Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How Do You Find New SciFi Romance?

Posted by: Veronica Scott

Blogged last week over at Amazing Stories on the topic of discoverability. Here's the first part of the article and you can hop on over to Amazing for the full post...

How do readers and authors find each other? That’s the eternal question, not only in the science fiction romance genre, but in general. The concept is known as discoverability from the author side of things and “How do I find something good to read?” from the reader viewpoint.

The ways to find new books used to be rather limited. You could spend delicious hours in a bookstore (can you tell I used to love to do this?), examining covers and reading the blurbs on the back, sampling the prose a bit, to see if the story could entice you to part with your money. Some of my fondest memories are going to the bookstore on Sunday afternoons with my Dad and sussing out new science fiction novels, especially Andre Norton.

A few years ago, there was one book I kept picking up and thinking about and then walking away from, and finally bought on my fourth trip to the bookstore, Heart Change by Robin D. Owens. That was my introduction to her Celta series, after which of course I ended up devouring all the books. It was the cover that attracted me initially. Never underestimate the power of a really well done piece of cover art.

Of course recommendations from friends – that viral “word of mouth” factor that is every author’s dream – are another good way to find new reads, IF your friends are into the genre you’re looking to read.  I guess my Dad was the first person to give me “if you liked this, you’ll love that” science fiction recommendations. Since many of my friends these days are also science fiction romance authors, that helps. I’ve found all kinds of good books to read, and new-to-me authors, from Ruby Lionsdrake to Michelle Diner to M. K. Eidem to Susan Grant and more, based on word of mouth.

Additionally, recommendations from an author you respect and like can carry huge weight. In the old pre-ebook days, it was common to have a blurb or two on the cover from big names in the same genre. That’s still done of course, but when browsing for ebooks it’s not as attention-getting.   I have to say it was an incredible moment for me when my favorite author, Nalini Singh, tweeted that she’d not only read my book Wreck of the Nebula Dream, but enjoyed it! I’m glad I didn’t know at the time that she was reading it or I’d have been a nervous wreck myself. It’s a thrill to have someone you respect and love to read, say they liked something you wrote. (And maybe some of her 29K twitter followers decided to try the book too. One can hope.)

A free offering is another, no risk way to find a new author.
There’s a whole group of us, some 800 strong, in the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, and under that banner we’re issuing a series of free samplers, known as Portals. Currently we plan four volumes, with varying heat levels. Each volume has ten first chapters from different authors, to allow a reader to try out different worlds at no risk and then make the jump to the rest of the book if they’re intrigued. I’m involved in the project and the first chapter of my award winning novel Mission to Mahjundar is in Volume One, along with nine other samples. We’ve got a structure behind Portals, including a web page, a newsletter and many other plans to enhance our discoverability. I was in charge of the cover design and you can imagine the issues trying to develop something that worked for 40 authors, who write different heat levels. Luckily my wonderful cover artist Fiona Jayde was willing to tackle the challenge for us. We refer to the slightly scruffy but sexy guy on the covers as our Portal Keeper....

And you can go to Amazing Stories for my other suggestions!



Monday, May 30, 2016

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases

 Out tomorrow!! Finally, the next book in The Twelve Kingdoms series, which kicks off The Uncharted Realms.

AN ORPHAN’S THRONE

 Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.
 Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer—she’s a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne’s ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.
 Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…

“Continuing in the tradition of the other books in the series, this book has everything you expect from Jeffe Kennedy: rich world building, political intrigue, exact pacing and an exquisite love story wrapped in a delectably readable package.”
“(…) I will tell you that you will immensely enjoy reading this novel. Please start it in the morning on a day that you have nothing else to do otherwise you will neglect your life, possibly even including your children in lieu of putting this book down. You have been warned.”
“Let me start by saying, this is the first book in this series I read and jumping in at book 4, I still loved it and want to go back and read the rest of this series.”
“Everything you want in a romance, you’ll get right here! It’s exceptionally written with beautiful character and relationship development, super hot yet tender love scenes, and many laughs too!”
“Jeffe Kennedy has truly outdone herself with this story.  From the beautiful cover to the very last word, I was captivated by this fantastical tale. I predict it will be one of my favorite books of the year.”
“If you enjoy fantasy romance with strong clever female leads and witty banter, you need to pick up this series.”


Also out tomorrow - Jeffe Kennedy's duology with Grace Draven. For the first time, these two award-winning writers of fantasy romance at the top of their game come together to share two novellas of the sacrifices made FOR CROWN AND KINGDOM.

