Thursday, January 31, 2013

American Muscle

Posted by: Kathleen Collins
There's nothing that does it for me quite like muscle. A well-formed body with sleek lines will catch my eye every time. Mix in a throaty purr and my knees go weak.

If that muscle happens to come in blue even better. What's that? Oh, sorry. I'm talking about cars. Don't get me wrong, I love a hot guy as much as the next girl but give me a hot guy in a hot car and I might check the car out first.

When Supernatural first came on the air, I admit that I loved the premise. And who doesn't love Sam and Dean? But that car...I loved to see that car roll onto the screen.

And I saw XXX in the movie theater like six times. Not because of Vin Diesel but because I wanted his car. Which I actually got to see in person on vacation last year. I think I was more excited than my boys.


In high school I was that girl that hung out with the motor heads. Not because I wanted to date any of them but because they were awesome guys and had cool cars. As such, I am also now the girl that can have a semi-intelligent conversation with the mechanic about what's wrong with my car. But that's a whole other post.

So do you all have any favorite reads or movies featuring hot guys and hot cars? If so, let me know in the comments so I can check them out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Apples or Oranges?

Posted by: Sandy James


My Alliance of the Amazons series will continue in May when The Brazen Amazon releases. The fourth—and final book—will debut in September. It’s called The Volatile Amazon. And that’s that. No new Amazons. No new books following the Amazons. Not now. Not ever. My girls’ stories will have been told.
 
When I tell people that, it tends to surprise them. There are so many romance series out there that go on and on and on…like the movie Titanic. <g> Actually, I can see the appeal of a never-ending series. You’ve already got an established readership. The publisher is obviously behind you. A successful series could easily be a cash cow that is impossible to resist milking.

On the other hand, I really like the idea that my series will have a true ending. All loose threads knotted. All plot lines resolved. Everyone is accounted for. There are some secondary characters I might give their own sets of wings one day in the future, but Rebecca, Megan, Gina, and Sarita have each had their turn, and I won’t be using those characters again.

A fantastic example of a successful closed series is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, albeit it had A LOT of books, there was an end to Harry’s journey. As far as an extended series, I don’t have to look farther than my friend and critique partner, Cheryl Brooks. Her Cat Star Chronicles are on book eight—Wildcat. Yet each story seems to make the series stronger, and it has yet to become stale because she has a universe of planets and species to choose from to add newness to each story.

So as readers and/or authors, which do you prefer? Do you like the fact that a series can keep going, using new characters to continue a storyline or keep the world you’ve learned/built alive? Or do you enjoy the idea of a closed series, one like my Alliance of the Amazons where you know exactly how many books are in the series and that it has a distinct ending?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Magical Momentum

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
The new year usually brings me a surge of productivity, but I've really been struggling this year, continuing the dry spell of late 2012.  I can't tell you how many times I've started...only to lose momentum.  A day or two, things go according to plan, but then something happens.  It might be something small -- like glomming through the first book of the Wheel of Time series instead of "savoring" as I intended!  Or it could be large, like an illness or even a death in the family. 

We went to two funerals in November.  Needless to say, NaNoWriMo didn't happen for me last year.

So what do you do?  How can you get momentum back, whether it's writing a book or tackling a project at work?  I've been trying a few different things with varying success.  I hope you might have suggestions I can try too because I'm still struggling to keep trudging along!

  • Set a timer for 15 minutes and do nothing else but work on the task.
  • Set an incredibly small daily goal.  Hey, some days even getting 250 words feels like a miracle!
  • Avoid distractions within your control.  (I'm not allowed to read book 2 of WoT until I finish my wip.)
  • Give yourself rewards for meeting the smallest goal.
  • Try to exercise or stretch even if only a few minutes in between brief stints.
Do you have any other ideas to help get those creative juices flowing?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Links of Interest

'Steampunk' Goes Mainstream in 2013: "Based on an analysis of more than half a billion public posts on message boards, blogs, social media sites and news sources, IBM predicted that ''steampunk" will be the next major trend to bubble up and take hold of the retail industry."

Why You Truly Never Leave High School: It's an interesting article but what caught my attention was this: "“During times when your identity is in transition,” says Steinberg, “it’s possible you store memories better than you do in times of stability.”...In adolescence, the brain is also buzzing with more dopamine activity than at any other time in the human life cycle, so everything an adolescent does—everything an adolescent feels—is just a little bit more intense. “And you never get back to that intensity,” says Casey." It made me wonder if that effect is one reason why there are so many adult readers of YA/NA. That the stories are able to trigger particularly vivid emotional memories.

Plane Passengers Exhibit Inconceivable Lack of Pop-Culture Awareness. Funny article, hilarious comments section.

Save up to 50% on erotic romance titles at Carina Press. Only through the end of January.

Valentine's Heart, by Cindy Spencer Pape: 25% off at Ellora's Cave, this week only.

Disney: ‘It’s official: J.J. Abrams to direct Star Wars: Episode VII’


Friday, January 25, 2013

Dragon Personality Traits

Posted by: Annie Nicholas

       The year of the Dragon was 2012 and it comes around only every 12 years according to the Chinese Zodiac. (Other years are 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000…) And this is the year I wrote about my first dragon, Koishi.

The Chinese people believe the gods and goddesses have blessed the dragon and the people born in these years bear similar traits to this beast. The dragon is a symbol of power. He can fly to the highest peak and dive to the bottom of the deepest oceans.

According the zodiac, dragons do things on a grand scale. They believe bigger is better. (It’s not?) They are the free thinkers of our society and risk takers so it’s not surprising they burn the candle at both ends.

Forget a routine job for the dragons in our lives. And love? It takes a special kind of person to love a dragon because the varied sides of their personalities can make a relationship akin to a roller coaster ride.

I loved finding this information because it reflected Koishi very well except for one little thing. The Chinese say you can always trust a dragon, especially with financial transaction.

Even though he resides in Asia, Koishi was born in Outremer, in the realm of magic so he missed that memo.

My piece of advice is to never make a deal with a dragon.
 
KOISHI, releases Feb. 4th
 
 
Never make a deal with a dragon.

