Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Far Away Eyes by @meganslayer ~ @changelingpress #historical #lgbtq #gay #gayromance #recenthistorical #PNR #paranormal #startmeup

 A man who needs to get home, a man who isn't ready to let go and a love that surpasses death.

Far Away Eyes by Megan Slayer

(Set In Stone Multi-Author 13): A Start Me Up Story

Cover Art: Bryan Keller

BIN: 009958-03231

Genres: New ReleasesParanormalRomanceSci-Fi

Themes: 2nd Chance RomanceGayMagic

Series: Set In Stone Multi-Author (#13)

Book Length: Novella

Page Count: 52

His lover died and Gage knows he's got to move on but what if there's a chance Rascal can come back?

Gage knows Rascal is dying. The gay cancer has taken over his life and is killing him more each day. Gage knows his love can’t save Rascal, but what if there is a chance to change the future?

Rascal isn’t done loving Gage. He’s not ready to die. If he’s willing to accept the magic from Darryl at Start Me Up, he can come back.

He’s going to return to his love and life, no matter the cost. Now if only Gage will accept him…


Available now!

Copyright ©2021 Megan Slayer

“Lew will tell you something that seems impossible, but it’s not.”

He doubted he’d question Lew, the lawyer. But the whole situation seemed strange. “Okay.”

“You’ll think it’s far out, but I guarantee it’s real,” Chris said. “Trust us.”

Gage shrugged. “Sure.” He’d believe almost anything right now if it meant getting Rascal back. Since that wasn’t going to happen, tough shit.

Steve turned back around and started the car.

Maybe he was just too dazed, but Gage doubted Chris and Steve knew what they were talking about. They’d never really understand because they hadn’t actually lost each other. Hadn’t been ripped from the scene because family didn’t believe he was gay or seen their partner waste away.

He paid little attention as Steve drove to the apartment. Right now, he wanted to go back to the hospital and be with Rascal. His lover wasn’t in that shell any longer, but that didn’t quell the ache in Gage’s being.

Steve parked on the street. Chris left the vehicle first and Gage followed. Gage wandered up to the apartment. How could he ever go back to his own apartment? Everything there reminded him of Rascal. Once Rascal had been diagnosed with the cancer, he’d moved in with Gage to consolidate homes and save some money.

He stood in the living room of Chris and Steve’s place but wished he could go. King and Randall were there along with Eric and Danny. On one hand, it felt like too many people around, but on the other, this was his adopted family. The chosen ones he called his nearest and dearest. His own parents hadn’t wanted him around because he was gay, and Rascal suffered the same problems. All he and Rascal had were each other and their adopted family.

Lew stepped into the apartment. “Hi.”

God. If one more person showed up, Gage would leave.

Chris and Steve stood behind the sofa, King and Randall waited by the bar and Eric and Danny reclined on the window seat. Gage wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. “Yeah?” Gage asked. “Well?”

He shouldn’t be upset with them, but the despair bled into the rest of his life.
“You should know some things before we go over Randall’s will,” Lew said. “Do you know how Randall, Eric and Steve are here?”

Gage shrugged. “They survived?” Why in the hell was anyone asking him this right now?

“Not exactly,” Chris said and rounded the sofa. “Steve had the gay cancer, remember? Maybe you don’t, but he did. He died and I spent a long time mourning him. It hurt so much.”

He didn’t remember that, but honestly, he hadn’t paid much attention.

“And Eric was killed by a gunshot wound,” Danny said. “I lost him and never thought I’d ever be whole.”

“Obviously he pulled through,” Gage said. If he hadn’t, Eric wouldn’t be sitting there.

“He didn’t,” Danny said. “He died.”

“I see him right there with you.” Gage shook his head. This was ridiculous.

“Randall was attacked at the shelter back at Christmas. He bled out,” King said. “I saw his parents take custody of his body.”

“I don’t believe this. You’re all standing here, so someone lied or you never died.” Gage held up both hands. “Just… stop. Enough. You’re all bullshitting me. What is this?”

“This is where I come in,” Lew said. “I, along with Bob and Darryl at Start Me Up, helped the others, and we helped Rascal.”

“You did?” Gage snorted. “Did you bring them back from the dead? Huh? Did you become a doctor and learn how to reverse the damage from a gunshot wound? Did you figure out how to keep someone from bleeding out? Did you come up with a cure for the gay cancer? Is that how you saved the other guys? Come on.” His voice cracked. “Rascal is gone. There’s nothing you can do to change that. No one can. I lost him -- end of story.”

