Saturday, April 30, 2022

Why Not Try an Audio Book? by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Audiobooks saw a big uptick in sales during the pandemic. Why did so many people listen to audiobooks rather than reading from digital or paper versions of stories? There are many reasons, and they often depend upon the individual, but one of the main reasons is the ability to enjoy a story with a more social feel. If you go for a walk to get out of the house and don’t like being around others, you can still enjoy the feel of being social by listening to someone talk to you.   

Reading may seem more personal, since you come up with the sounds and images yourself. However, with audiobooks, there’s still an intimate feel of enjoying a story, firsthand. Although you don’t form an impression of how various characters sound, you can still imagine how they look. Some people may even be better able to visualize the characters when they hear the sound of ‘their’ voice.  Listening is also having someone talk to you alone, right into your ear, using inflection, accents, and dramatic pauses to illicit an emotional response.

Several studies have been done comparing the comprehension retained between audio and written words and it was found that since you can rewind and relisten to audio, just as you can reread portions of written text, there was little difference between what was retained between the control groups.

One huge advantage that audio books have over written text, whether in paperback or digital, is that you can multitask while reading. Although this may cause some distraction depending upon the activity, listening to a book on audio isn’t likely to lesson your cardio while on a treadmill or how much dust you pick up while vacuuming.  

If you haven’t tried audio books before, you should at least give one a try. If nothing else, it will lessen the boredom of waiting in a lobby or in a long line. You can listen to them on your phone with a sound blocking head or earphone jack, and these days even planes have phone chargers.

If you need suggestions, here are a couple more:

Like a little diversity and a tingle running down your spine?

Friday, April 29, 2022

Out Now! Jack by @meganslayer #summonabadboy book 2 - #paranormal #romance #contemporary #badboys



Summon a Bad Boy, Book 2

Contemporary, Paranormal, MF Erotic Romance

From Changeling Press



I call on the fates to bring my love to me. As I will it, so mote it be…

What if those simple words plus a name on a scroll could guarantee true love? The moment Mandy meets Jack, she knows he’s the one. Tall, dark, handsome and those tattoos… He’s quiet, smart and brooding, too. She wants to run her hands all over his body and taste his kiss. What’s a girl to do? Turn to the Summon a Bad Boy spell and take a cooking class with him?

Mix a bad boy with some magic and have faith. Anything’s possible, and Mandy won’t stop until she gets her man.

Available from Changeling Press:;jsessionid=591F69274C618A529C96666A44758E20.prodny_store01-atgap05



©2022, Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved


The karaoke singing stopped and a song played on the speakers. She bobbed her head. “I like this band. They’ve got a way of hitting the groove, while keeping the feel of the song hard and getting the feel of the lyrics across.”

His eyes sparkled and he nodded slightly. “I like them.”

“Dale Krieger and Scotty Norman wrote this song.” She prided herself on knowing the lyrics and writers.

“I didn’t know that.” He leaned on the wall. “I’m impressed.”

“Yeah?” She dragged over a stool and sat beside him. “I listen to them and whatever’s on the radio at work. I work at the Craig’s store,” she said and took a breath. “I guess I like the band because they really seem to get me. They don’t know me, obviously, but it’s like they’re singing my life. They understand how sometimes I feel invisible. I know I’m not a bad person or a lousy girlfriend, but I never feel good enough.”

This time he didn’t reply. He’d probably heard plenty from other people while at the bar, and she annoyed him. She had to. How many times had Sarah told her to be quiet?

“I know I talk too much. I don’t do well with silence, and I hate sitting still,” she said. “I’m annoying you, aren’t I? I get that a lot.” She fidgeted with her ring. “I got this one from my grandmother. It’s not worth anything, but I love it because it reminds me of her.”

“It’s nice.”

At least she’d gotten him to talk. “I like your tattoo.” She touched his hand. “That’s neat. Did it hurt to have the top of your hand inked?” She’d think it would. “I don’t mind needles, but I hate pain. Where did you get them done?”

