Friday, March 30, 2012

The Temple of Mek

Posted by: Nicole Luiken


When I wrote Gate to Kandrith, I decided that my quasi-Roman society had a god or goddess for everything, from war to little favours.

In the Republic of Temboria, the temples of these minor gods and goddesses have become utterly mundane and taken the place of many regular institutions.  The God of Wine’s temple is, for all intents and purposes, a bar.  The God of Traveller’s temple is an inn, and the Goddess of Horse’s temple is a stable.  Because of this corruption few true mystical places remain.

The Temple of Mek, God of Death, is one of them.

Excerpt:

 The Temple of Mek stood--her lips parted in awe--out on a great slab of gray rock two-thirds of the way across the top of Vaga Falls.  Torrents of water rushed over the drop on either side of the temple.  A narrow footbridge connected the temple to her side of the cataract. 
Marcus and the other outriders looked at her, clearly expecting her to change her mind about visiting the temple.
Sara stared at the footbridge longingly.  Aunt Evina would never set foot on it, and neither would any other noblewoman.  Sara knew what she should do, but the wildness she was supposed to have outgrown urged otherwise.
Before anyone could stop her Sara ran lightly out onto the bridge.  Out over the rushing, foaming water.
Photo by Barb Galler-Smith, Athabasca Falls, Jasper Park

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Birdwoman

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy

In honor of the Mystical Places theme we've been exploring this month, I thought I'd share the story of a creepy island I visited and what happened there. This essay - yes, it's a true story - first appeared in Matter literary magazine, volume 06, Lacuna, Spring, 2005.


      So ... I took this story down because I'm putting it up for sale. I will post the buy links as soon as I have them!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Titanic - Mystical, Majestic, Tragic

Posted by: Veronica Scott

Titanic - A mystical place that was real but now only exists in our imagination, in movies and books. This year is the 100th anniversary of her sinking (in case you haven’t noticed the hoopla surrounding the upcoming 3D re- release of Cameron’s “Titanic” or the miniseries Jason Fellowes of Downton Abbey has coming up soon.)
The ship is a paradox because she did exist for a brief span, and was beautiful, inhabited by the rich, the powerful and the famous, as well as more anonymous, ordinary citizens... not to mention the crew! Technically speaking the ship still exists, as a wreck below two miles of the Atlantic Ocean, but only a few people with special equipment will ever see her hulk with their own eyes.
Growing up, I heard many stories about the Titanic because my grandfather said he had a distant relative who survived. According to my grandfather, she was a Second Class passenger who got off in one of the lifeboats and saved a steerage baby that was handed to her at the last second, keeping the child warm though the long night in a lifeboat. Luckily the baby’s mother also survived and they were reunited on the rescue ship Carpathia. Over 1500 other passengers and crew were not so lucky, had no happy ending.
Before the ship so tragically sank, it was the most modern, luxurious liner available. If you’ve seen James Cameron’s Titanic, you probably feel you came close to standing on its decks! His recreation of the physical appointments of the ship in both cgi and on real sets was meticulous. Cameron has been quoted as saying that the Titanic sinking “was like a great novel that really happened.”
The Grand Staircases for First Class are perhaps the number one symbol in people’s minds of Titanic’s grandeur. Here’s what Wikipedia says:
Considered to be two of the most luxurious appointments on the ship, the two Grand Staircases were designed to be used only by first-class passengers. The fore Grand Staircase descended five levels down from the Boat Deck to the D Deck in the famous appearance and continues down to F-Deck as an ordinary stairway.[1] The staircase featured large glass domes that allowed natural light to enter the space during the daytime, oak panelling and detailed carvings, paintings, bronze cherubs (which served as lamp supports on the middle railings), candelabra, and other details. The Fore staircase featured a clock surrounded by an intricate oak carving depicting "Honour and Glory crowning Time", while the Aft staircase featured a far less ornate clock.
I freely admit I cry at the ending every time I watch Cameron’s version of Titanic, where Rose goes back to the ship in her mind (or is it the afterlife?), the wreck slowly transforming to the actual ship in all her original glory, and the lost passengers and crew waiting for her, clustered around the Grand Staircase….and she’s reunited with Jack.
Certainly the story has been told and retold many times, in many ways, including my own science fiction take on the events, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, where I’ve re-imagined the events, set in the far future among the stars. (Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble at a special 99 cent price).
What would you have done, if you’d been standing on that cold deck in the middle of the night, April 14th, 1912, watching the distress rockets overhead, debating whether to get into a tiny lifeboat? I’ve often wondered what I would do….

Monday, March 26, 2012

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week


Sarathena Remillus, daughter of the newly elected Primus of the Republic of Temboria, has been given a mission: discover the secret of slave magic. Anxious to escape the corruption and treachery of the capital, Sara welcomes the chance to finally prove herself far away in Kandrith, the tiny nation of former slaves.

