Thursday, February 28, 2013

Manipulating My Readers. Bwah-ha-ha!

Posted by: Tia Nevitt
I have learned to be more manipulative as a writer.

But this is not a bad thing. As a reader, in fact, I love it. So naturally, I think other readers must like it as well.

Here's what happened. I was writing an early version of THE MAGIC MIRROR AND THE SEVENTH DWARF. And I reread my opening chapter and thought, "Hmm. I need Gretchen to be more likable."

So I changed my Gretchen intro scene. As it was, she was listening to a minstrel talk about this farm that was run entirely by dwarfs. Before my manipulative rewrite, she simply listens to the story, and decides to check out the farm for herself. And maybe see if she can catch a husband.

After my rewrite, she listens to the story about the farm, is singled out as the only dwarf in town, manhandled, humiliated, and THEN she decides to go see the farm for herself.

(You can read the excerpt for yourself here.)

This is something that I only started doing recently, and I don't think it is any coincidence that these are the books that sold. When I was writing THE SEVENFOLD SPELL, one of the very last additions to the story was the scene at the beginning where Talia and her mother are engaging in passive resistance to protest the conficscation of their spinning wheel, and then Talia rushes to defend her mother. Who doesn't need it, but still, it was the thought that counted.


So while I was writing MAGIC MIRROR. I looked for opportunities to be manipulative. And I found them. Here are some teases:

  • Princess Angelika is known as "The Tattered Princess"
  • Lars defends his mates from a bully.
  • Prince Richard pretends to be insane in order to avoid putting people in danger.
  • Herr Dieter builds small furnishings for his small wife.
I also looked for opportunities for my two villains--the evil queen  and the aforementioned bully--to be awful in a sort of reverse-manipulative way.

Do I do this in real life? I'd like to think not, but this has to come from somewhere! Maybe I should ask my husband ...

You can learn more about THE MAGIC MIRROR AND THE SEVENTH DWARF at Carina Press or at my official book page. I have a giveaway going on right now for all my current ebooks--just leave a comment to enter and tell us about your favorite fictional character ever.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Paranormal Parenthood

Posted by: PG Forte

One of the most magical things about writing a series is getting to go back and revisit your characters from time to time, watching them grow and change. That’s certainly the case with today’s new release, Now Comes the Night. This is the third book in my Children of Night series and while writing it I got to travel back in time and view the childhood antics of a couple of my grown-up characters. What makes that especially poignant to me is the timing of this release—because yesterday was my son’s birthday and I can’t help thinking how much fun it would be if I could go back in time and revisit his childhood.  

Okay, fine: some of his childhood, because, yes indeed, there are certain parts I’m happy to have seen the end of!  

But don’t tell him that. ;)

Unfortunately, I can’t do that. I also can’t control his actions or determine his destiny…all ways in which being an author is definitely less stressful than being a parent. See these gray hairs? I did not get them from my characters.

Okay, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t get them from my son either. I got them from my mother’s genes. But that’s completely beside the point!

And now, here’s a quick peek at child raising vampire style! In this scene, Damian has just brought home dinner…
The house was dark as they made their way through the foyer and into the living room, heading straight for the couch—still kissing. Paul wrenched his mouth away from Damian’s only once, just long enough to gasp, “Lights?”
“Not necessary.” Damian pushed the boy back onto the cushions and followed him down.
“Oh, God.” Paul clutched suddenly at Damian, trembling a little, staring wide-eyed at him as if the import of what they were about to do had suddenly dawned on him. “Oh, God, Damian. Don’t stop. Please don’t stop. I want… I want…”
“Easy, Pablito,” Damian crooned, softly biting at Paul’s neck in an attempt to calm the boy’s nerves. “There’s no need to rush. We’ve plenty of time for everything.” He licked at the corner of Paul’s mouth, wanting just one more kiss from him, but even as their lips touched, a flicker of motion caught his eye and made a liar of him. He sighed in resignation. It appeared they had run out of time after all.
Unaware of the frustration they were causing their “uncle”, the twins crept quietly closer with exaggerated stealth—obviously play-acting at being some kind of predators stalking their prey. From the looks of them, and based on the mop head Marc had pinned to the collar of his shirt, he’d guess they were pretending to be lions tonight, the little nuisances.
“Sorry, quequito,” Damian murmured as he brushed a final, brief kiss against Paul’s mouth. He bent his head and swiftly bit the boy’s neck, this time making sure to inject enough venom to knock Paul out completely. “Perhaps later.”
As the boy went limp, Damian sat back on his heels. He could not help but smile as the twins pounced, both of them scrambling up onto the couch and taking one of Paul’s wrists into their chubby hands.
“No more growling,” he cautioned. “And, remember, we do not toy with our food. I want you to show me your best behavior tonight.”
“But I’m a lion,” Marc protested, baring his teeth and roaring loudly. “Grrrr! Lions always toy with their food.”
“Grrr.” Julie giggled as she copied her brother. “I’m a lion too!”
¡Ya basta!” Damian eyed them sternly. “Stop it now. Playtime is over. It’s time to eat. Unless you’re not hungry? In which case, you are both free to go to your room and leave the adults in peace. But if you get hungry later, you’ll just have to settle for what we have in the refrigerator.”
“No.” Marc protested. “Lions hungry. Wanna eat now.”
“Hungry lions,” Julie said still giggling. “Very hungry lions.”
“Starving lions! Grrrr.”
“Well, this is all most unfortunate,” Damian answered. “And I’m quite sorry to hear of it because, as it happens, I’m only feeding good little boys and girls here tonight. So, what’s it going to be, mis niños? Are the lions willing to be put back in their cages until mealtime is over? Or must I lock up the food, instead, to keep it safe?”
The twins looked at each other. It was Julie who broke first. “No more lions,” she sighed, pouting just a little.
“Only while we eat,” Marc said. “After that I want to play lions again. You too, Uncle Damian.”
Damian smiled. “Bueno. Very good. I’m sure I’ll enjoy that. Now, remember your manners, ? And be gentle with your food. This is a very nice boy I’ve brought home for you tonight, I don’t want you hurting him.”
“Speaking of manners,” Conrad drawled from the doorway, “You might wish to adjust your clothing before you say anything more on the subject. I don’t believe the state of undress you’re currently exhibiting is considered quite comme il faut these days.”
“Neither is your use of that phrase,” Damian answered, even as he got up off the couch. “If you must know.” He re-buttoned his jeans and quickly pulled his shirt back into some semblance of order, then went to stand beside Conrad in the doorway. “I’m afraid your language is really very sadly out of date. You should probably work on that.”