“Tattoo You.”

“My friend Karey’s boyfriend owns that shop.” She nodded. “I’ve only been there once. It seems nice.” She wasn’t sure what to expect from a tattoo shop, but his seemed decent enough.


“No, Jimmy. I like him. He treats Karey well and is polite.” She nodded. “I met Kurt once. He left when I showed up.”

“He’s private.”

She stared at him again. “So are you.” She held out her hand. “My name is Mandy.”

He dipped his head once and shook hands with her. “Jack.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Spring has Sprung. Take a Trip to the Gateway of Hell by L. A. Kelley

Spring starts with the vernal equinox, but what exactly is it? An equinox is when the sun is positioned directly above the Earth’s equator and the hours of daylight and nighttime are very nearly equal. It happens twice a year, spring and autumn. It’s generally accepted the vernal equinox is March 21 when the sun crosses the equator from south to north, but its iffier than you think. Sometimes it hits on the 20th and, of course, spring only comes to the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere heads toward winter. Earth thinks it’s oh-so-special but every planet in the solar system has an equinox, which occurs when a planet’s orbit and tilt causes hemispheres to receive the same amount of light.

Although the equinox is thought of as a day, it’s actually only a moment when the Sun passes over the equator. For 2022, the Vernal Equinox happened on Thursday, March 20, 2022, at 11:33 a.m., Eastern Standard Time. This is not to say the first day of spring is set in stone. Bands of rogue climatologists roam the streets arguing the point. For them, meteorological seasons are grouped by months and based on weather and temperature shifts. They’ll argue the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere should be March 1. Don’t get in their way or they’ll slap you.

Spring is associated with an array of rituals marking the end of winter, often dealing with death and rebirth. The idea of a deity who perishes and is brought back to life is an ancient theme, predating the Bible. Easter, supposedly, derives its name from Eostre, the ancient Teutonic goddess of fertility, bringing light and renewal to the world. Eggs were hidden in her honor as part of fertility rites and, as she was also a moon goddess, her celebrations were held at the full moon closest to the Equinox. Eostre was symbolized by a hare, and by the 17th century in Protestant Europe hares were also symbolic of Easter.

Weird stuff about the vernal equinox

It’s the only day you can stand a raw egg on end.

Presumably, because of the Sun’s position in the sky, the gravitational pull on the Earth means that you can stand an egg up on end during the precise moment of the vernal equinox. Nope. The Earth’s gravity remains unchanged and balancing an egg can be done any day of the year, if you’re really, really, really bored.  

Egad! There’s no shadow at noon.

Only if you happen to be standing exactly on the equator.

Being outside during the vernal equinox can drive you bonkers.

The Sun moving across the equator has no effect on emotions. But Seasonal Affective Disorder plays a part in moods and may have a leftover effect before spring truly kicks in. The warmer days can also bring a touch of spring fever and strengthen the desire to get outdoors. Not to mention being cooped up because of Covid made us all a little nuts.

Take a trip to the gateway to hell.

Several myths have certain days in which a portal to hell can open and the devil can enter the earth. One is Halloween, but the other is the vernal equinox.  A cemetery in the town of Stull, Kansas, apparently has one of them. Since the 1970s, people visiting the cemetery on the vernal equinox report hearing disembodied growling, being grabbed by unseen arms, and experiencing amnesia. No reports on the number of liquor sales on that day is available.

So put that garland of flowers in your hair and dance around the maypole before that blooming botanical mess activates your allergies. Spring has sprung.

L. A. Kelley writes scify and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass.  There's a portal to hell in her laundry room.


