Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blogging the Distance

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
I think I've been blogging five years, now. I'm always a bit shaky on dates, so it could be a while longer. When I started out, I was enthusiastic and had multiple posts every day. Thank goodness for the emergence of Twitter and Facebook which take that overflow of ideas.

My blog is small. But it's part of my website, so updating it is a good way to flag to Google and other search engines that my website is active with new content.

One of the ways that I ensure regular posts is a weekly column. Every Monday I share a "Flower Fortune". The idea for this came from my love for photography (even if I'm not very good at it) and a decision to brand my author self as "a hopeful romantic". So now, every week, I share a photograph of a flower and a few paragraphs along the lines of an inspirational star sign prediction.

I can't say that Flower Fortunes bring me loads of new blog followers, but I have had some lovely compliments and that is encouraging. It also means I'm a content creator as well as a curator (which is mainly what I do on Facebook and Twitter - i.e. share articles I've found).

In between the weekly inspirational posts, I post my writing news and occasional advice posts. Most recently, I've been obsessed with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited lending library and algorithms.

The important thing when blogging is to be realistic about what you can commit to delivering. Your blog is part of your promise to readers, part of your brand. If you can leverage a hobby or interest, that's a win (and makes it seem less like hard work).

What do you blog about?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases


FREE

A Reapers novella

Cassius Flynn is a smuggler. An outlaw. A scoundrel. Charming, devilishly handsome in a maverick sort of way and fiendishly clever to boot. He's also the only man Molly McGuire has ever loved.

Molly'd left him a year ago. Stolen his airship, broken his heart and made him look like a damn fool. Still, he's rushed to her rescue, storming into Reaper territory to snatch her out from under the repulsive bounty hunter who brought her in.

High above the plains, up among the clouds in the most rarefied Scraper city of them all, a ruthless statesman has stolen everything Cassius considers important. And without Molly, without her quick hands, sharp mind and pretty face, he doesn't stand a chance of getting it back…

This novella was previously released in serial format on my publisher's site. It can be enjoyed without having read the other books in the series. Be warned: While there is a complete adventure and the story is romantic, Flynn and Molly are recurring characters in the series and they don't get their happy-ever-after until a bit later.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

From the Archives: The Best Villains Ever

Posted by: Steve Vera
Veronica sez: One from the Archives today...I vote for Ming the Merciless myself:

So. Who's the best fictional villain of all time?

I know, it's impossible to answer, but it's a great conversation starter. In fact, next time you find yourself in an awkward silence with several people you have no idea what to say to, give it a shot; it's clutch. 

What I love about this subject is that it gives us a reason to scroll through our internal Rolodexes of awesome movies and epic novels, a chance to remember and relive those characters. Pennywise the clown scared the sh*t out of me. I was twenty. I never looked at drains the same again. 

But does scariness make a villain great? For some people. I put up the question to my FB crew last night in preparation for this blog and got so many novel, witty and contrasting answers that it made me think. What makes a villain great...to everybody? One of my best friends came up with a great line that I told him I was going to steal. Jesse DeStasio commented, "The real menace comes from having a part of us slightly agree with them [villain]." Isn't that true? Colonel Jessep from A Few Good Men comes to mind for me, but there are so many others.  

Maybe it's because I was such a wuss when I was growing up (everything gave me nightmares) but I liked villains that were scary but...funny. One of my all time favorites is the Kurgan from The Highlander movie. He was this huge, scary-looking, predatory immortal who could only die if his head was cut off, but he was funny in a grotesque kind of way--leering and blunt. He had personality; I can still hear his deep, gravelly voice and I saw that movie several eons ago. 

It was pointed out to me by Mr. DeStasio (he takes his movies seriously, even had a list of this very subject in his phone already to go) that the Kurgan's flaw is that we can't sympathize with him. Maybe so. But he's still one of my favorites. 

Then you got your creepers. Javiar Bardem's character in No Country for Old Men anybody? He was good. Quintessential Darth Vader? Hans Gruber in Die Hard? Lord Foul in the Unbeliever series? I could fill three pages and I bet you could too, but there's a secret ingredient that they all have, an overlapping theme that ties them together. Ready for it? *drum roll* 

They all evoke emotion. 

They make us feel. Whether it be fear, anger, outrage, horror, fascination, dread--take your pick. Without emotion, a villain is just a car without an engine. A guitar without strings. Captain Crunch without the crunchberries. And that's no good.   

Here's some of the votes I got last night:
  1. Frank Booth in Blue Velvet (never seen)
  2. The governor in The Walking Dead (I've only seen the first season)
  3. Maleficent in Maleficent
  4. Vincent in Collateral Damage (never saw)
  5. Smurf Cody in Animal Kingdom (never saw)
  6. Heath Ledger Joker in The Dark Knight (I saw this one!!)
  7. Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs
  8. Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter
  9. Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest
  10. Wicked Witch of the West Wizard of Oz
And of course, in keeping with the theme of Here Be Magic: Sauron


Feel free to add. :)


Afflicted with wanderlust at the age of seventeen, Steve has lived in seven states, served briefly in the U.S. Air Force as a Pararescue Trainee, and has a profound aversion to mint chocolate ice cream.

