Thursday, September 19, 2019

Who Changed My Toilet Paper

Posted by: Maureen

by Maureen Bonatch
Photo by Michael Jasmund on Unsplash
I’m team under. Several people in my family are team over. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about yet, you may not have a set opinion yet on whether you prefer your toilet paper rolling over the top, or under. 

I hadn’t realized I actually had a preference until I was challenged about the placement of my toilet paper. It had never really made all that much difference to me outside of my home—not to the point that it does to some people who point out my faulty placement when they’re in my home, or even go so far as to tell me they’ve corrected it and turned the toilet paper to roll over the top.

Personal Preference or Fighting Words


Usually I shrug, and say I prefer my toilet paper to roll the other way, because it doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal. The argument seems to roll right off of me. Although apparently it is a big deal for some. 

There are many articles and memes about placement on the internet, whether you’re team under or team over, and even ones that go as far as to indicate the patent drawing and how the toilet paper was intended to roll over the top.

This just supports that most people have beliefs that are deeply ingrained due to their personality, upbringing, or just because they believe it’s the correct way—whether it matters all that much or not. And some may even be willing to debate their belief—fiercely—even on such a private matter, which I feel is more of a personal preference.   

It's The Little Things


These preferences are just part of what makes up our individual beliefs. It defines our character and may show how fiercely we will fight to sway someone’s opinion. 

Often when we read, or write, a book, the conflicts for the characters are significant—and usually they need to be to keep our interest for the length of the story.

Characters With Dimension


Little preferences such as toilet paper placement might be enough to make characters a little more three-dimensional. Or perhaps it might make you root for them a little more if you’re in agreement of their toilet-paper-team, or if not, it might have them loose a square or two of your favor. 

Although most likely a more significant conflict is necessary to keep you turning the pages…that is, unless you’re someone who changes other people’s toilet paper placement. 

Perhaps there’s a story waiting to be written about identifying the mysterious toilet paper turner.

Looking for a something a little scarier than your toilet paper being placed the wrong way? 

Check out my book Evil Speaks Softly.




Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

Be the first to know about Maureen’s book sales and new releases by following her on BookBub, Amazon and/or signing up for her newsletter

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

THE REAL HEADLESS HORSEMAN - by Dani Harper

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
by Dani Harper

It’s mid-September and I know I’m not the only one who’s already decorating for Halloween!  Recently I was admiring an inflatable Headless Horseman in someone’s yard and began thinking about the legend behind it.  Most of us recognize this apparition from Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, which was first published as a short story in 1820.

In Irving’s tale, a ghostly rider without a head appears one night and pursues superstitious schoolteacher Ichabod Crane. The wild chase ends with Ichabod disappearing from the village, never to be seen again.

But the story of the headless horseman didn’t originate in Sleepy Hollow! And it’s not alone…



These dark faery beings have been known since Celtic times in Ireland and Scotland. Referred to as “The Dullahan” or Gan Ceann, meaning "headless”, they are clothed in black, and may be male or female. Each one carries its own glowing head under its arm – but the head is very much alive with a wide and wicked grin. The Dullahan’s dark eyes are said to cast back and forth continually searching for prey. Often the head is held aloft in one hand to gain a better view, and legend says it can see for many miles! The head can also speak, but only a single word: the name of its next victim.

The Dullahan’s mount is usually a wild black stallion with red eyes. The horse strikes sparks with its hooves as it gallops, and flame spurts from its nostrils. No reins are needed as horse and rider are one in purpose. And while the Dullahan carries its head in one hand, the other hand wields a long whip made of a human spine! 

In some stories this faery creature may drive a dark carriage – the C√≥iste Bodhar, or Silent Coach - pulled by black horses. In Scotland, this vehicle is sometimes known as Hell’s wain (wain means cart or wagon), and is able to fly through the night sky! It is said that once the Silent Coach has entered the mortal realm, it cannot return without a soul.



Whatever way the Dullahan may choose to travel, its victims are not random. Like the Black Dogs or Grims of the British Isles, the Dullahan is a herald of death. When it rides out, its mission is to summon the soul of someone already destined to die. It may stop in front of the house where the person lives or it may appear at the site of their impending demise.

People who catch sight of a Dullahan will often clap their hands over their ears so they cannot hear their name being called. Locks and bars cannot stop it – the faery and its mount can sail through any gate as if it wasn’t there. There is only one possible defense:  to throw a piece of gold. Even the tiniest item made of gold is sufficient to send the horseman away. In one story, a traveler drops a gold-headed pin from his clothing and the creature disappears. Curiously, the Dullahan doesn’t take the gold – perhaps it is repelled by it. 