Monday, April 25, 2022

Getting Back to the Inspiration Well . . . of Ideas by Nancy Gideon

I don’t know about you, but isolation has sucked . . . the inspiration out of me. For over a year, my creative mind has lain fallow, completely barren of ideas. The closed lid of my laptop has gathered dust on my work desk while I used my big screen monitor across the office to binge watch on Amazon and Netflix, play card, and post silly memes on FB. Fulfilling the obligations of the two social media blogs I participate in was the closest I came to creative thought. I just couldn’t muster the energy or enthusiasm to . . . write. I’m 45K into a romantic suspense so it’s NOT like I had nothing to work on. Just no interest in walking those five steps from one keyboard to the other . . . because I had nothing to say.

Oh come on! When does a writer have NOTHING to say?! Perhaps I just had nothing to excite my imagination. Bring in one of my critique partners and her also-a-writer sister who arrived unexpectedly to creatively ‘kidnap’ me.

Those who know me know I am the least spontaneous human in existence. Yet when my two visitors took me to lunch then suggested a trip to Chicago for a writing weekend, I shocked all three of us by saying “Let’s go!” Whose voice was that? Surely not that of one who never goes to the store without three lists. And yet I was packed within fifteen minutes, and with computer in hand, out the door, stunning no one as much as myself.

How to describe that weekend? A (masked) breath of personal and creative freedom from the weight of day-to-day sameness! We had our laptops fired up, our creativity firing on all cylinders, and . . . words, sentences, paragraphs, then pages appeared. We didn’t just write on our own projects. We worked on each other’s plot problems, talked PR, set up a book launch, and . . . we shopped. Hey, it was the Mall in Chicago! So – many – strange people! And so much fun.

And once I’d broken free, I couldn’t remain a prisoner. A weekend writers’ Retreat hosted on a lake by my local Romance Writers of America chapter. And now, two weeks of plotting nirvana at the home of one of my critique partners (along with Amazon and Netflix. We’re not savages! Inspiration has to come from somewhere!). That neglected W-I-P won’t know what hit it!

Moral of the story . . . inspiration needs to be fed. If not by personal contact, then by new experiences (Try one of those freebie 7-day cable trials! Bingeing 6 seasons of OUTLANDER over a weekend had that fire blazing!) If you’re leery of personal contact, take a walk outside! Stand on your porch (now that it doesn’t have 8” of snow and ice on it here in MI!) and breathe deep! Take an online writing craft workshop. Journal. Do writing sprints. Push that flabby mind until it cries “Uncle!”

And once you’ve dipped into that cool, refreshing well of inspiration . . . let the words flow!

And if you’re looking for something to spark ideas, try reading outside your comfortable literary carrel. Might I suggest sinking your teeth into something . . . paranormal . . .So happens I have just the thing, and on SALE, too! A weary vampire tricked into taking a human bride to keep his secret safe in Turn-of-the-Century New Orleans? For only $0.99 . . .?

Published: May 3, 2011
Length: 230 Pages

Well, I’ve got packing to do and a W-I-P simmering on the back burner. And hopefully warm sun and a porch rocking chair waiting for my arrival.

(FYI, when I was searching for “well” graphics, most of them had that creepy girl from The Ring crawling out of it. Ewwww! That’s not the place I go for inspiration . . .)

Happy Writing!!
Nancy Gideon on the Web

Friday, April 22, 2022

Where Do The Stories Come From? By Tena Stetler


One question that seems to always be on reader’s minds is where do I come up with ideas for my books.

First of all, since childhood, I’ve had an over active imagination. As a child, it caused night frights and tall tales. As a teenager and adult, I put those scenes and voices in my head on paper, or computer screen. Also my hubby, pup, parrot and turtle spend as much time in the spring, summer and fall in our 38-foot fifth wheel trailer traveling the country, including state and national parks as vacation allotment and weekends  allow. LOL  Some of my stories come from these trips.


