Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking backwards... and forwards!

Posted by: Sheryl Nantus
It's been a wild and wacky year for both authors and readers with the options for both growing and expanding with the growth of self-publishing, hybrid publishing and small publishers going full bore up against the larger and more established big houses. It's a great time to be a reader *and* an author because we've got more options than ever before to write what we want to read and find what we want to read no matter how exotic it might be - there's someone, somewhere, writing it and getting it ready for publication!

I've had a grand year - the last three books in the "Blood of the Pride" series came out from Carina Press and while it's hard to put Bran and Reb on the shelf it's time to move onwards and upwards - and I'm doing that with a new series starting in May, 2014!

"In The Black" is the first book in a new science-fiction romance series that, well... imagine "Firefly" meets "Best Little Whorehouse"...

Sam Keller is a woman running from her past, landing as a captain on a Mercy ship—ferrying courtesans from stop to stop to indulge the sexual fantasies and needs of distant mining colonies.

She thought she'd left the violence behind but when one of her crew is brutally murdered she has to find the killer before the Bonnie Belle loses enough money to be put out of commission. Marshal Daniel LeClair arrives on base to investigate and the sparks between the two fly both professionally and personally.

As the pair weave through corruption and the sensual world of the professional courtesan they find themselves drawn together not only by a need for justice but also for survival in a world where Sam knows the shadows hold dangerous secrets.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful 2013 and begin a great new 2014 with a wonderful read from some of the assorted authors here. There's plenty here to whet your appetite for anything and anyone so why not try something a little different as part of a New Year's Resolution?

Looking forward to celebrating a whole new year with you and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
New Releases

Book three of The Triune Stones

Ilythra the Wanderer has escaped brainwashing by the merciless sorcerer Bredych, but she's far from safe. As Bredych seizes power in the kingdom of Greton, Ilythra staggers north with a magic stone he covets, fleeing his murderous trackers. There in the mist, she finds the Siobani and the final Triune Stone.

Ilythra's quest won't be complete until she recovers the stone still in Bredych's possession and uses it to mend the wounds of the world. Though the Siobani are reluctant to leave their long seclusion, Ilythra convinces them that the time to reunite the stones has come.

With Ilythra wielding the power of her stone, the Siobani have a fighting chance. But Greton's walls are thick. Bredych's spells are insidious. His army is well trained. And even with new magic she's learned from the Siobani to help her, pulling down the puppeteer of Greton will be Ilythra's hardest battle yet.

Buy Link



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Janus, January and New Year's Resolutions

Posted by: Jax Garren
January is named for the Roman god Janus (said yon-us). My introdution to Janus came from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when the evil Ethan Rayne called on him as a god of chaos and magically turned all the protagonists into their Halloween costumes. It was a hilarious episode, and Janus' appearance as a god with two faces pointing opposite directions was a perfet metaphor for Ethan's two-faced nature and the chicanery in the episode.

Turns out that *gasp* the Janus of Buffy has practically nothing in common with the god worshipped by the Romans. The Janus of ancient Rome indeed has two faces, but that's due to his nature as a god of transitions--one face looks back at where you've been, and the other forward toward where you are going. He was placed in doorways and on bridges as a god of the portal, a reminder that every exit is also an entrance. Every ending is also a beginning. In this role he is also the god of the New Year.

Personally, I'm a happy camper about transitioning to 2014. In 2013, my husband and I had to return our foster daughters to their bio mother, a medical condition has caused me to reinvent the way I eat and my publisher and I have parted ways for my current series. It's been a rough year. Next year will see us rebuilding from the destruction of 2013. Instead of Janus' calm moving forward while reflecting back, I feel like Kali's wild destruction and creation might be more symbolic of this year.

People have started asking me about New Year's Resolutions, but I mostly don't feel ready to do that yet. One thing that I've been kicking about is starting a "Happy, Healthy Writer" website as a 100% judgment free zone for writers (and other desk-jobbers) to support each other in our health goals--whatever they happen to be. I think too often places set a standard for what health looks like, and for many of us these ideals created by people whose lives revolve around diet and exercise can seem unrealistic or simply don't fit in with our own goals. For example, I don't care how much I can deadlift or how many miles I can run (and I don't even want to know what my body fat percentage is, much less get/keep it in a certain range), but I'd like to be able to do two pullups in a row, and I could sure use some moral support staying on my hellacious new low histamine diet! But right now that website's an idea, not a goal.