Author of the Last of the Shardyn trilogy:
Book I  Drynn
Book II Through the Black Veil
Book III Blood Sworn













Saturday, June 27, 2015

There's More Than One Way to Enjoy Your Favorite Book

Posted by: Linda Mooney
At some point, we all love to reread our favorite books. They're intellectual comfort food. We love to retreat back to the world the author created, and revisit the characters we connected with.

But there are times when picking up the book or ebook isn't convenient. Maybe you need to rest your eyes, but you want to be soothed, and de-stress. Something you know that tome has always helped you do.

Why not listen to the book?

An audio version of the book is almost as good as seeing your favorite become a movie. You can "hear" the characters come to life. You can live vicariously in the romance and adventure through the narrator. 


In a car, the miles will roll away. On a beach, you can escape the real world. In bed, in a comfortable chair, in the tub - slip on the headphones and let the words wash over you.

Oh, you say your favorite isn't available in audio book format? Contact the author and let them know!

***********















Now available as an audio book!

Beast of the Bayou

Sensuous Paranormal Romance
Narrated by Todd Van Linda
Length: 3 hrs. 58 min.

Click here for blurb, excerpt, and buy links.
Check out other audio books now available!


(Electro Voice - Vintage Microphone, found on Pinterest)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Taking a creative detour

Posted by: Sonya Clark
After several years of writing paranormal, I decided to take a break and try my hand at something different. I wrote a small town contemporary romance. It turned out to be a book I’m really proud of, and I enjoyed writing it. But when I tried to write what was supposed to be the second book, I realized this was a creative detour, not a new direction. It just wasn’t working, and it didn’t take me long to figure out that I wanted to go back to speculative fiction. I may never write another contemporary and if I do it would likely be years from now, so ultimately I decided to self-publish this book.

Even if I never do it again, I’m glad I wrote this contemporary. It gave me a chance to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself. And after struggling with a serious case of burn-out, it made me feel better about writing in general than I have in a long time, just knowing that I can do something so different and finish it.

If you’re a writer struggling with burn-out or even just the usual ups and downs of writing and publishing, I highly recommend taking a creative detour. Challenging yourself can feel really good, it can be fun, and it’s a great way to take your writing to new places. Best of all, you might find yourself coming out of that detour excited to write again.

Here’s the cover and description of my own detour, Good Time Bad Boy.


Wade Sheppard was the king of country for nearly ten years. Now he can’t get Nashville on the phone, much less another record deal. When yet another drunken night onstage gets him fired from a casino gig, Wade is pulled off the road by his manager and sent home. Being back in the small town where he was born and raised, his every screw-up fodder for gossip, isn’t helping any. His family knows him too well, and the pretty, sharp-tongued waitress who catches his eye doesn’t want to know him at all.

Daisy McNeil has more baggage than most her age but she’s finally pulling her life together. College classes will be her ticket out of poverty and instability. She doesn’t mind waiting tables for the time being, but she could do without the rowdy rednecks who sometimes get handsy. When one of them crosses the line, she snaps and gives him and his stupid ten gallon hat the telling off he deserves, but causing a scene gets her fired.

Wade didn’t mean to cost Daisy her job. Chastened, he decides he doesn’t want his train wreck of a life to crash into anybody else. He offers the bar owner a summer of free shows if Daisy can have her job back. Now they’re spending nights together trading barbs and fighting a growing attraction. With a sexy smile and a powerful voice that can make any song his, Wade’s determined to show Daisy that he’s more than just a good time bad boy.

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - iBooks - Kobo

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Boosting the Signal: Valor of the Healer, by Angela Highland

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
Any of you who follow me over on angelahighland.com know that I run a periodic feature called Boosting the Signal, in which I feature other people’s books via pieces written to highlight character goals. The pieces people send me take a variety of forms—characters speaking directly to the reader, characters writing letters, characters being interviewed, excerpts from the actual books, brand new snippets of prose that tie into the books, and more.

For my post today, I thought it would be fun to do a Boosting the Signal style piece for one of my own books for once. So here’s one for Faanshi, one of my three main characters from the Rebels of Adalonia books. This is for Faanshi at the start of the entire story, before the events of Book One, Valor of the Healer.

***

My name is Faanshi. Just Faanshi. If I have any other name, my okinya Ulima has never told it to me. But then, I don’t think my master would let me claim it anyway. This is what happens when you’re a slave.

