Friday, November 30, 2012

Noise or Silence?

Posted by: Loribelle Hunt
What gets you working? I’m one of those people who can’t write in silence. It must a remnant of all the years I had little kids at home and had to learn to function with chaos. For some reason, though they’ve all been in school several years (two teenagers! eek!), I never adjusted to silence. I have to have background noise. I’ve discovered that just any noise won’t work though. When I’m writing there is particular music I listen to over and over again, or tv shows I glom. If I’m writing SFR I tend to watch more paranormal or crime related shows. For PNR, I veer to science fiction or crime shows. As for music, I’m pretty much all over the place lol.

 My new series, The Elect (available at Samhain Publishing) is about the next step in human evolution. I wrote the 3 novellas back to back so I spent a lot of time in this world and went through a lot of music and tv. I won’t list it all, but here are a few of my favorites.

Music
1. After the Storm, Mumford and Sons
2. Always, Saliva
3. One Thing, Finger Eleven
4. It’s Been Awhile, Staind
5. Best I Ever Had, Gary Allan

TV Shows
1. Dollhouse
2. Stargate Universe
3. Firefly
4. Space 2001
5. Numb3rs

What about y’all? Do you have a preferred writing process? Favorite music or other background noise?

~~~~
They aren’t human. They’re the next step in evolution and they’re hiding in plain sight. They’re senses are sharper, finely honed. Stronger. Smarter. Faster. Nature has created the perfect predator.

Welcome to the top of the food chain.

Zach Littman has made one major screw up in his life. He let his wife go. He’d give anything to reverse that blunder, but as long as she stays away he’s willing to leave her be. Now, with the Elect under attack, Mallory volunteers for a dangerous mission to gather information they desperately need. She’s back in Zach’s territory and he has every intention of making up his past mistakes. If she lives long enough.

Samhain||Amazon||Barnes & Noble

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Round Robin: Part 4

Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty
When we last saw Delphie, she was trapped in a cabin with two duelling djinn. To see the list of previous episodes, check out the Round Robin tab at the top of the page!


PART TWENTY-FIVE
PG Forte, www.PGForte.com

Dash folded his arms across his impressive chest and scowled. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You said you’d tell me whatever I wanted to know.”

“Not that.”

Undeterred, Delphie turned to Stride. “I bet you could tell me, couldn’t you?”

“As a matter of fact…”

“No,” Dash interrupted quickly. “I invoke the djinn code of silence.”

Delphie stared at him in disbelief. “There’s a djinn code of silence?”

“What happens in the djinn dimension stays in the djinn dimension,” Dash intoned solemnly.



Stride smirked. “Coming from you, that’s almost funny, infidel.”

“I know my rites,” Dash said. “And my rights.”

“As a traitor, you have none. Besides, you can’t pretend that you’ve never broken any of our codes.”

“It doesn’t matter what I’ve done. You, on the other hand, as a loyal subject of Ainmire—”

“Long may he reign.”

“As I was saying. As a loyal—and law abiding—subject of the king, you are bound to observe the laws of the land. Or risk being branded a traitor yourself.”

Delphie fixed herself another cracker. Mmm, Nutella. This was a one-of-a-kind opportunity. No one knew anything about the djinn. She might be able to get a paper out of tonight’s adventure. Maybe even a book contract! She’d be famous. There’d be talk shows…

“Why don’t we all have a seat,” she suggested. She gestured at the chintz-covered chairs and sofa that were arranged in front of the decrepit fireplace, directly beneath a hole in the roof through which starlight streamed in. She looked again and frowned. “And while you’re at it, tell me how you manage to keep everything here in such good shape. Is it some kind of stain-guard spell?” If she learned the secret to that, she could be rich as well as famous!

A look passed between the djinn. “The spell is on the outside,” Dash answered. “This cottage only appears dilapidated to discourage non-djinn from trying to take shelter here.”

