Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Guest: Patricia Kiyono - Gateways to the Paranormal

Paranormal Romantics is happy to welcome Patricia Kiyono today. She's here to tell us about an anthology that paranormal romance fans are sure to enjoy.

Patricia Kiyono

Thank you so much for the opportunity to tell your readers about Gateways to the Paranormal. I am so honored to be included in this collection of paranormal romance stories, collected and published by Dingbat Publishing.

 Growing up, I learned about Japanese fables and legends, called monogatari, from books that my aunts sent us from my mother’s home country. I spent hours reading about fascinating mythical creatures, so different from the fairy tales American children learn. When I learned about Dingbat’s callout for paranormal romance stories, I knew I wanted to base it on a monotatari, but which one? I did some research and discovered one that hadn’t been included in my earlier reading, about Tsukogomami, or “tool spirits.” According to legend, once an object becomes one hundred years old, it develops a soul, can move around, and talk. Most often they get into mischief, especially if they feel they’ve been neglected or unused. There are manga books about umbrellas and articles of clothing, but for my story I decided on a 100-year-old tea set inherited by a young graduate student in Michigan. The tea set is happy to be taken out of storage, and sets about finding a suitable partner for her. Monogatari Mischief is a short novella, so I hope you’ll enjoy this as well as the other stories in the book.

Here are the fourteen stories included in the book:

The Ghostess and Mister Muir by J. L. Salter: With one haunting, Levi Muir is entranced with a beautiful ghostess. His colleague Lucy tries to convince him the supernatural is real and not to be taken lightly. She’s willing to fight for his heart, because no self-respecting Southern girl takes second place to a ghost.

Blood Defiance by April Kelly Jones: Lavender’s pre-med. studies are interrupted by a whispered voice in her head, But how can a stranger know her so intimately, and why does he want her to go hunting supernatural things with him?

My Guardian Demon by Kayla Krafts: Getting rid of a wraith shouldn’t have been an issue. But the wraith left a trace of… something in his victim, a homeless man, and now, Cecelia and Zozo worry he’s changing into something they’ll have to hunt. And who would have thought he’d clean up that nice?

Monogatari Mischief by Patricia Kiyono: Mindy Granger loves her grandmother’s tea set, but the cups seem to always be lost, and it’s driving her crazy. Maybe it’s not such a good thing when she meets her handsome next-door neighbor, even though she thinks the tea set likes him.

The Weatherboy by Lori Lapekes: Life turns stormy when Reed Darby, a sixteen-year-old aspiring meteorologist, taps into a bizarre website called Misfit Books. But once a lightning bolt creates a chunk of glass that helps him control the weather and win his girl, things really go haywire.

Ghosted by Jerri Drennen: Camila is helping a friend research the man who wrote the old letters they found in an antique desk. What they find is a handsome ghost who can’t move on, stuck in the house where he died. Can Camila help set Charles Asper free without losing her heart?

Welcome to the Hotel Fatewell… in California by Charles A. Salter: Brad is fighting a messy divorce, and it’s not looking good. But when a visitation with his daughter Carly turns into a nightmare out of an old Eagles song, he knows they’ll only survive with the assistance of the beautiful woman he can hear but not see… the woman he’s always loved, who vanished so many years ago.

Arachne's Tapestry by Kay Springsteen: Author John Mason cannot seem to start his sixth book. That is, until he meets an inspiring new friend with eight legs and a love of weaving webs. Suddenly he's got all kinds of ideas. Trouble is, what he writes is starting to come true.

Pillow Talk by Ruth J. Hartman: What happens when a tooth fairy falls in love with her dentist? The dental community may never be the same!

Love’s Fortune by Nicole Zoltan: Elizabeth needs a job, but being a fortune-teller for a traveling circus seems iffy.

Cian and Arin by Felicia Rogers: Beginning: Cian Conn hates hiding what he really is—a gray gryphon destined to protect the helpless—but the grays’ ancient rules of secrecy force him to live under cover. When a new sect of gryphons arise, declaring their independence, Cian longs for the same freedom, but he’s leery of risking such change. For their feathers have turned black, and so have their souls.

