Monday, September 30, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

Introducing Win-A-Book Wednesday

Interested in trying a new book full of magic and monsters...for free? Each Wednesday for the next five months, Here Be Magic will give away a book from a different one of our fabulous authors. It's Win-A-Book Wednesday! Now through February of 2014, we'll post a new surprise book on Wednesday, allow entries through Sunday night, and announce the winner in Monday's Here Be News. We have a fabulous line up of authors, from debuts to old favorites, including: David Bridger, Joely Sue Burkhart, Angela Campbell, Sonya Clark, Kathleen Collins, P.G. Forte, Jax Garren, Angela Highland, Shona Husk, Jeffe Kennedy, Jane Kindred, Nicole Liuken, T.C. Mill, R.L. Naquin, Janni Nell, Cindy Spencer Pape, Veronica Scott,  Eleri Stone, Shawna Thomas, Steve Vera, and Jody Wallace. Authors here are listed alphabetically, not by week. You'll have to be here on Wednesdays to see who's up next! Good luck!

New Releases

Book four of Alliance of the Amazons

Sarita Neeraj has never felt like a real Amazon. Compared to the obvious strengths of her sisters, her Water powers seem as small as her stature. She's determined to prove herself--unfortunately, all that gets her is captured by an enemy.

Ian serves a twisted goddess, preferring this to an empty afterlife. He's taken Sarita hostage to coax the other Amazons from their safe haven. But in his ancient Scottish castle, the passion and love Ian finds for Sarita resurrect his honor, until he chafes at the dark will of his mistress.

Sarita has finally found happiness--but before she can enjoy it, she's "rescued" by her furious sisters. To save Ian from destruction at the hands of the Amazons, Sarita must risk wielding magick that could change her very nature. Only then can she prove the Water Amazon is the strongest of the four--and save them all from destruction.

Meet Earth, Fire and Air in The Reluctant Amazon, The Impetuous Amazon and The Brazen Amazon.

99,000 words

Buy

Link List

Celebrating Female Authors. Lots of good SFF recommendations on this list.

Patrick Stewart Brilliantly Demonstrates the Quadruple Take in Adorable Video. Love him.

Group Announcements

Join us Saturday for our first movie night on twitter! We'll be watching "Fright Night." Details on how to participate can be found here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hi ho Carrma, Awaaaaaay!!!

Posted by: Evey Brett
Fall has finally made it to Southern Arizona. Which means it'll be about two or three weeks of lovely temperatures before it gets darn cold. (Yes, it gets below freezing here in the desert. It will get near zero, though rarely. Let me tell you about the burst pipes and frozen, dying trees...)

So, it being a pleasant morning, I figured it was time to go for a ride. I hadn't been on my horse for probably a couple of months. Got the bridle. Got the whip. (I don't smack her with it, it's more of a guidance tool.) Took Carrma into the round pen and put the bridle on. Lick chew, lick chew, which means she's happy. I don't have a saddle or bareback pad, so we get to ride with her nekkid.

This is how it went:

1. Park horse by mounting block.
2. Step on mounting block, gather reins.
3. Horse moves.
4. Try not to fall off mounting block while going to wrangle horse.
5. Use whip to try and get across, "NO, DON'T MOVE!"
6. Repeat steps 1-5.

Horse: 20. Human: 1/2

See, I managed to get a leg partway over (thank goodness she's a short horse, only 14.2 hands) and Carrma walked away. Having an off-balance monkey on her back made her go faster, so I bailed. Fell on the ground, but not hard enough to bruise. Carrma looks back. Lick chew, lick chew.

Carrma has her quirks. Being a former broodmare, she's bossy. She never was ridden much, and while she has the basics, the finer points need some improvement. (And, admittedly, so does her non-horsey Human.) But Carrma is not an easily spooked horse; she won't run just to be a pest. If she got loose, she'd go to the nearest patch of grass and stop to eat. If she doesn't do something I want her to, it's because I'm not asking right or not listening to what she's trying to tell me. She's a smart pony, and generally when we're in the round pen she'll follow me around, which is great until I want her to stand still. It just took time and patince, but she figured out what I was trying to do, because:

Round 2:
1. Stand on mounting block.
2. Carrma circles around with minimal prompting
3. Get horse parked in front of mounting block.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 until, finally, SUCCESS!

Horse: 5. Human: 1.

And that 1 is all that counts. Then it was VROOM around the round pen until she got used to carrying me and proved that, yes, she would go where I wanted her to even if she protested a bit, and then we went Out to wander around the barn property. We got to the arena, and VROOM, trot, trot, trot with me bouncing along like a sack of flour. We didn't do much of that, because I am chicken (nekkid horses are a bit slippery) and our steering is not good enough that I trust her to just trot around the arena, which is a large gravel area with no fence, and not go zooming out to the nearest patch of grass.

