Friday, May 31, 2013

ARE YOU A HOARDER?

Posted by: Susan Edwards

I know this is a strange question but bear with me.  I’m not a hoarder yet at the same time, I hoard.  Let me explain.  When it comes to my home, I am not a hoarder, a clutter bug, yes, but that is because:

1.       My house isn’t quite as large as I  need

2.       There is almost no good storage built into this home

3.       My mother lives with us and she occupies the master bedroom which I turned into a studio for her

But I do hoard—

Before I tell you what, or at least how this applies to this post, let me explain where this is coming from and going.  Years ago, I created and wrote my White series and to this day, I receive letters asking me to write more White books.  So recently, I decided to write another White book and make it a reunion story.  I plan to release it in December and my working title, you guessed it, A White Christmas.  At least that is the working title.  In order to tackle this project, I had to gather up all the material from eleven books and sort through—

A humongous stack of papers.

I emptied eleven binders, several file folders and printed out a small stack of more information.  As I sorted and read character sheets, time lines, synopsis, outlines, etc.,  I decided I didn’t need the notes and charts, and diagrams etc.  The conflicts and goals for each of those characters is over and done.  I do not ever need to glance at them again.  Which means I was keeping useless files of papers in a house without spare space.  So I went through ever last paper and put them in piles of Keep, Trash, Archive.    

The keeper pile was all the information on characters, ages, books they appeared in etc.  I decided to condense all important information needed for future books into one file on my computer in an easy to use format.  I included character hair and eye color or important bits of back story that I might need, though I’m determined to stay away from the old and build new lives befitting their ages and circumstances.

The archived pile is small—synopsis, short descriptions of each chapter and scene, maps, calendars etc.  I figure if I need to find something to check on, this is an easy and faster way than rereading the books.  And hey, there was one synopsis that is nothing like the book and with a few tweaks, it’s a new story!!  And then there was an entire subplot taken out of White Wolf that I may put up on the web.  Cool, I thought as I picked up the trash pile and tossed it into the wicker recycling basket.  I stared at it a moment with a thoughtful frown on my face—

Then promptly took it back out of the trash to go through it again.  Hmm, I should keep this, I might need this, what if--.  My trash pile shrunk and I had more papers to decide what to do with and then it hit me. 
I am a PAPER HOARDER
Okay, I did a “Gibbs” smack to the back of my head and made myself really justify just what I needed and why.  Anything I kept from tossing out I could only keep until I made sure any info there was put into the new computer files then it went into the recycle bin.  And that worked.  But it really made me realize that though I am not a classic hoarder, I do hoard.  There is that nasty thought:  What if?

 Well, if I need something bad enough, my books are on my nook, on my computer and both have search features.  My answer to myself was: tough.  Get over it.

 I did the same thing with my SpiritWalker series.  Summer of the Eagle was previously available in print format.  When I decided to release it in digital format, I also decided to add deleted scenes back in and other new content.  That meant back to a pile of papers.  Luckily, I had just finished book two of this series so I was in much better shape than with the White series.  Still, way too much paper that I do not need.  Goals and conflicts are done.  Keep what I need to use these characters in supporting roles, but I don’t need to hoard a binder full of paper that I won’t ever look at again.  No more paper hoarding allowed!!

I have to go off topic just a tad.  I love this series and the sheer joy and excitement of creating a paranormal world set in a familiar yet not so familiar historical setting.  But the aspects of the magic and fantasy elements really hooked me and I wanted more.  A lot more.  So with a little bit of magic (Ha, try tons of hard work, blood and sweat), I have a new contemporary series that ties to my historicals.  Later this year I get to start the first contemporary book and wow, this race is going to take the modern world by storm!

Okay, back to topic.  One thing I noticed as a result of giving myself the freedom and permission to toss out all these old, outdated files, was the release of a heavy weight from my shoulders.  I don’t have to go back and reread and reuse.  I can go forward and create.  For a writer, this is heaven!

Autumn Cover Mock Up
 What a breath of fresh air for me!  And also for my old friends who are not the same people they were when I wrote their stories.   Of course, I am not the same writer.  I like to think I’ve grown and changed and am becoming the writing I need to be.  So I am delving into these two old series with a fresh and uncluttered mind and I am eager to see what grows and becomes.