Frozen Flowers Fallen by Sara Westill: In a country obsessed with genetically inherited gifts, Bella Fenwick is no one special. Then a handsome Ruthenian walks into her life, a wolf at his side. He won’t let Bella hide behind her desk and discredit the evidence she’s discovered that could help him find a murderer.

Star of Wonder by J. Gunnar Grey: Kennie needs something to believe in and he’s sucked in when a beautiful stranger gives him a chance to escape his cynical, disappointing reality. But danger haunts Niviane’s world and Kennie can’t remain happily oblivious for long.

Garden of the Lost by D. J. Donaldson: A shocking event sends Conrad on a crazy quest that rocks his small town, uncovers its deepest secrets, and shows him there’s a lot about life—and death—he hasn’t understood.


Gateways to the Paranormal is available at Amazon.


Patricia’s Bio:

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.

She lives in southwest Michigan, USA, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and making music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Out Now!! FINDING THEIR PASSION by @meganslayer #gay #gayromance #PNR @evernightpub #romance


Finding Their Passion by Megan Slayer

Men Wanted, Book 4

Contemporary Erotic Paranormal Gay Romance

M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation

30,000 words

With a little magic, can two hearts find their way home?

Cooper Benton never thought he and Keir would have an encore. His fiancé left him at the altar and the hurt hadn’t subsided. Although Keir’s leaving crushed him, he never fell out of love with him, but is there room for Keir in his heart a second time?

Keir Saunder is the biggest actor in the world. He’s even been voted Best Film Boyfriend. What he wants more than anything is a second chance with the one he let get away, his former fiancé, Cooper Benton. Cold feet and a healthy dose of fear got in the way of his happy ending the first time around. Now, he’s enlisting the help of Men Wanted to make his dreams come true.






©MeganSlayer 2022, All Rights Reserved


  As he passed the actors’ trailers, his heart squeezed. He knew where Keir slept, too. His ex used the same fifth-wheel trailer whenever he went on location. He paid to have the thing towed to the shoots and never incurred the expense of having a different trailer brought in each time. Budget-wise, his choices made sense. 

            Cooper knew the camper well. He’s stayed there with Keir on three different shoots. The faux fireplace in the main room gave a hint of luxury and warmth. The small space at the end afforded Keir a place to do social media posts, and the bedroom was roomy enough for two men. 

            He spied shadows moving behind the window shades of Keir’s trailer and wondered if Keir had someone over. Cooper liked to hide behind his camera. No one cared to see him—just his work. 

            Keir had appreciated him when few others did. He didn’t like just his work, but him as a person. He said Cooper had an eye for beauty, too. Cooper might, but he didn’t see the beauty in himself the way Keir did and sometimes wondered if Keir was blowing smoke up his ass. 

            Keir could be flattering in one breath and a jerk in the next. Then again, Keir was the pretty one of the pair. Cooper was plain. Keir worked out and had muscle. He also had the kind of hair that always looked good. Cooper tended to look like he’d been caught in a light socket unless he wore a hat. Keir made friends easily and smiled a lot. Cooper never knew what to say. 

            Part of him wanted to go to Keir’s trailer. If he tried to talk to him, they might be able to fix the friendship they’d once shared. Or Keir would slam the door in his face. Keir could be so stubborn at times. If he went to the door, though, Keir would have to acknowledge him. 

            Or not answer at all. 

            He forced himself away from the trailer. Living his life on what-ifs and what-might-have-beens wouldn’t do him any good. The past needed to stay there. 

            His future resided with the person chosen by Men Wanted. 


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Black Panther was a Wuss Compared to Real African Women Warriors

Black Panther was a Wuss compared to Real African Women Warriors

Dora Milaje, the special forces of the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda in the Black Panther movie, were based on a real group of women warriors called Dahomey Amazons. Known for their fearlessness, they were frontline soldiers in the army of the Kingdom of Dahomey, a West African empire that existed from 1625 to 1894. Europeans who visited the kingdom in the 19th Century dubbed them Amazons after the ruthless warriors of Greek mythology.