Accompanying her on the journey is Lance, a Kandrithan to whom Sara owes her life. Lance despises the nobility, and is determined to resist his desire for Sara, despite her attempts to entice him into divulging the secret of his magic.

Soon their travels become fraught with peril, and Sara discovers she's fallen victim to the ultimate betrayal. To end a war between two nations, she will have to make the ultimate sacrifice...

Links of Interest

Game of Thrones season premiere is this Sunday, April 1st!

Check out the new cover for Jane Kindred's The Fallen Queen.

Hunger Games released this week with "...the third-best opening ever and best opening for a non-sequel." 

And related to that, this is an interesting article: How YA like "The Hunger Games" Came to Rule Fantasy and Scifi Films

In case you missed it, this: Feds Intercept Pot Shipments To Publishing House

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Carina Press has acquired David Bridger's urban fantasy novel Golden Triangle, which is Quarter Square's sequel and Book 2 of the Wild Times series. No release date yet, but we're probably looking at early 2013.

Help us decide our theme for the month of April. (The poll is in the upper right corner.)



Friday, March 23, 2012

The Magic of Storytelling

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

Stories are an important part of our society and culture. We find stories in the books we read, movies we watch, painting we study, music we listen to, even in the news of the day and the liturgy of our religion. You can see its impact on the people in every culture whether being listened to or told and even re-told. Storytellers have shaped our society and our ways of thinking. Their stories are used to entertain, teach, and pass on knowledge and wisdom. Stories define our values, desires, dreams, as well as our prejudices and hatreds.

No one knows when story telling began. All we know is that it is an ancient well respected art and played an important part is society. We can only guess what promoted the first story. Perhaps a hunter came back from the hunt and told of his heroic deeds or was it to explain why he came back from the hunt empty handed? Did a mother try to calm a child’s fears or doubts? Did a Shaman or tribal leader tell of an important event? The storyteller held an important position in these early societies. They were typically the priest, judge or ruler. People found their stories interesting and listened to them. Storytelling days were considered important.

Before man learned to write, he had to rely on his memory to learn anything. For this he had to be a good listener. With the importance of the story established, the listeners paid close attention. These stories were not only told amongst themselves but, when people traveled they shared their stories with others in faraway lands when they traveled. And when they returned home, they brought back exciting new stories of exotic places and people.

The oldest surviving story is believed to be the epic tale of Gilgamesh. This story tells of the deeds of the famous Sumerian king. The earliest known record of storytelling was found in the Egypt. Cheops’ scribes recorded the stories told by Cheops’ sons who told their father stories to entertain him.

There are all kinds of stories myths, legends, fairy tales, trickster stories, fables, ghost tales, hero stories, and epic adventures, and that over time these stories were told, and retold. Passed down from one generation to the next, these stories reflect the wisdom and knowledge of early people. Stories were often used to explain the supernatural or unexplainable, confusing events and disasters. It was common for people to believe in the stories of gods that bound them to a common heritage and belief.

Most historians and psychologists believe that storytelling is one of the many things that define and bind our humanity. Humans are perhaps the only animals that create and tell stories.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

7 Secrets to Writing Fantasy

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
"The teller of tales strings his words like bright beads on a string." Edward Fitzgerald
(I think, I'm having trouble tracking down this old quotation I read once and remembered, vaguely)

  1. Fantasy aficionados value craft. From dragon statues to steampunk songs and far, far more, fantasy fans create and enjoy the power of the imagination. They appreciate mastery of craft—and for writers that means we have to respect our own craft: learning the basics then honing our individual styles.
  2. Imagination powers a fantasy story—powers all stories. But the power to drive a story from beginning to triumphant end comes from the heart, not the mind. If you don’t feel the passion of your story idea, it’ll be limp before the saggy middle of your novel. 
  3. Fantasy tales don’t operate in isolation. Like poetry, fantasy is richer for influence and allusion. It’s a delightful game between authors and readers to see how a story links into its literary world. Fairytale retellings, Tolkienesque quests, world mythologies. 
  4. There’s no avoiding the question of good and evil in fantasy. As with fairytales, a lot of the power comes from jumping into the heart of the fight between good and evil—and questioning which is which. The hero tends to face a moral choice. 
  5. Love it, hate it, find it clichéd, a fantasy is a quest story. It’s unavoidable. Your characters are going on a quest. Perhaps it’s one of self-discovery, perhaps they’re saving the world. Any way you cut it, a fantasy is a journey to somewhere. 
  6. I’d argue that fantasy is a journey, an adventure, to something more. This is the concept of numinosity: an encounter with otherness that is both danger and awe. We are challenged to step out of our day to day lives.
  7. The hidden, enduring appeal of a fantasy story is it invites the reader to share a secret. Through the wardrobe to Narnia, through the looking glass, children know the way. Fantasy whispers that the world is strange and that these particular secrets are being shared just with you—and who can resist feeling special?