“It’s not the end of the story,” Lew said. “Trust me.”

Saturday, September 25, 2021


A fun aspects of touring another, much older, country is discovering its myths and legends. Ireland is steeped in them.

One of the reasons I’m a paranormal writer/lover is all those books I devoured from school and public libraries growing up that fed my imagination, and my absolute favorites were scary ones from other counties and cultures. Face it, we in the U.S. just haven’t been around that long. I was an early reader because my mom wouldn’t send me to bed with such tales . . . so I paged through them myself safely tented beneath my covers holding a flashlight. I did the same last night – only propped up on pillows with the lights on.

It’s hard to walk the steep, narrow streets or climb grassy to stony hills in Dingle without feeling a whisper of the past brushing by you. Or experiencing a tingle of the beyond rolling in on the fog. From fairy circles to standing stones found just up the street from majestic churches, the misty veil brushes against your skin and whispers on the wind.

If ever there was an enchanted island, this is it. My calves are still aching from the countless stone steps and rutted goat paths taken to get a snap of these glorious views. Hiring a car (Thank you, Dolores for being guide extraordinary!!) was the best possible way to see the untouched countryside on roads so narrow you’d think bicycles would bump in passing. But if not for our fearless driver, I’d never have gotten to see this . . .

We’re halfway through our fantastical trip and maybe, just maybe there’s a story (or a dozen) just waiting ahead for me to tell.

 For now, it’s time to hoist another pint!

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Friday, September 24, 2021

Worldbuilding in Fantasy by Sydney Winward

Worldbuilding in Fantasy

When you are writing a book, particularly a fantasy novel, you could spend hours, weeks, even months (maybe more?) building out your fantasy world to perfection. You want to draw in your readers by creating an immersive world filled with lots of amazing things to discover.

In my opinion, one of the greatest worldbuilding masters is Brandon Sanderson. You’ll never read anything like the ash-filled skies in Mistborn or the highstorms in A Way of Kings.

Brandon Sanderson is a great example of taking a concept that’s completely unique and making it his own.

So What Goes Into Worldbuilding?


Ah, the setting. This can be one of the trickiest parts of fantasy worldbuilding. Where does the story take place? What’s unique about it? What does it look like? What kind of rules does it have?

In my Sunlight and Shadows series, I have broken apart my worldbuilding in terms of race. Sun Fae, Shadow Fae, Forest Fae, Ocean Fae, and humans. In the Sun Fae kingdom, they draw strength from sunlight, and the world I created for this particular fae race reflects that. The Shadow Fae are nocturnal and feel more comfortable in the darkness. The dangerous creatures in their kingdom reflect night, darkness, and shadow.


For every series I write, the themes change to reflect the moods of the books. Here are a few of the themes I created for my latest fantasy series.

Sunlight: The sunlight represents hope and finding the sliver of light even in the darkest of places. I draw on this theme in A Breath of Sunlight, centering the book around sunlight and hope.

Shadow: Darkness and shadows can be all-consuming. Deadly. Hopeless. But when you learn to navigate the darkness, it can become your truest ally. This theme is in book 2, A Taste of Shadows.

Music: I use this theme in book 3 of my Sunlight and Shadows series, centering around things unseen. You can’t see music, but you can hear it. You can’t see your emotions, but you can feel them. Music is about healing from your greatest wounds, about finding and accepting what love is given to you.

Colors: This is a big theme in this series. Gold, silver, bronze, black. They all have different meanings within the books and go along with sunlight, shadows, and music.


Another really important aspect to worldbuilding are the characters you create. Readers will want to be immersed in their culture from how they talk, how they live, and even what they wear. A great example of this is Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. The women all have a “safe hand”, where in their culture, they have to keep one hand covered while they can reveal the other hand. To reveal their safe hand would be considered inappropriate.

Another great example in his series is that women are scribes while men can’t read.

In romantic fantasy, I love to create a culture and customs centered around marriage. In my Bloodborn series, vampires will present a handkerchief to someone they are interested in courting. If the person gifts a handkerchief back, the courtship begins. And then when they choose a mate, they mate for life.