 So, what do you hoard?  I also hoard clothes that don’t fit (tossed most of them) and yarn (Not in a hundred years will I ever use up all my stash).  Hmm, I can promise, I might trim down my yarn a tad but it’s mine, all mine <g>.
Looking forward to your comments! (photos not really my office)
Susan Edwards

New Releases
Historical/Paranormal/Native American
Seasons of Love Mini-Series

Summer of the Eagle/Digital Format /July 23, 2014  Orig. published in print.  New content added. 
Autumn Dreams/Digital Format First/Nov. 2014.  Autumn Dreams has never before been published.
White Series
A White Christmas/Digital Format First/Dec 2014.  This is a new addition to my White Series.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

But wait, there's more!

Posted by: Sheryl Nantus

One of the best things about writing a series is letting the characters grow and expand, show the reader more of what makes them tick. While the first book is usually all about the action the second and continuing stories allow the author to show more of what the characters are all about, what makes them either so lovable or loathsome.

In "Blood of the Pride" I introduced you to Rebecca Desjardin, a cat shifter who can't shift—outcast and shunned by her family until they need her help. With a foot in both the Felis and human worlds she helped find a rogue male and at the same time found love in a curious journalist named Brandon Hanover who not only figures out what she is but loves her for it.

"Claws Bared", book two, was released this past January and sent Reb down to a small town in Pennsylvania to help figure out who killed a popular male stripper. During that adventure she and Brandon figured out where they were going with their relationship and moved to the next level.

Now with "Family Pride", releasing June 3rd from Carina Press, the intrepid cat shifter finds herself in dangerous new territory—dealing with Brandon's family. It's one thing to meet the parents and find them wanting someone better for their son, another to be forced into working for them in order to save your own.

Here's a short excerpt from "Family Pride"!

***

"My parents want to meet you."

I dropped the thick ceramic mug in the sink. It bounced once before landing in the inch-deep soapy water. The clanging sound bounced around my skull, settling behind my left eye and throbbing.

"Your parents are dead." I turned and leaned against the counter. "Are we attending a séance?"

Bran bit his lower lip. He hadn't bothered to put a shirt on, choosing to pad around my house barefoot in a pair of jeans that fit perfectly in all the right places. We'd finally dragged ourselves out of bed for lunch, ordering in pizza because we had run out of groceries.

His dark eyes met mine, apologetic and pleading.

"They're not, ah, dead. They're sort of alive."

I picked up the mug and contemplated how much strength it would take to smash it. "Your parents are zombies?"

"My parents are alive and well and very much human."

I weighed the mug in my palm, letting him watch my fingers curl around the cool clay. "You lied to me. Four months ago you lied to my face."

"Maybe." Bran put out his hand, pointing at the mug. "Please put that down."

I glared at him.

"Okay, I lied. A bit." His hand didn't move, still outstretched toward the mug. "I told you my parents were dead but that was right after we'd met and we were on opposite sides of the case." Bran smiled. "And I didn't know how good we could be together."

I didn't blink.

"Cut me a break, Reb. You've got your own family secrets." He shifted to one side with a grin, showing off his newest scratches on one shoulder. "And I can make you purr."

Damned redhead had a point. We'd both kept things from each other back then. I hadn't exactly been forthcoming about the fact that I wasn't human, but when Bran had come face-to-face with my Felis heritage I hadn't lied and denied.

I still didn't have to like it. "Who are they and why did you lie?"

He didn't move. My gaze traveled over his bare chest, resting on the fresh scars across his midsection courtesy of our latest work trip to Penscotta, Pennsylvania. He'd fought another Felis for his life and, in his own way, for me.

The least I could do was hear him out before throwing the mother of all temper tantrums.

"My father is Michael Hanover." Bran paused. "Of Hanover Investments."

I nearly dropped the mug.

"Hanover Investments. As in, they make more money in ten minutes than I'll ever see in my lifetime?" I croaked. I'd flipped through a few business articles over the past few years when I was supposed to be reading a paper and instead using it for surveillance. The business section guarantees you won't be distracted by the articles.

"Yeah. Them." He sounded almost apologetic. "It's a family business. Three generations."

"You're related to those Hanovers?"

"Michael and Bernadette Hanover are my parents." He reached out and took the mug from my numb fingers. "The reason I lied was because it'd become an instinctive reaction to explain away my wealth. Easier to say trust fund than explain my dysfunctional relationship with my parents." He shook his head, a sad smile on his lips. "You'd be surprised how many gold diggers are out there looking to snag a rich man. Or his son."

I tried to get my breathing under control. "Those Hanovers."