The women of Dahomey played important roles in all aspects of kingdom life. Although the king had ultimate leadership, royal women made their mark in the world of politics, religion, and the military. According to legend, when King Akaba died in 1716, his twin sister Hangbe took the throne. Dahomey women were respected as hunters, so she recruited a female guard to protect her and the palace and the tradition of female soldiers began.

Each king would build a new palace next to his predecessor’s, leaving the former as a mausoleum. Although the last king of the Dahomey Empire burnt the palaces before the French conquered the territory, a section stands in Abomey. The bas reliefs show the Amazons used clubs, as well as muskets and machetes. There is also a horse’s tail attached to a human skull, a trophy brought by an Amazon for her monarch to use as a fly swatter.

A Catholic missionary named Father Borghero, a guest of the king, witnessed a mock assault on an enemy fortress. Three thousand heavily armed soldiers, barefoot and bristling with clubs attacked a series of defenses. A few, known as Reapers, were armed with gleaming three-foot-long straight razors, capable of slicing a man clean in two. The Amazons advanced in silence. Their first obstacle was a wall of acacia branches bristling with needle-sharp thorns forming a barricade 440 yards long. Ignoring wounds, troops scrambled to the top and mimed hand-to-hand combat with imaginary defenders. Then they stormed huts and dragged out a group of cringing “prisoners.” The king assessed their performance and the bravest received belts made from acacia thorns which the warriors strapped around their waists.

Recruiting Amazons wasn’t difficult. Most West African women lived miserable lives of forced drudgery. Amazons lived in the royal compound and were kept well supplied with tobacco, alcohol and slaves, as many as 50 to each warrior. When Amazons left the palace, they were preceded by a slave girl with a bell warning every male to get out of their path and look the other way. To touch an Amazon meant death. I’ve had mornings like that myself.

In the end, they were no match for French forces. In the course of four major campaigns in the latter half of the 19th century, conservative estimates are the Amazons lost at least 6,000 dead, and perhaps as many as 15,000. In their last battles against French troops, equipped with vastly superior weaponry, about 1,500 women took the field, and roughly 50 survived. The women were the last to surrender. According to a rumor in the French occupation army, the survivors took their revenge by covertly substituting themselves for Dahomeyan women taken into the enemy stockade. Each allowed herself to be seduced by a French officer, and after he fell asleep cut his throat with his own bayonet.

Most sources suggest the last of Dahomey’s women warriors died by the 1940s, but historians think it’s possible some survived long enough to see their country regain its independence in 1960. I like to think a few were in the crowd, giving one final war cry.

 L. A. Kelley writes Sci-fy and Fantasy Adventures with humor, romance, and a little sass. She's never without a stylish acacia belt.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Paws that Refreshes by Nancy Gideon

For someone who is retired, how can my life get so BUSY?! Blog posts to write, grocery shopping, meals to prepare, patio garden to weed and water, appointments to run to, dust to disturb, and don’t get me started on that next chapter I’ve been meaning to get to . . . Sometimes it feels like life’s hurriedness leaves me with little time to just reeeeelax. It took me a while (like four years!) to figure it out, but relaxation is something that has to be scheduled in, just like laundry. That’s where PRT (Pet Relaxation Therapy) comes in. I made that up, but I’ve found it IS the prescription for getting a better grip on the good, bad, and the obligatory things in life.

I’ve got three strictly indoor cats who dream of prowling the jungle in search of prey (okay, it’s just long grass and birds at the feeder). After a long Michigan winter of observing through storm windows, the second the screens go on, they start begging to go outside.

I am a firm believer in safely confining one’s preschoolers and four-legged friends. No one wants them running loose in their yards or in the street. That’s why backyards have fences, front doors have locks, and pets have leashes. We have a nice rear patio and huge fenced in yard filled with wild life enticers (field corn and bird feeders) that draw everything from song birds and squirrel families to the occasional ground hog, raccoon, or high-jumping deer. It never gets dull. It’s like having our own wild life channel with frequent trips to Menard’s for seed cakes. There’s nothing like opening the curtains to find diners waiting.

