Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What If - An Apocalyptic Viewpoint on the Future of Books

Posted by: Linda Mooney
My latest release is a post-apocalyptic, futuristic romance. I've written such books before (ex: X-Troller), but while I was working on this new book, I remembered how it felt to be caught in the middle of a hurricane last year, and its aftermath.

Being left without electricity, water, or refrigeration for food is, in a lot of ways, very much what people in a post-apocalyptic world would have to face. Things we take for granted would be no longer viable. You'd struggle to find food, find ways to cook your food, to use the restroom and go days without a proper bath because of the need to conserve water, not to mention learning to contend with spending hours without a TV or computer. You'd revert back to the "olden days" of trying to find ways to make the hours and days pass, returning to conversation, board or card games, and books. Printed books.

But what if the apocalypse actually happened? There'd be no more electronic books. No more social media. Electricity would cease to exist, including phones. But we would still have print books. Yes, there would be a finite supply, since no more would be coming off the presses. At least, not for the next decade or so, until someone brought back the printing press. But reading would still exist, and so would authors.

Which leaves me to ask other authors, what would you do in that situation? Would you hand-write your manuscripts and pass them around? How would you cope if, suddenly, all technology was gone?

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

* * *

Futuristic, Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Word Count:  58.2K
$3.99 e / $9.99 p

Not all who are bitten are turned.

After World War III, better known as the Nuclear War, survivors were forced to move underground, where they had a better chance of survival. Those who were caught above ground in the aftermath inevitably died of exposure. However, the animals and vegetation were not so lucky. Although most species survived, they also mutated. And sometimes those mutations reached the remaining human population.

Shaddoe March lives in one of those subterranean bunkers, called SubForty. Her life is nowhere idyllic. No one’s is. But she’s healthy, and that means she has a future. Until, one day, her nightmare becomes reality, and she’s infected.

She is thrown out of the bunker, above ground, unarmed and alone to face the hideous creatures and other Condemned who’ve been discarded to face their inevitable deaths. As she prepares herself for the worst, she finds redemption.

Chyler Comstock was also infected, but he didn’t turn, and he’s not dead. Yet. Neither are the thirty-two other souls who’ve banded together for the sake of survival. When he meets Shaddoe, he’s more than willing to let her join their group, but not until the critical thirty-seven-hour window is passed. If she remains human after that, then she’ll be welcomed.

But, for now, it’s a waiting game, and the world ran out of patience decades ago.

Warning! Contains a beatdown with a broom, shattered solar panels, a deadly lunch tray, radioactive ammo, explosions, and a possible cure that could mean the difference between love cut short, or love everlasting.

Excerpt and buy links.

Not a Room of My Own

Posted by: Shawna Reppert

One of the things non-writers (and some beginning writers) often ask me is if I have a special place/time/set of conditions that I need to write. My standard answer” I can’t afford to be that precious. When you working full-time, overtime, sometimes two jobs at a time, you learn to write where and when you can. Kids at the coffee shop getting loud? Ignore it and keep going. (OK, glare first, then ignore it and keep going.) There’s a ping pong table in the lunch room at work. I’ve learned to toss back stray balls and barely break rhythm.

That said, I do have some preferred spots to work. Sometimes I need a ‘vacation’, usually defined as going someplace else to write. I really like windows with views of nature—trees especially, but oceans and rivers are also good. This is complicated by that the fact that the glare of natural light often makes it difficult to see the computer screen. This leads to all sorts of strange shifting of angles of chair, table and laptop as I try to ensure that I can see both the computer screen and my beloved trees.

One of my favorite writing ‘time-out’ locations surprises people who don’t know me well. I love to take my laptop to Irish traditional music sessions. A session, for the uninitiated, is an informal gathering of musicians to play tunes (and often share tunes and learn new ones.) There are many types of sessions with many different levels of players, each with their own unwritten rules of etiquette. Some are in private homes, but more often they take place in bars and pubs (or, as I prefer to think of them, music venues that conveniently serve food and hard cider.) Far from the music distracting me, I find it helps me focus. Irish tunes are often played at a fast tempo, and my typing speed picks up to match. I’m a versatile writer; I type equally well in jig-time, reel-time, or waltz-time.