What's your Janus-uary status? What are you reflecting back on or looking forward to as we transition from 2013 to 2014? And is anybody else interested in an HHW social forum?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dress Code

Posted by: Shona Husk
At some point when writing I realize I have to dress my characters. Usually this isn’t in the first draft. My first drafts are known for nude characters in vague fog like settings (my first drafts are also short as I then have to add in so much stuff like setting, description….pretty much everything that isn’t action or dialogue).

However sometimes clothing is part of the plot. What a character wears, or doesn’t wear, is essential to the story. Lord of the Hunt is my clothing story. It is all about the clothes.
From the moment Taryn walks into the Hall of Judgement in Castle Annwyn fresh from the mortal world, to the dirt the Queen notices on Verden’s sleeve, or the gift Taryn receives of a luxurious red dress from a mysterious admirer, or the costumes for the midsummer dance what the fairies are wearing matters.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how the Court would dress. Fairies live for a very long time and they aren’t constrained by mortal morals. They are concerned with status and gaining leverage through deals and games. And yet they aren’t deliberately cruel—they just expect you to give as good as you get and don’t swim outside your depth J
For someone who isn’t a clothes or shoe person (seriously I hate shopping, the idea of trying on endless clothes to find something, ugh) imagining Annwyn was actually fun. The colors, the styles and more importantly what it meant as nothing in Annwyn is simply there for decoration. Fairies dress to make a point.

Even their political associations are echoed in the clothing choice…as is the season.  Autumn is fading to winter and the clothing is getting darker.
Of course if you want to see the trouble Annwyn is in and what Verden and Taryn really get up to (and what they are or aren’t wearing) when they think no one is watching you can pre-order now or pick up a copy of Lord of the Hunt on the 7 January.

Lord of the Hunt
She Wasn’t Cut Out for His World...
The realm of the fairies might be unbelievably beautiful, but its people are notoriously treacherous. Raised among mortals, Taryn hoped to avoid her fairy heritage her whole life. But now she must cross over to Annwyn and appeal to the King to pardon her exiled parents, or they're sure to die. And to get to the King, she'll first have to face the Lord of the Hunt...

He Can't Imagine Life Without Her...
Verden, Lord of the Hunt, is sworn to serve to King. But the moment he sees Taryn, the attraction is instant and devastating. How can he not help the beautiful, brave young woman who refuses to bend to the will of the court? Yet the power in Annwyn is shifting, its magic failing. No matter how much he may love Taryn, the Hunter knows that abandoning his duty could bring down the mortal world forever...
Praise for the works of Shona Husk:
“Romantic and intriguing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Enthralling.” —Booklist
“A great fairy-tale feel...dark, fresh, and tantalizing.” —Anna's Book Blog

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Drawing on history, myth and imagination, she writes about heroes who are armed and dangerous but have a heart of gold—sometimes literally. She is the author of the Shadowlands Series and the Annwyn Series. You can find out more information about Shona and her edgy romances at http://www.shonahusk.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @ShonaHusk.

To Purchase Lord of the Hunt:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-a-Million
Chapters/Indigo
iBooks
IndieBound
Discover a New Love

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Hangover and 2014 Plans

Posted by: Loribelle Hunt
Ever feel like you have a holiday hangover and not from the eggnog? I had a December deadline and moved one of my parents into my house this month. So despite having a very low key Christmas here I feel a little wrung out lol! And I'm really looking forward to settling back into a normal routine. Or what passes for one at my house. ;)

So today I'm turning in a book and thinking about what I want to do in 2014. I don't really do resolutions, but I do like to make a list of major goals for the year. Usually that's just the books I intend to write. This year there are some house projects, too, because we're hoping to sell and move into something bigger. I'm also launching a new pen name (more on that later). So 2014 is shaping up to be a year of big changes. I'm really looking forward to diving in!

What about y'all? Anyone making plans for 2014 yet? Any major changes on the horizon?




Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Win-A-Book Wednesday with...

Posted by: Jax Garren

JANE KINDRED

Jane Kindred is the author of The House of Arkhangel’sk trilogy, the Demons of Elysium series, and The Devil’s Garden. Born in Billings, Montana, she spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.

You can find Jane on her Twitter account and Facebook page—both of which are aptly named “janekindred"—and on her website, www.janekindred.com.


When desire rises, angels will fall. One, by one, by one…

Over the past century, Belphagor has made a name for himself in Heaven’s Demon District as a cardsharp, thief, and charming rogue.