Without fail, by 10:00 am the lineup is at the door waiting to be leashed. While my fluffies rush out to consume grass (that will later be stepped in by bare feet where you least expect it), it’s basking time with the appropriate SPF. And while I slowly baste, I work out that next surprise plot twist or that next project outline. Ahhhhhh. The cats get their restricted stalking and I get my scenes set up. Win-Win!

So, snatch your writing (or plotting) opportunities where you can find them. Down time is wasted time when you could be fighting dragons or seducing a prince with your clever banter.

Where are your favorite places to soak up inspiration?

Nancy Gideon on the Web

Monday, August 22, 2022

Writing The End by Tena Stetler

The End two of the post powerful words a writer puts to paper or computer screen. Means after much consideration, trial and error, I’ve crafted a beginning that will catch and hold my readers attention. Not an easy feat.

Then I slog through the saggy middle desperate to keep the pace moving and maybe even present a surprise or two to taunt my readers and uphold my characters mission.

In the end, I made sure all the loose ends are tied up in a neat little bow. My characters, cheered on by the readers, fought through major obstacles to receive their well-deserved happily ever after.

Whew! A lot of work, but so rewarding. Now it’s time to clean up my desk, tidy the writing cave, banish the remaining pesky voices in my head to a dusty corner of my mind, and turn out the light with a sigh. After a semi-thorough house cleaning and a camping trip in the pristine, oh so relaxing, Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I return, turn on the lights in the writing cave, boot up the computer and dive headlong into the next exciting fantasy adventure (reality is over-rated in my humble opinion). Fresh ideas and a renewed sense of purpose wash over me when opening the door to those voices in my head that I slammed (or at least attempted to slam—sometimes a few escape) the door over a week ago. So goes the life of this writer.

Speaking of voices in your head, here is an example of a character that I couldn’t silence. I argued, who wanted to read about the Demon Overlord’s enforcer from my debut novel and bestseller, A Demon’s Witch. As it turned out, my readers and reviewers clamored for Tristian Shandie’s tale.

A Warlock’s Secrets was born, part of A Demon's Witch Series. An enforcer with a moral compass, who knew?

Years ago, a sacred ceremony at the Dragon’s Moon Coven turned deadly. Son of the high priestess, Tristian Shandie’s life changed forever. With a price on his head and revenge in his heart, he has no choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps to a profession shrouded in secrets. Now his skills as an enforcer for the Demon Overlord are second to none. But dangerous secrets he harbors are a liability he can no longer afford.


A chance meeting with a woman he finds irresistible flips Tristian’s world upside down. Hannah is a cyber security specialist with secrets of her own. Bad boys never appealed to her until Tristian, who changes everything. In his darkest hours, she is dragged into his magical world.

If they survive, is she strong enough to heal his heart and tame the warlock? Or will their secrets destroy them?

Find out, grab a copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Warlocks-Secrets-Demons-Witch-ebook/dp/B071RJ7VNY/

Until next month, happy reading!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Do You Need to Have Writing Goals?

Becoming a writer is such a strange phenomenon. You start out just wanting to tell a story, and that soon evolves into wanting to tell it better, so you dive head-first into craft books and classes.  Then you get fussy over character development. After that, you start thinking about your writer's voice and style. And before you know it, more established writers are asking you about goals.

If you're going to be a writer, do you have to have goals?

The short answer is yes! But don't close out of this blog post just yet.

Yes, you do need to have goals, but your goals don't have to be about money or fame. Remember that you sat down and started writing a story because you wanted to tell a story. That was your goal. Sure, your writing goals have grown and shrunk over the time that you've worked on your writer's toolbox (skills and techniques), but your overall goal has stayed the same. You want to tell a story.

Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to tell a story that is also profitable. That's a great goal too, but what I often see as I bounce from writing conferences to retreats is that the writers talking at these events are usually talking about making money with their stories. Again, this is a great goal, but it's not everyone's overall writing goal. Some people just want to tell stories, and that's a GREAT goal to have as well.

Just because we don't have the same overall goals doesn't mean that we can't work together as a community. There are so many good ideas and writing tips out there, and while one of those tips is having a writing goal, I wanted to validate all sides of the writing world regardless of your long-term goals.