And because she wanted to go ZOOOM I let her loose in the jump arena,, which is fenced, and off she went to race around, looking good for a 26-year-old mare.

But she was happy, and she got her apple, which had to be shared with her three nosy neighbors. Then big yawns, which means she's relaxed and feeling good after her exercise.

Anyway. Adventures in horse-dom, brought to you by the fact that my e-book LEVADE will be out in paperback here shortly, and Carrma's got a cameo in it, so, you know you want to buy it...

Evey Brett

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Come slam a movie with us!

Posted by: Angela Campbell
Actually, I should clarify that heading. You don’t have to slam anything if you don’t want to, especially if it causes injury to yourself or someone else, and I have a feeling some of us (meaning me) will be admiring how gorgeous Colin Farrell and David Tennant look and...

I know. Back up a second, woman!

You can probably tell from the graphic included that the authors of Here Be Magic have partnered with the organizer of Coyote Con (i.e. the wonderful Joely Sue Burkhart, who is also a HBM contributor) to host our first-ever movie night on Twitter. Um, so what exactly does this mean?

Have you ever watched Mystery Science Theater, Rifftrax, or Elvira’s Movie Macabre? Imagine the HBM authors sitting in a theater together and giggling/chatting during a movie, and you’ve got the general idea. Except we all live in different places and in different time zones, so we’ll be doing this online at 7 p.m. EST Saturday, Oct. 5. We also would love it if you joined in and watched the movie with us! I'm sure there will be plenty of snark-sharing and ogling of actors and just plain fun.

After some debate, we decided to watch the 2011 remake of “Fright Night” starring Colin Farrell and David Tennant. More than a few of us are Doctor Who fans, and the idea of seeing David Tennant in eyeliner and leather basically won the vote. But if this isn’t your type of movie, don’t worry. We really hope this will be so much fun, we can do it again with a different movie in the future.

So here’s what you need to know if you want to participate:

There are two ways to join in. A chat room will be open at the Coyote Con website dedicated to the movie slam. If you’re not fond of twitter or don’t have a Twitter account, simply visit www.CoyoteCon.com and find the chat room (which will be labeled on the schedule at the Coyote Con website). You can also join the fun by logging onto Twitter and using the hashtag #HBMovie.

We’ll all press PLAY on the movie at approximately 7 p.m. EST Oct. 5. One of us moderators — us being Jody Wallace (@jodywallace), Regan Summers (@Regan_Summers), Joely Sue Burkhart (@joelysue) or myself (@angelacampbel) — will instruct you when to hit PLAY, so it’s probably a good idea to log on a few minutes early to make sure you can access the chat room or find us in your Twitter stream. Our Twitter IDs are above in case you want to go ahead and follow us to make this easier. There’s also a list of all HBM authors on Twitter, which can be found HERE.

Here are the places where the Fright Night remake can be found, either to stream online or for rental on DVD. Remember, this is the 2011 version, not the original 1985 film:
And then, simply remember to tweet or type your comments to join the discussion! Any questions? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to respond as quickly as possible.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Ruint

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
Happy writer's birthday to me!

It's not really my birthday -- I'm a Gemini.  But I consider September 29th to be my writer's birthday (the story of how my sister got me going is on my blog).  It's the day I started to think seriously about writing.  It wasn't going to be just something I did when I couldn't sleep.  Or when I didn't like how the movie ended.  Or how so-and-so's book was written.

It was the day I committed to writing.  I promised my sister I would finish the book.  That's all it took to make a "dabbler" since 5th grade into a writer.

I look back sometimes and marvel at how crazy a journey it's been.  The first story I ever wrote was a story about a black racehorse in the 5th grade (yeah, I read every Walter Farley book in my library!).  Then I started writing a Gone With the Wind -- only in my version, the South was going to win.  I studied battles.  I read the original inspiration at least three times (I blame the tiny print on why I needed glasses in the 6th grade) and of course saw the movie over and over.  I had such high hopes for that crazy little book, but I never ended up finishing it.  What happened?

My poor mother hates this story.  *wg*  I let her read the first chapter or so and she laughed until she cried.  Yes, tears of laughter.  Not something a newbie writer EVER wants to see!  Especially from one's mother.  I mean, Mom is supposed to be your biggest fan, right?  So when an agent sends out a rejection, you can always say, Yeah, but Mom loved it!