Though the airspirit is content with his own company, he enjoys applying the sweet sting of discipline to a willing backside. Angel, demon, even the occasional human. He’s not particular. Until a hotheaded young firespirit steals his purse—and his heart. Now he’s not sure who owns whom.

A former rent boy and cutpurse from the streets of Raqia, Vasily has never felt safer than in the arms—and at the feet—of the Prince of Tricks. He’s just not sure if Belphagor returns those feelings. There’s only one way to find out, but using a handsome, angelic duke to stir Belphagor’s jealousy backfires on them both.

When the duke frames Vasily for an attempted assassination as part of a revolutionary conspiracy, Belphagor will do whatever it takes to clear his boy’s name and expose the real traitor. Because for the first time in his life, the Prince of Tricks has something to lose.

Warning: Contains erotic sex: m/m, m/m/m, m/m/m/m…oh hell. Let’s just say “mmmmmm!” and be done with it. Also one m/f scene. Smart discipline meted out with a great deal of love and charm. Erotic sex acts requiring copious amounts of elbow grease.


Prince of Tricks is the first book in my new m/m erotica series, Demons of Elysium, coming January 7 from Samhain Publishing. If you've read my companion series, The House of Arkhangel'sk, and fantasized about something a little—er, a LOT racier—this series is for you. ;)

Belphagor, Vasily, and I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a marvelous New Year!


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Monday, December 23, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
No new releases today but we do have new covers to share!

Abby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.

Coming February 10, 2014! More info here: http://eleristone.com/coming-soon-2/

Queen Of The Unknown
The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, heir to the kingdom. The youngest, the sweet beauty with her Prince Charming. No one says much about the middle princess, Andromeda. Andi, the other one.

Andi doesn't mind being invisible. She enjoys the company of her horse more than court, and she has a way of blending into the shadows. Until the day she meets a strange man riding, who keeps company with wolves and ravens, who rules a land of shapeshifters and demons. A country she'd thought was no more than legend--until he claims her as its queen.

In a moment everything changes: Her father, the wise king, becomes a warlord, suspicious and strategic. Whispers call her dead mother a traitor and a witch. Andi doesn't know if her own instincts can be trusted, as visions appear to her and her body begins to rebel.

For Andi, the time to learn her true nature has come. . .

Coming May 27, 2014! More info here: http://www.jeffekennedy.com/the-mark-of-the-tala/

Here Be Magic Group Announcements

Reminder: We've moved the link list updates to our Facebook feed. If you don't already like us on Facebook, you can find us here: https://www.facebook.com/HereBeMagic

Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Do You Believe in Santa?

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
I’m forty-five years old, and I still believe in Santa Claus.

When I was a little girl, I stayed up listening for him on the roof. I marveled the next morning at the empty milk glass and the last remaining cookie with a bite out of it. I squealed with happiness each year at the one perfect gift waiting for me under the tree.

I never forced my parents to have “the talk” as I got older. My brother is eight years younger than I am, so eventually I was enlisted in covert Santa operations, hiding gifts in my own closet on Santa’s behalf. I didn’t mind helping him.

It never occurred to me to stop believing in Santa. Of course he was real. But parents often stopped believing, so they did Santa’s job for him. Considering how many children there are in the world, I figured he was probably grateful for the assist.

I still believed Santa could give non-material gifts. He was listening, right? As my teen years approached, my faith in him never wavered, and I’d write him a letter with whatever teen-angsty thing I wanted the most, then burned the letter in the fireplace. Santa would get it that way. He would know. Did he deliver on my request? I honestly couldn’t say. If he didn’t, I obviously wasn’t devastated, since I don’t remember.

I grew up and had kids of my own, which meant I had to decide whether to let Santa do his job, or help him out. I opted to help, of course. Santa had done a lot for me over the years. It was the least I could do. And my kids, when the time came, never cornered me for “the talk.” Possibly because they knew I would never, ever say that Santa wasn’t real. Or maybe because they didn’t want to upset me, since I was obviously unbalanced.

I could spout a bunch of feel-good business here about how Santa lives within each of us, in the spirit of Christmas and the brotherhood of man. But really, I simply want to believe in something magical and beautiful that we, as a species, have created together through the stories we’ve told each other over time, repeating those stories and adding to them. Santa’s reality grows stronger with each stocking stuffed, every bike put together at 2 A.M. on Christmas Eve, and all the white beards and red velvet suits worn by mall Santas around the world.

Santa is real. Maybe he doesn’t live at the North Pole and spend the rest of the year with elves and making toys. Maybe he doesn’t have flying reindeer, and maybe his belly doesn’t shake when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly.