Two epic tales of Fantasy romance from Jeffe Kennedy and Grace Draven 

 FOR CROWN AND KINGDOM

 The Crown of the Queen: a novella of the Twelve Kingdoms 

It's been a lifetime since librarian Dafne Mailloux saw the coronation of the tyrant who destroyed her family. She did her part to pull him off the High Throne. But his daughter, the would-be Queen, and her sisters must still tame their conquest. If her victory is to last, Dafne must forge peace with the subtle, ruthless methods of a diplomat—and the worst memories of her life . . .

 The Undying King 

The stories are told in whispers, even after so long: of a man whose fair rule soured when he attained eternal youth. Imprisoned by a sorceress wife in a city out of time and place, he has passed into legend. Few believe in him, and fewer would set their hopes on his mercy. But Imogen has no choice. To break the curse that’s isolated her since birth, she’ll find the Undying King—and answer his secrets with her own…

Available now on Amazon! 

Other News

Cover reveal for Plague Cult by Jenny Schwartz. It's available for pre-order at 99c, and out June 27. 

In a small Texas town a desire for love becomes a curse that could unleash a deadly plague. A haunted house romance in which a healer and a former marine must mesh their magicks (and their hearts?) to save the home town that rejected her.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why Veronica Scott Wrote Lady of the Star Wind

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I was a guest on author Pauline Baird Jones's blog this past week, discussing the various reasons why I wrote my latest science fiction romance novel Lady of the Star Wind. Here's the first part of the post and you can hop over to Pauline's to read the rest!

As usual with me, there were multiple things that caused me to write this novel.
First and foremost, I’ve always loved Andre Norton’s Witch World stories. I was captivated by the first one in the series, where the hero steps from our modern day world into Witch World on a one way trip, and then has to cope with everything fantastical there. I loved the way she left the reader feeling there was a huge backstory to Witch World itself and she would drops crumbs and hints in the books that often raised new questions.  I wanted to write my own novel that would accomplish a similar goal. So my couple from the futuristic Sectors have to flee through a portal of sorts, to the low tech world where they end up. I’m not saying my novel is on a par with Witch World! But there are mysteries and magical powers my characters have to get used to. And the hero and heroine seem to be the embodiment of an old legend in their new home, which brings its own challenges.
That’s the big picture answer.......

More on Pauline's blog.....
Here's the story:
Are they merely luckless lovers … or a legend come back to life?
Mark Denaltieri, ex-Sector Special Forces, has been hired by the Outlier Empress to rescue her granddaughter, Princess Alessandra, from kidnappers. Since the Empress once had him tortured and banished, she’s the last person Mark wants to work for. But he takes the job. He’ll save Alessandra, his first love, and discover why she didn’t speak for him when he desperately needed her. Then he’ll be on his way, finally free of his past.
Alessandra would rather her rescuer was anyone but Mark–after all, he let her believe he was dead all this time. But when the couple are forced to flee her captors by Traveling via a strange crystal globe, they find themselves in a lovely Oasis on a desert planet, the old attraction sizzling between them again.
They soon discover they are far from alone. The Oasis holds the entrance to another world, one in which the inhabitants are convinced Sandy and Mark are the Lady of the Star Wind and her Warrior, come to free them from an evil Queen.
Mark and Sandy must work together to unearth an ancient mirror, and crown the true king of this land.  Can they fulfill the prophecy of the Lady and her Warrior … and this time, will their love survive the test?
Buy Links: Amazon    KOBO     Barnes & Noble     iBooks

Thursday, May 26, 2016

ARCHIVE: Has Science Spoiled Science Fiction?

Posted by: Joshua Roots
Let me preface this by saying I love Science Fiction. My bookshelves are packed with novels from the genre. Every time I walk into my local bookstore, my first stop is the Science Fiction section.

That said, these days, why would anyone read Science Fiction?

There was a time not too long ago when Science Fiction was just that: fictional science. Humans traveled to space, built sentient computers, developed cybernetic limbs, etc. It was a world where possibilities were limited only by human imagination. The ideals of our species were made reality through the efforts of science and technology, but that existed somewhere many generations in the future.

When Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote his John Carter series at the turn of the 20th century, the thought of our species visiting other planets was still a distant dream. Carter, a Civil War hero for the Confederacy, travels to Barsoom (aka: Mars) only to discover a planet filled with aliens and amazing wonders. Readers were transported to another world, but it only existed in their minds.