I don’t always see this fleshed out in books, and sometimes you don’t need to explain a whole lot of the history. But it’s definitely something that rounds a book out. What happened in the world’s history that brought it to where it is now? How does it play a part in the characters’ lives? How has it shaped their understanding of life and the everyday choices they make?

When I read fantasy, I love seeing the unique history of that world, and I think it really helps round out the story as a whole.

There is so much that goes into writing fantasy! This is one of the reasons I love reading and writing it. I can make it uniquely my own, and create rules and customs that add depth to the world and characters.

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

If it’s fall, bring on the ghosts!

Autumn is my favorite season. Crunchy colorful leaves underfoot, crisp mornings and warm afternoons. Sure, the days get shorter but that means plenty of long evenings where there’s little to do but cozy up and read, read, read!

This is also the season of spooky things. My ghost-hunter series so far consists of three novels: Spirited Quest, House of Seven Spirits, and Spirit in Time. The series follows Jillian Winchester as she seeks out ghosts and helps them tell the stories they are desperate to have known. So far, Jillian, who lives in the Pacific Northwest, has traveled to Vermont, Australia, and California – and the most recent book even takes her back in time.

The books are written as stand-alones, but are also fun to read in order since there’s a bit of a romance that develops over time. These aren’t spooky stories; they just have that paranormal element with an occasional bit of fantasy thrown in.

If you’re hankering for a new series, here’s a glimpse into each of these books:


Spirited Quest


Paige Norman believes in a tangible, explainable world. When her ghost-hunting niece comes for a visit, she tries not to scoff. But someone, or something, is stirring up trouble at the Deerbourne Inn and her niece, Jillian, is at the center of the mystery.

Paige is certain the handsome Aussie photographer is behind the unexplained disturbances, and she warns her niece to stay clear. Meanwhile, Jillian gets to know the otherworldly Lady of the Deerbourne, who foretells an encounter with "two men." Then the pranks turn dangerous. Has her niece attracted a stalker or has she conjured an evil presence? Can the culprit be the man who has captured her heart? 




He nodded a friendly greeting to her, his gaze grazing past to include others on the porch. “G’day, ma’am. G’day all.” 

An Australian. Her heart skipped a beat. Oh, to be twenty-five, even thirty-five, again. His gaze settled on her niece, and as always happened to men where this girl was concerned, his jaw slackened, then tightened. 

Next to her, Jillian grew still, lifting wide blue eyes to the newcomer. The moment passed. He was through the front door and into the lobby, and the door closed behind him. 

“You’re in for some nice company this week,” Paige commented with a smile. 

A frown flickered across her niece’s face. “I’ve seen him before.” 

“You’ve met?” 

“Not exactly. He appeared to me in a dream.” Jillian’s blue eyes were troubled as she gazed at the Inn’s front door. She lifted one hand and rubbed the back of her head, then gave a shiver. “There was blood and I was afraid.” 





Barnes & Noble:


House of Seven Spirits


Some secrets are deadly, and ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester and her photographer boyfriend discover it's true when they set out to investigate an Australian family who disappeared without a trace in the 1880s. 

An abandoned sheep station rumored to be haunted by the long-dead Kinsley family is one challenge. The other is the beautiful but deadly Outback.


As Jillian probes deeper into the mystery, one thing becomes clear: She might not make it out of this quest alive.





“Don’t go up there,” Mason warned. “The wood’s apt to be rotted in places. The floor may not be safe.” 

She glanced over her shoulder at him and hesitated. Her California beach home was eight thousand miles away—a fifteen-hour flight plus a day’s drive along bumpy bleak roads. She hadn’t come this far to only examine the structure’s exterior. Her work required total immersion. 

She put a foot on the first step and tested it with her weight. Mason strode around the car and halted just below the porch with arms crossed. “Jillian.” 

The last thing she needed was someone hovering, directing her on what she could and couldn’t do. When she worked, the “real” world faded in importance. His uneasy energy interrupted her focus. “I’m fine.” 

The stair was solid, at least. Not even a creak greeted her as she advanced onto the veranda. He cleared his throat as she took another step, but said nothing. 

Despite the heat, a sudden chill rippled up her bare arms, sending prickles all the way to her neck. For a split second, her world tilted and her senses were overwhelmed. The musty odor of freshly shorn sheep wool, clothes flapping on a line, young voices chattering, the sharp tang of blood. Just as quick, the images dissolved and all was still, dry and lifeless once more. She let go of a deep breath, and a feeling of exhilaration swept through her. 