“Only those with proper authorization can enter. All others are rendered unconscious.” Stride glared at Dash again. “Which means you shouldn’t be here.”

“And yet, I am.” Dash took a seat on the sofa. He patted the cushion beside him and smiled at Delphie. “I thought you wanted to sit down? Oh, and bring the food while you’re at it.”

“How come I wasn’t knocked out?” Delphie asked as she crossed the room and took the chair that was furthest from Dash.

Dash shrugged. “I disarmed the door before I allowed you to enter. Obviously.”

“Obviously,” Delphie repeated, remembering how he’d pushed into the cottage in front of her. At the time, she’d merely thought him rude. Now she realized he’d been protecting her. She should thank him, she supposed. Before she had a chance, a horrible howling erupted outside the cottage.

“Holy Dryad!” she gasped. “What’s that?”

PART TWENTY-SIX
By Jax Garren, http://www.jcgarren.com/

Dash blew out an unconcerned breath, but there was fear in his eyes. “Barghest. These woods are full of them. Giant wolves with double rows of teeth and claws that can pierce even dragonhide. A single barghest is deadly. In these woods they hunt in packs.”

As Dash was clearly the less honest of the two, Delphie turned to Stride for confirmation.

“This time he’s telling the truth.” Stride scowled. “And they’re not the only thing prowling about. We truly are stuck until morning.” Dropping to the couch with a grumpy huff, he reached for the Nutella.

Delphie scooped him out a big dollop and handed over the cracker. If this was the only food available in the cabin, she wasn’t giving up custody. Stride reached for it. Their fingers brushed and his eyes widened then shuttered. He snatched the cracker away as he cleared his throat. “I apologize for the way I behaved earlier. I believe there was some magic in the fraternity closet.”

Dash snorted. “Yeah, the magic of not getting laid in half a century.” He cocked his head to the side as a thought struck him. “Speaking of magic...”

Delphie stiffened against the couch and tightened her grip on the food. She didn’t like the look in his eyes.

Swift as a pooka, he pounced, pinning her arms. But he didn’t reach for the crackers and Nutella still clutched in her fingers. “She’s got a bag of malfunctioning fairy dust in her right pants pocket. Stride?”

She struggled against his hold, but strong as she was, she couldn’t break free.

Stride looked affronted at the demand.

“Don’t you dare!” she warned, jerking against Dash.

“If there was a lust spell on you,” he added, “it was from that pouch in her pocket. She’s awfully fond of blowing it around.”

Stride’s prudish distress turned to determination. He stuck his hand between them, reaching for her hip. She shifted away, trying to protect her dust. Defective it may be, but it was hers!

Stride’s hand landed against her abdomen and stroked forward, still reaching for her pocket. A laugh rumbled above her as she twisted again, trying to keep out of his reach.

Dash grinned down at her, quite clearly enjoying their struggle.

“I’m getting you back for this,” she warned, shimmying as far from Stride as she could while pinned from above.

“I look forward to it,” Dash answered, a dark promise in his voice. A darkness that, try as she might to ignore it, inspired a heat deep inside her.

That is, it did until something slimy and wet dripped onto her shoulder. “Ew! Dash!”

He stilled as his gaze transferred to her shoulder. “That’s not me.” Fear was back in his tone. Coldness gripped her insides, replacing the heat with panic.

“I got it!” Stride brandished her bag, oblivious to the change in their demeanor.

A growl reverberated around the room. All three of them turned to look above them.

A black beast crouched at the edge of the gap, jaws gaping to reveal double rows of jagged teeth. Thick spittle dribbled down its lip. Red, slitted eyes narrowed in malice.


Delphie laughed nervously. “That ward you’ve got on the walls? Does it extend across the big hole in the ceiling? Because it sure doesn’t look blue up there.”

PART TWENTY SEVEN
By Angela Campbell, http://www.angelacampbellonline.com/

Dash didn’t need to answer. The horror in his slitted eyes told Delphie all she needed to know.