Although the Dullahan may be encountered any time of the year, some seasons are more dangerous than others. In late August and early September, for instance, folklore advises staying home! Keeping the curtains closed at night is important – not only does it block the Dullahan from peering inside with its disembodied head, but this prevents you from accidentally witnessing the creature. Apparently, the horseman doesn’t like to be watched as it works, even if it’s not after you. This dark faery has been known to blind onlookers in one eye with its bony whip! 



According to the Celts, the most dangerous time of the year is Samhain, which falls on November 1st and signifies the beginning of winter. The veil between all the worlds is thinnest at this time. Ghosts and faeries and all manner of supernatural creatures can walk freely – and so can the REAL Headless Horseman!

If you’re planning to stay out late on Halloween night, it wouldn't hurt to carry a token made of gold ... just in case.

Monday, September 16, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for Sept 16, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author






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Monday, September 9 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic.

Tuesday, September 10 -
WHAT I'VE BEEN READING” – Looking for ideas on what to read next? Author Shona Husk shares her latest list on Here Be Magic.

Wednesday, September 11 -
THE HIGHLANDER'S ENGLISH WOMAN” – Author Ruth Casie shares an excerpt from one of her historical swashbuckling action-adventures. 

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Highlander's English Woman

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

I love strong characters. I enjoy writing characters who are pushed to their limit and need to decide whether to maintain the status quo or step outside their comfort level. What will Jamie do when Bryce pushes him too far.
Blurb:
Laura Reynolds is in love with her long-time friend, Jamie Maxwell Collins. She adores his playful sense of humor, caring nature as well as his strong sense of family and honor.
Jamie lives across the border in Scotland. Outwardly carefree, he hides a dark secret. He can’t involve Laura in this deception. He can’t give her hope for a future together.
Laura stumbles upon Jamie’s secret. In her heart of hearts she knows Jamie is innocent. Their relationship in tatters and with no hope of reconciliation, she plays a deadly game to exonerate Jamie, she agrees to a political marriage. She has no idea the entire game has been orchestrated by her future husband, Jamie’s greatest enemy.
Buy Links: Amazon |  B&N | iBooks | Kobo
Excerpt
Jamie turned to the family sitting around the hearth. Wesley slouched in his chair staring at the fire, grief still raw on his face. He had aged over the year. His gray hair thinned, his eyes rimmed red and dulled with pain.
“He’s been like this since we buried... the burial.” Laura, Richard’s sister, was next to him. “Father tires easily and stays locked up inside himself. Mother is the sole person who can reach him, although I have hope. Alex did make him laugh.”
Jamie’s focus turned to Laura, the younger of the two sisters. Laura and Lisbeth were alike from their slender, petite size bodies, long auburn hair, and large green eyes with a fan of thick lashes. The sisters may be similar in appearance, however, not in temperament. Lisbeth was the deep thinker. Laura was head strong and outspoken, the feistier defiant sister.
“How are you and Lisbeth faring?” He gazed back at Wesley.
“It’s a challenge keeping everyone’s spirits up. At times, I succeed.” She shrugged. “Other times, I fail miserably. Lisbeth stayed at the Keep for a while then left for the hunting lodge to be alone.”
Jamie turned to her. Her drawn ashen face disturbed him.
“The rain has stopped. Would you care to take some fresh air in the garden?” Jamie presented his arm. Laura answered by looping her arm through his and drew him out the door.
He went willingly. Her warmth chased away any lingering chill from his journey. She’s Richard’s little sister, a warning voice whispered in his head. He took a breath and led her to the garden door.
“I understand you’re skeptical of Lisbeth’s gift, but she told me she saw Richard’s death before Bryce carried... brought Richard home. Now, she blames herself for not taking action.” Laura sighed heavily. “Everyone blames themselves. Father shouldn’t have let him go, not that he could stop Richard. Mother should have seen this coming, not that she could. And Lisbeth...”
 “I understand all too well. I berated myself for not being with him, protecting his back.” They reached the stone porch.
Formal gardens sprawled before them with raised flower beds, neat hedges, and bare trellises waiting for next year’s roses. He waited with her in silence, willing her his strength.
“Is it wise for Lisbeth to be alone?” Jamie finally asked, and gazed past the lawn to the well-worn path on the other side of the garden gate.
“She’s not unaccompanied. John escorted her to the hunting lodge at Ann’s request, over Lisbeth’s heated protest.” She turned to him. “I haven’t thanked you for coming to us. I know The Maxwell has his demands and travel is a hardship.”
He stilled her trembling hand. Her brows creased in pain over eyes that stared off without seeing. He waited.