Now Comes the Night
Children of Night, Book 3

Home is where the heart bleeds.

Growing up, vampire-born twins Julie and Marc Fischer were taught one simple fact of life: you can choose your food, but not your family. Six months after moving to San Francisco, though, the new challenges and choices each are facing are a Gordian knot of complicated.

Marc must decide whether to stay with Conrad and Damian, the only family he’s ever known, or embrace his destiny and the unexpected family—the ferals—that comes along with it. Meanwhile, Julie is forced to deal with the unpleasant realization that the man she loves isn’t necessarily the man who’s best for her.

For Conrad and Damian, the holiday season is stirring up bittersweet memories, and neither can keep from revisiting past passion and pain.

Faced with new mysteries to solve, new alliances to forge, new secrets to keep, and old relationships to rebuild, it’s no wonder the Fischer-Quintano vampires long for the good old days—when food was food and family was all that mattered. 

Product Warnings
If you’ve previously suffered from Disco Fever, this book could precipitate a relapse. Extreme care is recommended for anyone with a pronounced weakness for mistletoe, fang play, pretty young men of either species or extremely dangerous alpha-male vampire single dads. May contain trace amounts of polyester. 






Monday, February 25, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
 Our new releases this week

Althea Grant's Charleston gallery might be suffering from the bad economy, and her artistic aspirations have gone nowhere, but she's doing just fine, thank you. When bad-boy sculptor Steel rides up on his motorcycle looking to rent studio space, his infusion of cash is more than welcome. But his art is raw, visceral, sexual--and completely inappropriate for her pastel world of watercolor landscapes.

Steel, fascinated by Althea's rare albino coloring, sees in her the key to his next piece: a metal satyr designed for bondage games. Moving into her gallery basement is the first step; seducing the cool Southern belle into modeling for him is the second.

As Steel peels away her careful manners and tasteful outfits, Althea begins to realize her life isn't just fine at all--it's as pale and washed-out as the watercolor paintings she's failing to sell. Can she transform her life and accept her most secret desires?

Buy

***


Eliana, now available from Loose Id

Eliana's never asked for help in her life and doesn't want to start now, but when she's attacked by an incubus and saved by Kon, a gifted healer too beautiful to be real, she's too hurting and hungry to refuse. Kon offers to help her in her search to find her Lakota father's family, and Eliana reluctantly agrees to let him and his half-incubus partner, Dane, drive her north.

The trip gets interesting when Eliana witnesses Dane spanking a willing, naked Kon. Wounded physically and emotionally, Eliana had given up on the idea of ever enjoying sex, but seeing the two of them--and having erotic dreams--makes her yearn to give Kon the pain he craves. Dane agrees to share his lover and teach her the art of domination--but then she finds out Kon has been keeping a devastating secret, one that will put their lives at risk.

Hurt and furious, Eliana leaves and is determined to forget Kon and Dane completely. Though when Dane brings word that Kon is deathly ill and asking for her, Eliana must find the courage to do what she's never done before--fall in love. Twice.

Buy

***

Home is where the heart bleeds.

Children of Night, Book 3

Growing up, vampire-born twins Julie and Marc Fischer were taught one simple fact of life: you can choose your food, but not your family. Six months after moving to San Francisco, though, the new challenges and choices each are facing are a Gordian knot of complicated.

Marc must decide whether to stay with Conrad and Damian, the only family he’s ever known, or embrace his destiny and the unexpected family—the ferals—that comes along with it. Meanwhile, Julie is forced to deal with the unpleasant realization that the man she loves isn’t necessarily the man who’s best for her.