Holy goblin balls! They were all going to die a horrible, painful death in this weird and freaky place. Well, at least she was. She wouldn’t put it past Dash to toss her to that growly wolf thing and find a safe spot to hide while it turned her into the pixie equivalent of steak tartare.


Stride, on the other hand, might actually—

Delphie squealed as the room swam around her. One second she’d been lying underneath Dash on the floor. The next, she was sitting on top of a tall, ancient-looking bookshelf. Whoa! He moved fast!

“Don’t. Move.” Dash sent her a pointed look as the sound of cracking wood joined a chorus of snarling. She lifted dazed eyes to see part of the roof collapse beneath the animal’s weight. It sprang up quickly, shaking off drool-covered debris and coating the air with dust.

“Stride!” A glowing blue sword appeared in Dash’s right hand. He tossed it to the other djinn, who looked momentarily startled by the gesture. As the beast lunged for Dash, Stride kicked a piece of furniture into its path. Dash did his flitty thing and appeared on the other side of the room.


“You shouldn’t have been able to do that, infidel. How do you still have the use of your powers?” Stride grunted as the beast ripped through the chair and flung a large piece at his midsection.

“Brother, don’t you think we have more important matters to attend at the moment?”

Oh, for the love of mother troll! A wild beast was trying to turn them into chew toys, and these two whackos were chitchatting as if they were on an afternoon stroll by the lake!

If you want a thing done well, let a pixie do it. Rolling her eyes, Delphie reached for her bag of dust and then remembered Stride had snatched it. She pursed her lips. She wasn’t stupid. Well, not always. She’d put a smaller pouch of dust in an, er, delicate place in her costume for emergencies such as this. Should she expose that little secret now? Not if she could help it.

“Stride!” She pointed at the bag of powder hanging from his hip. “Toss it back so I can take care of this little pest problem.”

Oops. She hadn’t meant to distract him. A powerful swipe of the creature’s paw sent Stride’s sword soaring against the wall. His strangled yell of pain reached her ears before Delphie saw the yellow ooze pouring from a gash in his hand. Yellow blood? Eww. Icky. But it sure would make a great detail for her book!

She couldn’t let the poor man, er, djinn suffer though. Crouching, she launched herself off the bookshelf and landed a few feet from him. If she could just get her hands on that powder —

A too-close-for-comfort roar from the beast told her she’d caught its attention. Uh oh.

Before she could think, Dash flitted onto the animal’s back and used his hands to direct its head away from her. A blue glow enveloped Dash’s body. Delphie blinked. That fast, Dash was no longer Dash. He’d shifted into a much larger beast and was about to chow down on the barghest.

She couldn’t help herself. Her membership with PETS—People for the Ethical Treatment of Supernaturals—would be revoked if she didn’t try to intervene. Grabbing the dust from Stride’s hip, she spun quickly and threw a tiny poof straight at the barghest.

Pictures that are not from Wikipedia are from: http://freerangestock.com/
Used according to their site license.


****

Well, we know the dust is malfunctioning... One can only imagine what will result from Delphie's loyalty to PETS!

Check back in two weeks for the next part of the round robin.


Jody Wallace
Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist
http://www.jodywallace.com  * http://www.meankitty.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dark Dealings and playing with the other couple

Posted by: Kim Knox

Dark Dealings was born as I watched Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
As I was admiring the young and yummy Mr Oldman and Mr Roth, the idea percolated of playing with characters who were in the background. You know the ones. When the hero succeeds, his sidekick isn't quite so lucky, or a heroine's friend who's always so unlucky in love and when the heroine gets her man, her friend is the example of how love fails.
I decided to ditch the perfect couple and play with the other two. The jealous woman and the jilted man who had both been abandoned when the 'perfect couple' found each other.