What was so funny?  I said the hero ruint the heroine's dress.  (Yes even then I was writing romance.)  Ruint evidently is a very hilarious word.  You're laughing now, aren't you?  Yes, I'm still sensitive about it.  (Laughs)

At the time, I was pretty humiliated.  So much so that I never told another soul that I was writing.  I pretty much quit for years, and when I did start writing again, I never told anyone.  I sure as hell didn't let anyone READ it!  I never finished that Gone With the Wind fanfic.  In fact, I never finished another story.  Ever.

Until my sister called that day and won that promise from me.  (I did make her swear that she absolutely would NOT laugh.  No matter how bad it was.)

Despite that first rough experience, today Mom is one of my biggest supporters and has read just about everything I've written.  (Everything except the pony play with m/m action!)  I even named a hero Ruin as a slight tongue and cheek reminder.

Nothing can hold me back now, right?  I mean, once your own mother has laughed so hard she cries, you can take just about any rejection without flinching!

Do any of you have a embarrassing writing story to share?

~ * ~ 

To celebrate my writing birthday, my first book, The Rose of Shanhasson, is on sale through the end of the month for only .99, as well as the other two books of the trilogy!

Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better. Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves. Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they're hiding, they always fall hard and fast. Dare to look beneath the mask with delicious BDSM in a wide variety of genres with Joely on her website.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Reflections of me.

Posted by: Shawna Thomas
I have been attempting to get into shape. Yeah, I know, we all are more or less. But with a scary double digit birthday approaching (and now past) I decided it’s now or never. So, I’ve been exercising regularly and when I walk the kids to school, I loop around the neighborhood for a 20 – 30 minute power walk. (I've dropped two sizes and lost about 15lbs)

The other day, I was thinking that each of the houses, even in my cookie-cutter neighborhood, have a personality. Even as I was thinking this, an older woman emerged out of one of my favorite houses (nothing is out of place in the yard. Ever.) and straightened a decorative flag that had blown up and over the post. On the other side of the street there’s a house that always, and I mean always has at least one toy in the yard.

I smiled, thinking my house didn’t reveal anything at all about my personality. I mean there are flowers in the beds... and a few weeds. Okay more than a few weeds. The grass...well it’s kinda yellow in patches, but that’s not my fault, the darn sprinklers broke and watering by hand is time consuming. And we don't have the money to fix it because I'm a writer and well... Most of the greenery is trimmed, but that’s thanks to my husband. He doesn’t do flower beds or weeding, though... There is at least one giant pinwheel. It’s in a different location almost every day because the toddler can’t leave it alone. And that’s when it struck me. Like it or not, my house says a lot about me too.

You won’t find any toys in my front yard. Why? Because I’m super paranoid and the kids are only allowed to play in the backyard. Where the toy litter abounds. Trust me.

There are flowers in pots on my porch. I love flowers and they make me smile. Also, flowers in pots are so much easier to take care of... again. The time thing.

I am a very busy mother who has learned not to sweat the small stuff (or the occasional weed) I have a garden of children to raise, so the plants have to be low maintenance because the children definitely aren’t. I am a working mom, even if I work from home. And having done both, let me tell you, they are equally difficult. If I have a moment of free time, chances are it won’t be spend weeding the cracks in the driveway. They’ll die out in the winter anyway, right?


So now I challenge you. What does your front yard say about you?




And here is a picture of a statue I see every day on my walk. It never ceases to make me smile. I think it's a trap. The sign might say welcome, but that plant looks like it will eat your face off. ; ) LOL I guess that says a lot about me too.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
Group Announcements

Cover Reveal!

The job was simple: decapitate the zombie, get paid, get out. Warlock Marcus Shifter followed the plan perfectly.

The corpse, however, did not.

Now there’s a body on the loose, accusations of illegal necromancy are flying, and the answers are waiting in the perilous alleys between the mortal and paranormal worlds. They’re no place for someone who gave up magic after a childhood accident. And given his tendency to shoot off his mouth and his Glock, Marcus is having a hell of a time digging up more than just bodies.

But when an apocalypse-minded megalomaniac threatens Marcus’s family, things get personal. Marcus will have to embrace the magic he’s been avoiding for years—and even that might not be enough to save the world from a hellish demise.

Available Oct 28.

Link List

‘Fringe’s John Noble Joins ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Loved him on Fringe and I think he's a great fit for this show.

New Sherlock S3 pics: A look behind the scenes

Goodreads creates a stir with a new review policy:  Important Note Regarding Reviews Apparently, they started deleting user reviews that violated this policy without any advance notice.

Plagiarism in New Adult/Fanfic and in the poetry world.

Agents of SHIELD premieres this week! Tuesday 8 EST. Finally.

An interesting study. It made me think about writers who have an instinctive gift for realistic dialogue: "...those who do better on rhythmic tests also show better responses to language sounds on a neurological level."