"We'd just met," Bran repeated. He placed the mug out of my reach and returned to stand in front of me, both hands up. "And I used the same line I use with everyone to explain my wealth. It was automatic."

***

While I don't think many of us lied to our prospective mates about our family being dead, I think we can all relate to Reb's shell shock at finding out who the Hanovers are—and when she finds out how dangerous they are it'll force her to make decisions that will change her life and her relationship with both families and Brandon forever.

I hope you'll come along for the latest book in the series and get to know Brandon and Rebecca better—after all, there's still plenty of mysteries for them to find and solve!

On another note I'll be appearing from June 12th to the 16th at the Origins Game Fair as part of the Library track – if you're in the Columbus, Ohio area and looking for a great way to spend a day or five, please check out the schedule! I'll be there discussing superheroes and romance writing along with many great authors such as Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole and there'll be plenty of great books for sale along with some faboo gaming opportunities.

If you're in the area it'd be great to see you!

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Green-eyed Monsters and Advice to Slay Them

Posted by: Evey Brett
I've been to a lot of writing workshops and writing conventions. I have an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction. That means I know a lot of writer folks, newbie, pro and in-between, all of whom have various levels of success. I know pro writers pulling up out-of-print novels, fixing them up and selling them as e-books with increasing success (check out Book View Cafe for some of these re-releases, as well as a good blog with tips and insight from F/SF and romance writers.) Some of them still have a good career in print. Some don't.

And then there are the newbies and fellow workshoppers who've gotten into print with big publishers and getting lots of good reviews and even nominations for awards.

And some little piece of me goes...why isn't that me? I want an award. Heck, at this point I'd settle for a review, good or bad, of the latest book.

There are plenty of factors as to why my friends and I have varying degrees of success. Our writing styles and content are vastly different. At least one of my co-workshoppers has writing sessions with pro writers because he happens to live in the right place. Admittedly, other than a couple short stories I haven't written anything lately to target outside of e-book land. There are pro writers in my area, but they generally don't get together.

This past week, one of my pro writer friends, Steven Leigh (aka S.L. Farrell) put together a an essay called "Ten Things I've Learned (As a Writer)" . There are many good points, but the one that got me the most was this: "Early in aikido, I was told 'Never compare yourself to the other people who started about the same time you did. Only compare yourself to yourself.'"

Makes sense, yes? Hard to do, especially when I'm sitting at the library staring at an award-nominated book by a fellow workshopper. Though, on the flip side, there are also several fellow workshoppers that don't write anymore, or very little, for whatever reason.

Later on, Steve makes another salient point. Writers have egos, but: "Here’s the problem with chasing fame: you can’t catch Fame from behind. Fame, if it wants to, will instead catch you." Meaning, that if you try to jump on, say, the Steampunk bandwagon, by the time the book is written and submitted, the genre is already changing. And, "Whether or not you ever become famous is not under your control: therefore, don’t worry about it. At all."

So, Capriole is not destined to become the next e-book bestseller, obviously. But Steven points out there are two ways of looking at success, however minor: "You can think that it’s about fucking time the universe recognized your awesome talent and allowed this to happen, and now that it has happened, it’s probably going to be fucking forever until it happens again. Isn’t that what you’re thinking, Eeyore?

"Or you can embrace those successes and revel in them. Each time, you can taste all the pleasure the moment holds, then carefully place the memory in the section of your mind labeled “Excellent Stuff To Recall.” You can think that maybe, perhaps, the universe has just aligned itself a little more in your favor, and that it’s now more likely that things like this will continue to happen."

And I've had plenty of good things.I've made lots of friendships and received lots of advice from writers. One of the golden rules is Pay it Forward. Steve mentions this in his essay, as you can't always find a way to repay a writer who's helped you, but there are plenty of newer writers in need of aid, and most of us have been in their shoes at one time or another.

Another writer friend, Deborah J. Ross (known for continuing the Darkover books, but who's just released a new SF entitled Collaboraters under her other name, Deborah Wheeler) relates one of her experiences this weekend at Baycon.

"One of the people from the audience, a bright and earnest young woman, was there, and we struck up a conversation. The topic quickly switched from the panel itself to writing and then became one of those magical interactions, a chance to pay forward for all the support and advice I've received over the years...I need to remember that I too was once a beginner trying to figure out this writing business. I've made my share of mistakes, but I've figured out what works for me and I've heard a lot of stories about what works for other people, too. We don't have to re-invent the wheel if we're willing to be generous with our knowledge."