I’m not the only slave at Lomhannor Hall, and not even the only one with Tantiu blood—there are others who must hide their faces behind the veil and the korfi, who serve the akreshi Duke and his wife, who brought us all the way from Tantiulo when the Duke first married my mother. But now my mother is dead. I may not be the only slave with Tantiu blood…

But I’m the only one whose blood is tainted. The only one with fire inside, a fire that commands me to banish sickness and mend broken flesh. The akreshi Duke says this power is unholy and that it has made me have fits, and so he must lock me away from the eyes of men. I have no choice. It’s either the cellar—or Father Enverly, who frightens me far more than the walls of the single small room that defines the borders of my world. Every time Father Enverly takes my blood, I feel a wrongness that not even my power can burn away. And he won’t stop. Both my master and Father Enverly say that I must permit this, or they will give me to the Hawks.

I know what that means. The Hawks would call the Anreulag—and the Anreulag would burn me in Her sacred fire until nothing remained of me but dust.

I pray each morning, noon, and night to Almighty Djashtet, the Lady of Time, in the hopes that She will bring me deliverance. From the cellar, from my master, from Father Enverly and whatever dark acts he does with my blood. I would not even mind so much if I remained a slave, if I could but have a master who would not hide me from the sun—who would not force me to heal on his command, and hoard my power for him alone.

My okinya says that if I am faithful to Almighty Djashtet, if I hold to the ridahs of courage and strength, then She will hear my prayers.

I can’t tell if She’s listening. I can’t tell if Her power is greater than the Anreulag’s—for even my okinya admits that the Anreulag has been seen by the eyes of many, and no one has ever seen Djashtet. I do not even know if Djashtet truly exists.

My faith in Her is all I have to comfort me in the cellar’s darkness.

And I don’t know how much longer I can keep it alight.

***

If you want to follow Faanshi’s story, start the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy today, with Valor of the Healer! And if you’d like to see more Boosting the Signal pieces, come on over to angelahighland.com and check out the Boosting the Signal posts. And if you’re an author who’d like a little signal-boosting love for your own work, how Boosting the Signal works is described on its own official page.

I write as Angela Highland with Carina Press, and as Angela Korra’ti for my indie works! Come say hi to me at angelahighland.com, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Perils of Life with an Author

Posted by: Kathleen Collins
Sometimes I feel sorry for my husband and my kids for having to live with me. I mean sure there are the late nights where I'm trying to finish a book, or the nights of take out food when I'm under a deadline. Or the times where I half listen to a conversation because my brain is writing a scene and I'm trying to remember everything I'm coming up with.

But that's not why I feel bad. See being a writer my mind works in odd ways. Normally this isn't a problem until one of them starts watching a movie or reading a book with a twist. And then my brain starts working and I have to figure out what's going to happen. And because I am who I am, when I figure it out I have to share. You see where this is going, right?

Usually how it goes is something like this:

     *watching movie where mafia guy is trying to kill a cop*

     Me to husband: You realize that mafia guy is the partner the cop thinks is dead, right?
     Husband: What? No. You're crazy.

     Fifteen minutes later

    *mafia man announces he is the partner who faked his death and got plastic surgery*

    Husband: *gives me dirty look* Damn it, Kathy

So now you know the naked truth of living with an author, or at least this author. Take some pity on my poor family and give me your favorite books or movies with twists and I promise I'll keep my lips sealed.

****
Kathleen Collins is the author of the Realm Walker series. You can find her most often on facebook or at her website

Monday, June 22, 2015

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott

New Releases

Veronica Scott released a new science fiction romance, STAR CRUISE: MAROONED. Here's the story:

Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble

***

Out Tuesday: Idol of Blood, Book 2 in Jane Kindred's dark epic fantasy series, Looking Glass Gods

The price of revenge may be her sanity…and the lives of those she loves.

No longer haunted by memories of her life—and death—as the Meer of Rhyman, Ra looks forward to a quiet existence with her lover Jak in the Haethfalt highlands. Having made peace with Ahr, her consort from her former life, Ra can finally explore her new relationship, free of the ghosts of the past—until she unwittingly unearths Jak’s own.

Out of instinct, she uses her Meeric power to heal the pain of Jak’s childhood trauma. But all magic has a price, and Ra’s bill has come due.

Succumbing to the affliction inherent in her race, Ra flees to the mountain ruins where her mother’s temple once stood. As the madness takes hold, she resurrects the ancient city of AhlZel in a tremendous act of magic that seals her fate—and threatens to destroy those who would give up everything to save her from herself.

Product Warnings: Contains dark themes, violence, gender-bending sex, and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.

Idol of Blood is available in ebook and paperback from the following retailers:



http://www.janekindred.com/tours/2015/6/23/idol-of-blood-virtual-book-tour
Follow Jane's blog tour and giveaway June 23-30 for a chance to win signed paperback copies of Books 1 and 2 in the Looking Glass Gods and a Cult of Isis necklace.