Sandra’s sister is dying. All the doctors agree that nothing more can be done, but she can’t give up hope. After using all her resources searching for a cure, a little bird whispers in Sandra’s ear about secret worlds, Gates, and the Keepers who protect them. A dragon Gatekeeper, who hoards magical treasure within his volcano home in Japan, can possibly hold an item to cure her sister.

Gates choose their Keepers and Koishi thinks his did an excellent job in picking him. Not many dare to cross and none who try survive.  However, one tiny human female with either the courage of an army or the intelligence of a gnat has arrived on the island asking for him. Curious and not wanting to disappoint, he waits for the locals to steer her to his human ‘servant’, which is him in his man form.

Let the games begin…

CONTENT WARNING: Goblins, mayhem, and sushi await you with hot dragon sex and Koishi’s odd sense of humor.

 
 
Want to win some cool prizes? Follow the ROMANCE MADNESS HOP starting today and ending the 29th. CLICK HERE TO START
 
 
Annie Nicholas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Last Battle Begins

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
Very few books have affected my life so much and for so long as Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time fantasy series. 

For me, it all started Christmas break 1993.  I was attending graduate school at Texas A&M and my friend wanted to go to the mall.  I thought she was nuts -- brave the mall with all the last-minute holiday shopping?!?  But that's where the bookstore was and she HAD to get a book. 

That was the magic word (books!) for me, and so off we headed to the bookstore.  I got another surprise when she bought a hardcover.  I mean, we were poor college students.  I'd NEVER bought a hardcover before.  There'd never been an author I couldn't wait a year or two for paperback.  Naturally, I had to know who this author was and why she had to buy it.

The book was Robert Jordan's The Fires of Heaven (book 5).  It'd just come out and she planned to read it over Christmas break.  To prove to me how good the series was, she lent book 1 to me.

The next day, I was back at that crazy mall buying the entire series and my first hardcover.

I've bought all of the books since then in hardcover, agonizing for YEARS in between books.  I have so many memories of haunting bookstores (this was B.A. Before Amazon and the ultimate pleasure of preordering a book so that it's on your Kindle as soon as it's available) hoping and praying the next book had come out.  Or breaking out into a Lanfear discussion over Thanksgiving dinner with my brother.  Or laughing as we tried to pronounce Nynaeve on the plane to Birmingham with Wanda.

It's hilarious how many random people I've run into and ended up talking about these books.  (So when/how to you think Moraine's coming back?!?  Who's Demandred?!?  All plots and conspiracies in the book.)

When Robert Jordan passed away, millions of fans were devastated.  He'd lost the Last Battle...before he could WRITE the Last Battle we'd all invested so many years in.  I have yet to read Sanderson's books to finish the series.  I've been buying them, but saving them for one last read.  I swore to my best friend, Wanda, that as soon as the last book came out, I would re-read the entire series from the beginning.

Book 14 - A Memory of Light just released, the final book in this beloved series.

I guess I'd best get to reading.

Have you ever invested years and years on a series before?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The appeal of the bad boy

Posted by: Eleri Stone
I recently started watching the TV series Hex starring Michael Fassbender as the fallen angel Azazeal. He’s attractive but creepy as hell and the entire plot revolves around him trying to impregnate a young woman with his evil spawn. There’s really no moral ambiguity to his character. He never becomes the hero, but throughout the series he remains an incredibly compelling villain. (Really, I think Fassbender should exclusively play villains but that’s another blog post.)

This got me to thinking about the appeal of the bad boy in fiction and the conclusion I came to is that it doesn’t really have anything to do with romantic interest. It’s a matter of physical attraction versus mental repulsion. The push and pull between these two forces creates the kind of tension that keeps me reading, half-hoping for redemption, half-hoping for justice.

So why do I love bad boys? They simply make for more interesting characters. 

Where romance comes into play is dealing with the mental repulsion part of the equation. Either the character changes so I can accept him as the love interest or his motivations are revealed, providing some insight and justification for his shady behavior.

My hero in Threads of Desire is a dark hero. (Don’t worry, he’s not trying to impregnate anyone!) The heroine, Ily, recognizes from the beginning that he’s dangerous. He’s an aristocrat in a world that has a pretty strict caste system. He’s wealthy and powerful while she’s living on the streets and barely scraping by. So while she’s sexually attracted to him, she’s smart enough to keep her distance. At least initially. Kal needs something from her, something he can’t reveal without being certain of her loyalty, and his persistence eventually wins her over. He lets her think she can have it all—his body, his money, her freedom—right up until the moment he pulls the rug out from under her feet. And then…well, you’ll have to decide for yourself if he earns redemption.

Guild-trained weaver Ily is furious her rival Kal, a smug yet wickedly sexy rug merchant, outsells her at every turn. She knows her magically crafted rugs are far superior to anything he can produce, but can't compete with his charming personality.

When Kal fixes his lusty attentions on Ily, she is reluctantly aroused by his interest. She knows he desires her and against her better judgment, she wants him too. A chance encounter leads her to make him a scandalous offer: her body in exchange for enough money to leave the city. She sees their time together as a temporary erotic adventure...until Kal reveals that what he truly wants from Ily is more personal--and more dangerous--than bed play. And she must choose between taking her chance at a new life or risking it all for a man she never meant to love.

Amazon Barnes & Noble Carina Press

I do love this trope so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

To celebrate the release of Threads of Desire, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes&Noble (winner's choice)! The giveaway runs January 21-28. Enter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 21, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week

Guild-trained weaver Ily is furious her rival Kal, a smug yet wickedly sexy rug merchant, outsells her at every turn. She knows her magically crafted rugs are far superior to anything he can produce, but can't compete with his charming personality.

When Kal fixes his lusty attentions on Ily, she is reluctantly aroused by his interest. She knows he desires her and against her better judgment, she wants him too. A chance encounter leads her to make him a scandalous offer: her body in exchange for enough money to leave the city. She sees their time together as a temporary erotic adventure...until Kal reveals that what he truly wants from Ily is more personal--and more dangerous--than bed play. And she must choose between taking her chance at a new life or risking it all for a man she never meant to love.

Carina Press / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

***


Book two of Blood of the Pride

Rebecca Desjardin, a P.I. and cat shifter, doesn't normally find herself in strip clubs. But a popular male dancer has been murdered in Pennsylvania, and it looks like the work of a shifter from the local Pride. Rebecca has a duty to help protect her kind--and she needs to find justice for the dead.