The Seven Secrets in summary:

  1. Craft 
  2. Passion
  3. Cultural engagement 
  4. Moral universe 
  5. Quest 
  6. Numinosity 
  7. Ssh, it’s a secret


Do you have a "writing fantasy" secret to share?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The most magical place of all…

Posted by: Shona Husk
In a few days hubby and I are taking the kids to Disneyland (Hong Kong). They are buzzing with excitement because even though we live in Australia they still know what is Disneyland is. They’ve seen the ads on the start of their movies (don’t ask how many times I’ve seen or heard ‘The Little Mermaid’ or ‘Beauty and the Beast’, but I can sing along to all the songs).

Neither hubby nor I have ever been, living in Australia the trek to the USA was too far and too expensive when we were growing up. With the new park in HK it’s opened the doors to a whole bunch of kids who would never have gone otherwise. We’re looking forward to it as much as the kids.
I’m ready for the spinning tea cups, the pirate ships and roller coasters, the fireworks and the parade. But most of all I’m looking forward to seeing the grins on my kid’s faces.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shapeshifters, The New Black?

Posted by: Marie Harte
Okay, I admit it. I'm a sucker for shapeshifters. The vampire craze hit and I was excited to see paranormal romances taking up shelf space in the book stores, both virtual and brick and mortar. But then the market became glutted with them. You couldn't turn around without bumping into a vampire in love.

Now it seems like shapeshifters are having the same popularity. And I think they work better as romantic leads than the vampires did. Sure, the undead with their angsty pasts and need to share life with blood-infused young things has its moments. The Twilight series certainly remains popular with both women and girls. And who can resist watching (or reading) True Blood with its hunky bloodsuckers Viking Eric and Southern gentleman Bill?

But another popular upstart in the series is a werewolf with abs to die for. (See Alcide, the werewolf, to the right.) There's just something about an animalistic man, savage and raw, like his "inner beast," that's compelling. People can be cruel, but animals mostly exist to survive. Their emotions seem purer, so I think we as readers translate that animal passion and intensity into shapeshifter heroes. And really, have you ever read about a stick thin anorexic and pale shapeshifter? Nope. They all seem to have rockin' hard bodies and the endurance to go all night long. All. Night. Long.

So yeah, I'm all for shapeshifters gaining in popularity. They're going head-to-head with demons and angels, what with 2012's close right around the corner. But the world will go on, 2013 will persevere, and shapeshifter love will continue. At least, I'm hoping. My own shapeshifter series has been pretty popular with readers, and it's just so much fun to write about men and women who can become cats, wolves, bears, and more. So have a wild and furry Tuesday. :)


Marie
website | blog | Facebook
And just released, Outfoxed and Jericho Junction

Monday, March 19, 2012

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week


Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

Links of Interest

In case you're not sick of the coverage yet... 50 Shades of Grey: Why Is It News That Women Like Sex?

The concept on this is great. The execution...well, I'll let you decide. I may not have the necessary breast fixation to fully appreciate it: Corset-wearing superwomen from the Age of Steam

Loved this one: Your Brain on Fiction "The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated."

Some cool new-ish romance websites: Romance Cooks and Wonk-O-Mance.

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

2012 EPIC ebook Awards finalists: Congratulations to Here Be Magic authors Tia Nevitt (The Sevenfold Spell), Cindy Spencer Pape (Eagle's Redemption and Steam and Sorcery) and Jody Wallace (One Thousand Kisses)!!!

An extended excerpt (20%-the first five chapters) of Nicole Luiken's upcoming fantasy romance Gate to Kandrith is now available from Carina Press.

Melinda Leigh's She Can Run has been nominated for BEST action R/S of 2011 at The Romance Reviews! If you'd like to vote, you can do so here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The magic of Detroit

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
First of all, since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, I probably ought to talk about the magic of Ireland, especially since I'm about a quarter Irish by descent. Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to visit the Emerald Isle, so I'm not going to pretend I'd know what I was talking about. So I'll wish you the joy of the day and talk about a place near and dear to my own heart. (And one with a large Irish influence.)
I may have posted part of this article on this blog before, but it’s even more appropriate now, when our theme for this month is Mystical Places. When people think about settings for romance, Detroit is one of the last cities to come to mind. My hometown has a rough reputation, and much of it is earned. When I was dreaming up my Urban Arcana series of paranormal romances, though, I never thought twice about using Detroit as the home for elves, witches, werewolves and more. So why is the Motor City such a perfect backdrop?
Metropolitan Detroit’s over 300 year history is rich with industrial success, making it the home of numerous immigrant groups. That diversity could easily include other species. Who’d notice werewolves in Hamtramck (eastern European enclave), djinn in Dearborn (large Middle Eastern populace), or Fae in Corktown? The city is built over salt mines, and salt figures frequently in legend and myth. (and in my latest book!) Now that most of the industry has left, there’s an air of eerie, gritty decay. All the abandoned factories full of rusting iron lend ideal settings for supernatural activities. Furthermore police and other city civil servants, understaffed due to budget constraints, often adopt a pragmatic “not my problem” attitude. As long as nobody’s getting hurt, it’s a whole lot easier to look the other way. Why worry about some guy with pointy ears or fangs when he isn’t causing trouble?