Oh and I added in a whole heap of magic, mysterious deaths and an odd couple who might turn out to be perfect for each other... *grin*

Ava Kalle's empty soul devours magic. And her hunger is deadly. She's sharp, quick and can live in shadow, making her work as a spy for the Mages a natural choice. She lives on the fringes of society and likes it that way.

When the man she loves takes another woman for his mate, the darkness in her heart unravels and she'll do anything to get him back. She makes a dangerous deal with a fire elemental, Heyerdar, who has a vested interest in agreeing: together they'll use forbidden magic, harnessing their sexual energy to drive the couple apart.

But soon their pact pushes them both into a dark sexual obsession. One that Ava may not be able to control…

Excerpt:

She had to stare at them again. She didn’t want to, but the pull was inexorable. The pair courted imbalance. Magic was finding the perfect harmony, perfection in opposites. Reist had to know that. Had to feel it in his soul like she did. Higher mages did not fuck within their caste. Yet there he was, in full view of everyone and for the past month, taking Fallon to his bed. Their powers were too similar. Whereas hers...

Her attention jumped to the left, the sudden pull in her senses warning her that another magician had entered the wide hall. Whoever it was prickled her skin. Ancient power, pulled from the earth, from the fire of the sun, licked across her empty soul. Panic hit her and she shrank back against the stone. Elemental magic. She swallowed. Heyerdar.

He was there in the shadow of a side room archway, the burnished breastplate of his senior captain’s armor catching the glints from sconces on the wall. He watched, as she’d watched. His face was bleak, no emotion, just the hard frown that was his mouth regardless of his mood. His meaty fist clenched and reclenched the pommel of his sword.

A heartbeat later he turned away and disappeared.

Ava blinked. Now she’d witnessed it herself. This was Heyerdar. The Left Hand to the Emperor. The man who would take a body apart if he thought someone looked at him the wrong way. Yet...he had walked away. Why?

She closed her eyes, focusing on the brief brush of power that had skittered across her soul. Her heart beat slowly, and the dark calm at her heart grounded her, prepared her. Here was magic to taste. It poured from Heyerdar in waves.

She put her fingers to her lips as her mouth ached to part. The craving deepened and she denied herself the easy path of eating flesh. With her mouth shut, it was as if the magic was pulled towards her, drawn by the void within her. Magic pressed against her skin, surrounded her and slipped, hot and delicious, through to her greedy soul.

Ava pulled apart the lick of his bitter magic, finding the shadow of the man within. As the brief flare of it fed her emptiness, her breath caught. Emotion rocked her. Fury and pain hit her hard in the chest, echoes of other emotions fizzling away.

Heyerdar was a riot of hatred. He wanted Fallon, and Reist had stolen her. Something held him back, but the sliver of magic that had touched her wasn’t enough to reveal more of his thoughts, his soul. Years as a spy for the mages had honed her curiosity. Did the new Highest Mage have something over him?

Ava wiped a hand across her mouth. The test was over. And the little book had revealed a truth. She could take power without devouring the host’s flesh. It had also brought her something else. A new plan.

Heyerdar wanted Fallon as she wanted Reist. His pain was as sharp as her own. There was a deal to be done. Heyerdar was elemental. He didn’t follow the strict rules of high magic. He never would. So what she had to offer—the way they would both have what they wanted—wouldn’t have him screaming for the ruling mage to throw her out of the Institute.



Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Cleis Press, Carina Press and Ellora's Cave.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week


Ava Kalle's empty soul devours magic. And her hunger is deadly. She's sharp, quick and can live in shadow, making her work as a spy for the Mages a natural choice. She lives on the fringes of society and likes it that way.

When the man she loves takes another woman for his mate, the darkness in her heart unravels and she'll do anything to get him back. She makes a dangerous deal with a fire elemental, Heyerdar, who has a vested interest in agreeing: together they'll use forbidden magic, harnessing their sexual energy to drive the couple apart.