****************

Now Available for Pre-Order!



The planet had secrets it never revealed, until it was too late. 

Centuries ago, mankind's only hope for survival were the seven vessels specially fitted to send the last survivors of Earth to a planet named New Earth. Seven space ships that became floating cities once they landed on the water-only world teeming with edible seafood, as well as dangerous creatures. 

Lt. Jace Novick, of the ship UnderPlatinum, is sent to sister ship UnderSilver to see if he can help find a possible solution to their growing problem. Food is beginning to run low, catches are growing scarcer, and the tension between ships is increasing as starvation becomes imminent. 

Lt. Commander Rhone Derth has created a security device called wrap shields to protect Silver from repeated attacks by the planet's hostile monsters. But it seems the shields are also keeping the fish away as well. Jace believes he has an answer, but it means he and Rhone must work together despite Rhone's antagonism toward him, and the short time he's been allotted before he must return to his own ship. 

Together, they try to discover a way to survive as the other vessels turn on each other in a desperate battle for the last of the dwindling food supply, not knowing that another, more malevolent being is watching them from the depths.


***
  

The Making of Michael Bishop is now free on all platforms

Keep your distance. Don’t look him in the eye. Feed him and leave.

 Michael D’Augustino is a priest in the time of the Inquisition. Marked as weak for his refusal to torture those charged with sorcery, heresy, devil worship or worse, he’s given another task. Feed the prisoner in the cell in the darkest corner of the dungeon. With the edict comes a set of instructions.

Ever obedient, Michael does exactly as he is told. Until the night his charge doesn’t eat and Michael has to enter the cell to find out why. Instead of the beast he believes to be imprisoned there, he finds a man. A broken, tormented man who asks for help.

But all is not as it seems and, before the night is through, Michael will be changed forever.


Nook  Kindle 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Family We Choose

Posted by: Joshua Roots
When I was four, my folks moved from California to the DC region. Having taken a job in the city, Dad set up shop in a small town outside the Beltway that, at the time, was nothing more than old farms and thick woods. With literally nothing to do in this small town, Mom wound up teaching at a local preschool where she befriended one of the ladies who worked there. Little did we know that they’d become instant soul mates; sisters from different mothers. With kids around the same age, our two families quickly merged together on a lifelong journey of laughter and love.

Over the years, the family evolved. Children grew, married, and had kids of their own. Couples moved away to start their own lives and, sadly, we said goodbye permanently to far too many. But through the ups and downs, we stayed connected, held together by a familial bond much stronger than DNA. We survived as a unit, not because we were related, but because we chose each other.

I was reminded of this last week when we were all over at the matriarch’s house for dinner. Dad and Uncle Al were out on the deck chatting as they cooked enough food to feed an army. My wife and I were in the kitchen, deep in conversation with our “cousins” when a peal of laughter tore through the room. We paused, looking up to find the youngest set of kids snickering by the stove. The trio quieted, stared at someone’s phone, then burst into laughter once again.

Watching them, I was struck by how blessed we are. Not too long ago, my sister and I were the kids who giggled while the adults chatted. Now the next generation is poised to take over. In due time, they, too, will grow, marry, and birth the following generation, much like we have. With any luck, they will also feel the bond that we’ve been lucky enough to share for over three decades. And I truly hope and pray that they come to realize what took me a longtime to figure out:

Family isn’t about blood.

Yes, you’re born into a family, but sometimes that’s not the one you need or deserve. For a lucky few, and I count myself among them, your biological relatives provide an emotional support base. Sadly, for many, their blood relations simply don’t.  

But “kin” doesn’t necessarily translate to “family”. Family isn’t the people who share our genetic code. Family (with a capital ‘F’) is the group of folks that we pick. The ones we meet on the long journey who charge our batteries, who fill us with hope and love. They are the ones we call randomly on a Saturday just because we want to hear their voice. They are the ones who help build the foundation that allows us to face the trials of life. They are the ones who cheer the loudest when we succeed or pick up the pieces when we fall. Maybe they are tied to us by blood, but most times, they are the Family that we choose.

As writers, we tend to think that we walk long stretches of the publishing road alone. We hole ourselves away for hours at a time, struggling to create literary families from scratch. We birth an idea, slowly raise it, help it mature, and eventually release it into the world. Sometimes those “children” succeed, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we lose hours, months, or years worrying over them. Sometimes we go to bed smiling, pleased with how they turned out.

But through this all, we’re never truly alone. Maybe it’s a spouse who brings us coffee during the 6AM writing sprints or perhaps it’s the best friend who holds our hand when we receive a rejection letter. It can be sister who beta-reads our rough draft or the buddy who listens to you gripe over a beer about plot holes. No matter who those people are, whether they are related by blood, marriage, or choice, your Family will always be there. Because that’s what Family does.