But maybe, just maybe, he is real.

My kids are grown, but Santa is still visiting them this year, though he had to send a box to Florida to get everything to my youngest.

I’m sure Santa appreciates my help. I don’t mind. He’s done a lot for me over the years. It’s the least I can do.

I hope your holidays are filled with magic, love, and laughter. And trust me—if there’s something special you really want, maybe all you need is to believe.

Rachel's head is packed with an outrageous amount of useless Disney trivia. She is terrified of thunder, but not of lightning, and sometimes recites the Disneyland dedication speech during storms to keep herself calm. She finds it appalling that nobody from Disney has called yet with her castle move-in date.

Originally from Northern California, she has a tendency to move every few years, resulting in a total of seven different states and a six-year stint in England. Currently, she's planning her next grand adventure. Rachel has one heroic husband, two genius kids, a crazy-catlady starter kit, and an imaginary dog named Waffles.

She doesn't have time for a real dog.


Sign up for her newsletter for news, extras, and exclusive stuff: Newsletter
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Buy her books here:  Amazon B&N Carina Press

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Best of 2013

Posted by: Eleri Stone
I love reading all the "Best Of" lists this time of year. Not that my to-be-read pile needs help, but I'm nosy. I like to look at trends and I like to know if I've missed anything mind-blowing. So I decided to ask my fellow Here Be Magic authors about their favorite speculative fiction reads of 2013 and here's what they said...


Shona Husk: "I read a lot of great spec fic books this year, but I’m going to skip the big ones that you all
know of. Hoodwink by Rhonda Roberts is book 2 in the Kannon Dupree series. Kannon is a timestalker which means she goes back in time to solve crime. Part historical, part crime and part alternate future this series is great. Despite the size of the book they never take me long to read."


Veronica Scott: "South of Surrender by Laura Kaye – I really enjoyed her idea of making the minor Greek gods who were the Winds (the Anemoi) into main characters in their own novels. She did a terrific job of imagining how they each did their job, I felt,  as well as how they related to the humans who are really no longer aware of them. This book featured Chrysander, god of the South Wind.

Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh – the further development of her Guild Hunter series. I really love the way the Archangel Raphael and  GuildHunter Elena are growing into their relationship and all the backstory of the other angels and vampires as well."


Regan Summers: "Winterblaze, from Kristen Callihan's Darkest London series. This is a superbly-written historical (Victorian era) paranormal romance series. The characters are vivid and well-rendered, the world unique and intriguing, and the plot twists...wow. Let's just say that the overblown misunderstanding tropes so prevalent in romance are nowhere to be found here.

Winterblaze was especially captivating to me because it's written with parallel narratives, of a married couple when they first come together - in happiness and passion - and their journey to reestablish trust following a catastrophe that's thrown them apart. It's heart-wrenching and lovely, dynamic and fun."


David Bridger: "My choice is Emma Shortt's zombie road chase horror/love story, Waking Up Dead.
This is the best book I've read in years. It's stupendous. An unstoppable read. Edge of the seat tension and a relentless heart-pounding drive from start to finish."


Jeffe Kennedy: When I asked Jeffe, she had a whole list. You can check it out here!


Jax Garren: "I had two favorite speculative books this year...First is an older book that I finally read, Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane (book 4 in the Downside Series). I adore this series, but had stopped after book 3 for fear of the happiest ending ever getting ruined by the main character's horrible decision making skills. I was so happy with the next couple of books, though, and can't wait to read more! But I also started the amazing Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan. Book 3, Winterblaze was amazing. I don't read a lot of reconciliation stories--I've never before thought of it as a trope I'm particularly drawn to--but, dang, Callihan does it sexy-right in this one!"


Eleri Stone: I second (third!) the recommendation for Callihan's Darkest London
series. It's wonderful and you should go read it.

Bec McMaster's London Steampunk is another historical paranormal series that I burned through. This one is a steampunk paranormal cross. McMaster pairs roguish heroes with strong heroines and then lets the sparks fly. It's a glorious thing.

Anne Bishop's Written in Red goes on my list too. It's the first book in a new urban fantasy series. I love that the monsters view humans as prey and are actually scary. It's dark, but with a subtle humor that keeps it from being grim.



What were your favorite books this year?



Friday, December 20, 2013

Magical Realism and the Privilege of Retelling

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
January 2, 2014
Not only is Christmas racing up on me at top speed, but so is my next release date.