Saturday, September 21, 2013

International Day of Peace

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape


Today is International Day of Peace. September 21 has been designated as such by the United Nations since 1981. I honestly didn't know this until recently. Now I'm excited to share.

Peace seems like such a no-brain concept. We all know the devastation that war brings, to those who lead, to those to follow, but also to innocents on both sides and others who just happen to be in the way. And yet-- war remains a fact of life throughout the world. I think it's a great idea to take one day and think about what we as an individual can do to promote peace, whether on a global scale, or, more likely, just within our own community. This year's theme is Education for Peace. To learn more about the day, it's history, and ways you can get involved, check out http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/


This weekend also has significance on many calendars, of course. I'm most familiar with the Celtic, which calls the solstice (midnight tonight/tomorrow morning) Mabon. I love the symbolism of changing seasons. It always makes me contemplative, as the turning of the year both reminds me that life is short and I need to live each day to its fullest, but also that even in the darkest of times, the world does keep turning, and things will change, as sure as the leaves on the trees. This week we also had a full moon, the Harvest Moon, which is another special day to many people around the world.


This weekend I'll be at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. There's always a heavy presence of symbolism and early beliefs on the weekend closest to the solstice, and this year will be no exception. There will be food and drink and high spirits and each of us will greet the new season in our own unique manner.

Do you have any special ways you celebrate autumn? (Or spring if you're in the southern hemisphere.) International Day of Peace? Is this just downtime between back-to-school and Halloween? Do you have full-on rituals to mark the season? Are you excited about pumpkin doughnuts or candy corn? Leave a comment, and I'll give one winner a free download of either Motor City Fae, Steam & Sorcery or All Hallows Evie, winner's choice!



Friday, September 20, 2013

Spoilers—To Peek or Not to Peek

Posted by: Nicole Luiken


There is a study out there that argues that knowing Spoilers can actually increase your enjoyment of a novel.   SpoilerAlert: Stories are not Spoiled by ‘Spoilers’.   



My first response to this was Get Out of Town, cuz I HATE spoilers.  People who read the ending first baffle me. I refuse to even read series books out of order.  In fact, I don’t  read blurbs if I can avoid it. Too often I’ve seen them ruin a surprise in the first few chapters of a book, or raise false expectations or be just plain wrong.  If I love a series or trust an author, I deliberately don’t read the back cover blurb.  I prefer to have the story unfold the way the author intended.  (Don’t get me wrong: blurbs are necessary.  I would never consider buying a book by a new author without reading the blurb. Movie or book ads that rely on rave reviews drive me crazy. I don’t care if  Such-and-such gave it five stars. I care about genre and PLOT.)



But then I thought about it some more and realized that the article might explain why I also love to reread my favorite books. There are books I’ve reread so many times I practically have the plot memorized, and yet I still enjoy reading them.  The second (or third or fourth) time around, I love to spot the little hints dropped in by the clever author along the way.  I love to reread tense action scenes, character interactions, and, of course, sexy times.  (When rereading I often skip descriptive passages entirely. I’m also less likely to reread mysteries than romances or fantasy novels.) I also really enjoy watching Game of Thrones on TV even though I've read the books and know exactly what's coming for the poor characters.


Different readers consider different things to be spoilers. My husband doesn’t understand how I can enjoy romance books when I know going in that the couple is guaranteed a Happily Ever After.  (This makes me roll my eyes since the books he enjoys, SF and fantasy, have happy endings 95% of the time, too. The plucky hobbits defeat the all-powerful Sauron, not the other way around.)  To him the HEA is a spoiler in and of itself. To me it’s a promise that I will be entertained and not depressed.

Here’s another article which argues with the original study’s conclusions: Scientific Explanations of Why Spoilers are So Horrible.

Do you hate spoilers?  Do you ever reread your favorite books?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Growing Up Romance

Posted by: Marie Harte


I cut my teeth on Johanna Lindsey’s A Gentle Feuding more than twenty years ago. My very first romance, shoved my way because I was getting on my mother’s nerves. It wasn’t fantasy, mythology, or horror, my typical go-to books , but I was twelve and bored and needed something to do. She told me to shut up and read, and an addict was born.

I have my library of romance books I’ve kept over the years. Some stay, some go. Every year I have what I call “the Culling” to keep my library somewhat manageable. With the advent of e-readers and ebooks, I’m pleased to say I have many more that I could have handled in print. However, I’ve found that technology isn’t the only thing that’s changed. So too have my tastes.

It used to be I could read a historical romance and not be bothered by a sixteen year old girl getting married. Now I can’t do it. Same with reading about innocent virgins that need a big strong man to help them out of any situation. I recently read a historical by a favorite author of mine, so the character might have been in context—it’s not as if women were policemen and judges back then—but the book drove me nuts. The hero was a complete ass, the heroine a little pleaser. I couldn’t finish it.