Someone’s here. 







Spirit in Time




Time travel isn't real. It can't be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding. 

Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler? 

Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift. 

But will time be her friend or foe?





“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity. 

The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still. 

The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight. 

The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt. 

“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?” 

“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.” 

Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes. 






Barnes and Noble:


Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. A fifth-generation Californian, she now lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and aging sheltie dog. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. Sign up for her occasional newsletter at

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Welcome to the Fall Equinox by Tena Stetler

 Welcome to the Fall Equinox, September 22, 2021.

Yippee, Autumn is my favorite time of year.  Partly because I love Halloween. The feel and smell of fall in the air, candy corn, also make me grin. Then the leaves explode with vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange wafting through the crisp fall mornings. Pumpkin spice everything is wonderful.

Is the autumnal equinox really the first day of fall?

Yes, the autumnal equinox does mark the first day of fall (in the Northern Hemisphere). However, according to the meteorological definition of seasons, which is based on temperature cycles and the Gregorian calendar, the first day of fall is September 1. This year in Colorado it was a scorching 94 degrees. Fall, yea, right. Now on the 22nd, its still to warm for my liking, 88 degrees, yuck!

Can you balance an egg on the Equinox?

There’s an old-wife’s tale that you can stand an egg on its end of the equinox. Well, yes, it’s true (and fun to try). But it’s not only on the equinox. 

 Are day and night perfectly equal on the Equinox?

On the equinox, the center of the Sun is above the horizon for twelve hours.  However, "sunrise" is said to begin when the upper edge of the Sun's disk becomes visible above the horizon (Which happens a bit before the center rises) and ends when the entire Sun has set.  In this case, daylight is still a bit longer than nighttime.  I know, I know, TMI. All I know is that it's dark in the morning when I have to get up and the evenings are much shorter. That part kinda sucks!

Okay so much for the fun facts. Fall is here and Halloween right behind it.  Yippee.  What is Halloween without vampires? Bawawawaw.


I have a great deal for you!  A VAMPIRE’S UNLIKELY ALLIANCE is on sale for 99¢ for a limited time. Don’t miss out, download your copy today.


Stefan is a Native American vampire, former assassin for the Vampire Council. In a twist of fate, he now DJ’s the midnight shift for a small radio station in Whitefish, Montana, on the edge of Glacier National Park where his secret is safe until...

 Born in Ireland, Brandy now works as a park ranger and trail guide in the park. During a full moon, Stefan and Brandy’s paths cross in a near physical collision on a trail. Their attraction is immediate and undeniable, almost as if fate demanded it.

 Their union was foretold long ago in Irish folk tales where vampires and gryphons, warlocks and demons, witches and faeries must work together for the good of man and magic kind. Is a trip to Ireland the key to unraveling secrets and returning the magic? And even more importantly, will their love survive the trip?

 Available at Amazon   Amazon UK , Amazon AU, itunes, and Barnes & Noble

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Marketing for Beginners by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Even a beginner can use some basic marketing strategies to drive more traffic to their website or individual products. If you self-publish or write a blog about your work, it starts from choosing some effective keywords to help drive traffic to your work via search engines. This is where you can target your audience from broad to more narrow subjects or themes of interest.

In keeping with this keyword use is the need to establish a brand. What can consumers expect from you? What is it you have to offer and why should they want to buy it? What is it similar to? What else might they like if they would like your work? What’s unique about your work? These are questions you must be able to answer about your work. It’s your story in a nutshell, your underlying theme or the universe you have created.

Next will come simple and inexpensive or even free ads on facebook, google, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Triberr or other social media platforms and amplifiers. Think about what you’re doing. Seek out publishers, authors or readers who write, read or publish the sort of work you want to sell. Follow them and some of their followers, begin to build a group of people who share similar interests. Some people will follow you back right away, and you want to be sure to give them some reason to keep following you and to gain even more like-minded folks by providing interesting and informative interactions. Like their posts, retweet, make comments. Interact. Don’t spam.

It can’t be overemphasized that developing good relationships with potential customers by first reaching out to them as fellow humans goes a long way toward growing your followers, fans, friends, and fellow enthusiasts who are then much more interested in becoming customers. 