It just happens that AN ANGEL’S UNINTNENTIONAL ENTANGLEMENT, which is on sale for 99 cents right now is one. The story came about one summer when hubby and I were driving over Independence Pass. It’s one of our favorite drives in Colorado. A beautiful drive if you don’t mind the shear drop-offs. Abandoned mining cabins (dating back to 1880-1890) dot the landscape near the top of Independence Pass at over 12,000 feet in elevation.  The miners who built the cabins, didn't realize how unforgiving the winters at 12,000 feet can be.  As I rounded the back of one of those cabins a complete scene unfolded among the spectacular views. I rushed to the truck and jotted down an outline and An Angel’s Unintentional Entanglement was born. 

 Fourth book in A Demon’s Witch Series, An Angel’s Unintentional Entanglement hero, Caden Silverwind was a secondary character in A Warlocks Secrets (Book 2). Caden had a story to tell, and insisted it be told before I finished up the series. The heroine in this story is Mystic Rayne. At the time I was writing this our beloved canine companion passed over the rainbow bridge. We were devastated. As the circle of life continued, a new puppy arrived and we named her Mystic Reign, after my character. Do you believe in fate? 

Well coincidently An Angel’s Unintentional Entanglement was released on August 6th  of that year, which happens to be our pup, Mystic’s birthday.   

Let’s talk a little about the award-winning An Angel’s Unintentional Entanglement.


Fallen warrior angel, Caden Silverwind, lives alone in Colorado's rugged Rockies, healing from physical wounds as well as the mental anguish suffered during battles with dark demons. Then he finds a woman barely clinging to life after a horrendous beating. He is not prepared for the entanglement she brings to his life, nor the feelings she awakens in him.


Bureau of Indian Affairs Agent, Mystic Rayne’s personal dilemma and assignment nearly gets her killed. Divine intervention is a complication she never expected and her growing attraction to Caden is undeniable. Can she trust him with her secret?


Their quest to uncover her attacker takes them from the pristine mountains in Colorado to the wilds of Wyoming. Along the way, they find answers which may place them in more danger. Determined to solve the mystery, they must also navigate their feelings and fears to find love and unite heaven and earth.


Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, itunes, and Barnes and Nobel


I hope you enjoyed learning a little how this author’s mind works, well when it works. LOL See you next month!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Researching for Your Next Story


Ahhh, the rabbit hole that is researching your next story. But it's fun, isn't it?

I'm currently working on two very different stories and with them comes a whole bucket full of research, so for this month's post, I'll talk a little bit about how I go about gathering the information I use in my stories.  

World Building

The world that your story takes place in is worth the time it takes to build it up. Your environment will depend a lot on the genre/story problem you're working with, so keep that in mind as you research. 

If you're writing a story set in the 15th Century, make sure you don't accidentally give them a cellphone. Google searches are a great tool to get familiar with clothing, technology, food, and so much more depending on what kind of world you're writing. 

Personally, I am a total sucker for mythology. This means that I spend a lot of time reading about strange things happening in regular places. So when I sit down to write a new story, I tend to mix pieces of mythology into a real-world setting. 

Character Building

Once I have the general world idea, I work on my main character. I usually figure out the physical details once I have a basic motivation because it's easier for my brain to fill in the person that belongs to the motivation instead of the other way around.

I love name generators for character names. Sometimes if I'm feeling stuck, I'll look at names and think of faces that I think would match them. Other times, I'll look through google image searches for physical description ideas. 

Once I have the basic description and the motivation, I usually grab my writer's thesaurus and research emotions and their manifestations so that I can get right into drafting. 

Don't Go Too Far With Research

As much fun as researching in, try to only research what you need to write. 

What this means, is that I break my researching time into chunks so that I don't get too distracted and forget to actually write the story. 

There are definitely times when I'm in a writing mood, so rather than stopping to research a name for something or specific detail, I'll add in a placeholder and keep going. 

On the flip side, sometimes I have no motivation to write so I'll spend some time researching to get myself excited about the story again. Writing is a balancing game.

Until next time, happy writing!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

An Example of a Media Kit for New Writers

 This is my Media Kit for The Texas Cowboy. You may use it as an example, improve upon it, and make it your own. It is simply an example for those who have come to that juncture in their writing where you've been asked for your first Media Kit.