Her impromptu trip leaves her boyfriend, reporter Brandon Hanover, unhappy. He's only just come to terms with the fact that she's a Felis, and their relationship is still so new... Rebecca is determined to deal with the murder first, then deal with their future.

As her investigation unfolds, she's met with grudging cooperation and half-truths. Does the Pride want her to find justice, or help them hide a killer? Frustrated and unable to shake the sexy local shifter who says he's on her side, Rebecca can't seem to scratch out the truth--at least not on her own. But when Brandon shows up, is he there to help or to mark his territory?

Buy

***

Adventure and romance awaits in worlds that never were but should have been. Magic and science blend together as Gears and Levers explores the quest for all that makes up humanity. Battle pirates, walk with ghosts, fly in dirigibles, explore the wonders world, and walk with automatons in twenty amazing tales set in Steampunk lands by masterful storytellers such as Alma Alexander, Irene Radford, Chaz and Karen Brenchley, David Lee Summers, Shawna Reppert, Larry Lefkowitz, Tina Connolly, Jeanette Bennett, Voss Foster, Frog and Esther Jones, and many more.


Shawna Reppert's steampunk werewolf story The Beast Within appears in the brand-new e-book anthology Gears and Levers 2 from Sky Warrior Books.

Available through Amazon

And while you're there, check out her indie stuff


Links of Interest

The battle against 'sexist' sci-fi and fantasy book covers: "My next book has a woman on the cover," Hines says."And I told my publisher: 'if you put her into one of these spine-contorted poses, the entire internet is going to make fun of you.'"

Why online book discovery is broken (and how to fix it)

A couple of great posts from Christine Bell: Demystifying Rankings (for those of us who just GOTTA know!) and Follow up to Demystifying Rankings...my .02 on raising those ranks.



Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Enter the Threads of Desire giveaway on Eleri Stone's blog for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card!

Cindy Spencer Pape's Moonlight & Mechanicals was the runner up for Best Book at LRC!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Price, Magic?

Posted by: Nicole Luiken


I love me a cool magic system.  What do I mean by ‘system’?  Basically, the magical laws that set out how the magic works in that particular author’s world.  The possibilities are limitless.

Here are just a few of my favourites:
  • Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series.  Magic is based on ‘binding’ things, such as two enemy’s weapons, together. 
  • Rachel Aaron’s Eli Montpurse, thief extraordinaire, can talk inanimate objects into doing what he wants, such as a prison door into disintegrating. 
  • Dave Duncan’s hero in A Man of His Word, grows magically stronger every time he discovers a new magic word—but five proves to be too many.

Does magic have to have rules?  No.  In fact, some argue that giving magic rules takes away from its essential *magic* and that magic should not be treated like a science.

Wild magic often incorporates creatures such as fae, which are inherently magic by their very nature.  Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry wields magic of this kind: strong, but often unpredictable and carrying a bloody price.  The magic does what it wants, when it wants.

Ultimately, I don’t think it matters whether or not magic has rules so long as it comes with a price of some kind.

I confess I’ve grown jaded about the old-school wizardry, where wizards spend years studying magic and memorizing spells.  The magic has a price, sure, but it’s usually paid somewhere off-screen before the action takes place.  (And it means all your wizard characters are bearded-Gandalf-old or long-lived elves—or both.)

If magic appears at the mere snap of a finger, then it becomes too easy for your main character to get out of difficult situations.  (Teleport spell!)  Which can lead to boring scenes.  This can be the equivalent of a Mary Sue character.

When I wrote Gate to Kandrith, I decided that magic came with a high price, a sacrifice.  In fact, it’s called ‘slave magic’ because the price is so high that only the truly desperate are willing to use it. 

However, the price of magic needn’t be sky-high.  While Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden obviously spends time and effort on his magic, he can also use magical artifacts like his staff to simply blast away with in a fight.  Yet Harry remains very readable, because he’s always facing opponents with greater magic than him and getting beat up.

Or the price of magic may be more societal: becoming an outlaw who is pursued and hunted down by those who want the power for themselves or who have forbidden its practice.

One type of magic that comes with a built-in price are creatures such as werewolves or vampires.  They are super-fast and super-strong, but have well-known weaknesses: sunlight and stakes for vamps, silver and forced change by the moon for werewolves.   

The rules can, of course, be bent and changed—J.R. Ward’s Brotherhood of the Black Dagger are fascinatingly different from Bram Stoker’s vampires. 

One drawback can be discarded (for instance, not many modern vamps fear garlic), but beware of weakening the price too much.  If, say, your vampires sparkle in sunlight instead of bursting into flame, you may end up paying a different price with your readership.

What are some of your favourite magic systems?  Do you prefer magic systems or wild magic?  Do you think magic should come with a price?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Some Sweet Deals

Posted by: Marie Harte
Ah, the magic of reading a book. That feeling can only be enhanced knowing you found that book for free or at a great discount. *grin* In this day and age when it helps to save every penny, everyone wants to be smart about buying. So many publishers and distributors are offering deals and free reads. I thought I'd share some of the places I've frequented, because I've found some great authors through them.

  • Pixel of Ink and the Kindle Daily Deal are great resources for free and discounted Kindle books. 
  • Barnes & Noble has Nook Books Under $5.
  • All Romance eBooks has a discount deal page, and you can view books by price as well. They also have several free collections available all the time. Here's one I'm a part of, Just One Bite Vol. 2.
  • Ellora's Cave offers one or two books for free each week. It's a nice way to take a chance on a new author without spending a dime. They also have a backlog of free short stories. Check their Sale tab to see their Values from the Vault and free reads.
  • Total E-Bound also has free short stories available all the time, and they offer discounts on new books. 
  • Samhain also offers one or two free books a week. Go to their shopping page. This week it's A Hint of Frost . But there's also a page of books still for free by terrific authors. And if you buy the new books the week they're out, you get an automatic discount.
  • Your library has ebooks to check out. See their directions and don't miss such a great opportunity to read both print and ebooks for free.
There are so many options anymore for delving into great reads that don't cost much that you have to work hard not to find an excuse to grab a book. Good luck! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Magic of Travel

Posted by: Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka
I left bright and early this morning for a vacation I've been dying to go on for a while. (Somewhere new!) You see, I was raised in a family that started out going somewhere different every year. Then around 1984, my parents developed a love affair with Myrtle Beach, SC, and it became our go-to destination every year.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love it there, but every year? There's too much of the world to see. And I'm not much of a lie-on-the-beach-all-day person. Still, my parents made a point of doing family vacations every year, and that was always important to me.