And yet, Detroit has positive attributes which often go unsung. There are beautiful parks, where werewolves could shift and run. The dynamic revitalization of the riverfront lends an element of hope and looks to the future. Finally, Detroit boasts a thriving arts culture with world-class museums, music, and restaurants to rival those in any other city. When you put all that together, why wouldn’t the Motor City be a hub for paranormal activity?

My Urban Arcana books, Motor City Fae, Motor City Witch, Motor City Wolf and finally, Motor City Mage are set in Detroit and its suburbs, with occasional forays into the land Underhill, or Faerie. I love being able to mix the two, creating a contrast between the gritty real world and the glittery world of the Fae, but there are similarities, too. Both have political intrigue and are places where monsters exist, and yet both are places where a couple can defeat the bad guys, find their soul-mates, and fall in love. In the final book, I take the alternate reality concept one step further. Lana Novak and Des Sutton are forced to make their way through a series of alternate reality worlds to make their way home to Detroit and save the day. I think this brings even greater contrasts to their everyday world, and challenges their budding relationship in ways they never expected.

So does everyone think of their hometown as magical? I’m not sure. But Detroit to me, still has an uncanny, gloomy vibe that I love to explore—in real life and in fiction.

About the Book:


Motor City Mage
Urban Arcana #4
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Available Now from Carina Press
find out more at: http://bit.ly/w8KpVR

As a cop who keeps paranormals in line, Des has a hard time trusting them. So why does he want the beautiful werewolf Lana more than his next breath? She's mouthy, flamboyant and distractingly sexy—not the type of woman for a reserved mage like him. Lana admires Des, but she can't be with someone who won't take her seriously, no matter how much she'd love to rip off his dress shirt.

When a dangerous new drug shows up in Detroit, Des must locate the source, and Lana is determined to help. But their plan goes awry, trapping them in a demon dimension. To return home, Lana and Des must flee through a series of unpredictable alternate realities, fighting enemies while trying to shut down the drug trade. But if they're going to survive, they'll have to rely on each other, even though getting closer will add fuel to a fire that's already burning out of control...

About the Author:

Cindy Spencer Pape is an avid reader of romance, fantasy, mystery, and even more romance who firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two teenage sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets.  Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the three male humans who share her household.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet the Here Be Magic Authors - Angela Campbell

Posted by: Veronica Scott

Continuing a new feature at Here Be Magic - periodic interviews with the Authors who create the magic. Our next interviewee is Angela Campbell, whose most recent book is Cry Wolf.

1. Tell us a little about yourself:
In a nutshell, I’m just your typical lifelong reader who always wanted to cross that bridge and become an author herself. For my day job, I’m a newspaper journalist, but I’ve been writing fiction in my spare time for as long as I can remember. No husband. No kids. Just me and one very spoiled cat who surely thinks I’m crazy because I’m always pitching my story ideas to her for practice.
2. What prompted you to start writing?
My childhood love of movies – I would come home from the theater and write my own version of what I’d seen, then act it out with my stuffed animals.
3. Which three books would you take to a deserted island and why?
The Bible, Pride and Prejudice and The Idiot's Guide to Wilderness Survival. Sustenance for the soul, the heart and, well, I’d like to keep breathing for as long as possible, you know?
4. Which five people (real, fictional, historical) would you invite to dinner and why?
Elvis Presley, Jane Austen, Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Lincoln and Clark Kent – because they are all people I greatly admire and can imagine having fun conversations with.
5. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Comic books. I have a small collection and know way too much about superheroes to ever be considered cool.
6. Quickfire:
Favorite TV Show: Supernatural or Castle – I simply can’t choose between them
Favorite Movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Cats or Dogs? Both! But I only have a cat
Morning person or evening person: Evening
Favorite food: Pizza!
Favorite time of the year: Fall
7. Finish this sentence “I believe in the Magic of……”
I believe in the magic of the human spirit. It might sound cliché, but I truly believe nothing is impossible if we open our hearts and minds and work toward our goals. I’ve seen people accomplish amazing things against incredible obstacles!
8. What are you working on next?
I’ve finished the first book in a paranormal romance series I hope to make a trilogy, and I’m almost finished with a contemporary romance that involves a pet psychic, a feisty feline, a mischievous canine and a woman who loves all three.
9. What one question do you want to ask your Readers today?
Where should I send the thank you cards? Seriously. You guys rock!
10. Where can your Readers find you online?
At my website, www.angelacampbellonline.com and on twitter @angelacampbel
Buy Link for Cry Wolf:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Capriole is now available!

Posted by: Evey Brett
I'm pleased and excited to announce the release of Capriole, an M/M Paranormal Romance from Loose Id!