Title:                      The Texas Cowboy

                                Book One, Return to Folly Series

Author:                 Linda Nightingale

Publisher:            Magnolia Blossom Publishing

Length:                 247 pages

Release Date:    January 19, 2022

Tag Line:              A British-raised Texan returns to take over the ranch he inherited. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe a pretty, sassy cowgirl with her own agenda?

Keywords:          Cowboys, cowgirls, Texas, ranching, contemporary western romance, horses, Quarter horses, horse breeding, Quarter horse racing, AQHA, The Texas Cowboy, Linda Nightingale, rodeo

Buy Link:    



When Ash Colter was twelve, his mother divorced his cattle baron father and whisked him away to raise in her native England. Sixteen years later, when his father dies, he inherits Marathon Ranch. Running a 1,000-acre spread famous for the best Black Angus cattle in the great state of Texas is the biggest challenge he’s ever faced…until he meets a pert, pretty, and sassy ranch hand who seems to have her own agenda for his ranch. Unfortunately, she makes his spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle like no one else ever has!

Trish Owens is a real cowgirl, a loner, and, though she’d never admit it, a little lonely. When the “English Cowboy” appears on the scene, her entire way of life is threatened, not only her job, but her beloved Quarter horses. She’s sure he plans to import his thoroughbreds from England. Worst of all is the chemistry sizzling between them. He makes feelings she thought long dead awaken.

Can these two unwilling allies set aside their differences to put Marathon Ranch in the Winner’s Circle…and to fall in love?

EXCERPT: (An ex-girlfriend of Ash’s has just shown up announced – from the U.K.!!)

Trish ignored his joke about taking care of her. “Well, thank you, Miss Whatever-your-name-is.” When she shot him a glance, he saw the sadness in her eyes before jealousy evaporated it like the morning dew. He couldn’t allow Trish to think he’d made love to her last night, knowing Dorothy would arrive today. Or thinking he’d sleep with the other woman tonight. Embarrassed as well as annoyed, he flushed to the roots of his hair.  Dorothy leapt into his hesitation, offering Trish a handshake.

“I’m Dorothy Applewhite.” The Duchess stared down from her superior height of five-six. “I arrived with the horses, more or less.”

“I’m Trish. Nice to meet you.” Nothing could sound less like the truth.

He looked from one woman to the other. “Dorothy, how did you happen to arrive minutes after the horses were unloaded?”

His ex-girlfriend winked, squeezing his arm against her breast. “Trev mentioned the name of the transport company. I rang them and, using your stable name, was told the shipment would arrive this week. You’d given me the name of the town. I consulted my travel agent and here I am. I wanted to surprise you. I’ve missed you, Ash-Dahling.”

“Ash-Dahling has been busy managing this big old ranch…” Trish batted big innocent eyes and continued in a honeyed voice, “I imagine, that is.”

Dorothy simply stared at the other woman, probably trying to decide if the cowgirl in a red Marathon shirt and figure-hugging jeans was competition. Not Trish’s usual barn clothes. Had she dressed to impress him? Maybe before the horses were unloaded and the duchess arrived. Now, she only wanted to impress one thing upon him. Go to hell.

Trish cast a meaningful glance at Ash, then attacked her opponent with fine-edged sarcasm. “Your white studded jeans are just the thing for the wild west.”

“Thank you.” Dorothy smoothed a hand down her shapely hip. “I ordered them from an American western wear store just for this trip. The shirt, as well. Do people really wear these small string ties?” She flipped the ends of the Bolo, and Ash almost choked trying not to laugh.

Must be hysteria. This was no laughing matter.

“I don’t personally.” Trish leaned closer, pretending to admire the pearl snaps on Dorothy’s western shirt. “Yeah, really nice.”

“I haven’t seen a lot of people—in fact, not even one—wearing a Bolo.” Ash shoved his hands into his pockets. He felt naked, exposed, and a feeling he hated--vulnerable. “Maybe Sunday for church.”