Nearly seven years ago, I met Deborah at a convention just like that lucky girl she mentions. We're still friends, and she included my short story, "Rent Girl" in her anthology, Lace and Blade 2. My first print story, nestled in with pro writers. Yes, I put it under my pillow when I got my contributer's copy.

So. There are little successes to combat those little green-eyed monsters that insist on popping up from time to time. Good memories, good friends and acquaintances to remind me that they, too, have been in a similar spot.

And by the time this is out I will be on vacation in a place where there are trees rather than cacti, and it's not 100 degrees. And writing. And writing some more.

Evey Brett

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What makes a series a keeper?

Posted by: Shona Husk
In July I’m starting a new series with The Outcast Prince (followed by Lord of the Hunt in Jan 2014 and To Love a King in October 2014). So I thought I’d take a moment to talk about some of my favorite series and what made them my favorites.

The Deverry Cycle by Katharine Kerr

I started reading this fantasy series as a teen and snapped up each book as it came out. I love Rhodry. He was a damaged hero, cast out and working as a mercenary. To this day stick a man in armor and a sword in his hand you already have my attention. I love a warrior hero.

Aside from a gorgeous here this book introduced me to past lives weaving between the present day and the past, showing how actions in a past life have brought the characters to where they are. It has a wonderful arc that spans 15 books. Did I mention there are also dragons and elves?

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

This is urban fantasy with lots of magic and creatures and harry always seems to be having a rough time. These books are fun. The plot twists around and magic goes wrong and cops and gangsters show up.

Sinners on Tour by Olivia Cunning

Sexy rock stars…do I need to explain? While I don’t read a lot of contemporary romances I love these. I think it’s because dating a rock star is a fantasy.

Graveyard Queen by Amanda Stevens

Creepy and compelling. The romance is woven through and on one hand I want them to get together but are they going to be good for each other or is it going to be a train wreck? I love the ghost mythology and the word building around them as well as the details about graveyards.

Dark Age Dawning by Ellen Connor

Only three books, but they are awesome post-apocalyptic paranormal romances. I love the world building and the way they just sucked me in and kept me reading.


What are some of your favorite series?

The Outcast Prince

"Brilliantly unique, beautifully sensual, The Outcast Prince had me spellbound from the first page! Shona Husk's engaging voice and vivid, creative world-building make every one of her books a must-read!" - Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author

Caspian Mort can feel the history in anything he touches, a gift he inherited from his father, the Crown Prince of Annwyn. Devastated over his ex-wife's infidelity, Caspian has withdrawn from human contact except when working as an antiques dealer.

While assessing the contents of the historic Callaway House he encounters the beautiful Lydia Callaway and senses that her home is haunted by a banished fairy. But what does the dangerous exile want? Unbeknownst to Lydia, she's the owner of the last remaining portal to Annwyn—a mirror hidden somewhere in the house. To keep Lydia safe, Caspian will have to divulge the secrets of his heritage, and risk losing his heart again.
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Outcast-Prince-ebook/dp/B00BTMLK8E/
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-outcast-prince-shona-husk/1112689804?ean=9781402280177&itm=1&usri=shona+husk

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Being superwriter...Or what are you doing this summer?

Posted by: Loribelle Hunt
I am lousy at coming up with blog topics other than music and movies. (Anyone seen Star Trek yet? I'm dying to, but have to wait until June 5. *cries*) But the subject of juggling my life and writing has been on my mind recently.  Especially since my kids just got out of school for the summer. I figure a lot of us have this problem.

Last year I had so much real life going on, that other than edits on contracted books, I accomplished next to zero. This year I'm determined to do better and so far so good. So in a move of complete insanity, I agreed to take my kids home this summer. For two months. And stay there with them. Why? Because clearly I am certifiable.

But there is method to my madness! My oldest (17yo) is doing a summer internship at my mom's law firm. My 16yo has lined up some volunteer work. And dad has hiking trips planned out for my boy. Lots and lots of hiking I don't have to go. (Or so he claims now lol.)

So I've put together an ambitious writing schedule for the summer. I've been averaging about 35k a month this year and under normal circumstances I'd never attempt that during summer vacation. This year I'm going for it. Hopefully everyone will be so busy things will go well. If not, there's always the pool to retreat to, right?!

Anyone have cool plans for the summer? Going somewhere exciting? Let me live vicariously. :)


Friday, May 24, 2013

The Danger of Tinkering with Mythology

Posted by: Eleri Stone
One month until the release of Witch Bound, Book Two in the Twilight of the Gods series. Let the countdown begin!