After fleeing a brutal mental hospital in Barcelona, Felipe Camarena is trying to forge a new life as a psychology student in San Diego. Trouble is, he has a knack of knowing things he shouldn’t about people, and the all-too-real demons from his past are coming back to haunt him.

Professor Lukas von Rainer is a Warden—someone who hunts incubi and tames their sexually ravenous and dangerous offspring. As a fellow Sensitive, Lukas is the only one who can help when Felipe is severely injured by an incubus. He takes Felipe to his ranch in hopes that his Lipizzan horses will help him recover, but Felipe refuses to face his past and attempts to seduce Lukas instead. Lukas fends him off, surprised to find himself falling for the young man he’s vowed to aid. For years, he’s believed a physically satisfying and truly loving relationship is impossible because of his abilities, but is it?

He may not get the chance to find out. Even as he and the horses work their magic to heal Felipe, the incubus tracking them means to kill him and anyone who gets in its way.


To coincide with the release, I've also put together a video so you can meet me and the Lipizzan horses who inspired the book. As an added bonus, I'm having a drawing to win a copy of Capriole. All you have to do to enter is tell me about your favorite horse, whether real or fictional. Let me know in the comments below and I'll pick a name by Friday the 16th, 11:59 pm PST.



Excerpt:



Felipe slid into the Mustang’s passenger seat, too exhausted to care what Lukas planned on doing with him as long as he didn’t have to move or think. Lukas didn’t seem like the kind of man who would be cruel, but without being able to sense him, Felipe couldn’t be sure.


Felipe stared at Lukas’s key fob as it knocked against the steering column. It was leather burned with a picture of a running horse—the Mustang’s symbol. “Did you get a Mustang because you have horses?”

“Of course. White horses, white Mustang.” Lukas switched on the radio. “Do you like classical music?”

Felipe shrugged. His head lolled against the seat as he gazed out the window into the darkness beyond. Wherever they were, there were no streetlights.

Lukas drove east out of the city for about a half hour. The sky was just lightening to gray as he turned down a dirt road and drove through an iron gate inscribed SPIRIT HORSE RANCH.
He parked in the gravel driveway near a small ranch house and gestured to Felipe when they got out. “Come meet the herd.”

Reluctantly Felipe followed him toward a fenced area containing four white horses and two mottled gray. They were beautiful animals, strong and well built and emanating an intense presence that made Felipe uncomfortable.

“Have you ever been around horses?”

Felipe shook his head. Nervousness rooted his feet to the ground. He stayed several feet back while three of the animals arched their heads over the top of the fence and studied him. Their brown eyes held an unsettling amount of intelligence.

“This herd is very friendly. They won’t bite, and they love attention. Don’t you?” One horse whickered in answer. Lukas scratched the nearest under the jaw, inciting a stab of jealousy in Felipe at how comfortable he was with them. “These are all Lipizzans. I trained with a man from the Spanish Riding School when I lived in Austria, and brought Graciela in foal when I emigrated. This one is her son, a gelding. His official name is Pluto Graciela, but I call him Grady.”

“Pluto like the dog? And why is the riding school in Vienna Spanish?”

Lukas chuckled. “He’s not named after the cartoon character. There are six foundation stallions: Pluto, Maestoso, Favory, Siglavy, Conversano and Neapolitano. Purebred colts are given their father’s name followed by their mother’s, hence Pluto Graciela. The riding school is Spanish because the original horses were of Spanish heritage.”

They’re from home. The thought sent a surge of homesickness through him.

Lukas reached into a coffee can and put a sugar cube in Felipe’s palm. “Here. Grady loves these. Keep your hand flat and he’ll use his lips to take it.” Lukas gave him a push, sending Felipe within three feet of the fence. He extended his arm, and Grady artfully craned his neck to snatch the proffered treat. Soft, furry lips brushed his skin, but Felipe also felt something nontactile, something…

He jerked his hand back, trying to figure out just what he’d sensed. It was like that knowing when he bumped into a person, only the horse had felt somehow…clean. Pure.

The corner of Lukas’s mouth crooked up. “See? That wasn’t so bad.”

Lukas’s amusement annoyed him. “I’m tired,” Felipe said.

The slight grin vanished. His tone didn’t hide his disappointment. “Come on. I’ll show you to your room.”

* * * *

Lukas left Felipe alone in one of the bedrooms, frustrated by the kid’s reaction. But then, he hadn’t known what to expect. He’d hoped Felipe would show some interest in the horses rather than keeping his aloofness and gazing at them from behind the same wall of self-protection he used to distance himself from people. So he couldn’t break through it for an animal, either. Lukas had faith the horses would have something to say about that—if he could get Felipe close enough.



Evey Brett, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week


As a cop who keeps paranormals in line, Des has a hard time trusting them. So why does he want the beautiful werewolf Lana more than his next breath? She's mouthy, flamboyant and distractingly sexy--not the type of woman for a reserved mage like him. Lana admires Des, but she can't be with someone who won't take her seriously, no matter how much she'd love to rip off his dress shirt.

