Thursday, August 21, 2014

Slight of Hand

Posted by: Ruth A Casie
Hand writing, cursive, long hand, is a lost art. Because each person's handwriting is unique and handwriting is somewhat stable over time, it can be used as a verification tool. It's used on legal documents all the time. 
So, how did I get involved in handwriting? My work in progress is about a time traveling researcher. She's content after finding her way to the 17th century and her hero. Ah, but she's tricked into returning to the 21st century. In order to find her way back to her hero she must research the answers in the old documents, some penned by him. As she reads his writing, runs her fingers over the words, she is once again close to him.

I drew on those emotions from a card I had kept from my mother. She has been gone a long time but seeing her handwriting brings her back
to me. Her handwriting was unique and somewhat flamboyant. Friends and family were always asking her
to address their special occasion invitations. She thought her handwriting was... nothing special. I always thought it was exotic. (And tough to copy on school documents... but you didn't hear that here.) What I wouldn't give to confess that to her today.

What are the characteristics of handwriting and what do they tell us?
The characteristics of handwriting include:
  • the average size of letters
  • the pressure to the paper
  • they rhythmic repetition of the strokes
  • the slant of the letters
  • the spacing, regular or irregular
  • the roundness or sharpness of the letter's shape
Graphology is the study of handwriting and handwriting analysis. There are over 300 features. Here are some of the basic ones that can be easily understood and provide some interesting information. For a full disclosure, this information was found in a free handwriting analysis tool PDF by Elaine Quigley BA Hons., MBIG (Dip)

Slant -
  • Right slant indicates a response to communication. The writer may wish to be friendly, manipulative, responsive, etc.
  • Upright generally means independence.
  • Left slant shows emotion and reserve.
Size - 
  • Small, under 9mm, can indicate a thinker or an academic.
  • Small and delicate handwriting may indicate this person is not a good communicator and may be introverted.
  • Large, over 9mm, can indicate the person is outgoing, and extrovert or the person acts as if they are confident.
Pressure -
  • Heavy pressure indicates commitment, taking things seriously
  • Excessive pressure could mean the writer gets uptight at times and can react quickly to what they see as criticism. They react first and ask questions afterwards
  • Light pressure indicates sensitivity and empathy.
  • Uneven pressure could translate to a lack of vitality
Zones - There are three zones or cases - middle, upper, and lower
  • Tall upper strokes reach toward goals and ambitions. If they are very extended, they may be reaching toward unrealistic expectations
  • A reasonable proportioned upper loop (l, t, h) may indicate someone who likes to thinks things through and use their imagination
  • Wide upper loops indicate a person who may dream up ideas and mull them over.
  • Up strokes that go up and return on top of itself indicate the writer may be squeezing out imagination and keeping to the basic requirements

The PDF has a lot more information that I'm certain you'll find interesting if not for a message left by your hero or your villain, the suicide note left by the victim or just a card sent from a friend. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Win-a-Book Wednesday with... Janni Nell

Posted by: Janni Nell

Janni Nell

Janni Nell grew up in a beach-side suburb of Sydney, Australia, then traveled the world before returning to Sydney, where she now lives. After completing the five book Allegra Fairweather humorous paranormal mystery series, Janni began work on a new series of romantic comedy novellas. The first installment, The Bride, The Groom and Me, released August 2014. When Janni isn't writing, you can find her line dancing, walking the dog or working in her vegetable garden.

To celebrate Janni's new release she is giving away a digital copy of your choice of any of the Allegra Fairweather books. Or a digital copy of The Bride, The Groom and Me.

About The Bride, The Groom and Me

Sassy Chance, a shoe sales clerk from San Francisco, is thrilled to be her best friend’s maid of honor. Too bad Sassy is in love with the groom. If that’s not bad enough Sassy is mugged and the heirloom, one-of-a-kind wedding ring is stolen.

Enter martial arts expert Devlin Fox. After saving Sassy from the muggers, Devlin feels compelled—for reasons even he doesn’t understand—to help her search for the ring.

With only days until the wedding, their chance of finding it in time is slim to zero. Looks like Sassy is going to ruin her friend’s perfect day. Oh, and she’s still in love with the groom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hang in There

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
Flowers help, too.
Within the context of the worlds we write in, writers are gods. We control the who, what, when, where, why, and how of all that occurs within our pages. Like the wonderful people who read those stories, we writers can find a little escape and live vicariously through the characters.

While I love living through my crazy cast of characters, the thing I seek the most isn’t what you might expect.