But soon their pact pushes them both into a dark sexual obsession. One that Ava may not be able to control…

Buy

Links of Interest

One awesome link from io9: Cosplaying gentlemen assemble in skimpy versions of male superhero costumes
And a spectacularly creepy one: As if mannequins weren’t creepy enough already, now some spy on you as you shop

Another merger? This time between HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.

Gift ideas for the reader in your family: I want this shirt.

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Please welcome Natasha Hoar as our newest member at Here Be Magic!

Rebecca York reports she has sold two new books in her Harlequin Intrigue series, Mindbenders, about sexually linked telepaths.

Dark Secrets by Shona Husk (set in the same world as Dark Vow) is up for pre-order at Amazon.

On Goodreads.


Threads of Desire by Eleri Stone is up for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

On Goodreads.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A NaNoWriMo Success Story!

Posted by: Sheryl Nantus
It's a good time, I think, with November drawing to a close and thousands of NaNoWriMo authors gasping over their keyboards to give them a bit of inspiration. I've written on my blog other thoughts on the month-long exercise in insanity and how to get the most you can out of it with or without finishing the 50K run.

Here's another one.


"Blood of the Pride" started off as a NaNo project a few years ago, a second try at winning the contest after doing so the previous year with "Blaze of Glory". That book was still in edits and I wanted to do something different, something away from the superhero romance. The first sentence came to me...

"I smelled the blood before I had a chance to look for it, the tangy, dense scent landing on the back of my tongue."

Right then I knew this was going to be a detective novel of a different sort, of a cat shifter who couldn't shift and was outcast from her people. Rebecca Desjardin talked her way through the book and I pulled it off, finishing the first draft before the end of the month.

And, as you can see... it sold.

In fact, it sold so well to Carina Press that not only is there an audiobook out for "Blood of the Pride" but it's also been included in the Direct-To-Consumer for Harlequin's February 2013 paranormal shipment to their subscribers. So it's going to print.

And then there's this:


Yep. A sequel.

The second in four books under contract with Carina Press. "Claws Bared" comes out in January 2013 in ebook and in audiobook format. The third and fourth books are due in June and September. I'm hoping for them to also go to print.

This was a NaNoWriMo project. This is a project I worked on long after the month was over and edited to death before submitting it.

This is a NaNo success story as far as I'm concerned.

And if it could happen to me it could happen to you.

You may feel overwhelmed with the words on the page. You might feel like you're floundering and just can't get up; wallowing in the speed writing.

It's okay. It's okay NOT to finish by the end of the month. But you have to finish.

And then, if you want, edit edit edit to death.

Because you CAN sell a NaNo novel.

I did.

And you can too.

Now get back to that keyboard!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Discovering the story, the Panster way

Posted by: Tia Nevitt
I was watching some reruns of ONCE UPON A TIME with my daughter and we got to the point where The Stranger arrives with an old wooden box strapped to his motorcycle. I said to my husband, "I bet those series writers didn't have the foggiest idea what was in the box when they wrote it in."

Maybe they did. Maybe they are plotsters and not pantsters, like me. Have I ever thrown something into a story without having the faintest clue how it would turn out? That's basically how I do it. In my upcoming Accidental Enchantments story, The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf, I decided to put the prince in the magic mirror. And then I started writing to see how it would turn out.

When I wrote The Sevenfold Spell, I kept having to close all the plot-holes that were in the original fairy tale. Why could each fairy only cast one spell upon Aurora? Why could the evil fairy’s spell not be undone? Why a hundred year sleep? And why would Aurora go anywhere near the spinning wheel?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a very straightforward story, with few plot-holes. Some plot conveniences, maybe, but very few things were left unexplained. One thing that was unexplained was the origin of the creature in the magic mirror. I thought it would make an interesting triangle if I made him the prince. Who, of course, finds the evil queen the fairest one of all ... until he meets Snow White.