Some of us want to write short stories, while others only write novels. You're all fabulous!

Still others want to remodel their kitchens off the money they make from their stories. To which I say, You go writing friend!

To those who love to write fanfic because they were that invested in a story. I see you, and keep it up!

Writing friends who haven't fallen in love with a singular genre, so you keep trying out new ones. Go you!

To the awesome humans who write every day, yay! And to those who don't: those words are coming!

And to anyone in between, your goal was to tell a story, and that is the loveliest goal of all.

Happy writing.


Saturday, August 13, 2022

Accosted By Characters by Marilyn Barr

Sometimes a character jumps out at you. When I met Susie of Smoother Than Spumoni, she actually jumped out of the ocean at my family. Susie the Dolphin Shifter is inspired by the rambunctious dolphin of the same name who lives between Anna Maria Island and the mainland of Florida, USA. This dolphin’s favorite activities include knocking over rafts, smashing into the dolphin-watching tour boats, and splashing diners at the local oyster bar on the pier. Susie’s antics aren’t malicious. When you topple off your raft in the Gulf of Mexico, she swims away instead of attacking. It seems this dolphin does it all for sport.

Susie, playing at a safe distance

My family travels to Anna Maria Island every September for an end-of-summer vacation. In 2018, Red Tide was at its height and the Florida authorities were recommending tourists limit their time swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Without the beach to entertain my 8-year-old, my family was scrambling for other activities. We went on a dolphin-sighting tour with Paradise Boat Tours where we saw dolphin pups, historical buildings, and Susie’s shenanigans.

Susie, approaching the boat to splash and try to capsize us

I was brainstorming the perfect heroine for Strawberry Shifters Book 8: Water Under the Bridge. I knew I wanted to write new adult romances for all Rosie Paulino’s homeschooled boys, starting with Frank Jr. in Book 8. Frank had to step into his father’s shoes, run the family restaurant, and manage his five younger brothers at the beginning of Book 1: Bear with Me, so I wanted to give him a special heroine. Frank Jr. would go on his shifter internship in the Seagrass Island pack which I modeled after Anna Maria Island to find his aquatic shifter true love. But what creature would she be and how would her personality mesh with my workaholic, grumpy werewolf?

One of my favorite romance tropes is the ray of sunshine meets the grump. Wild dolphin Susie checked all the boxes but somehow the match didn’t seem right. I bounced the idea off my husband who doesn’t read romances but surprisingly had strong opinions on the sunshine/grumpy trope. He pointed out that true love means you fit without having to change the other person. He asked why the grump must change to deserve the sunshine. He said he would find a true “ray of sunshine” spouse annoying. I wasn’t sure how to take that—am I not sunny or annoyingly happy?

I had forgotten my workaholic, type-A, stick-in-the-mud, scientist spouse would identify with the typical grump, but he got my wheels turning… Why can’t a grump be matched with a grump, a type-A workaholic with a type-A workaholic, and a serious-stick-in-the-mud with a similarly dirty stick?

Susie, seconds before our boat was rocked.

Susie the trickster dolphin is a driven businesswoman in her human form. She has dreams and plans on building a business empire out of her parent’s small shop. The original Water Under the Bridge has her family as oyster divers, but when The Wild Rose Press announced its One Scoop or Two series, I revised the book. Susie and her family own Larkin’s Dairy Dip. Smoother Than Spumoni is the front third of Water Under the Bridge, remastered with an environmental mystery surrounding the red tide of 2018 in Florida, USA.

Celebrate the one-year book birthday of Smoother Than Spumoni by picking up your copy on sale for $0.99! (Grab your copy here for $0.99) This year, Smoother Than Spumoni was a finalist for Beach Read of 2021 by NN Light’s Book Heaven. Here’s more about Frank Jr, Susie, and Smoother Than Spumoni.

Susie Larkin is a dolphin shifter and heir to the humble Larkin’s Dairy Dip on Seagrass Island, FL. Pedaling ice cream from bicycle carts on the beach is just a stepping-stone for this future CEO of a frozen confection empire—or so she hopes.