Sessions, for me, also serve the same purpose as write-ins. There’s a nice little social-time before and after to help ease that writerly social isolation, and then my musician friends settle down to their business and I settle down to mine.  I’ve become such a fixture at the Westside Irish Session that the fiddler introduces me to new musicians as ‘our author’, as though every session has a writer in among the fiddlers, guitarists, and bodhran players. (I sometimes tell people that I play the ‘silent keyboard’.

For some reason, Irish traditional music, above all other genres, seems to make my creativity flow.  Even though I am a planner, not a pantser,  my characters and scenes often go in surprising new directions or find new depths when I write at sessions. In fact, I distinctly remember a formal harp concert in a concert hall where it took every ounce of self-control not to pull my laptop out from under my seat and start writing the idea I’d just had for the next Ravensblood novel.

And just on the way to tonight’s session, I told the fiddler giving me a ride that I had this blog due and I had no idea what to write. She said ‘alcohol, music, and desperation will get you there.’ And here we are.


 Shawna is an award-winning author of fantasy and steampunk. You can find her works on Amazon .

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

glomming Strike Back

Posted by: Shona Husk
Over the weekend I glommed up the latest season of one of my favorite TV shows, Strike Back. I love the format where it’s effectively one long movie broken up into to episodes. Each episode leaves on a cliff hanger and I also enjoy the banter between the team…well especially the original team of Scott and Stonebridge.

Scott and Stonebridge
I knew it was a new team this season, but I was willing to give them a chance.
I’m glad I did as I did enjoy the latest season (Gracie Novin played by Alin Sumarwata really made it for me and she had some of the best lines). There were also the usual plot twists, that I knew would be there but still left me stunned (great work writers).

However it’s very hard to bond with character’s when there isn’t much known about them. Their past was hinted at, but not well enough for me to really care. I started to worry about Novin when she got involved with another soldier (that never ends well).

I think it’s important to remember before your characters start lobbing grenades and chasing after black market weapons we need to care about them so we worry (though based on previous seasons I was expecting team and deaths ).

I’m looking forward to another season...not sure if there is one…

Monday, June 18, 2018

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Other News:
Veronica Scott's LADY OF THE NILE was named as a Finalist in the RWA FF&P PRISM Awards.
The plot: 
Tuya, a high ranking lady-in-waiting at Pharaoh’s court, lives a life of luxury, pageantry and boredom. Khian, a brave and honorable officer from the provinces temporarily re-assigned to Thebes, catches her eye at a gold of valor ceremony. As the pair are thrown together by circumstances, she finds herself unaccountably attracted to this man so unlike the haughty nobles she’s used to. But a life with Khian would mean leaving the court and giving up all that she’s worked so hard to attain. As she goes about her duties, Tuya struggles with her heart’s desires.

When Tuya is lured into a dangerous part of Thebes by her disgraced half-brother and kidnapped by unknown enemies of Egypt, Khian becomes her only hope. Pharaoh assigns him to bring the lady home.

Aided by the gods, Khian races into the desert on the trail of the elusive kidnappers, hoping to find Tuya before it’s too late. Neither of them has any idea of the dark forces arrayed against them, nor the obstacles to be faced. An ancient evil from the long gone past wants to claim Tuya for its own purposes and won’t relinquish her easily.

Can Khian find her in time? Will he and his uncanny allies be able to prevent her death? And if the couple escapes and reaches safety, what of their fledgling romance?

Buy Links:
Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     B&N
Sales & Promos:
Please note the specific sale doesn't start until June 22nd! Veronica Scott's scifi romance AYDARR is on sale for $.99 now, however.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Is There a Monster in Your Lake?

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
Ah, summer! Flipflops, swimsuits, and picnics by the lake. If you decide to take a dip, however, do you know what might be swimming below you?

My friend, Angela Campbell, wrote a wonderful post on Here Be Magic about her fascination and affection for the Loch Ness Monster. And this month scientists will be sampling the dark waters of that mysterious lake, hoping to tease out a DNA sample. Personally, I’m cheering for them – as a fantasy and paranormal writer, I can’t help but love a good monster!

While we wait for those results, let’s talk about Nessie’s possible relatives. Did you know there are several other legendary water beasts scattered throughout the British Isles? And here in the United States, approximately 22 Nessie-type creatures have been reported! That's enough to give a person pause before swimming in deep waters...