Also, just because you feel you need to reach out to people who share an interest in what it is you’re selling, don’t become too limited in your outlook. People all have more than one particular interest and making a connection on one level doesn’t restrict you to just one subject. For example, some foodies also like to read (which is why some authors add juicy details about food to their stories); some art enthusiasts like sports; some gamers like watching movies; and some thrill seekers enjoy down time to relax and unwind.

If you’re a writer, you enjoy reading and you also want to sell the books you write. After your book is published, you want it reviewed, because reviews are a great way to advertise the merits of your work. There are several ways to get reviews, from giving away free copies to reviewers, either through prolific, netgalley or some other means of reaching reviewers, going on a blog tour sponsored by a review company, or becoming a reviewer. Writers are avid readers, and taking the time to write up a review after reading a book not only gains you more readers (even if they only read your review or blog), but it also exposes you to some new potential reviewers. Many writers join online writers or readers fb groups or blog sites that encourage exchanged reviews or book discussions. Goodreads is a good place to join such a group.

There are many other inexpensive things you can do such as writing a press release, newsletter, blog or article, sponsoring contests (people love to win free stuff) or entering contests (what book doesn’t look better with award seals on the cover?), holding a podcast or fb party, or some other ‘live’ event, making or buying a book trailer video, catchy graphics, bookmarks, or even having a sale. 

These are just some of the many ways you can begin to market your work. It is by far the most time consuming work that many authors hate, but some of the most successful ones have become very good at it. After all, writing for money is a profession. If you want to sell, you have to market.

I hope you gained some tidbits from this. Below, I have posted my own brand that I developed for my Illuminati series.

Friday, September 17, 2021

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

The Rules for Lying

Free on Amazon

September 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20

Magic isn't for sissies

WARNING: No good comes from a book with magic, mayhem, theft, murder, sass talk, demons, animals committing felonies, gleeful revenge, and bad things happening to good people for no particular reason. This story won’t encourage good habits and probably fine tune bad ones. The only lesson learned is don’t lie until you know the rules.

Life in New Jersey is tough in the Great Depression, but teenager Peter Whistler has an exceptional ability to lie. He hones his talent, convinced it’s the ticket to easy fortune. He certainly doesn’t foresee the arrival of a murderous conjuror with mysterious designs on a little blind girl named Esther. Drawn into a nefarious plot to unleash a demon, Peter leads Esther and an enchanted terrier on a desperate escape to New Orleans and meets Amelie Marchand. Like all well-bred Louisiana gals she’s trained in deadly martial arts, but with a murderous stepmother, Amelie has troubles of her own. Peter and Amelie’s one chance for survival is to head deep into the bayou and seek help from a mad shaman known as the Frog King.

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


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Why it's Important to Write Words that End up in the Trash Bin

Don't you wish that every word you write in a draft is the perfect one, stacked carefully one after the other into the next great American novel? I know that I do, but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), that is just not how drafting works. Drafting is a lovely and messy process in which you, the writer, spend time getting to know these new friends (characters) and their overall need in existing on the page. And it's so important to write words that end up in your computer's trash bin. 

Have you ever had an argument with a friend? I'm not talking about a serious one, but maybe one where you're both feeling a bit snappy after a long day and everyone's feelings got just a little hurt? Think about what that experience did for your friendship. It strengthened it, right? Because you both had to come to the conclusion to keep going with the friendship and apologize. Things got back to normal, but you learned something important about each other. How their voice sounds right before they get really frustrated, or which topics stir up big emotions. Learning about your characters can feel similar in a lot of ways. 

Maybe you won't end up actually arguing with your characters, or maybe you will, but either way, you will learn about them as you spend more time with them. But all the things you learn about them, won't make it into your novel because your reader doesn't need those details. But you do. You have to know which things your character needs desperately enough to leave the comfort of their day-to-day lives. You have to know which topics will stir up their darkest fears and their brightest dreams, and after all my years of writing, the only way I've found to do that is to write the scenes I need to understand my character, but most of those same scenes won't make it anywhere near my final draft and that's okay!

So, dear writer, as you write and work for each word in your draft, know that some of those words are the ones only you need, but they are not wasted. I truly believe that not a single word is wasted in a draft. You and your characters needed that relationship building moment even if your reader does not. So take heart and draft every word you need to tell the story of your dreams. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

I feel like I have been released from prison...