Everything changes, but I hate it when, as a reader, I’m turned off to an author I usually consider an auto-buy. Why? Is it me, as in the case of my recent disappointment? That’s not something an author can control. What really gets me is when I’m used to a level of romance or intimacy in a book, and an author completely changes what they write. (By all that’s holy, if you start a romance series, don’t turn it into chicklit or women’s fiction halfway through! Same with paranormal romance. Urban fantasy is NOT the same thing!)

We all know about author branding. You buy author A because you want a funny romance. Or author B because you want something dark and mysterious. But when author A suddenly changes the rules, and you’re reading a sad historical drama, not the lighthearted romance you’d expected, things go from bad to worse.

I find branding an interesting topic anymore, because authors are sticking to one name for everything. Mostly. I don’t see authors writing erotic romance and YA under the same name. But that romance umbrella sticks to everything under the genre for some.

I too find it easier to write erotic romance, and soon mainstream romance, under Marie Harte. You can read contemporary, paranormal, futuristic—it’s all romance and all me. Do I worry about branding? Not really, since most of my stuff is erotic in nature. But the mainstream books that release next year… I hope to heck my readers will be okay with books that are a bit less spicy than what I typically write. Considering those mainstream books are spicy as well, I don’t think it will be that much of a stretch. But we’ll see…

Now I’m going to do my best to keep looking for my tried and true authors and enjoying their books. I hope. 

Marie Harte
website | blog | facebook
follow me on twitter @MHarte_Author
USA Today Bestselling Author


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why RT? Why Now?

Posted by: Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka
It's September, and you know what that means...
Back to school?
Uh. Yeah but...
Sweater weather?
Yes...
Hot apple cider with a shot of Fireball?
Dude. Stop! I'm not making this post drunk, damn it. 

September means that RT registration will be going live any day. For those not in the know, RT is the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. May 2014, a bunch of romance authors and readers will be invading the beautiful city of New Orleans. 

I'm sure as soon as you saw "New Orleans," a lot of you clicked on the link to the convention information. And then you balked. First off, the main hotel is sold out. Second, you clicked on registration and saw dollar signs flashing before your eyes. That's what happened to me the first time too. I mean, that's a lot of money to shell out, especially if you aren't possibly going to "make money" from the con. I get it. 

I also know you should go anyway. 

Take away the awesomeness of New Orleans and you should still go. (My first RT was in Columbus, OH, and I've gone every years since.)

No, RT isn't cheap, but of all the cons I've attended, it's the best one for meeting and talking to agents, publishers, and more authors than you can count. And the best part? Most of those people are happy to talk to you. We see "aspiring author" on a tag and you automatically become a sister or brother in arms. "Reader" or "book seller"? You are officially on my favorite people list (especially if you know who I am--that makes me get teary). 

Those people you meet? It's not just cool to meet them, it's professional networking. My first RT, I went as an aspiring author. Within a couple months, I submitted to a couple publishers I'd met there. A few months after that, I had contracts with both of them. Now, it doesn't always work that way. Entangled rejected a few of my manuscripts before I signed with them, but that connection at RT made me realize how badly I wanted to work with the company. So I learned more details about what they wanted and I kept subbing.

It's those connections that can make your career. 

I'm sure some of you are sitting there thinking, "But I don't write romance." 

Go anyway. 

Romance has so many sub-genres that one of them is sure to appeal to you. There's an urban fantasy/paranormal romance track, a steampunk track (I'll be spending a lot of time there), a historical track... the list goes on and on. There is a lot to learn that can apply to non-romance as easily as romance. In addition? Those contacts I mentioned? Not all of them are going to be romance-centric. The agents take other genres. Many of the publishers have non-romance lines. The authors? They run the gamut from romance only to romantic elements to the likes of James Rollins (2012) and John Scalzi (2013)! (Trust me, I fan-girled over Rollins and made an ass of myself in front of Scalzi--I would never forget them. Also...both great guys.)

Besides, where else could you have the opportunity to see EL James (50 Shades of Grey) face off with Andrew Shaffer (50 Shames of Earl Grey)? And yes, I'm still kicking myself that I missed that, however short it was. 

The question always comes back to "is it really worth the money?" I can't answer that for you, but for me, it's always been a resounding yes. The connections you can make and the amount you can learn can't be measured in dollars. But of all the cons I've attended, this remains the most worthwhile and the one that I've never questioned whether or not I'd attend. 