For Conrad and Damian, the holiday season is stirring up bittersweet memories, and neither can keep from revisiting past passion and pain. 

Faced with new mysteries to solve, new alliances to forge, new secrets to keep, and old relationships to rebuild, it’s no wonder the Fischer-Quintano vampires long for the good old days—when food was food and family was all that mattered. 
Product Warnings
If you’ve previously suffered from Disco Fever, this book could precipitate a relapse. Extreme care is recommended for anyone with a pronounced weakness for mistletoe, fang play, pretty young men of either species or extremely dangerous alpha-male vampire single dads. May contain trace amounts of polyester. 


Links of Interest

DRM Lawsuit Filed By Independent Bookstores Against Amazon, 'Big Six' Publishers: "The class-action complaint...claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue in the U.S., Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers."

Half of Amazon Book Sales are Planned Purchases: "...this single statistic, that nearly half of Amazon’s book sales come from people who already know what they want and are simply using Amazon as a way to get it, has huge implications."

7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Book Sales Without Even Realizing It: "1.  You Wait Until After Your Book Is Published To Start Promoting It"

The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike: How Are Some Authors Landing On Best-Seller Lists? They're Buying Their Way

Debut author gets 7-figure book deal for fantasy trilogy inspired in part by President Barack Obama: "The publisher is billing the books as a female version of George R.R. Martin's 'Game of Thrones.'"

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

New Audio Book – Veronica Scott’s 2013 SFR Galaxy Award winning WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM has just been released in audio book format and is wonderfully narrated by actor Michael Riffle. Veronica interviews Michael on her blog today about the experience. The book is available for kindle, in paperback and audio on Amazon.







A new contract:

FICTION: WOMEN'S/ ROMANCE
Eleri Stone's REAPER'S TOUCH, about a heroine entrusted with the power to save her world from a horde of slathering half-human monsters, and the darkly attractive man who has combatted the disease for two hundred years, to Angela James at Carina Press, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2014, by Sara Megibow at Nelson Literary Agency (World).


And last but not least...cover reveals!

May 20, 2013


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sex, Magic and Art

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
I'm one of those rogue creatures.

No I'm not a shapeshifter, or a sorceress or a blood-sucking or brain-eating creature of the night.

I'm an author who writes in multiple genres. And the book I have coming out tomorrow, February 25, boasts no fairies, monsters, pookas, Amazons, Egyptian gods or the various other paranormal creatures who usually prance about this blog.

Some of my other books do, but not this one. Platinum is a contemporary romance with a little art and a lot of kink.

This is not as much of a departure as you might anticipate. At least, not in my world.

See, in my mind, sex IS about magic. And kinky sex, in particular, is about breaking the false bonds that hold us locked into proper social roles and childhood attitudes. Unleashing the power of our true selves means breaking those bonds, shattering the taboos and exulting in all we can be.

One reviewer cited this line from the book:

Art grabbed you like lust—inexplicable and irresistible. You could deny it, but then the unfulfilled desire just ate you up. 
(It's a funny thing when other people quote from something you wrote - it no longer seems familiar. If she hadn't said, I wouldn't have recognized it as mine. Which is, I think, as it should be.)

Those thoughts belong to my heroine, Althea. She's grown up around art, owns an art gallery and longs to be an artist - but lacks the ability. She is bursting with unfulfilled desire. So when a bad boy metal artist offers to break a few of her taboos, guess what happens?

That's right.

Magic.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Round Robin: Part Eight

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-SEVEN
By Nicole Luiken, http://www.nicoleluiken.com


Six female djinn ran forward, swords held out.

Before they’d taken more than a step, Dash zipped across the room, using his superspeed again. Delphie lost sight of him for a second, then saw him rip away the sword of the leftmost djinn. He flitted off again before the guard could do more than cry out.

Delphie’s eyes crossed, trying to keep track of her new husband. The guards were having trouble too. Half lunged one way and crashed into the others when Dash switched directions yet again.

Delphie cheered. And then Dash was beside her, whispering in her ear, “Stride’s going to fly you out of here to safety.”

He was? Darn it, Delphie wanted to stay and watch the show. “Wait—“

Before she could say anymore, Dash was gone again, this time zipping behind the clump of guards. He disarmed another one. Delphie was impressed. Four more and the threat would be over.

Stride started toward Delphie, but was intercepted by one of the guards. Stride’s hand thrust forward, and a blue sword appeared in it. They began sparring. Stride seemed particularly acrobatic, lacking Dash’s speed but exceedingly careful not to let the guard—or her sword—get close to his body.

The female guard was also careful not to get close to Stride. Interesting.

Delphie looked around for Aurora and saw that she’d retreated to a corner. She had a grim
expression on her face, but she wasn’t doing anything useful like creating a sword or calling for less Dash-hating guards.

But wait—these guards were female. Were they not Aurora’s guards? If Aurora was the one who’d sent Dash on his mission, why were her own guards trying to capture him? From what little Delphie understood, the clans were completely gender segregated because of the no-touchie-no-wishie thing.

The thing Dash supposedly had cured.

Delphie suspected there was more at stake here than Dash’s freedom, but she didn’t have time to ask what.