“Church?” Trish barked a laugh.

Frowning, he suggested, “A country and western bar?”

“I prefer dives, sir. Country music, with or without a worn flag painted on the floor, lots of beer, and the Texas two-step.” Trish was no longer laughing, nor did she look very sassy. Was she angry enough to cry…or hurt enough to be angry?

“You two don’t get in an argument about my little tie. You may have it if you like.” His former girlfriend slid a possessive hand around his elbow. “I have Ash here. Dear, my bags are in the boot. Will you ask someone to take them to your room?”

Ash squared his shoulders. “I’ll ask Danita to prepare a guest room.”

“Are you still redecorating the Master Bedroom?” Trish was digging his grave deeper with a guileless smile.

She did not mean the redecorating question to be helpful, but he could turn it around on her. Though after the funeral, he’d moved into the Master Suite, he’d been too busy to make many changes. Marathon was a jealous lover.

“I am.” He looked from one to the other. “Still redecorating.”

The two women frowned. Each one affixed her chilly gaze to him.

Ash wanted to squirm, but a good rabbit knows that any movement only incites the hawk. “Let’s get you settled. Trish, if you need anything, call me. As I said, you’re very welcome to stay here.” Please.

“Will do, Ash.” Trish placed warm emphasis on his name, but the look she leveled at him gave him frostbite.


After 14 years in Texas, Linda returned home to her roots in the South Carolina red clay. She has eight published novels, four of which are available in audio from For many years, she bred, trained, and showed the magnificent Andalusian horses. So, she’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer. She won The Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award for Excellence, the Raven Award, and the SARA Merritt. In real life, she was a legal assistant. She loves to dress up, use the good china and crystal, and host formal dinner parties. She has a fondness for sports cars like her current ride, Zippy Z.






Web Site: – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.

Blog: - Lots of interesting guests & prizes




Book Bub:


With the media kit you will want to include your cover in a separate document.  If it is for a blog, for instance, you would also include your guest post and any graphics you want included on the blog. Any questions?  Ask in the comments section.


Happy April 14th, and happy trails until we meet again on May 14th.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Death Cannot Stop True Love by Marilyn Barr

In my work as a spiritual healer, I often have clients who request relationship tarot card readings. They all want to know if the significant other in their life is a soulmate, twin flame, or just someone placed in their path. My first question to them is always what their definitions are for these terms. Between movie magic and social media clickbait, our spiritual definitions have been lost. The client’s conversation with me rarely resembles the survey they took online which compared preferences and childhood experience for “twin flame commonality.”

In fact, in most religious texts, your soulmate is defined as a complement to the lessons you must learn to reach Enlightenment (e.g. Heaven, Nirvana, etc.). Therefore the more alike two people are, the less likely they are to be soulmates. That’s not to say two hockey fans or horror movie buffs aren’t soulmates or twin flames. Common interests do help us cross paths on an increasingly crowded planet.

Most religions, metaphysical texts, and thanatology data (research into death) agree there is planning before each soul is born onto this planet and each life has a predetermined purpose with a small percentage of free will to “spice it up.” The documents also agree that your soulmate is one person who was decided to go through this life with you to challenge your current spiritual state in name of bettering your soul (called enlightenment). My clients want to know if their current fling is “The One” and always leave my office disappointed…because in most Shamanic practices, we believe we have a team of twin flame(s) on the physical and spiritual plane, a soulmate who drives us crazy, and network of living souls scheduled to cross our life paths at different times for different reasons. Even if I can correctly categorize their significant other as one of these relationships, it doesn’t guarantee the predestined love that burns across time and space.