“I find it difficult to comprehend we’ll not see Richard again.” Laura’s voice choked and she shrugged with resignation despite tears that threatened at the edges of her eye.
“Me as well,” Jamie said. He had the same thoughts.
“How long are you staying with us?” Her question was reasonable but he dreaded answering.
“I return to Caerlaverock tomorrow.” He took a deep breath and saw a momentary flash of disappointment in her eyes.
“Then we best return to the others. They’ll want to spend time with you, too.” They moved on toward the hall.
“I have no words, nothing to say to comfort you.” He could barely get the words out.
“Your presence is enough.”
He held back a nervous smile. He visited to give the family comfort. Instead, she comforted him.
“How are my Maxwell cousins?” Laura asked. Jamie guided her toward the great hall.
“They are well when I last saw them.”
“You’ll let me know your decision, Wesley.”
Jamie brought Laura to a halt. An exasperated male voice drifted out of the great hall.
“I want to make the announcement as soon as possible. With Richard gone and Glen Kirk so close to the Scottish border, you need someone strong to hold back the devils.” Lord Bryce Mitchell of Ravencroft, the manse next to Glen Kirk, stood with Wesley and Darla.
Standing at the great hall entrance, Jamie stiffened when Laura’s pulse skittered into a panic beneath his fingertips. Jamie’s free hand covered hers until the beat settled into a normal rhythm. If Bryce couldn’t feel sympathetic toward the family, couldn’t he at least curb his speech?
“You didn’t waste any time getting here.” The rude remark directed toward Jamie raised his temper even more. The man’s baiting tactics hadn’t changed since they served Wesley as squires. Surely he wasn’t foolish to pick a fight with him, at least not here.
When they trained, Bryce took aim at him whenever possible, most often urged on by Reeve. Richard and the girls rallied to his defense, but Bryce’s intolerance of Jamie’s Scottish background stayed near the surface.
Bryce gasped for air, seething after having lost a foot race to him.
“You’re nothing. A filthy Scot beggar. Go back to your tribe of mongrels. You’re not fit to be here.” Bryce pushed him hard.
Jamie didn’t go down. Not satisfied, Bryce rushed at him again, this time with fists. Jamie ducked and backed off. Bryce kept up the assault.
Jamie didn’t care for bullies or being baited by them. He wouldn’t fight.
“Here, here Bryce. That’s enough.” Richard grabbed his neighbor’s arm but Bryce shook him off. Reeve pulled Richard back.
“Enjoy the spectacle. It’s time he learned his place,” Reeve said.
“Stay out of this,” Bryce screamed at Richard, then turned to Jamie. “Fight, or are you a puny coward, too?”
Jamie said nothing. He held his fists at his side and stepped back again.
The fight started in the yard, progressed to the field, and finished near the pond. A small group of people followed and urged Jamie to defend himself.
The next punch caught the Scotsman in the chest. He didn’t flinch.
“You should be lying on the ground by now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Jamie pulled up his arms to protect his face as best he could against the onslaught of punches. He didn’t retaliate.
His face cut and bloodied, he still didn’t strike back.
“Fight, damn you,” Bryce shouted and followed with a quick barrage of solid body punches.
He held his position and didn’t fight back.
In a close clinch, Bryce muttered for Jamie’s ear only. Jamie pushed his tormentor away. Years of restraint from insults and attacks disappeared with the maliciously whispered words.
Bryce threw his punch. Jamie caught the left jab in his palm mid-strike. Alarm and panic flashed in Bryce’s eyes. The bully stared at Jamie’s hand holding his fist.
Jamie almost tore Bryce’s arm out of its socket as he pushed it aside and set his stance, one foot in front of the other.
For a moment Jamie thought to stop the madness, but the idea quickly died. Bryce had no idea what he let loose.
Before Bryce threw his next punch, Jamie exploded with a rapid cannon volley of left jabs at Bryce’s jaw. Stunned, Bryce dropped his defenses.
Jamie’s right cross burst from his shoulder as he shifted from his back leg to his front, throwing all his weight into the swing. He caught Bryce squarely in the face. Blood exploded in an arc of fine spray as Bryce’s head snapped back. Droplets flew, the warm blood spattered across Jamie’s face.
Bryce’s head came forward. Jamie followed with a left uppercut and caught him under his chin. The solid strike lifted Bryce into the air, then sent him to the ground. To everyone’s amazement, Bryce laid unconscious at Jamie’s feet. No one said a word as he stood panting over the prone figure. Every ounce of him wanted to drag Bryce on his feet for another round. Instead, he marched away.
The Highlander's English Woman is part of the Stelton Legacy

About the Author
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.
 Social Media Links:
Ruth’s Newsletter Signup:  http://ruthacasie.com/contact.html#newsletter
Email:  mailto:ruth@ruthacasie.com
AllAuthor: http://ruthacasie.allauthor.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What I've been reading

Posted by: Shona Husk
This month I thought I'd share some of what I've been reading. I read all over the place and this list reflects that.