Actually, not just one release date, but six of them.

Ack!

You see, this next one is a new thing for me: a serial novel. Though it's one book - about 90,000 words total, which is pretty standard for novels, which typically run 80-120K - it's divided in to six episodes.

January 16, 2014
In this case, because this story is a modern retelling of the Phantom of the Opera, it follows a theater structure that hearkens to the opera setting itself. So each episode is called an act.

February 6, 2014
My editor at Kensington Press, Peter Senftleben, came up with the act titles, after conferring with a friend heavily involved in opera and other musical theater.

I think they're brilliant. Each one conveys both the general theme of that act and gives a feel for the overall tone of the story. They are:

Act 1: Passionate Overture
Act 2: Ghost Aria
Act 3: Phantom Serenade
Act 4: Dark Interlude
Act 5: A Haunting Duet
Act 6: Crescendo

February 20, 2014
Each of these is a musical theater term, though some are obscure, and they reference the creepy ghost story quality of Phantom or Theater Ghost's haunting of the opera house, the seductive and forbidden romance, along with a hint of the erotic shadings I brought to this retelling.

I felt strongly, you see, that the original story left out the juciest parts. Are we really meant to believe that, when the Phantom takes Christine to his lair that he does nothing more than sing to her? Even if, as we're given to believe by both Gaston Laroux's novel and Andrew Lloyd Webber's lyrics, that the man is so scarred that he cannot perform sexually, surely the love he feels for the beautiful young ingenue would inspire him to at least attempt to seduce her.

March 6, 2014
I mean, he can touch her, right? There's a whole lot of latitude in "enjoying her beauty" beyond sitting back and admiring her from afar. After all, he can do that from Box 5 while she performs.

No, no, no - my Phantom, at least, has much more in mind for Christine once he has her away from the others and under the spell of his enchanting charm.

March 20, 2014
That's the part that always got lost for me, in both men's retellings. (I'm calling Laroux's version a retelling also, because he gathered the tales told by the theater folk who'd long passed around the stories of the Theater Ghost who haunted the Paris Opera House.) Perhaps neither man could stomach the idea of Christine preferring the Phantom over a man.

But every woman I've talked to feels certain that, in Webber's production, Christine ends up with the wrong guy.

It's a privilege that I got to tell it my way.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Win-A-Book Wednesday with...

Posted by: Jax Garren

Joely Sue Burkhart

 
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, Twitter and Facebook.  Be sure to check out her free reads!



Lord Regret's Price, the second Lady Doctor Wyre book in A Jane Austen Space Opera series.  Available from Samhain Publishing.  A sultry blend of steamy romance, science fiction and steampunk!

A devilish alliance, sparked by imperial blood…

After weeks of travel, Lord Sigmund Regret’s nerves are frayed. He’s gone too long without a mark, but that’s not the only thing making him edgy. Once the reality of his profession sinks in, he wonders how his Lady Charlotte Wyre will feel when he comes to her bed with fresh blood on his hands.
Of course, the other man in her life adds more stress to an already complicated relationship. Gilead Masters’s needs are so…normal…compared to Sig’s, which leaves Charlotte turning to him to explore her darkening fantasies. Bondage is one thing. But pain? That’s too close to his bloodline’s violent weakness for Sig’s comfort.

Charlotte can feel Sig pulling away, but there is no time to heal the rift before they land in Zijin, where she is immediately attacked. Britannia’s reach is long, and Queen Majel’s reach is even deeper—and more deadly. As Imperial politics come to a dangerous boil, Charlotte must risk everything to keep her beloved assassin alive, free, and at her side.

Even as he searches for his next mark.

Warning: Ladies in positions of power, a dragon alien, and a BDSM ménage à trois featuring a duchess on the run, a gentlemanly assassin, and a rough-and-tumble sheriff willing to gun down anyone who gets between him and his lady. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Passion Without the Paper

Posted by: Regan Summers

I have turned a corner that I didn’t know existed. I’m not sure when this happened, whether it was gradual or all of a sudden, but I am now more likely to pick up my e-reader rather than a paper book when I’m in the mood to read. In part, it has to do with the selection available on my kindle – new authors, old favorites and samples in a neat list that doesn’t require much thought. A simple click, and I’m submerged.

This is a milestone for me. I’ve always been a reader. Entire walls in my parents’ home are paved in books. They fill the room under the stairs, stand sentinel on beside tables and, when those get full, are lowered to a post beneath the beds (guarding from monsters and whatnot). I’ve moved over a dozen times since I left my parents’ home. Each time I moved, whether it was across town or across the country, my first concern was how I would transport my books. The weight of books, the solidity of them, is a comfort. But that’s separate from the story.