When a dangerous new drug shows up in Detroit, Des must locate the source, and Lana is determined to help. But their plan goes awry, trapping them in a demon dimension. To return home, Lana and Des must flee through a series of unpredictable alternate realities, fighting enemies while trying to shut down the drug trade. But if they're going to survive, they'll have to rely on each other, even though getting closer will add fuel to a fire that's already burning out of control...

                                                                  ***


After fleeing a brutal mental hospital in Barcelona, Felipe Camarena is trying to forge a new life as a psychology student in San Diego. Trouble is, he has a knack of knowing things he shouldn't about people and the all-too-real demons from his past are coming back to haunt him.

Professor Lukas von Rainer is a Warden—someone who hunts incubi and tames their sexually ravenous and dangerous offspring. As a fellow Sensitive, Lukas is the only one who can help when Felipe is severely injured by an incubus. He takes Felipe to his ranch in hopes that his Lipizzan horses will help him recover, but Felipe refuses to face his past and attempts to seduce Lukas instead. Lukas fends him off, surprised to find himself falling for the young man he's vowed to aid. For years, he's believed a physically satisfying and truly loving relationship is impossible—or is it?

He may not get the chance to find out. Even as he and the horses work their magic to heal Felipe, the incubus means to kill him and anyone who gets in its way. . . .

Links of Interest

Entangled publishing introduces a new paranormal line, Covet: "We’re seeking paranormal stories with fresh voices, between 60 and 70K words in length. Stories need a romantic trope and an alpha hero at their core, with paranormal elements woven into the storyline." 


How Cheap Should Books Be? This is the kind of article that makes me picture Amazon's HQ as a shiny building surrounded by the wastelands of Mordor. I mean, sure you can fight them but you have to get through the orcs first.

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Stop by Book Monster Reviews or Literal Addiction where I'm being interviewed today for a chance to win a free copy of Demon Crossings by Eleri Stone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

THE BEST MAGIC WORD EVER!

Posted by: Barbara Longley

By Barbara Longley
How many of you have heard these words come from a parent’s mouth? “What’s the magic word?”  How many of you have said these words to your own children? Please and thank you have always been the “magic words” I’m most familiar with, but there’s another. This magic word that has taken me YEARS and YEARS to learn. Though it has only one syllable, it holds enormous magical properties. It’s easy to pronounce and to spell, yet very difficult to articulate for some. There ought to be support groups for those of us who struggle with this magical word. I’ve had to concentrate and practice, but I am proud to announce that I have finally learned how to use this new magic word. It’s becoming easier and easier. Let me give you an example:
My brother and his girlfriend have three dogs between them. I have one dog and one cat. I happened to be at their house when the girlfriend received a call from her friend inviting them to visit her and her husband in Florida. (We live way north.) My brother and his GF would’ve gotten to stay at her friend’s unoccupied, fully furnished condo for free.

I listened with half an ear while my brother and his GF discussed the logistics. The biggest obstacle to their dream vacation by far was their three (very large, smelly and destructive) dogs. Boarding three dogs is very expensive, and they’d both had bad experiences with boarding dogs in the past. The GF’s family was out. They’d proven themselves to be unreliable when it comes to watching their dogs. (An accident? I think not.) My ears perked up as I heard the GF say, “I know! We can have Barb do it!”
Well, let me tell you, the word NO flew out of my mouth so fast, even I was amazed. NO! NO! NO! Wow, I feel the magic and the power coursing through me even now. The girlfriend tried another tack, adding “We’ll pay you. A lot!” Unless the figure yer offering has 6 zeroes in it, NO!
Now I’m like a toddler with her favorite word. I want to use it all over the place. “No” is magic. It’s empowering. I’m finding the word even creates a surplus of time. WOW.
Here’s how it works:
I’m at work, and my principal approaches me and says, “You’re a writer, how about you take over the school newsletter?”
Me: “NO.”
Principal: “You’re a writer. How about you head up the yearbook committee this year?”
Me: “NO!” 
See how it works? I’m telling you, the word contains powerful Ju-Ju, and I’m finding new ways to use this two-letter, one syllable word every day. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mystical Land of the Nile