Fast-forward to having my own kids, and I still think they're important. For a few years, my husband and I got in a rut not so unlike the one my parents made. You see, we're both Disney freaks, and our kids like it too (as most do). So we had been to Disney World three out of the last four vacations. (The one in between was when the kids and I joined hubs on a business trip overseas.)

And we found ourselves talking about doing Disney again. I didn't want to; he did. We finally agreed to leave it up to the kids. Imagine his shock when our kids (7 & 11) announced that they'd rather go someplace new. Then they started talking about our trip to Italy and the funny words and gelato and the Coliseum and a bunch of other things. (I didn't bother mentioning how many of the places we saw that year that had made it into a manuscript.) Hubs was disappointed, but I reminded him that if we take a break, Disney might actually be magical again next year.

So, we are in Florida right now, and I imagine he's pretty antsy to shove us in a car and drive to Orlando, but tomorrow we're boarding the Oasis of the Seas and cruising to the Caribbean so we can swim with dolphins and snorkel with stingrays and see the ruins of Tulum. (Actual activities not yet decided :P) I'll be begging the kids to eat something new, and he'll give me the "I told you so" look. But then we'll see dolphins racing the boat and try out the zipline on the ship, and I'll get to give it right back to him.

Because at the end of the day, vacation for me isn't about the food. (Although, that might not be strictly true of Italy--yum!) It's about seeing and experiencing new things. It's about fun with the people I love.

And, okay, it's about hopefully finding some little tidbits to work into a book. I don't think Disney would like it so much if I used their parks as a major player in one of my books. And really, if you're at Disney World, the park is a character all on its own. So, wish me luck, I'm off to see a man about what would happen if someone skated onto the ship's ice rink in the middle of a show. And then I'm going to ask how many zipline accidents they've had onboard before I use that tiny little wire to try to conquer my fear of heights.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Magic of a Medieval Castle in New York

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

I’ve always daydreamed about medieval castles and valiant knights, even a few damsels in distress. Fortunately when I traveled overseas for business several years ago I had time over the weekends to sight see.
The Cloisters - New York CityI didn’t have to go overseas though. All I had to do is take a trip to Washington Heights on the northern tip of Manhattan and visit the Cloisters. The Cloisters and its gardens rise proudly on the shores of the Hudson River.
The museum opened in 1936 and is devoted to medieval art and architecture. The building itself is not a copy but rather a composite design that includes elements from Saint-Michel-de-CuxaSaint-Guilhem-le-DésertBonnefont-en-CommingesTrie-en-Bigorre, and Froville from the 12th to 15th centuries.

Interested in medieval art, George Grey Barnard, a sculptor and architect, gathered discarded fragments of medieval architecture from French villages before World War I. He established this collection in a church-like brick building near his home in Washington Heights. The collection outgrew its home and both the building and collection were purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1925.  Rockefeller, also an avid art collector, added to the collection. His most notable addition was the Flemish tapestries depicting The Hunt of the Unicorn.  
The Hunt of the Unicorn   
North of Barnard's original building Rockefeller purchased the 67 the Cloisters sits on today as well as an additional 700 acres across the Hudson River in New Jersey to ensure the view. 

Incorporating the various cloisters from Europe, architech Charles Collens went on to design The Cloisters we see today. The Cloisters is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The curators made every attempt to maintain the medieval appearance. The land surrounding the Cloisters has been planted according to horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents and herbals. The Cloisters houses a wonderful collection of over five thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from the ninth to the sixteenth century. Works include tapestries, stained-glass windows, column capitals, exquisite illuminated manuscripts,  metalwork, enamels, and ivories all set in this unique context.

On a warm summer day you can find the grounds of The Cloister filled with sight seers and picnickers. While it may not be exactly the same a walking through the medieval buildings in Europe, it’s a close second!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My BEAUTY AND THE BASTARD is released as an audio book today!

Posted by: David Bridger

This is my first audio book and I'm thrilled to bits with it. Beauty and the Bastard is narrated by Gena Maravella, produced and published by Jennifer Feddersen of AudioLark, and distributed by Audible. It's a lovely production.


Saul the Bastard is a fallen angel who works as a bounty hunter for powerful urban demon families. Rebecca Drake, a modern day demon princess, is being hunted by dangerous desert demons. When Rebecca's family hires Saul to protect her, they are both unhappy with the arrangement, but before long sparks fly as they try to resist their strong mutual attraction.
For the first time in living memory, Saul has someone to love; someone he's scared of losing; someone the desert demons have marked to be their next sacrifice.
You can buy the Beauty and the Bastard audio book at Audible.com or Audible.co.uk.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week


Book two of Alliance of the Amazons

Megan Feurer is strong and impetuous, like the Fire element she represents. She is an Amazon, sworn to protect humanity from demons, demigods and all manner of supernatural beings who wish ill upon the world. But her fire burns hot and fast, and her unpredictable control of the element brings into question her fitness as an Amazon.

Johann Herrmann chose the life of a Sentinel--a trainer of the four Amazons--to save his sister's life. Now bound to the patron goddess Rhiannon, he knows his duty demands a solitary existence. But when he's assigned to evaluate the Fire Amazon, his sacrifice becomes much more difficult.

Megan's passions ignite a flame that neither she nor Johann can control, and the goddess Freya has reason to fan those flames. A mysterious force is gaining power, and Megan and Johann must join together to fight. And once a passionate fire has started, it's nearly impossible to stop...

Find out how it all began in The Reluctant Amazon.

91,000 words

Buy

***


Barista Jen Hamby's coworkers give her a hard time for bringing coffee and pastries to a homeless man who sits outside her café--but she has a secret. The scruffy man is her father.