So, the Twilight of the Gods series is based on Norse mythology with the premise being that Ragnarök, the Norse apocalypse, has already happened. It happened centuries ago actually, and some of the Æsir (Norse gods) escaped the destruction of their world (Asgard) by fleeing to earth (Midgard). Before Odin died, he cast a spell over his remaining people endowing them with many of his attributes—wisdom, magical skill, the ability to shapeshift. The Æsir refugees then settled on earth near faultlines in the fabric of space where they’re still able to maintain a connection to their broken home and its magic. Over the centuries, they’ve intermarried with humans and their blood has thinned. They’re not truly gods anymore but they’re not entirely human either. While their power and abilities have weakened with every generation, the demons (fire jötnar) who destroyed Asgard are still out there, waiting on the other side of the bridge, ready to break through the rift to hunt down the last of the Æsir and invade earth.

If you’re familiar with Norse myth you’ll see a lot that’s familiar but there are also some really big departures. Which brings me to my question…If an author bases a story on mythology, how far can they depart from the original before they start to piss people off?

My answer is not very far. When dealing with mythology, people bring very definite and often very different preconceived notions to the story.

For example, I got dinged a few times in reviews by people who didn’t like my incorporation of the Wild Hunt because they felt that legend belonged to the Celts. The Wild Hunt is a very popular legend in the British Isles, but it’s not exclusive to that area. There are local versions of the same story spread all across Europe and Scandinavia. In art, Odin is often depicted as leading the hunt. So while in modern literature the Wild Hunt is often associated with England and with fairy, that’s really only one incarnation. When I used the Wild Hunt legend in my story to describe the Æsir chasing down demons who’d slipped through the portal, I was being true to Norse legend... Except that it’s not truly Odin leading the hunt, it’s one of his descendants. And they’re not flying through the skies, just veiled by a glamour. And they’re not dead or hunting lost mortals, they’re chasing down jötnar.

I do wince a little when I read those reviews but at the same time I can sympathize. If I was particularly fond of that one version of the legend, it would be really easy to get annoyed when a beloved aspect was changed or ignored to serve the story.

Authors-how careful are you when using myth in your stories? Readers-at what point do you start to get annoyed at the liberties taken?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Twin Goddesses Don't Always Represent Good vs Evil

Posted by: Veronica Scott

Whenever twin goddesses are around, it’s tempting to assume one is
Good and the other is Evil. But it’s not necessarily so! In Ancient Egypt, for example, Isis was the queen of the gods and represented motherhood, magic and fertility. Belief in Isis endured for centuries and worship of her even spread through the Roman Empire. The pharaohs of Egypt were often depicted as being her children. She was associated with the rebirth that Egyptians expected in their afterlife. Pretty much the good stuff came to Isis and from her.
 
Her twin sister Nephthys, although not depicted as evil, was associated with death, with battling demons, darkness and dangerous places like the edge of the desert. She and Isis were viewed by the Egyptians as different aspects of the same supernatural power.

One thing that is very useful to me in writing my paranormal novels of Ancient Egypt is the many varying interpretations and legends surrounding all their gods and goddesses. This enables me to pick and choose the aspects that work best with my worldbuilding and then stay consistent in my choices. In my new book WARRIOR OF THE NILE, Nephthys sets the events in motion and Isis takes a hand in how events turn out, not exactly as her sister had in mind. My human characters have to maneuver around the commands from the gods, yet still save Egypt. (If I’ve piqued your interest, you can find the story blurb on my web page and the book is out in September.)

I also write science fiction romance. When I was doing the world building for my award winning novel, WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM, I wanted to include an element of pure paranormal, along with the technical aspects of life in the far future.  Inspired by the timeless theme of the twin goddesses, I created the Red Lady of D’nvannae and her sister, the White Lady. They’re ancient beings, regarded as deities by many in the sprawling outer space world of the Sectors.  I’m not saying they’re meant to be Isis and Nephthys! Far from it. I just borrowed the idea of powerful celestial sisters.

The Red Lady has an army of highly dangerous followers who can be bodyguards or assassins. If both services are requested by opposing parties in the same case, she decides on a whim which to provide. If you can make the payment and contract with a member of the Brotherhood, the odds are high that you’ll achieve your goal, whether it’s your safety or someone else’s death. Her men and women are lethal. I modeled her very loosely after aspects of Kali, goddess of Time and Change and Darkness but the Red Lady  does not  equal Kali. My character IS known to be beautiful, greedy, sensual.