 Frank Paulino Jr. receives his first taste of freedom from Strawberry, KY in a summer internship at Bart’s Oyster bar. His pasta creations save the restaurant when red tide poisons the fresh fish of the bay, making him the most popular werewolf on Seagrass island.

 Frank and Susie uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only the wildlife of the area but also their lives. Can these two shifters put their ambitions aside long enough to give their relationship a chance, or will Frank pay the ultimate price to protect Susie and the island she loves?

Grab your copy here for $0.99

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Hidden Mystery Behind the Vampire Legend by Keri Kruspe


For the last century, the vampire legend has been one of the western world’s most prevalent myths we can’t seem to get enough of. This creature is everywhere - in movies, books, television series, art, as well as music (Rolling Stone Magazines top 15 songs about Vampires)

But did our fascination with this creature start with Bram Stoker’s Dracula back in 1897? Or maybe with the release of the silent movie Nosferatu in 1922? I was surprised to learn the vampire legend dated further back in our history than I’d imagined. It spans the entire globe, from the ancient Persian civilization to ancient Asia and even Iceland! In Madagascar, there is the ramanga, a living vampire who drinks the blood and eats the nail clippings of nobles (ew….).

What Is a Vampire?

According to the History Channel, there are almost as many unique characteristics as vampires as there are vampire myths. But the fundamental characteristics include draining their victim of blood, which turns them into vampires. They also “hunt at night since sunlight weakens their powers”. Some legends claim they have superhuman strength and can put their victims in a sensual thrall that hypnotizes them. Some say they cannot see their image in a mirror and they cast no shadow.

Because the vampire fable is prevalent throughout the world, I thought it would be fun to explore them and see what differences there are… and what is the same worldwide.

So take out that crucifix, wrap a smelly string of garlic cloves around your neck, and keep that vial of holy water handy. Let’s explore one of humankind’s scary monsters…

Mesopotamia - Lilitu

Wouldn’t you know it, the first vampire in history is a woman…

Now lilitu/lilu stems from several civilizations with different names—from ancient Persia, Babylon (lamashtu), as well as the early Hebrew (lilith) texts claiming she was the first wife of Adam. Apparently, she left Adam because she refused to be his subordinate and God himself banished her from Eden. She then became the queen of the demons.

In ancient Sumer (anu), she’s described as an infertile “beautiful maiden” and considered being a bird-footed night demon and described as a sexual predator who sustained on the blood of babies and their mothers.

Ancient India - Vetalas

An old Sanskrit folklore gives us the tale of the vetala, an undead creature that hangs up-side-down on trees on cremation grounds and cemeteries. They also have the pishacha, described as returned spirits of evil-doers or insane people who bore vampiric abilities (flesh-eating demons) described having bulging veins and protruding red eyes.

Albania - Shtriga and Dhampir

A shtriga is a vampiric witch that sucks the blood of infants while they sleep. Once satisfied, they will turn into an insect, like a moth. She’s often described as a hag of a woman, her face disfigured with a hateful stare. Her choice of dress is a cape. After draining her victim, she’d go into the woods to regurgitate her bounty.

A dhampir is considered as the offspring of a vampire and a human mortal. Like a vampire, they suffer from the impulse to drink blood. They just control it better. A dhampir must feed on blood, though not as often as a vampire. Their abilities vary depending on the parents’ abilities and their talents in skills or magic. They are naturally strong, sharing traits of vampires like claws and fangs.

Iceland - Draugur

These nifty creatures are part of the undead category. They possess superhuman strength and were hideous to look at. To make matters worse, they reeked of decay. They could enter dreams of the living. They also credited draugar with magical abilities, such as shapeshifting, controlling the weather, and seeing into the future.


A lot of the modern vampire lore is based on older folklore there. Throughout the large continent, there are tales of ghoulish entities from the mainland that also drifted to the surrounding islands. While Japan doesn’t have a history of vampires, they have the nure-onna which resembles a reptilious creature with the head of a woman and the body of a snake who feeds on humans. 