Another mystery is that of the seven dwarfs. Why would seven dwarfs choose to live together? I came up with an answer based on deaf communities. I used to live in the midst of one. I figured that if deaf people form communities, why not little people as well? Well, it turns out that they do. I didn't think it would be a huge stretch to put them all on a farm, which is owned by a very short man (not a true dwarf) and his wife, who has achondroplasia. Naturally, word gets about and other people join them, mostly men to work the farm.

And then Gretchen comes along.

Another thing that came out of the blue was my own twist on the Neibelung story. Here is an excerpt from the story which kind of gives away one of my favorite parts, but maybe it will make you want to read it. It begins just after one of the dwarfs, Lars, bathed by himself in a river near the farmhouse. Ange is a runaway princess, filling the role of Snow White.

~*~



When Lars was reasonably dry, he dressed, grabbed his wet clothes and headed back to the house.

Just before he reached the farmhouse, Gretchen stepped out of the shadows. He stopped.

“I…I just wanted to thank you,” she said, wringing her hands in nervousness. “For your compliment and for defending me.”

For a horrified instant he wondered if she had seen him out in the river. But he quickly dismissed the notion. Of course she would not have done such a thing. He suspected she was very proper. Following him out to the river and spying on him while he bathed would be totally unlike her. She would be aghast that he’d ever suspected her of such a thing.

“You didn’t deserve any of that,” he said. “It was natural that I defend you.”

“Still, I wanted to thank you.”

“You’re certainly welcome.”

She nodded and then turned stiffly and walked back toward the farmhouse. She certainly seemed more awkward than usual. It must have been because they had been rather alone out there together. Mindful of her sense of propriety, he waited a moment so they would not be seen walking in together, and then he followed.


“You did what?” Ange exclaimed.

“I, um, followed Lars when he went to the river, and I—” Gretchen gulped, “—I spied on him while he bathed.”

Ange stared at her with her mouth wide open. “Why would you do such a thing?” she whispered.

“I don’t know!” Gretchen whispered back. “I was in the middle of it before I knew what I was doing. Dieter almost caught me!”

“You’d have been thrown out!”

“I know!” She grabbed her temples. “I don’t know what came over me. It was like an…an overwhelming curiosity.”

Ange just started at her for a moment. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“What did you see?”

Gretchen blinked at her. “What did I see?”

“Yes! What did you see?”

“Everything! That’s what I saw!” She waved her hand toward the window. “The sun wasn’t finished setting, and moonlight out there is quite bright.”

Ange continued to gape at her. “You little hussy!”

Gretchen threw herself down on the pillow and moaned into it. “I know. I’m such a tart.”

Ange began to laugh. “So what did he look like?”

She paused for a moment. Then she lifted her head and said, “He was like one of the immortal Nibelung, arising out of the depths of the earth through a passage in the river after adding to his hoard of gold.”

Ange laughed again. “Nibelung! But weren’t they monsters?”

Gretchen looked at her askance. “Not to a dwarf maiden. They were the heroes of the story, challenging the gods. They even won, after a fashion.”

“But surely they were evil?”

“No. Misunderstood, only. Besides, was it not their gold? Weren’t the supposed heroes of the legends actually the thieves?”

Ange laughed. “I suppose they were.”

Gretchen sighed. “I used to love the stories of the Nibelung.”

Ange grinned. “And now, you might have one of your very own.”

Gretchen dived under her pillow.

~*~

The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf will be available in February. The Sevenfold Spell is available now. To learn more about either, please join me at my website at www.tianevitt.com.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Magic of Thanksgiving

Posted by: Veronica Scott


As is our custom at this time of the year, some of the Here Be Magic authors share their thoughts about Thanksgiving ...

From Cindy Spencer Pape:
No matter your religious beliefs or nationality, the magic of Thanksgiving is in taking some time to reflect on the good things life has brought you. It’s human nature to focus on the difficulties that crop up, but sometimes we get so bogged down in those that we forget to appreciate having food to eat, a roof over our heads, and friends or family to share a meal. So whether it’s in November with turkey or December with tacos, or whatever, I encourage you to take a day, any day, and forget the struggles for a little while so you can focus on the simple joys of life and laughter.