According to the interviews of those who have survived a clinical death (the research behind Mario Martinez’s The Mind Body Code), there is a global consciousness which has been historically been referred to as “the white light.” Within this energetic space, the clinically dead people experienced a reunion with the other soul pieces within their spirit teams. These are what we call “twin flames” or pieces from the same collective “soul” which have separated for a time in the physical to spread love and happiness. These are the people (or pets) with whom we instantly connect and have a sense of belonging when in their presence. In Shamanism, we believe half your twin flames exist with you on Earth while another set watches over you from the spiritual place as spirit guides or a spirit team (interchangeable terms). Who was once part of your team may walk the earth with you now or you may decide you have had enough of earth and join one of your twin flame’s teams. If you’ve read Dance to a Wylder Beat or my teasers for Dreamcatcher or Sound a Wylder Silence, you know I love writing about spirit guides because of the close relationship I have with my team.

Where does this leave true love? I had a client ask me if my husband was jealous of my spirit team relationships and I had to laugh. My reply was that he knows we are soulmates and not twin flames. It is not because we share a love of books, punk music, and olives on pizza, but because our views on many topics are opposing. Our discussions are more likely to educate one another than act as an echo chamber. My strict Christian upbringing clashes with his feminist, equality-promoting, pagan views from his parents. On the flip side, I grew up in a community where we often didn’t have two nickels to rub together, but we always had an extra chair at the dinner table for a neighbor.

Could we have been reincarnated to irritate one another in the name of spreading love on Earth over many lifetimes? This is where the research, religious texts, and spiritual experiences of gurus diverge. While most Christian religions preach one life and then straight to heaven, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism (just to name a few) all believe in reincarnation. The presence of spirit guides would be evidence of reincarnation but tangible evidence of spirit guide involvement isn’t more than antidotal at this time. Whether it is true or not, I love reading the latest research on the topic. When I was asked to join a group of award-winning authors to write in the Reincarnation Book Series, I couldn’t say no. This steamy, vampire romance series is the collision of all my interests—and hopefully will interest you too! (Check out the Book Trailer here!)

In the Reincarnation Book Series, the Syre travels across time and space to give men a second chance at love. When these men lose their soulmate to injustice, the Syre appears and offers them immortality as vampires. Why immortality when their loved one is gone? In time, his soulmate will reincarnate and he will have the opportunity to convert her to an immortal vampire as well. The first two novellas, Black Lotus and Vintage, were released on April 5, 2022. Yesterday, April 12th, 2022, Switch and Blood Tears joined the released volumes on Kindle Unlimited. Still to release are Renaissance, Buccaneer, Eternity, Dreamcatcher, and Syre. All the books are on pre-order for $0.99 until their release onto Kindle Unlimited (Check out the series here)

My contribution to the series is Dreamcatcher, coming on April 26th, 2022. When tattoo artist, Gretchen O’Malley steps into the world of spiritual healing to banish the nightmare which haunts her, she crosses time and space to search for inner peace. When a spiritual journey with an eccentric Shamanic Practitioner reveals her nightmare is a piece of his past, she doesn’t trust her overwhelming attraction to him… Shamanic Practitioner turned Vampire Makaha Juang longs to reclaim the woman who worked herself to death in the sugarcane fields of Oahu over one hundred and fifty years ago. He thanks the Gods when Kaihua enters his office—reincarnated as Gretchen. A prophetic nightmare, explosive soulmate connection, and the boundaries of his spirit contract test his morality and dedication to tenants to Shamanism. Will he compromise his integrity in the name of love or will he free her from their karmic cord?

Dreamcatcher and the other volumes of The Reincarnation Series are on pre-order for $0.99 until their release onto Kindle Unlimited.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Will AI Take Over Fiction Writing? by Keri Kruspe


In her May 7th podcast in 2021, leading author Joanna Penn stated “Artificial Intelligence is already part of our lives in the tools and services we use every day. As AI development accelerates, how can authors … use it as leverage to expand income and opportunities?”

I love how optimistic she about the future of being a writer. She stresses how AI would help rather than hinder writing in the future.