Plus, hello? New Orleans. Bourbon Street Bar Crawl. Enough said. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Excerpt from Warrior of the Nile The Goddess Appears

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Sharing an excerpt today from my newly released paranormal romance, set in Ancient Egypt. Here's the story, followed by the excerpt:

Egypt, 1500 BCE
Lady Tiya is bound to the service of the goddess Nephthys, who plans to sacrifice Tiya’s body to protect Egypt from an ancient terror. She embarks to meet her grim fate alone but for the hardened warrior Khenet, who is fated to die at her side. Tiya’s dreams of love and family now seem impossible, and Khenet, who is the last of his line, knows his culture will die with him. Struggling with the high cost of Nephthys’s demands, both resolve to remain loyal.
Neither expects the passion that flowers when Tiya’s quiet courage and ethereal beauty meet Khenet’s firm strength and resolve. On a boat down the Nile, their two lonely souls find in each other a reason to live. But time is short and trust elusive.
Without the willing sacrifice of Tiya and Khenet, a great evil will return to Egypt. How could the gods demand their deaths when they’ve only just begun to live?
This scene comes early in the novel, right after Tiya is designated to be the one to accompany Khenet and they meet the goddess for the first time, in her temple at Thebes:
Khenet felt a breeze swirl around him, emanating from the closed door. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the bronze pins holding the bolts on the door to the innermost sanctum slowly turning. As he watched, one fell to the floor with a crash, followed a moment later by the other. The door drifted open very slightly, light blazing through the narrow opening and at the sides.
“The goddess is present,” said the high priest, clutching his staff so hard his knuckles went white. “Everyone is dismissed and may leave the inner sanctum, except for Lady Tiya and Pharaoh’s representative.”
Tiya’s father came to brush a kiss on her cheek before rejoining his impatient young wife and her brother, and then they too left. Khenet saw that although Tiya didn’t gaze after them, she did hastily wipe away a tear.
Murmuring prayers of praise and thanksgiving, the other priests filed out of the room. Khenet approached and offered Tiya his help in leaving the dais. “Allow me.”
She rested her fingers on his hand just long enough to keep her balance before snatching her hand back.
Marching up the stairs to the door of the innermost sanctum, Tiya held herself tall and dignified. He restrained a sigh. If she’s as haughty and rude as all her kind, this will be a long journey. But the other woman was sure to drive me to distraction with her interminable weeping, should Nephthys have selected her.
The high priest regarded them solemnly. “We go to meet the goddess. Nephthys wishes to assess both her Daughter and the guardian.”
“I’m ready,” Khenet said, fists clenched.
Tiya just nodded.
After checking to see that everyone else had left the chamber, the priest walked to the partially open doors and flung the gilded panels wide open. Light streamed out and Khenet heard the buzzing of wasps, as if he were about to step into a hive of the angry creatures. Tiya shrank back a little, took a deep breath, and followed the priest.
Not knowing what he expected, having been in the innermost sanctum of a temple only once, as a boy swearing allegiance to Horus, Khenet sized up the room as he crossed the threshold. A ten foot tall statue of the goddess dominated the space, with her arms out to the sides, palms up, her proud face carved as if she were challenging anyone foolish enough to enter her domain. The sculptor had depicted Nephthys wearing a pleated sheath that barely covered her ample curves,
and the entire statue had been covered in gold, which gleamed in the unearthly light the goddess herself was providing. A rich collar of turquoise, coral and lapis lay across the statue’s chest, matching earrings affixed to the shell-like ears. The strong scent of the lotus threatened to choke Khenet.
“The goddess is present,” whispered the priest, going to his knees, arms crossed over his chest, head down.
Tiya muttered a little prayer and knelt, copying the man’s pose.
Khenet planted his feet well apart, in a fighter’s stance, and remained standing. I’m here in Pharaoh’s place and he wouldn’t kneel to any goddess. Besides, I swear no fealty to Nephthys.
“Humility and obeisance are the safe choices in the presence of the Great Ones.” Where the statue had been, Nephthys herself now stood on the pedestal in front of them, taller than Khenet, wrapped in black robes and gray mist. Her black wig was adorned with golden and emerald beads, crowned with an ebony headdress proclaiming her name in one stark cartouche. Flickers of red shimmered in the air surrounding her, bringing the heat of the desert furnace. His ears rang with a  muted buzzing sound as if a hive full of wasps flew all around the small sanctuary. Nephthys pointed her index finger at him, two great ruby rings on her hand winking like the fire she could summon at will.
Khenet felt sheer stubbornness sweep over him at her words. “I’m here on behalf of Pharaoh, Great One.” The hidden purple bead on his bracelet burned against
his skin, the small pain steadying him as he braced for punishment.
But Nephthys surprised him, throwing her head back and laughing. “I see Nat-re-Akhte has chosen his minion well. You are strong, well suited to accomplish the task I assigned to him.”
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Posted by: Eleri Stone
New Releases

Egypt, 1500 BC

Lady Tiya is bound to the service of the goddess Nephthys, who plans to sacrifice Tiya's body to protect Egypt from an ancient terror. She embarks to meet her grim fate alone but for the hardened warrior Khenet, who is fated to die at her side. Tiya's dreams of love and family now seem impossible, and Khenet, who is the last of his line, knows his culture will die with him. Struggling with the high cost of Nephthys's demands, both resolve to remain loyal.