 Since May, May, the lovely month of May when I finished my book for Readict, I've had chronic and persistent writer's block.  Here's the pedal to the metal, nose to the grindstone, etc. that burned me out for awhile. I'd forgotten what it feels like to shut and lock the door to the world because you were working on a deadline.  Royal Secrets is now available, and doing well, on Readict though, by George. This contemporary royalty romance is about a handsome prince falling in love with a commoner only to have his government throw the stops on it because she had a shady past.

So, today I found an old short story I had begun years ago lurking in the musty recesses of my computer.  I had a good start, but no idea where it was going. The title is "angels unawares". I began writing at 7:30 AM.  At noon, I wrote the last line and added it to an anthology of short stories/novellas I've called By Moonlight, and promptly sent it winging its way to Wordwooze, a publisher recommended by a friend.  Will they bite?  There's one ghost story, one witch/famiiar story, three angel stories, and one alien crept in for a short visit.  "angels  unawares" ended at 31 pages and 9400 words.  Here is a bit of the new story:

angels unawares

"Angels in my garden.  Bats in my belfry," Lark mumbled as she examined the green bottle of of rum.  "Got to stop drinking this rot-gut.  I'm starting to see things."

She grimaced through splayed fingers at her tangled brown hair and sad brown eyes.  Her reflection in the sliding door drew her attention from the man huddled in her backyard.  Backyard!  A grandiose four-by-five square.  "Low-income housing, Cajun-style," she mocked her slender face in the glass.  "You've come a long way, baby.  At least it's not far to the bottom."

What she thought she saw sitting in the tall grass couldn't be there.  A naked man, arms hugging his knees, head bent, long mahogany hair obscuring his face.  Strange but possible.  The snowy wings arched above his head was the kicker.  Way beyond bizarre and im-frickin--possible

She fled the delusion lurking in the glass, carving a new path to the center of her living room.  Arms arched above her head, like the childhood ballerina she’d once been, she rotated on her toe.   "Empty bed.  Empty life.  Empty bottle!"  With a laugh and a flick of her wrist, she consigned the dead soldier to sparkles of green on the fake marble floor in the kitchen.  "Good toss.”

She chanced a glance at the glass door.  Indigo dusk was winning its war with a rose-and-gold sunset, but if she narrowed her eyes, she could see her visitor under the sole oak in her garden.  The angel looked like he was crying.  As she watched, he stretched his wings skyward before he folded them about him like a giant snowbird.

“Well crap.  If I’m dreaming, might as well know sooner than later.”  Lark gave the reluctant lock several brutal jerks before the door clattered open.

Staggering toward Big Bird, she cursed the wet grass that soaked the hem of her skirt, but he took no notice of her approach. Wrapped in his wings, he neither moved nor spoke.

“Hey, you, what are you doing here?  I know you’re not an angel.  I don’t believe in angels, and if I did, it’s highly unlikely that an angel is going to pick my backyard for a skin show.”

She sipped the watered-down rum, staring at the iridescent texture of the majestic arched wings, battling the urge to touch them to see if they were made of real feathers.  “Oh damn, I'm drunk."

A lyrical voice answered, "Quite."

"Quiet!  You've got the nerve telling me to be quiet in my own backyard."  Lark listened and decided she hadn't slurred. “You’re some nut dressed up for Halloween early. Hate to break it to you, but it’s only July.” Then she ran out of words.

He laughed, and Lark watched spellbound as the wings unfurled like an alabaster flower opening to cricket-song, but no crickets sang in the rain whispering down from a clear sky. It had been raining for the last two weeks, but it was two months since Tommy left a note pinned to the refrigerator and an empty bank account.

"Quite drunk," he said as he flexed his wings above his head in a white arbor.

Mist jeweled the luminescent feathers.

And he was gloriously, unabashedly, totally naked. From his broad shoulders to his muscled chest down the thin line of dark hair to his navel...--angels weren’t supposed to have male equipment, but this one did--and how! 

As you can see, in my mythos, my angels are not androgynous.  Otherwise, how could you explain the fall of the Grigori, those angels who took wives from among human women.  Each writer builds her own angel world with its different rules.  Likewise, in mine the angelic host are strictly male. I've read other angel books where there are female angels.  It's always interesting to me to read another author's take on angels.  Another thing, in my stories, when people die, they do not become angels. Angels and humans are totally separate creations. When I was writing Gylded Wings, I spent an interesting evening with a Jewish  scholar of the Hebrew Bible.  Some of that found its way into my angel world. Most of it is pure imagination, as you can  well imagine.