“Grab the pixie!” a new voice called. Based on the livery she wore and the towels she held, the speaker was also one of Aurora’s clansmen. But instead of defending her mistress, she was pointing at Delphie. “She’s Dash’s new bride.”

Uh-oh. Did Aurora have any clansmen loyal to her? Had she known before now she had spies in her midst?

Fortunately, the guards were all occupied chasing Dash and didn’t hear.

Dash was busy—he’d grabbed the curtains off the window and was tangling up the guards–so Delphie would have to take care of the boss spy herself. She’d never like tattletales, not since that time in fourth grade when she accidentally turned the teacher’s hair into snakes.

Smiling, she sidled closer to the treacherous maid. “Good idea, staying out of the way against the wall.”

“Grab her!” the spy demanded again.

Abandoning guile, Delphie grabbed the ribbon from her hair and tossed it at the female djinn. “Hush!” she commanded. The pixie-cloth looped around the spy’s mouth, muzzling her.

Before Delphie could congratulate herself on a job well done, one of the djinn guards grabbed her from behind. Delphie yelped as a sword kissed her throat. Goblin balls! One of them had been listening after all.

“Surrender or your new bride dies!” the djinn holding her bellowed. She was at least a foot taller than Delphie and ridiculously muscular. Struggling would only get Delphie’s throat cut. Surreptitiously, she reached for the last of the fairy dust in her bra.

Dash, who’d been blurring across the room, slowed.

Fool. If he got caught, would they still execute him even though she’d married him? Hm, considering they had screeched something about him being a traitor, better safe than sorry.

“Escape!” she yelled at him. “Rescue me later.”

He was superfast, but he hesitated, eyes finding hers. Delphie’s chest warmed. He was worried about her. Her previous husbands would have cheerfully abandoned her. Dash held out his hands in surrender.

A glowing blue net, like the one that had captured the barghest, flew into the air, thrown by two of the guards. Dash ducked under it, but one arm got tangled. Stride shoved him out of the way as a second net fell. Dash yanked himself free, but the female guards moved in on Stride.

Stride couldn’t avoid contact any more. A green-haired one laid her hand on Stride’s shoulder through the net. Pain flashed over his features as the wish-compulsion set in. “I wish Dash were imprisoned.”

Expression tight, Stride nodded. “Granted.”

Delphie scooped out some flecks of fairy dust and flung it over her shoulder at her guard. “Rubber sword!”

The guard gave a startled squawk, but before Delphie could break free, the queen’s room disappeared.

Blinking, Delphie swayed on her feet. She was in a dim, stone tower—and Dash was there, too.

He instantly crossed the room to stand beside her. “Are you hurt?” His thumbs gently stroked her throat.

“I’m fine,” she said huskily.

He scowled. “I’m sorry you got dragged into this mess. I don’t know why Stride included you in the guard’s wish.”

Delphie smiled. She had an idea why, but right now she looped her arms around her husband’s very chivalrous neck and ran her fingers through his dark, silky hair. “Maybe he wanted to give us a honeymoon.”


PART THIRTY-EIGHT
By Veronica Scott, http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/


While Dash seemed happy to wrap his arms around her, that was as amorous as he got. “Wife, sexy as you may be, I don’t think we should start our marriage on a cold stone floor. One of us might get hurt.”

Delphie looked around the room. Nothing, no furniture, certainly no bed. Dash might be right. She pouted.

“Besides, we have bigger things to worry about.” Dash gave her one last squeeze and released her. “Like getting out of here so we can stop that wedding tomorrow.”

“Hmmph, that’s not a very loverlike answer. You care more about Aurora and Ainmire’s wedding than ours.” Delphie sat cross-legged on the floor, her bottom immediately growing icy right through her skirt. “Some wedding day this is turning out to be. Can’t I wish for a bed? Or even a futon? How about a furniture catalog? We have to pass the time somehow.”

“I don’t grant wishes anymore,” Dash reminded her regretfully. “There are downsides to being free.”

“So you were in a conspiracy with Queen Aurora?” she asked, feeling a little jealous. “Not that being cured of that wish compulsion is a bad thing, but why does she think it will end feuding between royals?”

“She was more worried about ending her wedding to Ainmire,” Dash said. “And her reasons for that are her own.”

“Fine,” Delphie said. “No wishes. So what can you do?”

“I retain my clan magics, except for flight, and I can shapeshift,” Dash said.

“Why don’t you turn yourself into the kind of djinn who can grant wishes so I can wish us out of here?” Or better yet, she could wish them back to the prime dimension, away from all this craziness. These djinn had thrown Dash out, named him a traitor, tried to execute him. Still seemed to be trying to execute him despite the fact she’d married him to keep him out of trouble. She and her new husband would be better off without them.

“It doesn’t work that way.” Dash walked to the wall and started running his hands over the stones, stopping every now and then to rap his knuckles on one.

Rising, dusting off her skirt, she joined him. “What are you doing?”

“Hoping for a secret passage. This old castle is full of them.” Dropping a quick kiss on her cheek, he moved to the next segment of wall. The stone had partially crumbled mortar—though not enough to work any stones free—and various grates along the floor, like drains or vents.