In January, the final book of my series, The Shifter Chronicles, comes to a close. I say goodbye to a family that I’ve loved for many years. Although slightly melancholy, I bid Marcus and Company farewell with a smile because I know that the hundreds of thousands of words were written and published with the support of my Family. That includes my wife, folks, sister, Dragon Brother, godmother, extended Family with 30 years of laughter and love, my agent, editor, the amazing people at the Absolute Write Cantina, the team at Carina Press, and close friends, all of whom have a special place in my heart. Each and every one of them walked with me on this journey and each of them is part of my Family. Not because we are related, but because we chose one another.

And that, my friends, is what Family truly means.


So, who is your Family?

Bio:




Joshua Roots is a car collector, beekeeper, and storyteller. He enjoys singing with his a cappella chorus, golf, and all facets of Sci-Fi/Fantasy. He's still waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts and Rogue Squadron. He and his wife will talk your ear off about their bees if you let them.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

New SciFi Novel Star Cruise Marooned Excerpt

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I'm happy to announce my latest science fiction romance release!

Here's the story:
The Story:
Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.
Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.
But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.
Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?
Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Barnes & Noble
And a short excerpt:
Taking a glass of the refreshing faquilada fruit drink, Meg wandered toward the TDJ pavilion, hoping she knew a few of the cruise staff or crew. A woman in the other line’s uniform came to meet her, waving cordially. Delighted, Meg recognized Sallira, a casual acquaintance in the Guild. Their circle of mutual friends was wide, so catching up on gossip took a few minutes. Then Meg said, “Hey, what’s the deal with the ranger station? My guy said it was closed. Did you see anyone official when you landed?”
Sallira shook her head. “No, he’s right, the staff is all gone.” Making a funny face of regret, lips scrunched, she sighed. “Too bad, I had a flirtation going with the senior ranger last time I was here.” One eyebrow raised suggestively, she sipped her drink. “I was anticipating more fun and games this trip, if you know what I mean.” She nudged Meg in the ribs with her elbow. “Harmless fun, but he sure was cute.”
Meg stared at the Falls and then the lake. The park gave the appearance of order, serene and beautiful as always. Maybe the Sector Thirty government had decided to cut costs by eliminating the rangers? But then why hadn’t she seen a bulletin to that effect? The captain gave her the permit token before the shuttle left the Far Horizon this morning, so he must not have known the permanent staff was gone either.
There was a shout from the TDJ pavilion. One of the crew was hustling their obviously bewildered passengers toward Meg and Sallira, while a second man ran ahead, sprinting for the landing field as if he had a major predator on his heels. The other cruise staff member was matching him stride for stride, but skidded to a stop in the sand next to Sallira, breathing hard. “We gotta go, right now.”
Eyes wide, the woman’s jaw dropped. “What are you talking about?”
“Captain called, emergency channel, said get our butts up to the ship immediately.”
Sallira twisted her hair into a knot as she prepared to return to work. “I guess gossip time is over, sorry, Meg. I’ll go pack the gear—”
But the other TDJ woman was shaking her head, pulling her by the elbow. “No, the captain said leave everything. Run before the pilot leaves us.”
“Is there something I should know?” Meg asked. No one ever abandoned the expensive robots and gear. Unease stirred in her gut.
            “I don’t know, captain didn’t give any details. We’re out of here.” The staffer grabbed a dawdling child who was digging a hole in the sand, and hurried to the incline leading to the shuttles.
            “Guess I better go,” Sallira said. “Maybe you should check with your captain, might be a solar flare or something.”
            Her crewmates were yelling and gesturing for Sallira to hurry so she didn’t linger for any more chitchat, taking off at a fast pace, leaving Meg alone on the beach. Moments later, the TDJ shuttle lifted straight from the pad and shot into the azure sky. Meg rubbed her elbow, suddenly feeling goose bumps. The beach wasn’t as welcoming anymore, despite the bright sun and the ethereal music from the Falls. The forlorn pavilion and humming equipment bothered her.
            “What’s with them?”
            She jumped, turning to find Red standing behind her. This time it was a bit comforting to have him by her side. “I don’t know.”
            “Is the other crew coming back later for their stuff?” His face was set in serious lines.
            “I-I don’t know.” Meg walked toward their own set up. “The TDJ staff member in charge said their captain got on the com from orbit about some emergency and recalled them.”
            “Did we get any bulletins?” Red asked. “Storms? Warn offs?”
            She shook her head. “Not that I heard of. You’re ship’s crew, you’re more likely to know than I am. Think I should ask Drewson to check in with the Far Horizon?
            He scanned the beach, eyes hooded. “Yeah, I think you’ve got a good idea. I’ll cover things here.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Writing with Kids (and Other Distractions). Help??