She's also hiding the little matter of why her palm itches. But how can she explain that her hand has a mind of its own and writes messages from the beyond? Right. That'll get her Employee of the Month.

When she finds herself scrawling your boyfriend is cheating on you! to herself on the bathroom mirror, she immediately dumps the guy. But then his little fling--who just happens to be her half sister--turns up dead, and suddenly Jen's homeless father is the prime suspect.

Jen knows he is being framed and must take matters into her own hands to protect him. But will anyone believe that the crazy old man is innocent? Or that his spirit-writing daughter holds the truth?

66,000 words

Buy

***


Midsummer’s Eve by Shona Husk

When Zoe walked out on the dare-devil photographer Sam Lincoln she never expected to see him again. Now he is here covering the reopening of a winery that nearly burned down, the one where they’d planned to marry. Seeing Zoe is a shock. Five years ago Sam hadn’t been able to refuse the job of a lifetime, but in exchange he lost the love of his life. With a little help from the winery’s lusty patron spirit Zoe and Sam might be able to put the past aside and rekindle what they’d thought lost.


Amazon   iTunes

Links of Interest

Want to read A Memory of Light without re-reading the whole series? TOR has a series of posts to help you out with that.

The wrong goodbye of Barnes and Noble

Mark Coker's 2013 Book Publishing Industry Predictions - Indie Ebook Authors Take Charge Thoughts?

5 Surprises About Self-Publishing Well-balanced post, IMO.

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

"Kiss of the Goblin Prince" by Shona Husk is a finalist in the favourite paranormal romance category of the ARR awards and Shona is a finalist in the favourite Australian Romance Author:
http://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/2012-arr-awards-finalists-announced/

"Gate to Kandrith" by Nicole Luiken has been nominated for a CAPA Award (Cupid and Pysche Award) over at The Romance Studio!

Cover reveal for Lost City Shifters Book Three on Eleri Stone's blog. A very furry little wolfie. Well, maybe not little...

Several HBM members have been nominated for Love Romances Café Best of 2012 awards. Vote here!

Rebecca York reports that her indie Decorah Security Series is doing very well.  She’s just past the ten thousand mark in sales.  And her Decorah Security Collection, with a novella, a novel and two short stories is currently her best seller.

Check out our new Facebook page!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Born Behind the Veil

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

Lord Byron
Some children are born with a mask, a birth caul, made of a thin membrane that covers their face. While these births are very rare, they do hold special significance. Stories and myths abound about the caul. Many are pure fabrication. 

The correct name for children born with a caul is Caulbearer. Because the membrain looks like a thin veil, people born this way are referred to as being ‘born behind the veil.’ 

Men or women can be Caulbearers. They come from any social class, race or religious group. These births are not indigenous to any geographical boundaries. There is some indication that caul births tend to run in families. Statistics indicate there may be as few as one caul birth in 80,000 births.

Caulbearers are held in high regard because the time and place of these births can be calculated in advance. In addition, these people had abilities that were not common to many others. Some of their abilities include finding underground water, knowing when weather patterns will change, and predicting when food supplied will be plentiful.

Many are natural healers and are associated with the laying of hands. Many also have the ability to rule nations, and possess insights which other find difficult to understand. Many cultures consider Caulbearers to be "Kings by right" because their birth was predicted and they have fine leadership abilities. These traits are recognized by certain Buddhist groups who seek out Caulbearers to be the Dalai Lamas.

In ancient times, long before religious priests evolved, Caulbearers were held in high regard for their knowledge in many subjects and became the early priests and teachers. In the Middle Ages, Caulbearers were identified as witches and burned at the stake.

I found an interesting note. The word Caulbearer will not be found in the standard dictionaries. In the  Middle Ages, when the Church eliminated anything they thought sacrilegious, most mention of Caulbearers was destroyed.

Famous Caulbeareres include: Lord Byron, Alexander the Great, Queen Christina of Sweden, Kahlil Gibran, Jesus, and Liberace. Fictional People include: David Copperfield, Hamlet, and Danny (Stephen King’s The Shining).

This was all wonderful background for my heroine in The Guardian's Witch. It is scheduled to be published this July. The story takes place in 1290 by the border of England and Scotland in 1290. Lord Alex Stelton can’t resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it’s his. Desperate for land of his own, he’ll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.

Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she’d never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can’t get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they’ll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Round Robin: Part Six

Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty
To view earlier pieces of the round robin, here's the link: http://herebemagic.blogspot.com/p/round-robin-story.html

Happy reading!


PART THIRTY TWO
By Shawna Thomas, http://www.shawnathomas.com

Delphie stared at the tome of instructions. A thought struck her. Wasn’t it odd that Me had shown up, pretty damn randomly, in the top-secret djinn dimension, yet Stride hadn’t complained about intruders?

Before Me had come to the door, she’d wished she had reliable fairy dust. And poof, here was a manual to teach her how to use the fairy dust. She’d been hungry and boom, one of her favorite snacks. It was like she thought of something and it appeared.

Come to think of it, she’d wished for a lot of things in the past several hours. She’d wished for the curse to be lifted, she’d wished to be pretty again, she’d wished for a way out of the frat house… And while she hadn’t wished for a hot, half-naked hunk to give her a full body massage, Stride was distracting her from what promised to be a Huge Revelation.

Delphie glanced from the book to Stride and back again. No, it was coincidence. Had to be. Then again, this was the genie, er, djinn dimension. Maybe there was something to the three wishes thing? But which wishes counted and which ones didn’t? What was she missing?

She’d never figure it out with Stride feeling her up…and melting her down. Delphi extricated herself from his embrace. It would take every bit of pixie speed and agility she possessed to avoid his advances. Especially when part of her really didn’t want to. But she couldn’t think when his lips...

Nope, better not think about it.

“I know you’re interested,” Stride said. “You kissed me back, remember? Kissing will keep you from talking, and we have unfinished business.”

“Have you considered that the barghests might have unfinished business too?” she argued, glancing at the hole in the roof. It so wasn’t the time for a romantic interlude. One of the beasts might be a kitten now, but they weren’t all kittens.

First things first. She’d stop the advances of Mr. Djinn Octopus, try to keep more of the turbo beasts out of the cabin, get Dash to a healer and then get home. Home!