If he was trying to find a secret passage, he was going about it all wrong. But then, not everyone was a pixie with her species’ innate skills for finding secret doors and portals. Well, she’d let him fumble along a while and feel like a man, and then she’d show him how it was done.

“You’re upsetting the spiders,” Delphie pointed out as a whole family of dinner plate sized red and yellow striped ones crawled away from his questing hands. “Do they bite?”

Dash sighed, rolling his shoulders. “Could you try to take our situation seriously for five minutes? Do you know what’s going to happen to us tomorrow? To Stride?”

She threw her hands in the air. “How am I supposed to know anything? You djinn take this code of silence thing to an extreme! If you’d been honest with me from the beginning, I could have prevented all of this from happening.”

“Or you could have made it worse,” Dash said.

“I don’t make things worse, and on the rare instances I do…” She ignored him when he chuckled. “I fix it. Only I’m all out of fairy dust. I used the last of it on a rubber sword spell.”

“I would have saved you,” Dash said. “Didn’t you trust me?”

“No, I… Ooh, are we fighting? Does that mean makeup sex?” Furrowing her brow, she pondered for a moment. “But if we haven’t even had sex sex yet, can we do makeup sex?”

Dash left his explorations at the wall and took her in his arms for a thorough, long kiss. But just when Delphie’s toes started to tingle, he broke it off.

“You’re obsessed, my little pixie wife. Any other time I’d love it, but right now the fate of Aurora’s entire clan—and perhaps more—is in our hands.”

She tried not to pout. The fate of an entire clan and perhaps more was kind of a big deal, she supposed. “Looks like Aurora’s clan has already turned on her. All those female guards and that maid going after us?”

“Ainmire wrested control of the guards from her during the wish feud—the one she agreed to marry him to end. It’s…useful for a royal to have opposite gendered guards indebted to the crown.” Dash frowned. “I don’t know about the maid, though, and I don’t know how deep the spy network reaches. If Ainmire knows…”

“Knows what?” Delphie asked.

“It’s nothing.” She could tell by his expression it wasn’t nothing—it was a big something. “But it should make you appreciate the seriousness of our situation. No one is what he or she seems, and Ainmire isn’t going to allow our marriage to stop him from punishing me as a traitor.”

“I’ll touch him and use the wish compulsion to stop him,” Delphie said. “Easy as pie. I got wishes from Stride, didn’t I?”

He shook his head. “Royals are always protected in the presence of the opposite sex. You won’t get close to him.”

“Aurora wasn’t protected.”

“That’s because she’s under house arrest—from trying to escape the wedding. My finding the cure was her last hope.”

Delphie had always thought it would be a hoot to be a queen, but being a royal in the djinn realm didn’t sound like it was a lot of fun. It was all wish feuds and marrying people you didn’t like and traitors in your ranks. “Ainmire doesn’t sound like he’d be a good husband, so I guess I can appreciate her viewpoint.”

“Nor is he a good king. Wedding or no wedding, because you’re married to me, you and I will be tortured to death tomorrow, and Stride will be forced to do the torturing as Ainmire’s head enforcer.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Delphie said. “You won’t have sex with me and now our wedding isn’t going to stop us from being killed? What was the point?”

“Please be serious.”

“I’m always serious about sex.”

“You don’t understand the danger you’re in. Ainmere has a very dark, twisted imagination, especially when it comes to other fairy species. Having your wings torn off by rabid griffins while a dragon nibbles your toes will be the least of what he orders…and he has enough indebted soldiers on staff to get anything he wishes for.”

Horrified, Delphie hugged herself and backed away from Dash. “Oh my, very bad. Very VERY bad. Enough talk. We have to escape. We have to rescue Stride and Aurora. If only I had more of my dust.”

“You know, I would almost wish for that dust right now. At least it introduces chaos.” Dash walked back to the wall. “You think you could help me here? Isn’t finding portals a pixie specialty? I know you can’t cook – “

“Hey, watch the insults.” Delphie started walking the perimeter of the room, too, using her pixie senses as he’d suggested. “Don’t believe every cliché about the pixies. I can cook. Some. I watch Top Chef. Just add bacon and any dish is improved.”

Dash smiled. “I do love bacon.”

“And you can’t just transform into a griffon and fly us out of here?” She nudged one of the vents with her toe, an idea beginning to take shape in her complicated mind.

He shook his head, examining his bruised knuckles for a moment. “They’ve locked the tower down. I can manage a few inherent magics, but nothing major. If I were to shape shift, even for you, my heart, the stones of the tower might siphon away all of my energy and prevent me from shifting back. Another reason not to have sex right now. I could die for lack of energy before we um finish the task.”

Much as she took offense at the idea of making love to her being labeled as a task, she magnanimously decided to rise above her sexy husband’s poor choice of words. He’ll learn.

Focusing on the main issue, she said, “If I get us out of here within the next five minutes, can we take a break for an hour or three and celebrate our marriage properly? It’s bad luck to go on a life or death mission without having consummated this union. It breaks about fifty pixie superstitions.”