Posted by: Jax Garren
We have children! Again. My husband and I fostered two girls a couple years ago, and they're unexpectedly back in our lives for at least the next few weeks. We're thrilled to see them again and have them in our house--they are awesome young women, ages seven and (almost) ten and the four of us make a rockin' family, if I do say so myself. But we hadn't planned for them to be here and don't know how long they're staying.  We've planned no summer camps. Created no padded budget for food or other kid activities. Acquired no childcare on the two days a week I work outside the house (luckily one day is on the weekend when my husband can watch them).

Also, I have no plan for how I'm going to get a book to my editor by July 15 with two children underfoot and no school or other place to occupy their time while I write. What's an author to do? I'd like to give you a list right here of wonderful suggestions, except I'm actually asking. I just acquired two children a week and a half ago unexpectedly. Really. How do I write a book?

Does anyone else work from home? What household rules and structure do you put in place to keep you going while the kids are home? Do you scrimp and save for camps? Do you banish them outdoors? Do you let them watch more TV? I'd love to hear any and everyone's suggestions for how to survive summer vacation with your job (and sanity) intact. Extra bonus points if anyone's got suggestions for summer education plans. I think our hooligans are a bit behind in their schooling, and I'd like to help them catch up. But mostly, this is about me. And my readers. And the next book.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

a partial apocalypse is still awful

Posted by: Shona Husk
99c to celebrate the release!
Singer of Death is the second book in the Court of the Banished series (which is the spin off series from the Court off Annwyn). As the names suggest this series is all about the fae.

Five books plus a novella and a free short story makes this my longest series ever (and there is one more book to go which will be out in September). Each book does stand alone and there is a clear break between the 2 series. Before the plagues (and the battle for the throne of Annwyn) and after the plagues...I kill half a billion people world wide so while it's not a complete apocalypse it's certainly devastating.

I researched other great plagues like the Black Death and also the Spanish flu to try and get a feel for the devastation this would cause, but also thought about the global economy and how much of what we eat and wear is imported. How would that be affected if borders were closed due to widespread illness?

Here's a little snippet of the heroine and hero reminiscing about life before the plagues.
~~~
“This is me.” She glanced up at the building. Did she invite him in? Did she want him to come in? She did. She had so few friends left, and had made so few new ones—most people were still wary of strangers. “I can offer you a hot drink?”

He gave a small laugh. “It’s been a while since I had coffee.”

“It’s not good coffee.” Good coffee was way beyond her budget, but she knew some people still had the money to spend on what was now a luxury. Cups filled with froth and flavors. She had once been one of the crowd, queuing for a caffeine hit at her favorite place. Many shops, cafés and restaurants had closed during the plagues. People had lost their jobs. For a while getting food into the city had been hard because people feared contamination. The people driving the trucks could be carriers. 

“I’m not fussy. Maybe we should go out for fancy coffee one day?”

Her heart lurched. Was that like a date?

“Spend some of our ill-gotten gains.” He winked and warmth filled her chest.