It felt like a betrayal at first, when I pride myself on loyalty. I can identify individual books by color scheme, by the sound of each spine as it’s opened. But I primarily read from electronics. Some books, of course, have to be had in paper. The covers are too beautiful, the stories too complex, to ever be turned off and set aside. But adventure and love, pain and triumph, are bigger than a handful of plastic and wire.

Some people need the paper, the tactile association being a part of the reading experience for them. For me it’s the depth of character, the joy of discovery, the turn of a phrase that clicks with my brain that matters. Some stories could be written in smoke in the sky and I’d stop my life for a week to read every last word.


What do you require in your reading experience? Can you have the passion without the paper?


***

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.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
New Releases

A returning hero, a prisoner of his past

Renad Amdarien's daring escape from the brutal confines of a sorcerer's dungeon has made him a legend throughout the land. Now trusted without question, Renad suffers the truth alone: his former master's sorcery rules him still. Broken both in body and mind, he finds brief solace only in the Gardens, lush sanctuaries of sex and secrets staffed by willing, skilled companions.

Nemaran, a most unusual Garden servant, recognizes Renad's pain and offers easy comfort. What begins as erotic exploration soon grows into more, with Nemaran's gentle attentions inspiring Renad to cross the physical and emotional boundaries society had long ago set in place.

When forces beyond his control compel Renad to commit the ultimate betrayal, the new lovers must band together outside of the Gardens' walls...for only Nemaran can help Renad become his own man once more.

Buy

Group Announcements

Instead of a weekly list, we're going to start sharing links to SF/F news and articles on our Facebook wall. That way you can catch everything while it's still news! If you don't already follow us on Facebook, you can like us here.

Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulationss to Linda, the winner of  Valor of the Healer from last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! Angela Highland will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Story Is the Only Language

Posted by: A. J. Larrieu

My son is two.

Yeah, you know where this post is going.

Trying to communicate with a two-year-old is like trying to thread a needle from across the room using a pair of extra-long chopsticks. While wearing mittens. (“It’s okay to be angry, but we don’t throw blocks when we’re angry, we say ‘I’m angry’ and we use calm voice and we don’t shriek because that hurts Mama’s ears…”)

I get it. He’s learning what it means to be frustrated and sad, and that’s important -- a big part of being human is learning that life doesn’t always give you cake when you want it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t always have the vocabulary to tell me how he feels, and when he can’t find the words, he does things like chuck blocks across the room and shriek.

We printed out one of those feeling wheels with the angry face and the happy face and the sad face. It did a pretty good job of teaching him the words, but it didn’t do much about the block-chucking/shrieking/flailing. Then, a few weeks ago, we read Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day for the first time.

Y’all remember this book, right?  Basically, nothing good happens. It consists of more misfortune, disappointment, spilled ink and mud than any child should have to endure in a week, much less a single day. It ends with Alexander eating lima beans and wearing uncomfortable pajamas while his cat runs off to hang out with one of his brothers. It would make the worst romance novel ever, but for a frustrated two-year-old, it is perfection.

Alexander shows its title character crying and screaming in pretty much every situation a typical toddler gets into: breakfast, the bath, the store. Now, when my Small One doesn’t want to take a bath, he still can’t articulate that he’s upset, but he can say, “Alexander crying in the bath!”

On the surface this seems simple. He likes the story, and he’s repeating the phrases and scenes he remembers. But the crazy thing is, once he delivers this statement, he gets on with it. He gets in the bath and lets me wash his hair. It’s like a miracle.

According to The Emotional Life of the Toddler, which I have been reading in a desperate attempt to figure out what goes on in the Small One’s busy brain, articulating their emotions is one of the toughest challenges toddlers face. I’ve told the Small One what angry means and pointed at the (now very wrinkled) feeling wheel a thousand times, but it was only barely making an impact. Four readings of Alexander, and he got it.

The words mean nothing. The angry faces on the feeling wheel mean only a little bit more. But the story—that means everything.

It’s not news that we’re hard-wired for stories. I’ve always thought they’re our most potent and articulate language. Now, I’m starting to think they’re our only language. My son’s interaction with Alexander has made me appreciate all over again how important it is to have stories of all types in the world, because if we’re going to talk to each other, we ought not to limit what we have the words to say.
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