“And we must respect those,” he said.

She poked him lightly in the ribs. “If you shifted into a griffon just the one time and then we went somewhere else, how long before you built up enough energy to shift back?” Griffons were beautiful, intelligent creatures, but no way was she having sex with her husband in griffon form.

“It depends on where we go.”

“Out.” Delphie picked up a loose stone, squinting in the dim light to gauge its heft and likelihood of crumbling. It seemed solid enough.

Dash cleared his throat. “And how do you propose we escape if there’s no door?”

“Who needs a door?” She arrowed her hand through the air, undulating it gracefully. “You can bash down the wall and we’ll fly out of here.”

“I don’t think even a griffon can bash through these walls. They may look old, but I assure you, they’re not.” He was frustratingly unimpressed by her brilliant idea.

“In case you haven’t noticed, those spiders were Florida wolf spiders. They only live in southern Florida, which means there’s a portal right behind…” Delphie poked a piece of mortar near the vent from which the spiders had escaped. “this set of stones. You turn into a big, strong monster and get rid of these pesky rocks, I’ll open the portal, and we’ll fly out of here. Southern Florida is nice this time of year. I know a deserted beach – “

“How?” Dash gritted out between clenched teeth.

“How what? How am I going to open the portal?” Delphie was confused. He’d seen her do portals before.

“How do you know about this deserted beach?” Dash took a few deep breaths. Blue sparkles of djinn power burned all along his limbs and his hair curled like the tentacles of a living being.

“Jealous much?” Delphie kicked the masonry a few more times and beckoned to him to have at the wall. They didn’t need to get through the wall itself…only as far as the portal.

“Why do we have to fly to use this portal?” Instead of an instant transformation like he’d managed when fighting the barghest, Dash continued to sparkle blue. His outline grew hazy. Perhaps the tower was sucking away his magic?

“Because we’re high up in a tower, silly.” Delphie concentrated on the portal and a faint outline of it darkened the stone wall like a shadow. “Are you going to shift or not?”

“Just warning you…it may be awhile before I can shift back,” he said, before his body morphed into a large, glowing blue griffon.

Delphie stood back as Dash’s powerful claws swiped at the stone wall above the vent. A few more spiders scuttled away from the falling stones. Once Dash bashed through the first layer of rock—how thick were these walls, anyway?—the black emptiness of the portal took shape.

She held out a hand for his claw. “Come along, husband. And don’t worry, we can hop another portal and get back to the djinn dimension in plenty of time to break up that wedding and rescue Stride!”

****

Will Delphie and Dash be forced to stop the wedding BEFORE they consummate their own? Find out in two weeks when we revisit the intrepid couple!


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

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Boudica - Celtic Queen

Posted by: Ruth A Casie



There's magic when women come forward and take action. These are the doers, enablers, supporters, and nurturers. One women rather than being a victim became the strength of her people and the symbol of a nation. It's  not magic. It's Boudica.

Boudica was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the Roman army that occupied her village.
Boudica's husband Prasutagus was the ruler of the Iceni tribe. He had ruled his tribe as an ally of Rome. He intended to secure his land and his daughters by bequeathing his kingdom jointly to his two daughters and the Roman Emperor. When Prasutagus died, his will was ignored. Rome annexed his kingdom as if conquered. Boudica was flogged and her daughters were raped. The loans Prasutagus got from Roman financiers were all called in.
Boudica was a tall woman with amber hair that hung below her waist. She wore a golden torc, a multicolored tunic and a thick cloak fastened with a brooch. She not only dressed the part of a leader her harsh voice and penetrating glare marked her as a person with whom to be reckoned.  Historical accounts describe her as being more intelligent than other women of her day. Perhaps it was her royal upbringing and the close relationship she had with her husband the king. She was a strong willed woman and would not be defeated. In about 60 AD she encouraged the nearby tribes, who had also been routed from their land and mistreated by the Romans, to join her and her people in revolt.
Their first target was Colchester, the former capital of the Trinovantes tribe, now displaced from their lands by the Romans. Her attack was planned while the Roman governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was leading his troops against the Isle of Anglesey. Boudica found the city poorly defended and destroyed Colchester, the site of Emperor Claudius’ temple.
Her next target was London. Suetonius, after hearing of her attack and victory, hurried to London but quickly concluded he did not have enough men to defend the settlement. He evacuated and abandoned London. Boudica burned London to the ground as well as other cities in her path. It is estimated that about 75,000 people were killed. Emperor Nero considered withdrawing his Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius' victory over Boudica re-secured Roman control.
Suetonius, regrouped his forces. Heavily out-numbered-Rome 10,000 Boudica 230,000-the field of attack was to Suetonius’ advantage.  The area was narrow. Boudica could not optimize on her large force and the Roman soldier’s discipline and tactics were a deadly combination. Despite being heavily outnumbered, Boudica and the Britons were defeated in the Battle of Watling Street.
It is unclear how Boudica died. She either killed herself, so she would not be captured, or fell ill and died—the sources differ.
Interest in the history of these events was revived during the English Renaissance and led to a resurgence of Boudica's legendary fame during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria was portrayed as her 'namesake'. Boudica has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom. The absence of native British literature during the early part of the first millennium means that Britain owes its knowledge of Boudica's rebellion solely to the writings of the Romans.