~~~
What luxury would you miss most? For me it would be chocolate as I'm not a coffee drinker.
~~~
Seductive…
An acid attack left Bronwyn scarred, but when she sings she is beautiful again. Her voice is hypnotic and powerful. For those moments she has control, no one can hurt her and no one is immune. Or so she thought.


Dangerous…
Jonah Sheppard is a thief on the run. When he meets Bronwyn his life begins to make sense. He isn’t human. He is a changeling like her. Their fairy blood has given them magic and he thinks they should use it. It’s a game she wants to play.


Intoxicating…
Bronwyn knows he only wants her for her voice, but she doesn’t care. And he knows that she could do so much better than a career criminal. A fragile trust grows but when they draw the attention of human and fairy authorities everything they know is torn away.


Links
Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo iBooks

SHONA HUSK is the author of the Shadowlands, Court of Annwyn and the Face the Music Series. You can find out more information about Shona and her edgy romances at www.shonahusk.com or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook www.facebook.com/shonahusk or join her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join


 





Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Reasons Mt. Olympus Is As Much Fun As Monster Haven

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
So, yesterday something crazy, terrifying, and wonderful happened. I finished the first book of my brand new Mt. Olympus Employment Agency series. People have been so positive about my Monster Haven series, beginning something new has been really intimidating. Throughout the writing of Unfinished Muse, I’ve waffled back and forth between “THIS IS AWESOME!” and “OMG, everybody’s going to hate me because this isn’t Monster Haven and that’s all I know how to write.”

Honestly, I just handed it off to my editor. No one but me has read this thing, and I sure can’t be trusted to tell if it’s any good or not.

So, here’s what we’re going to do. In an effort to convince you to give it a try when it comes out in July, and in an effort to convince myself that I should trust myself a little more about not sucking, I give you this:

Top Ten Reasons the Mt. Olympus Employment Agency is as much fun as Monster Haven
  1. A talking plant named Phyllis who sings pirate shanties and the theme song from “Fresh Prince” in the voice of someone’s beloved grandmother. 
  2. A mom who can’t remember if she slept with a firefighter, a traveling Bible salesman, or a Greek god before she got pregnant. 
  3. A gorgon receptionist with an attitude and a stylish updo. 
  4. A super hot guy from the Dreams and Nightmares department who keeps showing up dressed as a cowboy, Roman gladiator, or vampire. 
  5. The ability to be invisible and snoop through the hot neighbor’s apartment looking for clues. 
  6. Transmutational Thought Transference Bubbles and Beastie Discombobulator Dust. 
  7. Clubbing in the Mt. Olympus Euphoria District. 
  8. The threat of being transferred to Hades to scoop the poop of the three-headed dog, Cerberus. 
  9. Secrets, lies, paranoia, and sabotage. 
  10. The fate of the world is someone else’s problem. She’s just trying not to get demoted to hell. 

So, there you go. If I did my job right, the new series will be loads of fun. But if I didn’t do my job right, my editor will be more than happy to let me know and make me fix it. Either way, it’s going to be fun in the end.

Keep an eye on this space or any of the many places you can find me out in the virtual world to find out when Unfinished Muse goes on sale. Better yet, add yourself to my newsletter and find out before anyone else!

Now I’m off to work on book two, Unamused Muse. I’ve already got the cover, so I should probably get back to work.

Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.



Sign up for her newsletter for news, extras, and exclusive stuff: Newsletter
Hang out with her here: Website Blog Facebook Twitter
Buy her books here:  Amazon B&N Carina Press

Monday, June 15, 2015

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases


The Messy Maiden 99c
The way to a man’s heart is with food, and the Messy Maiden has men eating out of her palm with her sexy videos mixing “girl next door” attitude with lingerie and dessert.

After losing her secretarial job Saskia Maiden created a new online persona to help pay her bills. Now she juggles secretarial temping with being the Messy Maiden…but she has no time for dating and what man would want to date a woman who spends her weekends teasing other men? However she is unwilling to give up being the Messy Maiden because she has a five year plan and she never wants to be broke again.

Ian Walker discovered the Messy Maiden after his fiancée left—she decided that his love of food was unnatural. He calls it a kink that he likes to indulge in occasionally. When a temp starts at his office he knows her voice. While he knows he shouldn’t tempt fate, he wants to get to know Saskia.


When the truth is revealed things get messy.
Buy links:
Amazon iBooks Barnes and Noble Kobo

***


Wade Sheppard was the king of country for nearly ten years. Now he can’t get Nashville on the phone, much less another record deal. When yet another drunken night onstage gets him fired from a casino gig, Wade is pulled off the road by his manager and sent home. Being back in the small town where he was born and raised, his every screw-up fodder for gossip, isn’t helping any. His family knows him too well, and the pretty, sharp-tongued waitress who catches his eye doesn’t want to know him at all.

Daisy McNeil has more baggage than most her age but she’s finally pulling her life together. College classes will be her ticket out of poverty and instability. She doesn’t mind waiting tables for the time being, but she could do without the rowdy rednecks who sometimes get handsy. When one of them crosses the line, she snaps and gives him and his stupid ten gallon hat the telling off he deserves, but causing a scene gets her fired.

Wade didn’t mean to cost Daisy her job. Chastened, he decides he doesn’t want his train wreck of a life to crash into anybody else. He offers the bar owner a summer of free shows if Daisy can have her job back. Now they’re spending nights together trading barbs and fighting a growing attraction. With a sexy smile and a powerful voice that can make any song his, Wade’s determined to show Daisy that he’s more than just a good time bad boy.

Buy links and first two chapters.





Award-Winning Novel, Limited-time Sale:

.


 .99 for Kindle through 6/18 on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Ravensblood-Shawna-Reppert-ebook/dp/B00G93U4F8