Marked with the flamboyant scarlet facial tattoo of his Order, Khevan, a senior member of the Brotherhood, plays a significant role in WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM . 

The White Lady is harder to quantify, if you live in the Sectors. Her servants go about doing good deeds, don’t accept payment and sometimes directly oppose the D’nvannae. Some of her followers take a voluntary vow of poverty and chastity.  I think most in my SF world view hers as a charitable organization. I will say she’s the only one who can control and contain the Red Lady, so what does that indicate about her power? Not that she chooses to act against her sister very often! The Lady in White also plays a small role in one scene of WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM.

Here’s an excerpt from WRECK, the first time Nick encounters Khevan, in the shuttle going up to the Nebula Dream:
Sipping his drink, he assessed the only other man on the shuttle who was as deadly as Nick himself could be when the occasion demanded -  a D'nvannae Brother, dressed all in close fitting, soft black leather, as they usually were when traveling outside their world. The swirling red tattoo all D'nvannae wore proudly inscribed on the right side of the face, as a sign of fealty to their Deity, was particularly well defined on this man. He must be senior in the hierarchy, given the number of details in the tattoo. Gotta earn those the hard way in the Lady's service. Halfway paying attention to a broadcast of an inter Sector sports semifinal, the Brother was unbraiding his long, jet black hair, signifying his contract had been successfully complet­ed and he was now at liberty to accept another.
Who on backwater Glideon might have needed such a high-priced, exotic bodyguard? Or been the target of such a re­lentless assassin? The D'nvannae could be hired for either pur­pose, conflicting offers resolved by the whim of the goddess.

Good. Evil. Complicated subjects, whether in ancient times or the far future!
WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM is available now on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spas are great … for murder

Posted by: Wendy Roberts

While writing my seventh paranormal mystery I encountered an age old problem shared by mystery authors everywhere; where to put the body.
Sadie Novak, the main character in my Ghost Dusters mystery series, does trauma cleaning so she’s had to tidy up murder victims in just about every location imaginable. For the latest book, I wanted something unique. 

While considering my options, a good friend gave me a gift certificate for a lip wax (exactly what kind of gift is that anyway??). Sensing this was a good time to take my hairy self away from my computer I made the appointment.

Even though I wanted to be at home plotting the next book, I arrived at the spa and smiled warily at the esthetician. My mind was stuck in homicide mode, however, and I was grateful the woman couldn’t read my thoughts. As the beautician applied scalding wax to my face, I had an epiphany. Drop Dead Beauty would have a murder in a spa!

Having my mustache ripped from my face fueled this great idea and I began to pepper the spa employees with questions about killer paraffin and murderous massages.

“Do you think your Relaxation Room would be a good area for a blood’n’ guts trauma cleaner to don and doff her hazmat clothing?” I asked the receptionist.

In response I was offered a coupon for ten percent off future services if I left quickly and quietly.

In this case, a little pain provided great gain because (A) the idea flowed beautifully into the story, and (B) I was able to go back for full body massages that I could use as a tax deduction. I love my job!

To get the full impact of my mustache removal, please buy DROP DEAD BEAUTY. I have other parts that need waxing and massaging.
.
So how about you? Has anyone caused you pain recently? If so, where would you hide a body?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Allure of Bromance

Posted by: PG Forte

I remember my first time. I was probably no more than ten years old, reading Little Men (a book I found vastly superior to Little Women, by the way) by Louisa May Alcott when I stumbled upon the characters of Nat and Dan.

Nat was a musician, tender-hearted and loyal to a fault. His friend Dan was the strong, silent, bad boy type, fearless and tough, good at pretty much everything--but with a soft spot for babies and a way with animals. He was the kind of guy who wouldn’t think twice about putting his safety at risk to save someone else. The kind of guy who’d sacrifice everything he held dear for his friend’s sake.

Back then, the word bromance hadn’t even been coined, but whatever the two of them had, I fell in love with it on the spot.   

That kind of not-necessarily-sexual, but unquestionably devoted male/male bonding has been on my mind a lot this week, between having just seen the new Star Trek movie (yes, twice, what can I say? I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff) and today’s release of Ashes of the Day. Because, at its heart the whole Children of Night series is one long complicated bromance.