May your angels always be with you...


Monday, September 13, 2021

Your Day Job Is What?! by Marilyn Barr


I’m a spiritual and energetic healer. This conjures all sorts of images in people’s minds. (Cue Witch Doctor songs) I get asked if I took a pilgrimage to the middle of the jungle to live on bugs like Simba in a certain kid’s movie. They ask if I can contact their long-lost great-great-great grandparent or if I can predict their child’s future. I do own a crystal ball, but I don’t use it to tell fortunes. I love herbal remedies, but I don’t prescribe them. I don’t require a sacrifice for healing either – although I have had everything from pet’s blood, to promised unborn children, to animals the clients caught, brought to me. (…and they think I’m weird, scheez).

(Spa-am Native of Muppet Treasure Island Photo from muppet-opedia)

What does an energetic healer do? There are 10 services, but the most common ones are NAET, Reiki, Shamanic healing, mediumship, and past life regressions. My certifications are in Reiki and Shamanic healing (General and Hawaiian). I perform healing rituals, chakra reconstructions, energy grid restorations, past life regressions, cord-cutting rituals, and receive spiritual visions on the client’s behalf. I do not have the gift of two-way communication with those in the spiritual plane beyond my spirit team, so mediumship (bridging contact with deceased people) is outside my abilities. NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques) overlaps with Reiki healing but utilizes the energetic gates to a client’s energy grids to eliminate allergic reactions. Between my son and I, we have had over 30 allergies reversed using NAET.

(Photo from

Can anyone perform spiritual healing? Yes – with training and attunement. The first level of Reiki healing is self-healing and can be learned by anyone. There are weekend courses for those who are curious, but those who feel a calling usually embark on an apprenticeship. (No, you aren’t living with a witch doctor in the woods. My two-year apprenticeship has mostly taken place over Zoom.) Reiki healing is the channeling of chi energy from a universal source to the client using the hand placement and Japanese symbols over certain areas of the body (you should not be touched in traditional Reiki healing sessions). The healer is a conduit like an antenna that collects energetic signals like Wi-Fi.

(Photo from

The purpose of the apprenticeship is to learn the boundaries associated with going into someone else’s energetic grids. This is more difficult and more important than the healing techniques themselves because they protect the client and practitioner from injury. Because of my Shamanic abilities, I will receive visions with energy, so I must obtain permission from the client about them before healing sessions. I have written a book about a great spiritual practitioner with a respectful attitude towards boundaries, spirit guides, and apprenticeship in Dance to a Wylder Beat. However, I wanted to also write a book about a talented practitioner without these qualities. What if someone had a Reiki apprenticeship but their abilities branched into Shamanic healing and mediumship, but they ignored the call? What if they had grown up in an environment when these talents were thought to be fiction, so they didn’t believe the messages from the spiritual plane? The Universe would give stronger signs until the person listens.

In my Christmas release, The Spy Who Loved My Russian Tea Cakes, we meet Reiki practitioner, Cassie Morgan, and her mentor, Leslie. Cassie is left alone over the holiday season to perform healing sessions for the first time. She is happy to manage the pain of the residents of the nursing home where she works instead of going home for the holidays…or maybe it is the excitement over the nameless coma patient upstairs. Cassie’s spiritual gifts go beyond her training but because she comes from a family of traditional medical doctors who don’t believe in spiritual healing practices, she doesn’t study beyond Reiki healing.

Her unfettered abilities cause all sorts of trouble when they meet psychically open energy gates of the telepathic coma patient. Dream walking, pain transference, and meeting the ghosts from Sergei’s past are just some of the complications Cassie experiences due to her leaky boundaries. Normally this would be uncomfortable, but Cassie learns Sergei is a man on the run. Sergei is a spy, but for which side – the authorities or the Russian mob? Now Cassie knows too much, and Sergei is gone…

The Spy Who Loved My Russian Tea Cakes is the second novella in The Spiritual Spy Duology. The first novella, The Spy Who Was Out Cold, will be free to newsletter subscribers as of October 2021. Join my newsletter here ( to get your copy of The Spy Who Was Out Cold on its release day. The Spy Who Loved My Russian Tea Cakes releases 11/30/2021 (for $2.99) from The Wild Rose Press.