 In a life of impossible choices when sometimes death magic is the lesser of the evils, can a dark mage save the world and his own soul?
Corwyn Ravenscroft. Raven. The last heir of an ancient family of dark mages, he holds the secret to recreating the Ravensblood, a legendary magical artifact of immense power.
Cassandra Greensdowne is a Guardian. Magical law enforcement for the elected council— and Raven’s former apprentice and lover. She is trying to live down her past. And then her past comes to the door, asking for her help.
As a youth, Raven wanted to be a Guardian but was rejected because of his ancestry. In his pride and his anger, he had turned to William, the darkest and most powerful mage of their time. William wants a return to the old ways, where the most powerful mage was ruler absolute. But William would not be a True King from the fairy tales. He would reign in blood and terror and darkest magic.
Raven discovers that he does have a conscience. It’s rather inconvenient.
He becomes a spy for the council that William wants to overthrow, with Cassandra as his contact.
Cass and Raven have a plan to trap William outside his warded sanctuary. But William is one step ahead of the game, with Raven’s life, his soul, and the Ravensblood all in danger.

Ravensblood won a Gold Medal in the 2014 Global E Book Awards. The author's first novel, The Stolen Luck, won a Silver Medal in the Global E-Book Awards and a 2014 Eppie Award.





Sunday, June 14, 2015

Freebie and an Excerpt

Posted by: Eleri Stone
I have a free novella that will release here shortly. It's called The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire and was originally released in serial format on my publisher's site. You can probably still find it floating around the internet, but I'm really excited that people will now be able to download it in its entirety...and for free! The story is about a pair of semi-reformed airship smugglers who are out on one last job together. Flynn and Molly are recurring characters in the Reapers series, but you don't have to have read any of the other stories to enjoy this one. Here's an excerpt:

The thing about Cassius Flynn is that she’d never been able to resist him. Not as an impressionable young woman and not as a hardened outlaw. Her weakness for scoundrels was her most shameful character flaw and, even worse, it was a character flaw that Flynn knew all about. He was charming, devilishly handsome in a maverick sort of way and fiendishly clever to boot.
When he stretched out beside her on the bed in that dark room, a shudder of pure lust trembled down her body before he so much as touched her. When he splayed his warm hand flat on her belly, she groaned—moaned really, but who was there to judge such things? Her stomach had been fair abused that day. Anyone would think she was simply sore. Anyone but Flynn. He noted the difference. He flashed a smile and his long fingers dipped beneath the hem of her shirt.
“What the hell are you doing here?” she whispered, trying to get a read on him. The light was behind him now and his face was dark save for the glimmer of his eyes. Those she could see like they were lit by some unholy fire. The same fire that was creeping through her veins. That flamed higher when he lowered his head to brush a kiss to her cheek. His lips coasted back to her ear. Teeth nipped the lobe. His breath soft and hot spilling down her neck like a caress.
“I came here for you, Molly.”
A rescue? Her heart ached a bit at the thought. Only Cassius Flynn would be bold enough to walk right through the front door.
She turned her head and found his lips, soft and firm at the same time. The slight scratch of the whiskers he never seemed completely rid of. That small growl he always made when she opened her mouth. The heat of his body and the slow confident stroke of his tongue. Flynn. God, she’d missed him.
His hand came up to cradle her face, gentle as the moonlight, and he laid one leg lightly over hers. At any time, he could turn his body just so and settle himself between her legs. He didn’t though. He was never one to rush. He simply kissed her, sweet and tender with the promise of heat. Like stirring up coals that had nearly gone cold. She could feel that heat building inside her now and at any moment, it would flare up, just as it always did between them. This—the way they fit together—had always been pure perfection. She hadn’t left him because he’d been a poor lover. He’d been too good.
Reluctantly, she pulled away, dropping her head back to the mattress and turning her face slightly away.
He made a sound of protest, but she shook her head.
“We don’t have time for lovemaking.”
“We do.”
He turned then, moving over her but not pressing his weight down on her battered body. He was thoughtful for an outlaw. It was part of his charm. Persistent too.
He kissed her again and she almost fell for it. As soon as his lips touched hers, she wanted nothing more than to pull him closer, roll him onto his back and ride him until they were sated, limp and breathless. But this wasn’t the time or place.
She shoved at his shoulder. “Are you mad? There are five armed men in the next room.”
“They won’t disturb us.”
She was dumbfounded by his calm. He was cocky, sure, but he wasn’t stupid. “Did you spike the whiskey?”
She bucked him off and he rolled onto his side, burrowing his mouth through her wild hair to press his lips to the side of her neck. A smile against her skin. Goosebumps rose in its wake. “I did not.”
She moved to get up but his arm tightened around her, holding her in place. Truth be told, she didn’t fight him much. After all, she didn’t want to risk making the springs squeal and waking up Crenshaw and his crew.
“Shh. It’s all right, Molly. It’s past midnight and we’ve this nice bed.”
“I heard your ship. Let’s get the hell out of here. We can find another bed.” She frowned down at the top of his head. “Can you pick the lock on this collar?”
He didn’t answer right away as he seemed to be trying to unbutton her shirt with his teeth.
“Flynn!”
He let out a long-suffering sigh, pressed his lips to the curve of her breast and then looked up. “Who do you think set that bounty on your head?”
The blood drained from her head so quickly she saw spots. “You sent Crenshaw after me?
“You stole my ship.”
His hand shifted slightly on her rib cage and she stiffened. “Move your hand any closer to my breast, Cassius Flynn, and you will lose it.”

You can pre-order The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire at Amazon and Google. (Apparently you can pre-order freebies at some places and not others.) It'll be out everywhere June 29.


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