In the Philippines, there is the tagalog mandurugo – “blood sucker”. In Malaysia – there is the penanggalan, a bloodsucking witch who takes the form of a floating disembodied woman’s head with its trailing organs still attached. And in Cambodia there is the krasue, who is quite similar to the penanggalan.

In China, a jiāngshī is a hopping vampire. It’s a type of reanimated corpse that has long, curved fingernails and greenish-white furry skin.

A Theory on How the Legends Began

I believe legends started when humanity became self-aware and conscious of the ever-changing world around them. It had to be hard for them to understand why certain things happened the way they did. To combat their fear, they’d make up stories to explain them.

One theory of how the vampire lore began is based on a medical one. There is a blood disorder called porphyria. In the article “Vampire Myths Originated with a Real Blood Disorder”, the writer points out the major symptoms of those who suffer from this disorder:

Sensitivity to sunlight—led to facial disfigurement, blackened skin and hair growth.

Fangs—repeated attacks of the disease cause the gums to recede, making the exposed teeth appear to lengthen.

Blood drinking—a person suffering from porphyria might pass blood in their urine, making people think they drank blood for that to happen.

Aversion to garlic—the sulfur content of garlic has can lead to contracting this disorder.

No reflection—Most folks who suffer from facial disfiguration avoid mirrors.

Fear of the crucifix—I’d rather not go into the religious implications of people afraid of the crucifix. Let’s just say any unfortunate person who had this disorder back in the Inquisition days (1478-1834) would have reason to fear any symbol that meant death for them.

I Vant to Drink Your Blood...

No matter how it started, the legend of the vampire is more popular than ever. And I doubt its appeal is going to die down anytime soon. Even I, who write SciFi Romance, couldn’t resist having this creature as one of my hunky alpha heroes.

In my newest release: Alien Legacy: The Vampire, Zamush has the traits of a typical vampire because he’s part alien. I fell in love with his brooding outlook on life and how nothing seemed to touch him. Until he meets Jelena—a woman who was just like him. Too bad she believes she was in love with a man she hadn’t met yet….

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Singles, Serials, Series, and more! Which do you prefer to read?

Hello! I am currently preparing for the release of RET, the final book in my Kaddim Brothers series. I am also getting ready to write the first book in my new shared world set of stories. So, I thought it would be interesting to do a post on Single Stories, Serials, Series, and Shared Worlds. I'm also curious as to which ones you prefer to read and/or write.

Single Stories

These are stories that stand on their own. (Also called standalones.) You don't need any background information from previous books by the author to read them. And at the end of the book, it's finished, the story arc is complete. There's no more to the story and the characters will not make an appearance again in future stories.


Serial Stories

Serial stories are full stories, but released in small sections. When you reach the end of the section, the story is not complete, and you have to wait for the author to release the next section, or buy the next book in the serial. Some books like this are released as a "series," but really aren't. Common serials are the stories releases through Kindle Vella. A lot of fan fiction. The Webtoons that I read. They are all released a chapter at a time. It's similar to watching a series on many of the streaming services. As a reader, you have to hope the author doesn't decide to quit writing the story before they reach the end.


Series are very common in the fiction world, especially in romance. In a series, you get a complete story arc in each book, but there is also a series arc going on that doesn't end until the last book in the series. In J.D. Robb's (Nora Roberts) futuristic romantic suspense series, Eve Dallas must solve a crime (or two) in each book. But the relationship between Eve and Roarke (along with many other characters) is explored throughout the series. In my Kaddim Brothers series, each brother gets their own individual romance story, but the series explores the changes in the space racer team they are on. With series, you can pick up a book at any part of the series and get a complete story. There may be information from the previous books that would help you understand some of the history of the characters better, but you can still enjoy the book without having read them.