My editor used to ask me who each new book in this series was about (in terms of romantic couples, that is).  She’s stopped doing that. I think she's gotten used to my sheepish looks and mumbled responses, “Um…well…you know…it’s kinda...well, it's sorta about Conrad and Damian. Again.”

Honestly, I don’t think she minds all that much. Because the truth is, even when one or the other of them is involved with someone else (something I've been told not to do) their connection, their bond with one another is what holds the family together. It’s also what drives the entire series.

To celebrate this release I’m having a giveaway. Cookies might seem a little bit strange for a book about vampires, but if you read the book, I promise you'll see how completely apropos they really are!


Ashes of the Day
Children of Night, Book 4

Only blood can break your heart.

New Year’s Eve, 1999. The world is braced for Y2K, but that’s not the only ticking time bomb in Conrad’s life. Damian wouldn’t be the first vampire to find a way to die, but Conrad is determined he will not be one of them.

Present day. Damian struggles to trust that fate could possibly be kind enough to give him a love as perfect as Conrad’s. Conrad balances on the keen edge of his own fear that one more slip of his formidable control could drive his lover away—permanently.
 

Julie learns the hard way it’s not just interspecies relationships that seldom work out. Even between vampires, love is not a smooth course.

Meanwhile, intrigue and conflict within the nest continue to grow, fueled in no small part by Georgia’s slipping hold on a deadly secret. Marc works to consolidate his position as leader of the ferals—and discovers that being a walking anomaly has certain advantages. Including some that are totally unexpected.


Product Warnings
Contains more love triangles, more power struggles, more tears and teeth gnashing, and even more graphic scenes of manlove between moody, domestically inclined vampires than in previous editions. Definitely not recommended for anyone suffering from ALSSD (Auld Lang Syne Sensitivity Disorder) or with aversions to ballrooms, evening clothes, sarcasm, or close-quarter stiletto combat. 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Our new releases this week

Book two of The Triune Stones

Sara, now known as Ilythra, the Wanderer of legend, continues north on her quest to find the Siobani, who hold the secrets of the magic stone around her neck.

The stone's magic leads her to help a trader in search of his brother. The hunt takes her into a land in the grip of an alchemical conspiracy. Lord Bredych of Greton has already schemed to control Ilythra's stone once and weaves a web of scent, magic and manipulation to bring her to him. With Bredych's fragrances intoxicating her and the song of his stone in her ears, Ilythra begins to forget her quest.

The trader catches wind of Ilythra's danger and rushes to her aid. With Ilythra's mind muddled and the forces of an entire nation bent on controlling her stone, it will take an unthinkable act of sacrifice for her to continue her search for the Siobani.

Sequel to Journey of Awakening.

115,000 words

Buy

***


Children of Night, Book 4

Only blood can break your heart.

New Year’s Eve, 1999. The world is braced for Y2K, but that’s not the only ticking time bomb in Conrad’s life. Damian wouldn’t be the first vampire to find a way to die, but Conrad is determined he will not be one of them.

Present day. Damian struggles to trust that fate could possibly be kind enough to give him a love as perfect as Conrad’s. Conrad balances on the keen edge of his own fear that one more slip of his formidable control could drive his lover away—permanently.

Julie learns the hard way it’s not just interspecies relationships that seldom work out. Even between vampires, love is not a smooth course.

Meanwhile, intrigue and conflict within the nest continue to grow, fueled in no small part by Georgia’s slipping hold on a deadly secret. Marc works to consolidate his position as leader of the ferals—and discovers that being a walking anomaly has certain advantages. Including some that are totally unexpected.

Product Warnings

Contains more love triangles, more power struggles, more tears and teeth gnashing, and even more graphic scenes of manlove between moody, domestically inclined vampires than in previous editions. Definitely not recommended for anyone suffering from ALSSD (Auld Lang Syne Sensitivity Disorder) or with aversions to ballrooms, evening clothes, sarcasm, or close-quarter stiletto combat.

Buy

***

Now available in print...


A Taste of Honey
Oberon, book 4

Be careful what you wish for...

As far as Lucy Greco Cavanaugh is concerned her life is a dream come true.  She has it all, the perfect family, the perfect husband, the perfect marriage.  What more could she wish for—other than the chance to do it all again, to experience once more the agony and ecstasy of falling in love with the man of her dreams, to recapture the joy and uncertainty that comes with starting over.

 Angels and Ministers of Grace, defend us...