  From Rebecca York:
You don’t have to have Thanksgiving on the real day.  Sometimes it means more if you have to shift the date.  My son did a couple of tours with the U.S. State Department in Afghanistan, and he told me that Thanksgiving there was a real bust.  They had turkey and dressing in the mess hall, but it wasn’t very good. When he got leave and came home in July, I decided to make him and the rest of the family a Thanksgiving dinner. 

 The biggest obstacle was the turkey. I always have a fresh one, but the only kind I could get in July was frozen. With no idea how early I should have gotten started, I spent a long night with it in a pan of water in the bath tub, with water dripping on it, trying to thaw it quickly.  It was ready on time,  and we had a wonderful dinner with most of the foods we love, including my sweet potato casserole and a white potato casserole.  My husband hates turkey, so I did what I always do for him—baked a ham. The only thing I couldn’t make was fresh cranberry sauce. No cranberries are available in July. 

 This year I’m buying lots of cranberries and making batches of cranberry orange relish to stock in the freezer, so we can have it any time we want.

From Angela Campbell:
The magic of Thanksgiving is...being united with friends and family to share your blessings for another year — and being possessed with the spirit of love during it so you don't harm the ones who drive you bonkers!

From Jax Garren:
The magic of Thanksgiving is... going to be a little different for me this year. My family always gathers as a huge clan to celebrate and eat turkey--or tofurkey, in my vegan sister's case! But this year, after relinquishing the hope of having bio-children, my DH and I get to introduce our two foster daughters to everyone. So in 2012, the magic of Thanksgiving for me is not just gathering with family, but having a family to bring to the gathering. And for my girls, I suppose it's having a safe family to gather with. We all hope that 2013 will see an adoption!

From Ruth A. Casie:
The magic of Thanksgiving for me happens at the dinner table the day after Thanksgiving when I traditionally have our famiIy dinner. There is no secret to my strategy. My children go to their in-laws for Thanksgiving while Paul and I go out for a quiet dinner. Friday I have them all to myself. I plan and cook for days but when I sit down food is the last thing I want. I look around the table at each of them. I revel in how they've grown in body, mind, and spirit. I enjoy their playfulness and banter. We are a close family and while Thanksgiving isn't our only family dinner it's the one where I stop and count my blessings and I'm thankful. Then I get nudged to pass the sweet potato souffle!

From Hilary Jacques:

The magic of November is...snow-covered streets, red cheeks and noses, secret holiday shopping, and cozy, cocoa-filled nights with books.

From Shawna Thomas:
The magic of Thanksgiving is... 
For me Thanksgiving brings to mind images and scents that combine into a sense of completeness and security. 
 Gold and crimson against a sea of pale blue. Cool breezes, children throwing leaves and adults joining in, long walks, a sense of family, intoxicating scents of turkey, onion and way too many pies. Gathering in the kitchen where the warmth from conversation does for the soul what the oven's warmth does for the body. It's carrying on traditions from one generation to the next.
And it's the feeling of blessedness when you  stop for a moment and truly consider how much you have to  be thankful for.
 Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday not just because I love to bake, but because it's not diluted by commercialism. It's still simple. It's about family and those we love who have become family gathering together.
And for those reasons, I think it is a magical time.

 From Nicole Luiken:
Canadian Thanksgiving comes in early October--about two weeks too early according to my dad.  I grew up on a farm in northern Alberta, and we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving until the crops were all off.  (My sister quite horrified her Ontario-born teacher when she told him this.)  Sometimes we made it in time for the official holiday and sometimes we were later, but we always had roast turkey, my mom's special hamburger-mushroom-rice dressing and orange whip salad.  Yum.

 VS sez Best Wishes from all of us to all of you and may you have a very Happy Holiday Season!
 

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