“We’ll deal with that when it happens,” Stride said, stalking her across the cabin. “Your eyes are beautiful. Like crystalline gemstones. And your lips…”

She smiled despite herself. Her eyes were one of her best features. And her lips…

Stride reached for her and almost caught her.

Concentrate, Delphie!

It wasn’t easy to figure out the next phase of her Huge Revelation while Stride chased her around the cabin. She fended him off yet again and wondered if she should go out the door, where Me was.

How had Me gotten to the djinn dimension? Was the customer service homing beacon that powerful, or had she wished Me here? Was that why Stride hadn’t been that upset? She didn’t know how djinn wishes worked, but magic took a logical path if at all possible. Either way, Me might know a way home. And if he did, he could take her with him.

Provided he didn’t get eaten by a barghest first. She sprinted toward the door.

“You want to be chased?” Stride asked, blocking her path.

“Chaste. Like you djinn are supposed to be.” She feinted one direction and dodged around him.

He laughed. “I’ve tired of chaste, and I’ve proven good at chasing. I caught Dash, didn’t I? Catching you will be much more fulfilling than what Dash has in store.”

Dash. Dammit. Guilt slammed into her and she stopped. She couldn’t leave this dimension without getting her first djinn to a healer. To find a healer she needed Stride.

Who promptly embraced her from behind. His scent enveloped her. For a moment she was tempted to lean back into his strong arms, enjoy the hardness of his...sculpted frame.

Though what good was getting Dash healed if he was to be executed? There had to be another healer, another monastery somewhere. What she really needed wasn’t Stride but a map.

“You know, you’re making it hard to think,” she said.

“Then don’t think. Feel,” Stride purred. “Kiss me, beautiful. We’ve no need for words.”

“Maybe you don’t, but I sure wish…”

Stride hissed. Blue flashed around them, and Delphie felt a clue stick grab her on the ass. No, wait, that was Stride’s hand.

“I wish I had a map!”

She dropped, twisted and backed away from him until she hit something solid. The bookcase. A piece of paper wafted onto the floor from a higher shelf. A map.

Wouldn’t you know?

Did this confirm djinn wishes or didn’t it? She kicked the map against the wall where it wouldn’t be trampled by Stride’s rather large feet.

Large…feet. Gorgeous body.

Concentrate, Delphie!

She slid along the wall while Stride mirrored her, poised to pounce. Wishes, wishes. If she’d had three wishes, she’d used them already…or had she? The Nutella. No, that wasn’t one. Was it? Had anyone been ticked off when she’d found it? Had there been blue air? Was it connected?

The fairy dust. Okay, that was definitely a wish. The map. Yup. So was that two or three? And what about all her wishes before she’d entered this dimension? Was this why Dash had said those odd things about whether she wished they’d all three been in his bedroom?

Someone really should have told her about wishing so she could have kept track. Argh, it was enough to make her wish she’d stayed in bed that morning.

Oops. She clamped her hand over her mouth.

Nothing happened.

“Allow me to silence you with my lips,” Stride offered seductively.

Damn it. It seemed she’d used the wishes all up. What else did she have at her disposal?

The map. And the instruction booklet. She took a deep breath and rushed to the front door to toe open the fairy dust manual, Stride right behind her. She felt his warmth a moment before he touched her.

He trailed kisses down her neck. Oh no. She melted against him. How did he know that was her second-favorite spot to be kissed? His hand caressed her cheek, her hair, her lips. She shivered and tried to concentrate on the writing on the page.

What she saw was… “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“What?” Stride backed up a step.

“It’s not you. I mean, it is you, but...” Delphie stamped her foot against the floor and glanced down.

The bag of fairy dust lay crumpled a few feet away. Stride followed her glance.

“Oh no, you don’t!”

She stepped closer to him and trailed a finger across his lips. “What’s wrong, big boy? You know what happens when you chase something long enough?” She moved her fingers down to his neck and then slowly brought her lips to his ear. “You eventually catch it.”

She licked his lobe. The djinn groaned and closed his eyes. Dephie dove for the bag, pinched a small amount of the dust between her fingers and threw it at Stride while yelling a word of command.

The fairy dust sparkled around him. Stride blinked and shook his head.

So White Sands’ fairy dust was different. It required words of command. How archaic. Delphie waited. Would it work?

PART THIRTY-THREE
By Cindy Spencer Pape, www.cindyspencerpape.com

Poof!

“What the hell have you done to me, pixie?” Stride’s voice was much higher-pitched when it came out of a foot-tall djinn. Roughly the size of a Ken Doll, he stuck his hands on his hips. “Fix it. Now.”

Delphie shook her head. “Nope. Not until you shake the lust out of your system and help me figure out how to save your brother. Keep it up and I’ll shrink you down further and put you in an infinity bottle just like his.”

Stride muttered a long string of what had to be curses. That tone and inflection was the same in any language. Probably pretty creative ones, too, based on the length and vehemence of his diatribe. When he finally came up for air, he glared up at Delphie. “Why do you care about the traitor anyway? His fate has already been decided.”

“I care because you’re right. I got him into this mess.” Delphie heard the tremor in her own voice and winced. She hated being weepy, but damn it, she did care about Dash, for whatever stupid reason. “There has to be some way around your king’s stupid rules.”

“Very well.” Stride bowed his small, gorgeous head. “There is a way, but I don’t think you’re going to like it.”

“I don’t have to like it, but I’ll do it.” Delphie straightened her spine and stared down at the mini-Stride. “I may have a habit of getting into messes, but I make a point of always cleaning them up. Tell me how to save him.”

“First, erase inconvenient lust and return me to my full size. Then wish us to the monastery.” Stride sighed. “Once the monks have healed him, the abbot can perform the ceremony.”

“Wishes are real. I knew it,” she exclaimed. “That’s the blue glow, isn’t it?”

“Wishes are main reason the djinn dimension is secret and djinn do not leave it,” he said. “But we’ll discuss this later. I thought you were worried about Dash?”

“I think I used up all my wishes.” Delphie nibbled on her lower lip. “My last one didn’t work.”