Neither expects the passion that flowers when Tiya's quiet courage and ethereal beauty meet Khenet's firm strength and resolve. On a boat down the Nile, their two lonely souls find in each other a reason to live. But time is short and trust elusive.

Without the willing sacrifice of Tiya and Khenet, a great evil will return to Egypt. How could the gods demand their deaths when they've only just begun to live?

Book two of The Gods of Egypt

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...a unique vampire story with a kickass heroine and a handsome hero...a post apocalyptic wasteland dominated by a new evolutionary species...a villainous corporation out to rule the world...an exciting adventure into a possible future...

When gorgeous vampire Rye is left for dead in the post-apocalyptic wastelands, she’s at the mercy of the sexy man who saves her. With her life in the balance, she voraciously drinks his blood. And while it heals her, his blood also triggers her inherent carnal lust.

The moment Sevrin finds Rye naked in a ditch, he’s intrigued. After letting her gorge on his blood, he experiences strange, spellbinding sexual urges. Then he tastes the succulence of her lips and he’s lost to the need thrumming between them.

As Rye and Sevrin embark on a steamy journey, indulging in every need, they also race to stop a villainous corporation from developing a poison that could wipe out the remainder of mankind.



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On fake Geek girls: Fake Geek Romance? 




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ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE, the new SF Romance from Veronica Scott, hit #24 on the Amazon SFR Best Seller list last week. 







Sunday, September 15, 2013

Not So Buried Treasure

Posted by: Ruth A Casie
University of Bologna/AFP
There is a romance about archaeological digs and finding treasurers. Some treasures we easily understand, hordes of gold and jewels, statues and art, tombs and mummies. Others are more difficult.

This past May, in the library of the University of Bologna in Italy, Professor Mauro Perani found ‘gold’ in among the shelves and of the 925 year old university. It was a book, a scroll actually. Upon analysis he would confirm that it is the world’s oldest complete Torah, Jewish Bible.

Professor Perani was cataloging a 30 Jewish manuscripts in the library when he noticed that a particular scroll, Scroll Number Two, had been classified as originating in the 17th century. When he took a closer look he saw that the scroll included letters and symbols that had been banned by the 12th century Jewish philosopher, Moses ben Maimon. Perani suspected the scroll was much older.

Carbon dating in Italy and the United States confirmed that the scroll was made between 1155 and 1225 C.E. While fragments of scrolls dating as far back at the 7th and 8th centuries have been found, this is the oldest complete Torah. The oldest previously known scroll dates back to the 13th century. However, St. Petersburg does have a bible in a book form, not the traditional scroll that dates back to 1088.

The lamb skin scroll is perfectly preserved and measures 118 feet long and just over 2 feet wide. It is surmised that the University received the scroll from a Dominican monastery in the city following Napoleon’s orders to disband religious orders in the country. As for why the Dominican friars had the ancient Torah, there was close collaboration between Christians and Jewish scholars in the early Middle Ages. Bologna also has had a large Jewish community for quite some time and the university added Hebrew studies to their curriculum in the 15th century.

Telling you about this wonderful treasure at this time is appropriate as our Jewish friends, colleagues and family celebrate their New Year, 5774. L’Shana Tova, for a good year, and may we all be written in the book of life for another year. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

On Being a Writer of Genre Fiction

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
The other night I was chatting on Instant Messenger with one of my writer friends (and critique partner). She and I have a lot in common as writers because we both started out writing literary fiction and non-fiction - and were moderately successful at it - and then both switched to writing genre fiction. We both write erotic romance and she's had a very successful urban fantasy trilogy while I'm making my way in fantasy and fantasy romance.

In this conversation, she mentioned that one of her friends from her "former" writing life had a memoir published with a university press and she was excited to go to the launch party and see all her old friends. Then she expressed trepidation, saying that she never knows quite what to say to them about what she's writing now, as if she's internalized some of the shame of writing genre, especially in SFF and Romance, which tend to be the most sneered at among the "genres" by lit fic types.

It's really hard to say, though, if it's us or them.