Shared Worlds

Shared Worlds are similar to a series. While they can be read on their own and each have their own story arc, there is not an overall series arc. Shared worlds can be written by one author, or many authors. There may be characters in common between the stories, or situations that connect each of them, but each story stands on it's own. There can also be series within a shared world, especially if it is a multi-author shared world. The book I'm reading now, Three Left Turns to Nowhere contains three stories that are all part of a shared world. Decadent Publishing has many shared world stories, including the 1Night Stand line, which I wrote many stories for. I've been contemplating writing a story in the same world as a book I wrote called Made For Her. And the next stories I write will all be part of a shared world (universe). They will take place in the same universe as my Kaddim Brothers series, but will all be individual stories, exploring many situations and relationships. The only thing they have in common is the universe they take place in, and space racing.


So, I'm curious.... Which of these do you prefer?

I read all of them. And I write all of them but serials. I'm not ready to try those yet.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Productive Procrastination...or Eat the Frog


By Maureen Bonatch

The first time I heard ‘eat the frog’, I had the same grimace you’re wearing now if you’re unfamiliar with the meaning of this expression. Now I can say it with ease without making that face—until today when I saw a similar reference for avoiding procrastination that referenced ‘eat an elephant beetle’. This left me wondering why eating something most unpleasant seems to be the motivator for preventing procrastination. 

Both of these expressions refer to that task that we put off. You know the one. 

It needs to be done, but it might feel like a lot of work, or there’s something easier or more enjoyable that you’d rather do first. Often this leads to many other little tasks that get completed while that big ole’ frog is still sitting there ribbit-ing at you to pay attention to it. (I am not sure what sound an elephant beetle makes. After taking a peek at a picture of one of those buggers, I’d prefer not to eat that either.)


Sometimes in avoidance, I’ll tackle many tadpole tasks, so it feels like I’m getting something done. Although in the back of my mind, I knew that the giant frog would be waiting for me tomorrow. 

Writing this blog right now is one way I avoid finishing the last 15 thousand words of a story draft. As a panster (a writer who outlines little but instead writes by the seat of her pants), sometimes the words flow like a flood, while other times I sit waiting for the character to tell me what happens next. And sometimes, those stubborn fools just don’t want to share. Or I think I know what’s coming up, and they laugh at the choppy words that are later deleted. 

Productive Procrastination

Many who aren’t authors envision days of just writing the words. Ahh…we writers know there are days like that, but usually, that’s not every day since there are sooo many other tasks that need to be addressed. 

It’s easy to avoid a big task by detouring to other little jobs that still need doing. Things like reworking or writing a blurb, making ads, making graphics, editing, social media posting, looking for book covers, and listening to educational podcasts or other courses… Or—oh—start this new shiny story because it’s so much better than the current one. The last is my current dilemma. Some other characters want their story started.

But alas, this list of ways to procrastinate is endless. Doing these might help to feel productive, but the frog? Yep. Still waiting. 

Working Through Procrastination

The idea of eating a frog (or a huge beetle) is to start the day by tackling the most dreaded task first …and then complete the other tasks without the weight of that task dragging you down. 

The key is finding what works to provide enough motivation to get it done, such as:

  • Find something tastier than a frog: Decide upon a reward for yourself
  • Hide from the tadpoles: Minimize distractions by shutting down social media and other windows
  • Face the frog: Admit you’ve been procrastinating, and then tackle it
  • Make a deal with the frog: Commit to completing the task- tell a friend for accountability 
  • Picture giving the frog the boot: Change dread to the excitement of imagining how you’ll feel once it’s done
  • Magically turn the frog into tadpoles: Break it into smaller tasks, so it’s not as overwhelming

Who Starts the Day Eating the Frog? Or How Do You Deal with Procrastination?

Psst! Here’s some cool things to procrastinate with! 

A Cagey CATastrophe is available for Preorder- click right here to check it out!

Look-ey, Look-ey! It's a Giveaway! Check it out by clicking right here.

Did someone say Free Cozy Mysteries? Click right here to check them out!

M.L. Bonatch believes music can be paired with every mood, laughter is contagious, and caffeine and wine are essential for survival. When she’s not doing the bidding of a feisty Shih Tzu, she’s a mom to twin daughters, exploring the beautiful woods of PA with her hubby and dancing as much as possible. She writes paranormal cozy mysteries as  M.L. Bonatch, paranormal romance and other genres as Maureen Bonatch, and her latest urban fantasy as Amber Wrath.

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