“You’ve one more, at the least.” Stride tapped his tiny foot. “You pulled two wishes from me. I felt them. Any others you made would have been granted by my brother, whom you so thoughtfully stuck into an infinity bottle where magics and wishes cannot affect him.”

“Are you saying we could have healed your brother or stopped the barghest if you’d had the guts to tell me about wishing before I used the infinity bottle?”

His face grew stony. “To tell an outsider about wish granting is forbidden. If the compulsion isn’t used in a certain time frame, it fades, erasing the djinn’s entrapment.”

“In other words, you’re a selfish asshole,” Delphie concluded. “I think we’re beyond me being an outsider now. You’d better explain everything before you get someone killed.”

“There’s no need to explain. You have one remaining wish, and I’ll tell you what to wish for to best solve the quandary we find ourselves in with Dash. After that, you can leave this dimension and never return.”

“Not so fast. Do I get three wishes from any djinn I meet?” Delphie grinned. “What about that nasty queen? Do I get wishes from her?”

“No. Wishes are touch activated—by the opposite gender.” Stride’s smirk was obnoxious, even in miniature. “Since you and I have touch activation covered, I did owe you three. But there are limits, you know.”

“Of course I don’t know.” It explained why Stride had been freakish about skin contact, but Dash hadn’t seemed at all worried. He’d sought it out, in fact. Did he not care whether he granted wishes? “I’ve never met a djinn since you’re all so reclusive. How am I supposed to know the rules?”

“The rules are common sense. No wishing for more wishes. No changing the past. No global destruction or global peace. The usual.”

“Fine.” His superior attitude was getting more than a little annoying. “I wish you--”

“Stop!” He kicked her shin with his small foot. “You can’t waste the last one on whatever you were about to say. We need to transport to the monastery with it. Your dust won’t do that for us, will it?”

“I was only going to--”

He kicked her again. It felt like rubber bands pinging her skin. “Pixie, do not say another word. We truly need the last wish for transport. Djinn powers are very constrained.”

She was going to wish he wasn’t even a tiny bit attracted to her, but it could wait. She did have proper instructions for the fairy dust now, and he was right—she couldn’t transport them to the monastery if she’d never been there.

“Before we go,” he ordered, “use your cursed dust to return me to my normal size.”

“Okay.” Delphie pulled out a half pinch of fairy dust. “On one condition. You have to promise Dash won’t get executed.”

He gave a downright evil chuckle. “I promise. This is going to be even more fun than catching him in the first place.” Then he eyed the dust. “Please use that vile substance carefully. I’ve no desire to turn into a kitten.”

“I read the rules.” One page of them, anyway. She sprinkled dust on his wee head and commanded him to return to normal. As soon as he was back to his original six feet, she tapped her foot. “Now let’s go.”

“You have to wish us to the monastery if you don’t want to walk through the barghest-infested woods in the dark.” Stride eyed the fairy dust, so Delphie stuffed it down into her bra. He’d better not go after it there, or she’d use her last wish to shrivel his…ego. “I don’t have Dash’s superspeed.”

“We could fly,” she reminded him. “We do have wings.” She’d rather save that last wish. Who knew when she could wrangle any more of them if all the djinn dudes would be super-careful not to touch her?

“That takes almost as long as walking,” he responded, “and barghests aren’t the only beasts in the forest. Some have wings too.”

“You’ve got an answer for everything, don’t you?” What a jerk! He was wasting time taunting her while his brother could be dying. “Tell me what to say. I’ve already learned how annoyingly literal you can be.”

“Smart.” He tipped his chin at her. “Repeat after me. ‘I wish Stride, Dash and I were safely in the healer’s quarters at the Ainmire monastery.’ Then you might want to hold my arm. Your touch is not currently an issue for me.”

Other than the arm-holding part, that sounded harmless enough. Delphie obediently repeated the words but kept her hands to herself.

There was a flash and a pop, then Delphie felt her head wobble, like riding a merry-go-round after too much tequila. Her feet landed on a smooth stone floor, and Stride popped into sight beside her. She swayed, and he smirked when she grabbed his arm for balance.

A plump old djinn with graying dark hair and wide yellow eyes hurried over, his soft black robe swishing around bare feet and ankles. “Stride, whatever’s the matter?”

“We need your help, Uncle. I finally arrested Dash, but he’s gotten himself into another fix.” Stride took the stasis bottle from Delphie’s hand. “He came up against a barghest and some foul fairy dust.”

The man stared into the bottle. “Oh, my poor boy. You say fairy dust did this?” He narrowed her eyes at Delphie. “Wielded by a pixie, perchance?”

“Not on purpose.” Delphie’s lower lip trembled ominously and she bit down on it. “Can you help him? I can free him from the stasis jar, but he’ll need to be immediately healed to withstand the shock.”

“Of course I can, child.” Uncle Djinn, or whatever his name was, studied Dash’s container again. “Although—I hate to say it—this might be kinder than bringing him back to face execution. He looks rather peaceful right now.”

“The pixie has offered to do whatever needs to be done in order to rescind the execution order, Uncle,” Stride said. “Heal him and make sure she changes him to normal size while I get the abbot.”

“Very well.” The old man actually smiled at Delphie. “That’s very kind of you, miss. I hope you two will be very happy together.”

“What do you mean?” Delphie looked back and forth between the two grinning djinn as if she were watching a tennis match. “What don’t I know? And why do you need the abbot?”

Stride chuckled low and wickedly. “To perform the ceremony, of course.”

“What ceremony?”

“Your wedding.”

PART THIRTY-FOUR
By RL Naquin, http://www.rlnaquin.com/

Delphie blinked. What? The two men stood in silence, waiting while she processed this news. Her brain swirled around in her head like a smoothie in a blender. After considerable time spent tumbling around each other to the sound of a flushing toilet, Delphie’s thoughts coalesced into a single word: Wedding.

The snort that erupted from her was decidedly un-pixielike. “My wedding?”

Stride grinned and nodded. He was entirely too pleased about the situation. Bastard.
Delphie bit her lip and thought about it. It wasn’t like she’d never been married before. Pixie marriages sometimes lasted as long as six months, but normally, a weekend or so was all there was to it. She held up the infinity bottle to the light and squinted at Dash’s still form. He was pretty hot. Irritating and pushy at times, sure, but she could overlook that for a bit. Hells, she could probably keep him around for a good month before getting bored.