Posted by: Veronica Scott
One of the most mystical places on Earth is the land of the Nile and Ancient Egypt is particularly irresistible to us, with its exotic gods and goddesses, pharaohs and queens, pyramids and temples, mummies and treasure. Like many another author, I’ve chosen to spin tales there, with my Priestess of the Nile. But the Egyptians got there first over 3000 years ago with their own stories.
The plentiful myths about the Egyptian gods can be conflicting at times but a key element seemed to be to make the deities more relatable and by extension, to make the world less intimidating. On a grand scale the gods faced many problems that the everyday human grappled with (and a few he or she didn’t). They had rivalries, love affairs, problems with their children, brother versus brother struggles and challenges with nature. A high percentage of the stories about the gods had them involved with the mortal world, available to help or hinder humans through sacred sites, items, animals, or even chosen people.
The Egyptians believed the earth was a flat expanse of land, personified by the god Geb, over which arched the sky goddess Nut. The two were separated by Shu, the god of air. Beneath the earth lay a parallel underworld and undersky, while the chaos that had existed before creation was beyond the sky. Each day, the Sun God Ra traveled over the earth across the underside of the sky, and at night he passed through a portion of the underworld to be reborn at dawn. Three types of beings inhabited the universe - the gods; the spirits of deceased humans (existing in the Afterlife) and of course the living. The most important living person was always the pharaoh, considered both human and divine by his subjects and able to serve as an intermediary between humans and gods.
The Nile was an important part of ancient Egyptian spiritual life and was viewed as a causeway from life to death and the afterlife. The east was the place of birth and growth, and the west was considered the place of death, as Ra underwent birth, death, and resurrection each day as he crossed the sky. All tombs were located west of the Nile, because the Egyptians believed that in order to enter the afterlife, they had to be buried on the side that symbolized death.
Even in the afterlife, known by various names (everything in Ancient Egypt seemed to have more than one name) but most commonly as the Field of Reeds, there was a celestial version of the Nile. If you passed successfully through the Hall of Judgment and the weighing of your heart by Anubis, Thoth and Ma’at, then you spent eternity in the land beside this heavenly river.
Take all these elements and you have a magical place indeed!
What magical place, real or fictional, have you always wanted to travel to?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 TV shows to complement your reading

Posted by: Angela Campbell
I have to admit, the past few years have conjured up some great offerings on television for fans of sci-fi, paranormal and fantasy. Just skimming through the TV Guide, I counted 20 shows airing in the United States before, well, I got tired and stopped counting. Maybe that's why I'm watching more television now than I think I've ever watched in my life! It puts a serious cramp into my writing time, but quite frankly, when I turn off my television after watching one of my favorite TV shows, I usually want to head straight for the computer because I feel quite inspired. I call it my Television Muse.

So what shows do I recommend? I've picked five that I just can't stop watching.

1. The CW's Supernatural, Fridays at 9 p.m. EST. Aside from the fact I could drool all night by simply pausing the screen on the show's main stars, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, I think the writing on this show is top notch. I mean, how can you go wrong with two demon-hunting brothers battling monsters every week? Plus, they drive an Impala. Or, they used to. OK, don't get me started on the Impala, or I might start crying.

2. Once Upon a Time, ABC, Sundays at 8 p.m. EST. I honestly didn't expect to like this show as much as I do. The town of Storybrooke, Maine, is populated by characters from fairy tales, who have been exiled to the real world due to a curse cast by the Evil Queen as part of a revenge plot against Snow White and Prince Charming. Because of the curse, most of the inhabitants of Storybrooke have no memory of their true identities and have been stuck timelessly in Storybrooke for years. The show has a creative premise, and I love that each week it seems to focus on a different character from fairy tales.

3. The CW's The Vampire Diaries, Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST. I think this one is aimed at teens, but it's my guilty pleasure and IMHO far too sexy to be aimed only at teens. Set in the appropriately named Mystic Falls, this soap opera revolves around Elena Gilbert, a 17-year-old girl who falls for a 162-year-old vampire named Stefan Salvatore. Of course, Stefan has a much sexier, snarky older brother, Damon, who is also a vampire, vying for Elena's affections. Plus, there are werewolves, witches and more plot twists and turns than you can count.

4. SyFy's Being Human, Mondays at 9 p.m. EST. Actually, I should note that there is also a UK version of this show that is probably more awesome than the U.S. version, but since I haven't finished watching the UK seasons, I can only fully comment on the U.S. version, which is about a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost - 3 roommates who are struggling to find their humanity despite being monsters. I love the dynamics that have evolved in season two, and I have become quite emotionally attached to these characters. Plus, I really heart Josh and Nora as a couple.

5. SyFy's Lost Girl, Mondays at 10 p.m. EST. I now know this is a Canadian show that has only recently begun airing in the U.S., and I must say, it is quite a sexy show for television. It's the story of supernatural seductress Bo, a Succubus who feeds off sexual energy. She's torn between the worlds of the Fae - light and dark - and is the center of a love triangle with Dyson, a wolf shifter, and Lauren, a human doctor. This is a show that isn't afraid to push the sexual envelope, but I'm more drawn to the magical stories of Fae.

Honorable mentions: HBO's True Blood (vampires), NBC's Grimm (fairytale creatures), AMC's The Walking Dead (zombies), and the CW's Secret Circle (witches).

Tell me. What sci-fi, paranormal or fantasy shows inspire you?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week

As the nineteenth century draws to a close, James Weston, Earl of Falmouth, is dying along with it. Despite living in an age of airships and automatons, even London's finest physicians cannot cure the young man's ailing heart. His last hope lies in retrieving a powerful artifact from the remote island home of an eccentric scientist's daughter.