Here is a short overview from the History Channel

Who is your favorite female heroine?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases

Carina Press new releases only $2.69 this month!


Six years ago, Haidyn Mast left his home and his betrothed Anisa to follow his magical calling. Too weak to join the Arcane Guild and too ashamed to return home, he has made a life as a prostitute--to all outward appearances. In truth, he sells his mind but not his body, using magic to let his clients experience their most secret fantasies while his hands stay clean. Even the Lawman, the arbiter of justice in Reseda, is one of his clients, but Haidyn would rather not know the extent of that man's depravity.

Though successful, Haidyn is shunned as a whore and his lack of formal training is causing his power to grow out of control. He's ready to retire and leave the city, but when he sees his Anisa standing at the Lawman's side, he knows he must rescue her from the abusive enforcer. Risking his life and his sanity, he devises a plan, knowing that failure will mean death for him, and a lifetime of torment for her...

For more Arcane stories, download Dark Vow today.

Buy: Carina Press * Amazon

***

Book two in Accidental Enchantments.

Prince Richard is cursed. Enslaved to a magic mirror, he must truthfully answer the evil queen when she uses it to call on him. To keep from betraying innocents, Richard wanders the countryside and avoids people.

All her life, Gretchen has been teased for being small. When she hears of a hidden farm populated by little people like her, she sets out to find it--and is welcomed by the mostly male inhabitants. Lars in particular woos her with his gentle kindness and quiet strength.

Danger looms when Gretchen meets a runaway princess and offers her shelter at the Little Farm. Wandering nearby, Richard instantly falls in love with the beautiful princess, and is later compelled to tell the queen that she is not the fairest of them all. Enraged, the queen vows to find them and destroy them.

If either Gretchen or Richard are to have their happy endings, they must team up to break the mirror's spell before the queen kills them all...

For another fairy tale retelling from Tia Nevitt, check out The Sevenfold Spell, available now!

Buy

***

Book one of Last of the Shardyn

Montana police chief Skip Walkins is hot on the trail of a murder suspect when he witnesses a drifter free the Lord of the Underworld. Seventeen years ago, five knights from Earth's magical twin, Theia, entombed Asmodeous the Pale, Lord of the Drynn, in Skip's town. Now that the dark god is free again, he's anxious to get back home and finish the war he began...to enslave all life. It begins with killing the knights who trapped him.

Deprived of their magic, the knights fight back using whatever they can get their hands on, from samurai swords to assault rifles. Skip gets reluctantly drawn in to their struggle while Donovan Smith, the demi-god murderer whom Skip was after in the first place, plots to find the Lord of the Underworld and butcher him on his own.

Together, these unlikely heroes might just save the world. If they don't kill each other first.

Buy

***

New from Veronica Scott -   a short short story “Lady of Dreams”, in the FIVE MINUTE LOVE STORIES anthology from Los Angeles Romance Writers (LARA). 

The book is available from Amazon and there’s a quick excerpt on her blog http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/ 















***


When shy scientist Karen Sikorski meets up with her college crush, Warner Beckett, sparks fly, but she knows the handsome contractor would never fall for a plain nerd like her. Warner, though, has other ideas. Smart, voluptuous Karen is everything he's ever wanted in a woman, and this time around, he's enough of a grown up to appreciate it. Now all he has to do is convince the lady he really does want her--in every way possible.

Publisher’s Note: This is an expanded and extensively revised version of a previously released short story.

Buy





***



Owen Stallbridge is a powerful psychic who’s done his share of jobs for the government. He’s a millionaire and secret agent trying to segue out of his wet work assignments. The silent partner in the PowerUp! Gym, he normally lets his buddy Jack command the psychics working there. Owen has his hands full running his multi-million dollar empire and trying to keep an eye on Ian Ryder, a forger, a con man, a criminal too sexy for his own good.

But now Owen's life is on the line. An old enemy has returned, and it's up to Owen to handle him before innocents are harmed. He'll need Ian's help to run the enemy down, that's if he can trust the thief. Ian is smart, sexy, and vulnerable--all Owen wants in a partner and all that he desires in a man. But Ian refuses to trust. He won't make it easy for Owen to claim him. With time running out, they have to take a chance on each other if they want to survive the looming danger. And Owen will have to believe in the man who's stolen his heart.

Buy

Links of Interest

From Library Journal: Erotica: Full-Frontal Shelving | Genre Spotlight

Interesting article from the NY Times about Goodreads: Read Any Good Web Sites Lately? Book Lovers Talk Online

This product sounds neat but I wonder if it would be worth the money: eBook Gift Card Startup Livrada Launches Now Sells to Authors

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Killer Thoughts releases February 19th from Loose Id. To celebrate, Marie Harte is having a giveaway at her blog.

Cover Reveals

April 29
April 1


May 13

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How the Characters Fell In Love - Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted by: Veronica Scott
UPDATE February 15, 2013 - Amy S and June M were our randomly selected gift card winners - thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting!