For Shakespeare-quoting Dan Cavanaugh, however, that dream has just become a nightmare.  His storybook marriage is on the line thanks in part to Deirdre Shelton-Cooper, the runaway daughter of a former girlfriend. Deirdre’s intent on proving Dan is her father. When she accidentally hooks up with Dan and Lucy’s son, Seth, Dan is left to wonder: how did their fairy-tale romance turn into a classic Greek tragedy?

It’s going to take an entire band of angels to help Oberon’s residents straighten things out this time around and bring the Cavenaughs’ story to a sweet ending. Lucky for them, that’s exactly what’s coming to town.

Buy

Links of Interest

Special Guest Edition: The Hawkeye Initiative IRL! "I stood in the entryway, dizzy with joy. It was glorious. There Brosie stood, proud, nipples testing the air like young gophers in springtime, the post-apocalyptic breeze gently swaying his banana hammock. Brosie said, loud and proud: “Get ready, world! I am here to lubricate your joints and tighten your socket.”"

15 THINGS A WRITER SHOULD NEVER DO: "1. Don’t assume there is any single path or playbook writers need to follow. (Or, for that matter, a definitive superlative list of Dos and Don’ts …) Simply put: You have to do what works best for you. Listen to the voices in your head, and learn to train and trust them. More often than not, they’ll let you know if you’re on the right path." 

Want to Write Stronger Characters? "Try this. Sit down and free write, in your character’s own voice, his or her description of or reaction to the following:..."

How Dan Brown and other authors defeat writer's block: "The Da Vinci Code novelist hangs upside-down to get the creative juices flowing, while others rely on noise-cancelling headphones, sleeping bags and vitamins"

Congratulations to this year's Nebula Award winners!

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Grab our button to help spread the word about urban fantasy week. Coming soon!






Saturday, May 18, 2013

Looking Forward - Acts of Faith and Their Rewards

Posted by: Regan Summers

Writing is an act of faith. ~ E.B. White

When you start telling a story, even if you have a scene-by-scene outline, you still don’t know that you’re going to finish the story, or do justice to your vision for it. If you’re writing for publication, there is always that nagging doubt that the story – even if you have a contract – might not make it to readers.

But it doesn’t matter.

A writer can’t not write. Life is full and hectic enough before you start filling your head with fictional people and conflict, with desires and heartaches and loves. Once a writer begins to regularly empty his or her head of these things, it fills up even faster. Writing is a release, a wish and a promise all at once. It’s an act of faith.

So are most things in life.

Relationships. That first word out of your mouth after you’ve checked your shirt and your breath and crossed the room to talk to someone who’s caught your fancy.

Travel. You pack the car and turn the ignition and drive down the road, firmly expecting the road to continue and your destination to exist when you arrive. Gasoline will continue to fuel your car and gravity will keep you rolling around the Earth until your arrival.

Work. You endure. You study. You learn. You adapt. You learn diplomacy. Because you will keep being paid and, every now and again, when you raise your hand above your head, another rung will have appeared on the ladder.

All acts of faith.

I’m writing the third book in the Night Runner series. It’s the first book I’ve written – other than a few sweet endeavors which are and always will be mothballed – without a rolling outline. The characters, now a novella and novel deep, are substantial. They know what they want, and they want it bad. The obstacles are higher that before. The villains are closer than ever. But Sydney Kildare keeps rolling forward and Malcolm Kelly keeps pivoting. They’re a half-step ahead of the forces that threaten to break them. Not a comfortable position, but better than the alternative.

And I keep writing because their story, their romance, their faith in each other, is on the verge of blooming and demands to be told.

*takes a deep breath*

This post got a bit more serious than I wanted. What else am I looking forward to that I expect will be there when I reach for it?

Summer. That’s a big one. The average temperature this time of year in Alaska is 60F. It’s currently 30 and freaking SNOWING. Someday the sun will return to Alaska…someday.

J

Clearly I need some distractions. Do you need some, too? Here are some things I (along with several other members of Here Be Magic, I’ve noticed) am looking forward to:



Almost Human - coming to Fox this fall


EPIC - coming to theaters May 24th!


There are also tons of amazing fantasy book releases schedules for 2013 and early 2014. I'm salivating particularly hard over Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews, and the CARNIEPUNK anthology *wink*. What are you looking forward to?

***

 About the Author

Regan Summers lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband and alien-monkey hybrid of a child. She loves reading, traveling, small plate dining and terrible action movies.

Her Night Runner series from Carina Press is available wherever e-books are sold.



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