However, there are other thoughts out there that contradict what she proposes. In her article of Oct of that same year, AuthorNicole Hillbig outlines a scarier prospect. She states, “Writer is not a protected profession.” She goes on by saying the AI algorithm can fall back on a massive amount of text data to learn to “write”. They glean this information from the vast amount of text published online. With self-publishing being so immense, the AI has learned general writings skills in higher detail.

Does This Mean, as Self-Published Authors, we've shot ourselves in the foot?

Don’t hyperventilate just yet. AI writing isn’t something new. There are lot of free programs available that you can use AI can use to help you write. Writesonic, AI Writer are just a couple examples. And they’ve been around for a while now.

You may ask yourself, now does the actual AI writing compare to a human writer? Never fear, the AI does have some limitations. In her article, Ms. Hillbig outlines them: 

AI cannot capture ambiguous image or text content from data records.

These rise mostly because of cognitive connection to values that rise from literary, religious, mathematical, sporting, and facial linguistic contests. The AI can only select a single relevant piece of info from these data sets. It has a hard time evaluating these separate contents and can’t think associatively as humans do.

We check and adjust the emotional and as well as social values of any given thought. It seems metaphors and imagery are causing problems for AI. It simply doesn’t understand them.

An AI cannot create stories that involve personal experiences filled with emotions and cognitive perceptions. 

I don’t have to tell you that is the core of writing. Putting your feelings and impressions on paper for others to experience is the main reason we writers exist in the first place. Bringing other people along for the ride is the cherry on our story-telling sundae. While an AI can transfer pure information, the emotional element can only be communicated by people. Only we can relay a sense for it in order to share it with the world.

Can Humans and AI Just Get Along? 

As Ms. Hillbig continues, she reiterates how the AI has an enormous learning advantage and can already create reading data with little difficulty. But, she emphases, we shouldn't be afraid AI will replace us. While we can use the advantages AI brings (i.e. helping with writer's block and learn how to grow beyond our own capabilities), they do have limits. The AI has a moral and ethical problem that always has to be corrected by humans. 

To help back this up, the Bureau of Labor Statics in 2020 states the "employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030. About as fast as the average for all occupations."

Will People Still Read in the Future? 

An Egyptian writer in 2,400 BC claimed, 

"Writing – for those who understand it, it is more useful than any office/it is more pleasant than bread and beer, than clothes and ointments/it is more luck than an inheritance in Egypt and than a grave in the west.” 

Funny how something 5,000 years ago has endured.
Story-telling has been with mankind since the beginning. While the delivery may change in the coming decades, I feel the need for stories will increase. As mankind continues in their isolated existence (think I’m wrong? Next time you’re in a restaurant, see how many people are on their phones instead of talking to the person they’re with), the need for emotional stimulation will be needed. The other day I heard someone claim the technical advancements in the next 50 years will make the last 50 years look like we’ve been sitting around the campfire in our cave, banging on rocks with bones for entertainment.

In the future as well as today, people need stories in whatever they watch and listen to. Even if the only stories they get are short bursts of digital multimedia that blends an economy of words with audio and video. And behind the images there has to be some type of story to capture the masses attention.

To quote NeilGaiman back in 2013: “Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive.

And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. Prose fiction is something you build up and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.

He goes on to say: “If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it?” I love how he follows up with a quote from JRR Tolkien “the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.”

What's Old is New Again 

When researching this article, I came across a lot of folks claiming actual books will become obsolete. They even predict that digital novels will disappear as new technological advancements happen. Even if they do, the need for storytelling will not. Sure, we’ll see new art forms emerge, but they will become slightly more niche as time goes on.

But I put this to you… the more things change, the more they remain the same. Right now I’m listening to new renditions of old vinyl records instead of listening to the songs I’ve downloaded. Why? Well, I am a bit nostalgic, but I also think the quality is better. To be honest, I like the sense of privacy. No one keeps track of how many times I listen to a particular song verse another. 

I feel the same way about the physical books I purchase. There’s nothing better than opening a novel for the first time. Hearing the binder crackle as I indulge in the luscious scents that come from the pages…