As a Canadian, I can attest that the Great White North has its share of aquatic monsters too – over a dozen, not counting the ones that share waters with the U.S. I've been lucky enough to visit a few of the lakes, and one more than once: Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. About 80 miles long and surrounded by steep-walled mountains, it’s been compared to a coastal fjord with depths of nearly 1,000 feet in some places. 

It certainly seems like an ideal home for the most famous fresh water monster in Canada: “Ogopogo”.

Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
First Nations peoples told stories about the “water demon” or “snake in the lake” long before European settlers arrived, and some native pictographs (rock art) have been found that are said to represent the beast. The Salish people in the area called the lake monster N'ha-a-itk, or “lake demon”. The Chinook peoples called it "wicked one" and "great-beast-on-the-lake." 

In 1924, however, a Vancouver newspaper reporter parodied a British song, “Ogo-Pogo, The Funny Foxtrot” in order to make fun of the reported sightings of the time:

His mother was an earwig, his father was a whale;
A little bit of head. And hardly any tail.
And Ogo-pogo was his name.

Unfortunately, the original native names for the monster were promptly forgotten or ignored, and the mysterious creature has been called Ogopogo ever since!

Reports of the Okanagan monster by Europeans predate the first sightings of Nessie in Scotland by about 60 years. In 1854, settler John MacDougall was in a canoe, swimming his team of horses across the lake. Without warning, the horses were dragged under by forces unseen. He was forced to cut the lead ropes to save the canoe from being pulled under as well, and narrowly escaped. The horses disappeared without a trace.


The first recorded sighting of the creature was by author Susan Allison in 1872. She was watching the lake for signs of her husband returning from a canoe trip, when suddenly she spotted an unusual animal swimming against the waves. And in 1880 a shipment of timbers was going to be floated to Osoyoos. As the hand-sawn timbers were being made into a raft, the monster was seen to raise its head from the water and watch! In 1890, Thomas Shorts was captain of a steam ship on the lake and claimed to have seen a finned creature about sixteen feet long with a head like that of a ram. It disappeared when he turned the ship in its direction.

Sightings have occurred ever since—including some by large groups of people at the same time! On September 16, 1925, a large creature was seen swimming in the lake by about 30 cars of people parked along a beach. (The government subsequently announced that the new ferry being built for travel across the Okanagan Lake would be equipped with special "monster repelling devices".) On July 2, 1947, several boaters reported seeing the monster . On July 17, 1959, a number of people claimed to have seen a huge creature with a long neck for about three minute before it submerged.

Most witness accounts describe a serpentine creature from 12 to 70 feet long. It's usually glossy black or brown and undulates through the water. It isn’t clear if the creature actually has a number of humps or if it just looks like that because of its method of locomotion. The Ogopogo is described as having a goat-like or horse-like head on a very long neck. And sometimes the creature has been spotted emerging from the water and onto the shore!

So is it possible that Okanagan Lake has an undiscovered animal, or “cryptid”, living in it?
Maybe. In 1989, a fisheries scientist named Jim Walker drafted an amendment to British Columbia’s Wildlife Act ( ). The result was that Ogopogo enjoyed protected wildlife status for several years.

Meanwhile, each summer brings thousands of tourists to the beautiful shores of Lake Okanagan for waterpark fun, for camping and fishing, for beautiful scenery – and maybe, just maybe, a glimpse of its most famous non-human resident.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim. Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.

See ALL Dani's novels on her Amazon Author Page

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Excerpt from JADRIAN New SciFi Romance from Veronica Scott

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Late last year I decided to tackle a full blown series and embarked upon my Badari Warriors tales, which are related to my already existing Sectors scifi civilization of the future. I’m having fun with the challenges of writing a series and making sure each book advances the overall series arc as well as telling the story of an individual hero and heroine. 

I decided to have the warriors be genetically engineered soldiers created by an alien race to battle the humans – it was my chance to ‘play’ with elements of a fun trope. I’m a huge fan of Laurann Dohner’s New Species and Lora Leigh’s Breeds series! But this current set of books I’m writing is my spin on the concept.

I just released the third book, JADRIAN, and am hard at work on the next few stories. Each book can be read as a standalone.

Taura Dancer has been pushed to her limits by alien torturers known as the Khagrish and is ready to die when suddenly the lab where she’s held as a prisoner is taken down by an armed force of soldiers.

