asking price!

Margaret C. Morse (Murder Casts a Spell, Murder Lifts the Spirits)

Margaret was a lawyer in her previous life, so we’ll delve into writing witchcraft as a lawyer. That should be interesting!

Danna began writing after a car accident left her faced with the challenge of relearning basic skills due to cognitive impairment. That interests me since I have resumed writing after suffering a stroke two years ago.

Danna says she began her TV show to improve her speaking skills, and now she has two popular segments airing in Sacramento and has won awards for a dozen short films, as well as publishing a three-novel series.  

Since the audience will consist of writers and readers of suspense and crime fiction, I think I’ll begin by asking, “What do you think is the main thing that distinguishes paranormal suspense from other suspense and crime genres? And what do readers demand from paranormal suspense books?”

Please help me prepare for the panel by telling me: what questions would YOU like to ask a paranormal suspense panel?  

The conference is next weekend, so I’ll report back here shortly and let you know how it went.
Thank you in advance for your comments!

Good reading.

I’m Sandy Wright. I live in Arizona with my husband, a super-smart Border Collie/Aussie mix named Teak, and two huge black panther cats, Salem and Shadow Moon. Their daddy, Magick, was even bigger! He's featured in my debut novel, Song of the Ancients, the first book in my paranormal suspense series, Ancient Magic.

They say write what you know, so my debut novel involves witchcraft and Native American medicine magic. It's set in the energy-laden town of Sedona, Arizona.  It was interesting to introduce the concept of witchcraft through the eyes of an ordinary, non-magical woman, and go through her reactions and disbelief along with her. While I did a lot of research for this book, most of the magical stuff I drew from my own Wiccan background and practice.

Sedona is but one earth "power site" in the world. The Ancient Magic series will take Samantha to Nicholas to adventures at other sacred sites, known and obscure. Book 2, tentatively titled Stones of the Ancients, will take us to ancient standing stones—and a true-life excavation-- in Scotland. I also researched my Campbell clan heritage while visiting the Scottish Isles last summer. The books then move to Hawaii to learn about Pele, the Goddess of fire and volcanos. The series concludes somewhere along the icy Neolithic bridge of the First People, maybe Alaska or Siberia.

Book One – Song of the Ancients is available now on Amazon, in both print and ebook.And please look for my upcoming Arizona suspense, Crescent Moon Crossing, releasing fall 2018! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Downtime by Jane Kindred

I’ve been writing nonstop for more than 10 years—professionally for 7—completing almost 3 books a year for the last 6. Last week, I reviewed the galleys for Kindling the Darkness, my final contracted book in the Sisters in Sin series. And now I have no idea what to do.

It’s kind of nice to be able to take a breather, to not have a deadline looming. On the other hand, I don’t know what normal people do with their time. I’m pretty much doing nothing (other than the day job). I have time to read, finally…and I don’t know what I want to read.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had stories running constantly in the background of my mind, like a program that’s always running on your computer while you’re using other applications. It’s how I’ve always fallen asleep at night, dreaming up worlds and watching love stories play out in my head. And for the first time, I have no characters in there jostling for my attention. It’s quiet. And weird. Quite possibly, I'm depressed. But I don't really care. (Which is probably a sign that I'm depressed.)

You’d think all this existential contemplation would give me plenty of time to come up with entertaining content for blog posts, but, haha, joke’s on you.

Absent any productive ideas, I’ve been watching a lot of Murder, She Wrote. It’s different now, watching Jessica Fletcher deal with life as a published author. When I watched the show the first time around, it was my dream to be her. (I’m also much closer to Jessica’s age. Today, at Walgreens, the checker asked me if I qualified for the senior discount. Okay, so I‘ve been going gray since I was in my 30s, but at 51, I’m not ready for senior discounts yet, thanks. Or as the lovely lady on the Estroven commercial that plays constantly during my old-lady show, Murder, She Wrote, says, “I’m not ready for elastic waistbands!” Now, where was I? Oh, right; insisting that I’m not old. At any rate, I was buying this at the time, so you be the judge:

I also recently bought hair color to match. But that’s neither here nor there, I’ve been doing that for years.)