Elspeth Shaw prefers her solitary life to the tragic results that come from mixing in society. Elspeth is cursed: every mortal being who forms an attachment to her dies a horrible death. Yet when the doomed Lord Falmouth arrives in search of the very artifact that blights her, she hasn't the will to refuse. But the price for cheating death may be more than any human can pay...


Links of Interest

Last day for BooksonBoard's fantasy sale. Use promo code Fantastic2012 for 25% off all eligible titles.

"I Need a Hero" submissions call from Liquid Silver Books: "...they are romance stories, not erotica – there must be a strong and compelling story linking everything together, not a series of sex scenes.  They must be at least 15K, and can take place in any setting, from small town America to the vast light years of outer space.  They can include paranormal elements, such as shifters or alternate worlds, but the underlying Heroes theme must ring true."

John Steinbeck's letter to his editor after completing East of Eden: A book is like a man.

io9's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy in March! This has a really handy calendar format.

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

On March 7, Cindy Spencer Pape is giving away a free download of Motor City Fae at The Romance Studio as part of their book-a-day giveaway program.

Rebecca York has two new videos on her web site, www.rebeccayork.com  Both are interviews with Rebecca.  In one she’s talking about her Decorah Security series, where her detectives have paranormal powers or solve paranormal cases.  In the other, she’s answering frequently asked questions from readers like, “do you practice your sex scenes.”

I for one am awfully excited that Patricia Brigg's Fair Game is almost here!! That's what I'm doing on Tuesday. What are your plans for the week?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Inspiration

Posted by: Linda Mooney
"Where do you get your ideas?"

That has to be the most often asked question I get because I write fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal romances. And to be frank, I have no idea why an idea pops into my head when it does. But I can tell you I have my methods to help me gain inspiration. So I'm going to let you into my head for a moment, and share with you a few "tips and tricks" I use.

The Photo: I find a picture that inspires me. It can be a single shot of a couple, or two separate pics of a man and a woman. The photo can be one that makes me feel soft and romantic inside, or makes me think this might be the climactic part of the book. From there I begin to build a story around them. Who are these people? Why are they there? What is their conflict? I print out the picture and pin it above my computer to keep me focused. I write their names on the photo, including eye color and any other descriptive nuances (tattoos? scars?). In time, their story begins to emerge.

The Getaway: It doesn't have to take long or be expensive. It could be some place I like to visit, or a place I've never been before. It can be a local tourist site, a museum, the zoo, or even the park. But I get out of the house and go! I clear my mind and let my thoughts flow where they want. The laundry and dishes will always be there. I take just an hour of "away time" for myself to let the ambiance of the place seep into my brain and hopefully give myself a fresh perspective. And maybe an idea or two.

The Challenge:  I ask myself, What's selling right now? What's "hot"? Can I write that? If the answer is no, I don't worry about it. Writing is like any other profession. Writers are best at what they enjoy most, so I won't force myself to write something I wouldn't feel comfortable writing. But if there's a certain niche I wouldn't mind exploring, I try to come up with a different scenario. I challenge myself to create a different kind of hero or heroine, a different kind of villain, a different kind of conflict.

The Locale: There's an old phrase that goes "Location. Location. Location." The same goes for writing. They say a person writes best what they know well, and that goes for the old home town. I look for historical sites. I search for tidbits of interesting information, legends, and whatever I feel might make for a good story.

The Music: Some people love to listen to music when they work. I have heard some songs that immediately "fit" whatever story I'm writing, and I create a "soundtrack album" to keep that mood going. But when I'm writing I prefer to listen to soundtracks. The warm, flowing melodies are perfectly suited for those intimate romantic moments, and the soaring, full-throated orchestral passages epitomize the climactic "hero saves the day" chapter.
***
Linda Mooney
Sensuous Romance with a Sci-Fi or Fantasy Flair
LindaMooney.com

Latest Release: SECRET IDENTITY, Book 1 of the "Identity Series"

An Erotic Fantasy Romance Novel
http://lindamooney.com/SecretID.htm
Available at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Barnes and Noble, and BookStrand
Word Count: 51.7K
*
Brenda McKay has no man in her life, and she really doesn’t have time for one. That’s not a problem, since Brenda’s new job responsibilities keep her too busy for any sort of social life. But the day she is saved by a strange man who calls himself The Defender is the day her heart will never be the same.
Lorne Palmer has loved Brenda since they were in grade school. Shy, introverted, and the middle brother of two over-achievers, he has never really approached her for anything other than to help her with her homework. And to be there for her when her other boyfriends deserted her.

It wasn’t until he finally acquired his super powers and became The Defender did Lorne finally decide enough was enough. If he couldn’t work up the courage to claim her as himself, perhaps The Defender could. 


Warning! Contains sabotage, weird chemical names, smiley boxes, floating root beer, corporation hanky-panky, isolated safe houses, chocolate-covered strawberries, and things that go BOOM! in the night!
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