The man who rescues her from a burning cell block is Jadrian of the Badari, a genetically engineered alien warrior with as many reasons to hate the Khagrish as Taura has. This set of shared past experiences and the circumstances of her rescue create an unusual bond between them.

Safe in the hidden base where Jadrian and his pack take her, Taura struggles to regain her lost memories and overcome constant flashbacks during which she lashes out at all who come near. Only Jadrian can recall her from the abyss of her visions and hallucinations.

As the war against the Khagrish continues, it becomes increasingly critical to find out who she really is and how she can help in the fight. Until she can control her terrors and trust her own impulses, Taura’s too afraid to pursue the promise of happiness a life with Jadrian as her mate might offer.

When he’s captured by the dreaded enemy, will she step forward to help save him, or will she remain a prisoner of her past?

This is the third book in a new scifi romance series and each novel has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine, not a cliffhanger. Some overarching issues do remain unresolved in each book since this is an ongoing series but romance always wins the day in my novels!

The excerpt:
Taura curled into the smallest ball she could make of herself, hands over her ears as the sound of the pulse rifles in the corridor outside whined and reverberated. Suddenly, a man stepped into the cell, emerging from the swirling smoke like a hero in an adventure trideo. “I’m sure I heard something,” he said over his shoulder to companions she couldn’t see.

Eyes stinging, tears coursing down her cheeks, she reached out, tugging at his pants leg. “Help me, please.”

Shifting his weapon to leave his hands free, the soldier crouched in front of her. His eyes glowed golden as he said, “We’ll get you out, lady.” He picked her up in a single motion, rising to his full height, and hastened from the cell.

She clung to him as tightly as she could while he carried her through the smoky corridors and outside into clear air and bright sunshine. Eyes watering, she blinked, not having been outdoors since the day she arrived at this cursed place.

“Where did you find her?” another soldier asked her rescuer as he continued to move rapidly away from the building. The entire structure was alight and she shivered at the sight. But for her mysterious hero, she’d have been a casualty and no one would ever have known.

“In the burning cell block, only one there. She’s in pretty bad shape.” His voice was deep, his arms around her comforting.

She leaned her head against his broad chest, clutching his arm, until a spasm of coughing shook her. “I can’t breathe.” Panic stricken as her vision darkened, and the coughing continued without expanding her lungs, she pushed against him. Truthfully, she didn’t think she could stand but her fight or flight reflexes were overruling her conscious thoughts. Taura didn’t recognize her own voice, pleading with the soldier. “Don’t let me die.”

“I’ll get you to the medic, hang on. Take small breaths and hold them, in and then out.” He quickened his pace.

As he ran with her, dodging into cover on occasion as weapons fired, Taura tried not to give into her overwhelming relief at being out of the prison. Too soon to allow the tears of joy to fall. For all she knew, these soldiers could be an even worse group to have fallen in with. The men certainly weren’t human and their motives for rescuing her could be just as bad as the Khagrish intentions had been.  She was afraid to trust the hope trying to take root in her mind.

The man who’d rescued her was easily seven feet tall, amazingly fit and muscular, and almost preternaturally handsome, but definitely not Terran descent human like her. His amber eyes were kind, even when glowing golden, and he seemed concerned with her welfare, as evidenced by their current race to find a medic. A good sign, but she’d learned not to take anything or anyone at face value on this hellhole planet.

Unable to draw a deep breath despite his encouragement, she drifted in and out of consciousness until she realized she was lying across a row of seats on a flyer, while voices talked above her head. She reached out, wanting to keep her rescuer close. He represented safety, she trusted him as much as she was able to put her faith in anyone other than herself. He’d saved her once and she was going to rely on him to continue to intervene on her behalf.

Her fingers were engulfed in a huge hand, gently squeezed. Her rescuer leaned close, his voice low pitched. “My friend Timtur’s a medic, he’s going to take care of you now till we get home and you can see the human doc.”

A human physician? Were these men connected to the Sectors after all? She had so many questions but was too debilitated to ask. Time would tell and she was too weak to take any action until someone tried to place a medical mask over her face. She struggled to sit up, shoving away the mask even after catching a whiff of pure, fresh oxygen. “Don’t leave me—how can I be sure I’m safe if you’re not here to keep watch?”