I have a pretty good life. Nine-and-a-half years in, I’m still ridiculously in love with my husband. My kids are intelligent, thoughtful adults who are a joy to be around, but also seek out my company, too. I have the career I wanted when I was a kid, and it’s as wonderful as I expected it to be.

So, why do I need the escape of Zoey’s world? Is it the monsters? Not really. Weird as they are, they’re just regular folks. The thing I crave most is knowing that, eventually, everything has to sort itself out for everybody. No matter what terrible thing happens in my books, things will eventually be okay. They have to.

When my real-life friends are in trouble, I can’t guarantee them anything. Lost jobs, divorce, sickness, unhappy careers, unexpected pregnancies after a break-up—I can’t offer anything but platitudes. I am helpless to change anything. As an author, I can look at my outline, nod, and say “Hang in there. It all works out by chapter twenty-seven.”

But reality isn’t that far off from the fiction I write. Time moves forward. Every event, no matter how difficult, will eventually move forward, too. Circumstances will change, and then we’ll look back and realize it’s all behind us. We moved through it and past it, whether we did anything or not, because time kept going and the story went along with it.

So, real life isn’t so different from fiction after all. We can’t fix everything, but we can hold each other's hands while we turn the pages to get to the next chapter.

Sometimes today sucks. But honest, everything works out by chapter twenty-seven.

Because it has to.

Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.

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Buy her books here:  Amazon B&N Carina Press

Monday, August 18, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases

After years of denial, Cass Weatherfield has finally accepted her telekinetic gifts. Living with her boyfriend, Shane, has given her the confidence to be herself, but the fear of losing control and harming those around her is always present.

Knowing firsthand the hell of growing up without a mentor, she agrees to meet and help Diana, a young Shadowmind. But when Cass shows up, the terrified woman changes her mind and flees. Cass and Shane track her across New Orleans, and soon discover that Diana is being held against her will by an illicit organization that's selling her rare clairvoyant skills to the highest bidder. In charge is an ancient creature more powerful than any they've ever encountered. And apparently she wants Shane dead.

Cass and Shane work to free Diana. But as Cass uses more and more power, drawing it from her friends in the fight against evil, she feels an addictive pull that challenges her control. And, in the end, Cass may be the greatest threat to those she loves the most.

Book two of The Shadowminds

Get it today!

An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.

But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?

Amazon     Barnes & Noble   iTunes     All Romance eBooks

Other news

Shawna Reppert's Ravensblood won a gold medal in the Global Ebook Awards!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where has all the paranormal romance gone?

Posted by: Eleri Stone

I’ve been having trouble finding new paranormal romance lately. A lot of the books still being published in the genre are from longstanding series I’ve abandoned for one reason or another. I’m not a big fan of long series. Short attention span. Limited reading time. *shrugs*

A lot of PNR authors have moved on to other genres and many of the paranormal blogs I used to follow have changed their focus too. So, yeah, all signs of a once-hot trend that’s run its course, which is fine…it’s all cyclical, the nature of publishing, etc. But it leaves me in a quandary. I still really like reading PNR. I especially like new, groundbreaking PNR, and I haven’t been able to find much of it so I’m hoping you can help me out.

What am I looking for?

I prefer stories that would be labeled contemporary fantasy if not for the female protagonist and romantic storyline. I’m okay if the romance is subplot so long as it’s a strong one, preferably resolved within a single book. I’m okay with the romance being central so long as the underlying worldbuilding is solid. I like UF/PNR crosses especially well. I still like werewolves and vampires, but it’s gotta be a new take. I’m okay with insta-lust so long as it’s done well. By that, I mean so long as the lust isn’t the only foundation for the romance and there are real obstacles preventing the mains from acting on their inconvenient urges. I like historical PNR too, but I’ve read a lot of it.

PNR that falls more to the fantasy side is the real sweet spot for me. As a child of the eighties, I have a soft spot for portal fantasies and psychic storylines that I’ll never be able to shake. (Don’t want to.) I would love, love, love to find someone writing psychic/magic type PNR like the old teen novels that Lois Duncan used to write. I would also love to find some good PNR/horror mixes, especially something with a New Age-y kind of flavor. I know that one’s specific. I read this horror story about a New Age cult once that was really awful but the premise was so good (that magic was real and the forces they’d tapped into were evil and out to get them) that I’ve wanted to read another like it ever since…only better, you know?

So, do you have any suggestions for me? Read anything lately that you just love?


Eleri Stone is a RITA-nominated author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She was born in New Jersey, but now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction in them and they all end with a happily-ever-after.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Nothing Succeeds Like Sincerity

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
"Nothing succeeds like success" - isn't that how the saying goes?