But I totally understood what she means. I miss my old community - more so because we moved away. I loved the comaraderie of it all, the sense of being admitted to the club. I told her that I look at the Newsletter from the foundation that gave me a fellowship for a two-week residency, back in the day. Doing that residency was huge for me. First, just passing the jury to be awarded the fellowship was enormously validating. But then - spending those two weeks being fed and catered to while I did nothing but write? That was the first time I felt like a REAL writer. Like was I was doing was important. My fellow residents and I joked that they treated us like we were curing cancer. (I should mention this particular residency included artists of all types - painters, musicians, writers, photographers, composers, you name it.)

That joke reflected our internal uncertainty that we didn't really deserve such support, even as we reveled in it, like foster children plucked off the street and mistakenly given a rich home. We kept waiting for them to discover the error and boot us out.

Miraculously, they never did.

Some writers make a virtual living of this itinerant lifestyle, going from residency to residency. Part of this to support themselves in the early days but also because, with rare exceptions, lit fic writers rarely make money any other way. They work as professors at universities and writing programs. Genre writers typically have non-writing related careers until they make it.

I know far, far more genre writers making a living on just writing than in the lit fic world. I enjoy the writing more, too. But, when I get that newsletter...

There's stuff like:

~ Fellows nominated for the 2013 Tony Award:

~ featured in a solo exhibition

~ has been appointed Artistic Director

~ was shortlisted for Salt Publishing’s International Scott Prize

~ had its US television broadcast premier on PBS’s Independent Lens series

~ The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded...

I'm reading through this, looking for my buddies and thinking "and Jeffe Kennedy has the second book in her Covenant of Thorns series, Rogue's Possession, coming out on October 7!"

Somehow, it just doesn't have the same ring, you know?

At the same time, I know that these sorts of prestigious announcements are the coin of the arts realm. This is what they trade upon. In that world, reputation and resume are what get you more work. In genre? Sales figures.

What strikes me about all of this is, I'm still the same writer. In many, quantifiable ways that I can point to, I'm  much better writer than when I received that Fellowship. Certainly far more people read my work, I sell more books and, yes, make more money at it.


More than that, I work harder at my writing and produce far more than I ever did then. I feel like a working writer now. A real writer, in a totally different way.

I may not be curing cancer, but that's not my job. I'm a writer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her fantasy BDSM romance, Petals and Thorns, originally published under the pen name Jennifer Paris, has won several reader awards. Sapphire, the first book in Facets of Passion has placed first in multiple romance contests and the follow-up books, Platinum and Ruby are climbing the charts. Her most recent works include three fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns, the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and the post-apocalyptic vampire erotica of the Blood Currency.

Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com or every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog.

She is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oh, fudge!

Posted by: Natasha Hoar
Ask my co-workers, customers, family members and even casual acquaintances about their general experiences over the last two weeks, and they'll likely all say something along the lines of, "Has everyone been sipping crazy juice? Did someone forget to mention that we're long past the full moon?"

Yeah, it's been a rough two weeks.

And now...it's Friday the Thirteenth.

 
 
I certainly could have gone on today about the many myriad ways Friday the Thirteenth grips us by the lapels and gives us a good, urban-myth and superstition-driven shake. But I think we deserve better.
 
We deserve fudge.
 
For your baking pleasure, I am resurrecting my mum's fudge recipe. Go forth, and have a great Friday the Thirteenth, all! (And if you have any sure-fire recipes to help beat the bad-week and scary day blues, I'd love to hear about them!)
 

Now, before I get started I do want to give a warning – please DO NOT leave children unattended around this, or any other cooking fudge. When fudge is in its bubbly, liquid phase it can cause dreadful burns, mostly because its thickness causes it to cling when it lands on skin.

Marlene’s Traditional Fudge
  • 2 Cups of sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of water
  • 4 Tablespoons of margarine (or butter)
  • 2 Tablespoons of syrup (I use golden syrup. Lyle’s golden, specifically)
  • 1 Can of condensed milk (the recipe calls for a 397g can, but I've used a 300g can of Eagle’s Brand condensed milk with great results)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1) Dissolve sugar and water over medium heat.
2) Add margarine and syrup to sugar/water mix, stirring occasionally until dissolved.
3) Add the condensed milk. Stir often until it comes to a boil.
4) Continue to boil over low-medium heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring almost constantly. DO NOT leave to boil unattended!
5) Remove from heat.
6) Add vanilla essence after removing from heat. Stir until thickened.
7) Pour into greased pan. Cut into squares when cold.

This fudge can also be crumbled or shaved, and turned into toppings for other desserts!

(Recipe originally posted on my own blog on October 17th, 2012. Too damn good not to share again and again!)

***

Natasha is the author of the Lost Souls Series - available at Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Audible. Most days she can be found muttering about random topics over on Twitter.
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