“Fine,” she said.

Stride frowned. “Fine, what?”

She shrugged. “I’ll do it. Go get the abbot guy. If it’ll save Dash’s life, I’m game.”

Uncle Djinn beamed at her. “Welcome to the family, my girl!” He threw his arms around her in an enormous bear hug that made her squeak.

Stride muttered under his breath and scowled.

“What?” Delphie asked, one eyebrow quirked.

“Nothing.” He refused to look her in the eye. “The sun is up, so it should be safe to travel. I’ll be back in an hour.” He turned on his heal and stomped out the door.

“Huh,” Delphie said. “What was that all about?”

Uncle Djinn shook his head. “There’s no telling. My sister’s boys are so volatile.” He pointed at the bottle still clutched in Delphie’s fist. “Shall we get started?”

She held out the bottle. “We’ll have to work fast. He’s in pretty bad shape.”

“You leave that to me, my girl. Pull him out and restore him to his normal, scrawny size, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

Scrawny? Were they talking about the same guy? Delphie licked her lips and thought about the rippling muscles of her husband to be. The coming month had real potential. “Is there somewhere special you want me to put him, Uncle Dj…” She stopped herself. Uncle Djinn was probably rude. “What’s your name?”

“Zip. You can call me Uncle Zip.”

Zip. Dash. Stride. What on earth was wrong with the men in this family? Didn’t anybody stroll or meander? Was there a Grandpa Waddle in the family? Delphie squelched a giggle.

“Where do you want me to put him, Uncle Zip?”

He waved at a couch up against the wall. “Over there is fine.” He grabbed a handful of silver-flaked rocks from a bowl on a table and zipped over. The man could move fast, despite his bulk. It explained the name.

Delphie followed him, then produced a full pinch of dust from the bag her cleavage. She sprinkled dust over the bottle. “Restore!” she said in a strong, sure voice.

The bottle shook in her hand, and mist rose from the opening. It curled on itself, then floated over the couch, spreading and solidifying into the shape of a man.

Dash moaned. One weak hand rose up to swat at something invisible only he could see. His strength left him, and his arm dropped to his side. His breathing slowed in rattling gasps. They were losing him fast.

Uncle Zip went to work, laying the rocks in a straight line down Dash’s body. He mumbled words Delphie didn’t recognize, then bent over Dash and blew on the stones. They lit up in bright, neon colors. Uncle Zip clapped his hands together. The rocks quivered, and their lights went out.

Dash opened his eyes. “Woman, so help me, if you ever turn me into a mouse again, I will turn you over my knee and spank you until you beg for mercy.”

Delphie pushed the bag of pixie dust deeper into her cleavage and tried to decide if that might be worth trying. She felt her cheeks get warm.

“Enough of that,” Uncle Zip said. “Play whatever games you want on the honeymoon, but right now we have a wedding to get ready!” He disappeared into the next room, humming “Moonriver.”

Dash sat up and scratched his head. “Honeymoon? Wedding?”

Delphie took a step back and looked away. Telling Dash the bizarre news while standing so close to him was awkward and embarrassing. “They said it was the only way to keep you from being executed.”

He frowned. “And you agreed to this?”

She nodded. “I got you into this. It’s my responsibility.”

He was silent for a few minutes. Delphie would have given her last pinch of dust to hear what he was thinking. But she didn’t ask. She shifted her feet and tried not to fidget while she waited.

After a while, Dash cleared his throat. “Are you sure?”

She smiled. “I’m sure.”

His eyes drifted over her body, taking in every curve, then returned to her face. “Thank you,” he said. His voice was soft.

Uncle Zip barreled into the room carrying a small wreath of dried flowers looped over his arm, a filmy red curtain panel, and a small box. “Here we are!” He draped the curtain over Delphie’s head and slipped the flowers over it to hold it in place like a crown. “Now you look like a bride.”

He grinned down at her. Delphie felt ridiculous. She glanced over at Dash and found him smiling, too. She shrugged. Good enough for djinn, apparently.

The door opened and Stride walked in with a little man in a long green gown and a tall gold hat.

“There’s the happy couple!” the abbot said, gliding across the room. “I understand there’s some urgency.”

“We’re all ready for you, Your Adequacy,” Uncle Zip said.

Dash and Stride exchanged a look Delphie had trouble reading. Hostility? Dread? She sighed. Men were always taking everything so seriously.

“Lighten up, guys,” she said.

They lined up in front of the abbot, who tried hard to arrange his face into some sort of serious expression but mostly failed. He elbowed Uncle Zip. “I haven’t performed one of these in nearly a hundred years! Do you have the cord?”

Uncle Zip opened the small box he’d brought out earlier and produced a thick rope woven of golden threads. The abbot wrapped it around Dash’s left wrist and hand, then did the same to Delphie’s right with the other end of the cord.

“Do you, Delphinia Bathseba Slippery-Elm take this djinn to be your husband?”

Delphie gasped. How did he know her name? And where was the pomp and ceremony? The long-winded lead up to the vows? She shook her head. Djinn were a mystery.

The abbot frowned. “Is that a no?”

“What? No. I mean yes.” Delphie took a deep breath and pulled her head together. “I mean, I do.”

The abbot smiled and turned to Dash. “Do you, Dashiel Wilbur Fortunata al Balgamesh take this pixie to be your wife?”

Dash swallowed hard. “I do.”

“Then let it be so!” The abbot waved his hand over the cord that held their hands together. It glowed a bright blue, then sank into their skin and disappeared. “May the cord that binds your souls never chafe, and may your love burn ever bright as the seven suns of Palafinia. I now pronounce you husband and wife until the end of time.”

Delphie choked. “Until the end of time?”

The abbot smiled. “Why yes, child. Marriage is forever. Not even death can tear you apart, now.” He leaned toward Dash. “What are you waiting for, son? Kiss your bride!”


***

Is this the end for Delphie? Of her single and fancy-free ways, anyway. Because it might just be the start of something brand new.

Check back in two weeks when we'll have the kiss! Maybe. I never know what these authors are going to come up with...

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com  * www.meankitty.com
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