I know I'm late to the party (in my excuse I bought the book about 2 years ago but hadn't gotten around to reading it), but I've been enjoying The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo.



If you like romantic suspense Undaunted (set in Perth, Australia) by Leah Ashton was great fun.



I'm an Obsidian Rim author, but it's always fun to see what other's do when playing in the same sand pit. catalyst by Jodi Wallace was no exception--read if you love cats!


Finally, I also enjoyed Lust and other Drugs by TJ Nichols, which is urban fantasy filled with mythological creatures and crime.


All the Annwyn books are out now, and available in print as well as ebooks, starting with The Outcast Prince.

Monday, September 9, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for Sept 9, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author







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Monday, September 2 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic.

Tuesday, September 3 -

"GOAL RESET" - Summer can be a tough time to get things done but the onset of fall is a chance to start over! Author Nicole Luiken is setting brand new goals. What are yours?

Wednesday, September 4 -
"GETTING BACK TO ONLINE" - Author Angela Campbell returns after a deliberate break from social media. Find out what she learned on Here Be Magic.

Saturday, September 8 -
This week's Bring It Back(list) feature is TALL, TALL TREES, a fantasy romance by Linda Mooney - and it's on sale! Scroll below for all the details.







VEILS
Book 1
Sci-Fi/Paranormal/Contemporary Fantasy Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 36.9K
$2.99 ebook


After three tours of duty, and serving the last four years overseas, Griffin Strong is looking forward to finally returning home and living out his life without bombings and bloodshed. After a 300-mile drive home, a quick trip through the car wash ends in another reality. An eerie, fog-covered reality where he is all alone…or so he thought.  

With no electricity, cars that don’t function, and guns that won’t fire, Griff has to find protection for himself, but protection against what exactly? What the hell even happened? Survival instincts kicking in, he stocks up on whatever he can carry, and sets out on his own.

Griff soon learns that he’s not completely alone, although life of any form is rare to come across, but whom can he trust?

When the subway in Manhattan dumps Natalia Westfall in a snow-covered, deserted town far from New York, she’s left alone, frozen, and desperate. Hope lies in a uniformed military man, but will he want to be weighed down by a sick, weak female like her? Griff takes a chance, and it doesn’t take him long to learn she’s anything but weak.

Facing thirst, starvation, acid rain, enemies, and extreme temps--what will get them first? The odds are stacked against them, and all they can count on is each other.


Warning! Contains a red raincoat, a handy dandy trowel, first dibs, Boom!, strained coffee, an antique car, an implausible but possible theory, a rain of sand, and two strangers finding themselves thrust into a situation where their lives depend on trusting each other.





TALL, TALL TREES
Fantasy Romance
by Linda Mooney

Word Count: 23.3K


$0.99 e / $6.99 p

SALE - From September 1st-30th, you can get the ebook for just 99 cents! (Available at this price only on Amazon and my website. Note: Click BUY EBOOK to get the Nook or PDF version.)


If fighting the animosity between their two tribes isn't enough, Oron and Pellera must battle monstrous creatures and the deadly growler to save their lives and their love. But when an old medicine woman warns them of a looming apocalyptic disaster, the couple realize the only way they'll survive is to make the hazardous climb to the tops of the tall, tall trees.

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Bring It Back(list) - TALL, TALL TREES, a Fantasy Romance by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney
From September 1st-30th, you can get the ebook for just 99 cents! (Available at this price only on Amazon and my websiteNote: Click BUY EBOOK to get the Nook or PDF version.)

TALL, TALL TREES
Fantasy Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 23.3K

$0.99 e / $6.99 p


If fighting the animosity between their two tribes isn't enough, Oron and Pellera must battle monstrous creatures and the deadly growler to save their lives and their love. But when an old medicine woman warns them of a looming apocalyptic disaster, the couple realize the only way they'll survive is to make the hazardous climb to the tops of the tall, tall trees.

Excerpt and Buy Links
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