The soldier rescuer crouched to be at her eye level. Even in her state of confused panic, she was woman enough to notice yet again how incredibly attractive he was and how hypnotizing his eyes could be. Taura wanted to relax into the golden glow and keep him by her side, but it wasn’t to be.

 “Battle’s not over, I gotta get back.” He smiled. “There might be someone else who needs to be rescued. You want me to check, right?” 

Buy Links:  Amazon    iBooks   B&N    Kobo      Google

Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author
“SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog
 Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
 She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

There's Magic in a Kiss

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

Close your eyes and imagine the perfect kiss. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Got the picture set in your mind? Good. Believe it or not a kiss requires 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles. The facial muscles are a given but postural? I’m serious. 112 muscles that relate to your posture are also involved. Of all these 11 muscles the most important is the orbicularis oris muscle, which is used to pucker your very sensitive lips. It’s your kissing muscle. We’re not talking about French kissing where your tongue, also a muscle, is the primary player. I’ll save that for another blog.
Kissing has many health benefits. Affection in general has stress-reducing effects. Kissing in particular reduces stress which increases relationship satisfaction and lowers cholesterol. And it doesn’t stop there. Kissing can also encourage the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline and noradrenaline) into the blood which will cause an adrenaline rush and increased cardiovascular activity. That’s why when you kiss that certain someone your heart races off. See, it’s magic.
There are also a lot of different types of kisses:
  • Romantic Kisses are an important expression of love and erotic emotions. This
    kiss is not only 
    about lips touching lips. This kiss requires some intimacy.
  • Affectionate Kisses express feelings closeness without the erotic element and symbolize loyalty, gratitude, compassion, sympathy, intense joy, and profound sorrow.
  • Ritual Kisses are formal, symbolic or indicate devotion, and respect. We see this type of kiss in the wedding ceremony when the bride and groom kiss. We also see this type of kiss when national leaders meet.
  • Kiss of Peace demonstrates deep spiritual devotion. It was used in the early Catholic Church and also in secular festivities. In the Middle Ages the kiss of peace sealed the agreement with enemies. Even knights kissed each other before they went into combat-a way of forgiving each other all their wrongs.
  • Kiss of Respect was reverent and has an ancient origin. This kiss represents a mark of fealty, humility and reverence. The kiss on the forehead considered a ‘kiss of homage’ showed utmost respect.
  • Kiss of Friendship is used in America and Europe as a greeting between friends. Once only between women, today it is not uncommon to see a man kiss in greeting.
  • Kiss Off, no that is not a kiss!
Ancient cultures threw kisses to the sun and to the moon, as well as to the images of the gods. Persians were the first to kiss the hand. Here are some different kinds of kisses from various cultures.
  • In Ancient Rome and some modern Pagan beliefs, worshipers, when passing the statue or image of a god or goddess, will kiss their hand and wave it towards the deity.
  • The holy kiss or kiss of peace is a traditional part of most Christian liturgies, though often replaced with an embrace or handshake today in Western cultures.
  • In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, not Luke or John, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. This is the basis of the term “the kiss of Judas”.
  • Catholics will kiss rosary beads as a part of prayer, or kiss their hand after making the sign of the cross. It is also common to kiss the wounds on a crucifix, or any other image of Christ’s Passion.
  • Pope John Paul II would kiss the ground on arrival in a new country.
  • Visitors to the Pope traditionally kiss his foot.
  • Catholics traditionally kiss the ring of a cardinal or bishop.
  • Catholics traditionally kiss the hand of a priest.
  • Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians often kiss the icons around the church on entering; they will also kiss the cross and/or the priest’s hand in certain other customs in the Church, such as confession or receiving a blessing.
  • Hindus sometimes kiss the floor of a temple.
  • Local lore in Ireland suggests that kissing the Blarney Stone will bring the gift of the gab.
  • Jews will kiss the Western wall of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and other religious articles during prayer such as the Torah, usually by touching their hand, prayer shawl, or prayer book to the Torah and then kissing it. Jewish law prohibits kissing members of the opposite sex, except for spouses and certain close relatives.
  • Muslims may kiss the Black Stone during Hajj-their pilgrimage to Mecca.
This is all very nice but dare you tell me what type of kiss you really like best?

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