And then there's that other one, something like "The most important quality to have is sincerity - once you've faked that, you've got it made."

Therefore, I figure the transitive property of philosophy makes this true: One you've faked success, you've got it made.


This feels so true of publishing. Everyone works very hard to create the impression that a book is doing really well, because if people think a book is selling well, they're more likely to buy it. This is all a part of the black magic of marketing that I don't really understand. I'm a writer and a scientist. I have an assortment of eclectic skills and talents - I'm an excellent cook, draw passably well, have a green thumb and can untangle any knot or uncork any wine bottle, given enough time - but the whole selling people stuff is not one of them.

Partly because I have a problem with convincing people to spend their money on something that isn't their own idea, which often seems the point of marketing to me. It feels insincere on some level - a variety I'm uncomfortable faking.

And yet, I find myself in the business of not just writing books, but selling them. Alas. Right now my publisher is dangling the yummy chocolate enticement (because, really, who goes out of their comfort zone for carrots?) of buying three more books in my Twelve Kingdoms series. Right now, it culminates with book 3, THE TALON OF THE HAWK. But, once you read it, you'll see there's lots of places to go with this story. Since THE MARK OF THE TALA is doing so well - they're even making noises about featuring the series at the Frankfurt book fair! - that makes the possibility more promising.


Isn't that always the rub? The "but" is that they're watching pre-sales of THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, which comes out November 25. Because if more people buy ahead, then more people will buy, right?

*waves magic marketing wand*

So, don't mind me while I do the selling books song and tap-dance. For now I'm offering my prequel story to the series, called NEGOTIATION, previously available only in an anthology, free in my first newsletter. Whee! So, if you're interested, sign up for the newsletter here. I promise the newsletter will include only fun, sincere, non-spammy things.

~tap dances into sunset~

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet My Character Meme Escape From Zulaire

Posted by: Veronica Scott
We've been passing this Meet the Character meme around in Here Be Magic author circles and I thought I'd answer the questions here today as well, because I have two great reasons to talk about my award-winning novel Escape From Zulaire.

First of all, it's my entry in the Nebula Nights boxed set of science fiction romance. Ten other SFR authors and I went in together to create a sampler with a broad range of stories, from cyborgs to aliens to space opera to....well, heart pounding adventure on another world, which is what my novel features. And all the stories contain romance. Did I mention only 99cents? Yes! Available at all major ebook sellers...

And the audiobook for Escape From Zulaire has just been released. It's always exciting to do an audiobook and this time my wonderful actor and narrator Michael Riffle is joined by actress Mary Fegreus, who brings the main character of Andi Markriss to life. We all had fun with the concept of having the heroine's part played by an actress, while Michael did his usual incredible job with Captain Tom Deverane, the hero, and all the other characters. (Available on Amazon)

So, with no further ado, let me answer the character meme questions for you, for Andi and Tom.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane is a fictional character, as is intergalactic businesswoman Andiranda (Andi) Markriss.

2) When and where is the story set? The action occurs on the planet Zulaire, in a far off Sector of the galaxy. 

3) What should we know about him/her?
Tom Deverane has been to too many worlds, fought too many battles, has seen it all, but doesn't want to retire.He's not the type to settle down in one place. When his orders are changed and he's sent to extract Andi from an area that's about to go up in the flames of civil war, he's not happy about the assignment. He's also hiding a secret that could endanger the lives of Andi and everyone else he's responsible for saving.

Andi Markriss is torn between ambition to continue rising in the ranks of her company, and a love for life on the planet Zulaire.  When Tom arrives in the middle of an important social event, she refuses to believe him about the need to leave now...and then events spiral out of control as the war begins around them. 

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
When the war breaks out, Tom and Andi and a small group of soldiers and civilians are caught behind enemy lines. They're being hunted by the enemy and they possess information that Sectors Command needs to know, regarding an alien involvement in the conflict. Together they have to cross hundreds of miles of Zulaire, battling the enemy and the elements, and get their information to the capital.

And of course along the way, the growing attraction between the hardheaded businesswoman and the tough warrior changes the dynamics.....

5) What is the personal goal of the character? Both Tom and Andi are dedicated to saving their companions' lives and to getting the information that only they know, to the authorities.

So, there it is, and I hope you might be tempted to try Escape From Zulaire, along with ten other science fiction romance stories from ten SFR authors, for only 99 cents!

Escape From Zulaire  is a 2014 winner of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award and a 2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner.

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