So me and the Peep (of course it's "the Peep and I," but I must admit, I like the sound of Me and the Peep; it’s a buddy cop show waiting to be written) are sitting here watching Jessica go to writers’ conferences and work on deadlines and snap at her best friend for interrupting her writing flow and put up with mansplaining dudes who belittle her genre, and I’m just nodding along. This is, in many ways, my life (minus the murders and the mad success). But I am, it seems, living the dream.

It isn’t exactly what I expected, but I edit for a steady paycheck by day and write fantastical romance by night that a few people read, and I think my teenage self would be pleased. Now if I could just snap out of this “four-poster dull torpor” and get back to making things up for strangers, that’d be grand.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Do You Get That Idiom?

By Maureen L. Bonatch

This year in my part of the world it seems that March is coming in like a lamb. A wet, soggy lamb, mind you, but it’s starting off mild. That leads us to believe that it will go out like a lion. 

I say this with the assumption that you’ve heard the idiom of, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” 

If you haven’t heard this, then perhaps you just thought I might’ve lost a little more of my ‘writer marbles.’ You might’ve shrugged it off, thinking many writers are a little unusual anyway…

Don't Stall Your Story 

Many people use these old idiomatic expressions with the assumption that people know what they’re talking about. They’re fun to toss in a conversation, but can become problematic if you come across one in a story and don’t know what they’re talking about. 

In my book, GRANDMA MUST DIE, I actually address this a little in the story, referencing that some witches with extended life spans use these references that no one gets anymore. 

Did you Just Call Me an Idiot?

Although it sounds similar, an idiom isn’t the same as an idiot,
unless that’s what you’re grumbling when you come across a confusing passage in a book that’s actually an idiom squeezed in there. 

Otherwise, an idiom is a group of words that doesn’t really have a clear meaning. Some might be more popular in certain regions, or time periods, but I’d assume many have begun to make less and less sense to younger generations.

What Did You Say?

If you’re familiar with the idiom, it seems perfectly natural to say it because it makes sense to you because you know the implied meaning. But if you haven’t heard it before, it makes pretty much no sense at all to stick these in a perfectly normal conversation.

“Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
This implies that you shouldn’t accidently throw out something good with the bad or reject the favorable with the unfavorable.

But since not many people are actually throwing out bathwater since the invention of running water, and hopefully no one has lost a baby to relate to the situation, it just sounds a little confusing.

“A penny for your thoughts.”
A way to ask someone what they’re thinking, although with inflation, I think the rate would be much higher now.

“Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth”
When you want to hear it from someone in authority. Younger generations haven’t even heard of the old television show with the talking horse, Mr. Ed, or have much to do with horses at all. 

Therefore, they’d be out of luck waiting for their confirmation.

“The whole nine yards”
All of it, everything. I’m not sure why nine yards is everything. I might want more than that, or to round it up to an even number.

“Sit on the fence”
When you can’t make a decision. Although this seems like an awfully uncomfortable place to sit to contemplate something. I think I’d decide rather quickly just to get off the fence.

“Pull the wool over your eyes”
When you deceive someone. Again, the lack of sheep, or spare wool makes it sound as if you had this line in a book that they failed to successfully yank their sweater over their head.

“Piece of cake”
To describe something that is simple, or easy. Now I don’t want an easy task, I just want something sweet.

“Elvis has left the building”
To announce that the show has come to an end. Even though Elvis is still brought up today, sadly I’m not certain some people would know who he was.

Choose Your Words Carefully

I love to write a post that makes you realize you can’t judge a book by it’s cover to gain the curiosity of my audience. But I’d lose it quickly if that curiosity killed the cat and left me crying over spilled milk. So the ball is in your court if you want to share some of your favorite idioms, but don’t bite off more than you can chew—because there are a lot of them.

Do You Have a Favorite Idiom?

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