For this Valentine's Day post, the group at Here Be Magic decided to talk about how their hero and heroine fell in love, or what about each other set off the spark of attraction. Leave a comment about which pair of lovers in fiction is your favorite and be entered to win one of two $10.00 Amazon gift cards. (Winners to be randomly selected at 4:00 PM PST) February 15th.) We've only listed one book from each author and given one eBook buy link each in the interests of space. Here's wishing you the Magic of Romance!

Angela Campbell
CRY WOLF
Reporter Andrea Lockhart doesn’t want to fall in love with Sean Hunter, the arrogant newspaper editor who never noticed her when they were classmates in college. But his protectiveness towards her now as she investigates mysterious sightings of a dangerous beast in his hometown slowly wins her over. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s still the hottest man she’s ever laid eyes on!

Annie Nicholas
KOISHI (THE GATEKEEPERS BOOK ONE)
Koishi is a dragon gatekeeper who falls in love with Sandra a human woman desperate and courageous enough to make a deal with him to save her dying sister.

Cindy Spencer Pape
NAILED
Karen fell a little in love with Warner when he rescued her from a pair of drunken frat boys back in college. The clincher, though, was meeting him again ten years later—now that he’s grown from a party animal with a good heart to a good man who knows what he wants.

Eleri Stone
THREADS OF DESIRE
Ily, a down-on-her-luck mage, falls in love with Kal when she discovers there's more to the ruthless businessman and arrogant aristo than she originally believes. Beneath his polished veneer, Kal is smart and kind, generous and willing to risk everything--his wealth, reputation and life--for the people he loves.

Janni Nell
ALLEGRA FAIRWEATHER SERIES
Allegra loves her guardian angel, Casper, because of his kindness, courage and sense of humor. It doesn't hurt that he's also tall, built and handsome.
Carina

Jax Garren
HOW BEAUTY SAVED THE BEAST (Book 2 in the Tales of the Underlight)
Burlesque dancer and beautiful heiress Jolie Benoit falls in love with the working-class, scarred soldier Wesley "Hauk" Haukon because of his selflessness, inner strength and sense of humor despite all that's happened to him. She enjoys working with him as an agent of the Underlight, exposing unethical corporations through dubious legal means of their own, and, of course, she's never forgotten their first explosive sensual encounter before she'd seen his scars.

Seleste DeLaney
BADLANDS
Warrior-woman Ever doesn't believe in love, but when she meets her perfect match, she can't resist the lure of Captain Spencer Pierce for long. And when these opposites collide, there's no way to keep the sparks from flying.

Nicole Luiken
GATE TO KANDRITH (and the forthcoming SOUL OF KANDRITH)
The idea of falling in love with a beautiful, spoiled noblewoman is preposterous, but when Lance and Sara are thrown together on a perilous journey Lance begins to see another side to her: a wild girl struggling to escape the confines of Temborian society. Her bravery and passion earn his love.

PG Forte
THIS WINTER HEART
Ophelia was beautiful, talented, cultured, refined. She was fascinating, enchanting and utterly adorable. She was, in short, everything Dario had ever hoped for in a wife.

Ruth A. Casie
KNIGHT OF RUNES
Rebeka Tyler never thought herself a warrior, renown authority on medieval and renaissance studies, yes, a martial arts amateur, absolutely, a warrior, definitely not. Tossed into the 17th century, she's plunged into the midst of a struggle between two druid masters. While she tries to decode the ancient runes and unearth a family secret in order to return she physically fights for her life against the dark druid, Bran, and struggles emotionally with the druid knight, Lord Arik, and the truth about their past. Neither Rebeka or Arik can succeed by themselves, they must partner in order to win. But it will cost her dearly, her heart, and, if she's lucky her future.

Shawna Thomas
JOURNEY TO AWAKENING
Sara was focused on only one thing as she set out across the desert lands: Get to the other side alive. She was cautious, but not worried. On their small, deserted island, her grandfather had meticulously trained her to survive in almost any circumstance. But nothing could have prepared her for the magnetic attraction she feels for the fierce leader of the Heleini, a nomadic desert tribe. Against her better judgment, she's drawn by his rugged good looks and charm, but it's his gentleness and the love he has for his young son that is her undoing.


Shona Husk
AN ELEMENTAL TALE
When Nik first sees Isla he’s attracted to her—she’s beautiful and has the book that belongs to him—but he ends up falling for because she doesn’t fall at his feet the way most mortals do. She is a challenge and she makes him realize how shallow his existence has been. His life as a water elemental has been eons of nothing compared to the time he has spent as a mortal.

Veronica Scott
WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM (2013 SFR Galaxy Award Winner)
Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson falls in love with Mara Lyrae, the businesswoman and fellow passenger he's trying to save in the midst of galactic disaster, because of her courage and smarts. She stays with him every step of the way as they battle overwhelming odds to rescue others and keep the dying ship from falling into enemy hands. Of course before the wreck he sure noticed her beautiful eyes and long legs!

So please leave us a comment about your favorite fictional lovers and be entered in the random drawing for one of two $10.00 Amazon gift cards to be given away!
 










 
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