Now we have Curiosity roving around the Red Planet. Barsoom, it seems, is not as fantastical as Burroughs imagined. It’s even better. Granted, there are no aliens, but we are getting first-hand accounts of old stream beds, eye-witness accounts of geological surveys, and perhaps signs of microscopic alien life. What was once a land of make-believe is now a centerpiece of attention because the reality is simply amazing.


In more recent literature history, Scott Westerfield wrote one of my favorite Space Operas, The Risen Empire. There’s a scene in the first novel where pilots are flying drones the size of dust particles. At the time, I remember thinking how amazing and dangerous that kind of technology could be. Then I read articles on the shrinking of drone technology to machines smaller than insects and beyond.

These days, Science seems on the verge of upstaging Fiction. We used elaborate jet-packs and parachutes to place rovers on Mars in our quest to expand our understanding of our own solar system. For the first time in history we nailed a comet with the Rosetta spacecraft. Independent entrepreneurs are bringing everyday space travel closer to reality. We’ve developed cybernetics that are so advanced, Skynet seems more and more plausible every day. The computers that put humans on a moon once filled up rooms at NASA. Now we carry phones in our pockets that not only stampede far beyond the power of those machines, they also have a universe of knowledge at our fingertips*. We can peer farther into the universe than ever before while, at the same time, zoom into the human body to the molecular level and beyond. What once seemed scientifically impossible has become commonplace, almost mundane.

It’s not just “old Science Fiction” like Burroughs that runs the risk of being left behind, but new Science Fiction as well. With a greater understanding and knowledge of Science, many consumers are more critical of the depiction of “Sci-Tech” and its effects on society as a whole. Science Fiction writers face quite a challenge to make their stories fantastical while at the same time believable because their readers are less willing to just accept ideas. They are too educated, too knowledgeable, and too experienced to simply press the “I Believe” button. While it becomes harder for Sci-Fi authors, it seems to become more important to consumers.

Even our heroes have shifted more towards Science and less to Science Fiction. As a kid, I wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Buck Rogers. They lived in galaxies far, far away, wielding weapons that ignited my imagination. Given the keys to an X-Wing, I would have been the happiest kid off the planet.

Today, however, there’s no denying that a name on everyone’s lips is Neil deGrasse Tyson. As the current head of the Hayden Planetarium and voice of StarTalk, he is lauded both in the scientific community and on social media. And he is just one of hundreds that are becoming better known as Science breaks new barriers. When Curiosity landed on Mars, my Dragon Brother e-mailed me. “I like the sound of ‘Mrs. Bobak Ferdowsi’” he wrote. "Mohawk Guy" transcended from a-smart-guy-at-a-computer to a sexy icon almost overnight. 

Film and TV have also made the transition from fiction to Science. A Beautiful Mind, The Theory of Everything, and two biopics about Steve Jobs praise the work of brilliant people. And while Dragnet and Hill Street Blues were all about the detectives and cops on the street, CSI has enjoyed a long life, and two spin-offs, focusing on the “lab rats”. Shows like Castle, NCIS, and even Psych almost always spend part of the story explaining the Science behind a murder or crime. The heroes are as much the men and women in lab coats as they are the ones walking the streets, kicking in doors. Even in the recent CW hit, The Flash, the heroes are the Police of the CCPD and the Scientists of STAR Labs as they are Barry himself.

Yet despite all this, Science Fiction seems to still be in the spotlight. Battlestar Galactica was a renowned success on TV, as is Defiance. Star Wars continues to capture the imagination of new generations. Debut author Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice was a resounding smash while Dune, all these years later, remains a cult classic.

Are these examples viable because they are good stories? Absolutely. But I also wonder if they aren’t saved from being cast aside because the Science in them becomes more and more plausible every day. At some point we may have sentient robots, space ships designed for fighting, or nanotechnology that can cure diseases at the atomic level. By being so close to reality, so easy to comprehend, does it make its appeal more universal than ever before?

Time keeps marching forward and with it, humanity’s understanding of our species, our world, and the universe around us. Technology leaps forward exponentially, far outpacing what we once thought possible. And yet we keep reading and watching tales of a future where more questions are answered and life is a little more advanced than today.

So has Science spoiled Science Fiction? Or do we simply keep looking to the future for improvements, hoping that one day reality will surpass our dreams?




*Although we STILL don’t have Hoverboards. Thanks for nothing, modern technology! 


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.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Books

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sending Up the Librarian Trope

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
A week from today sees the release (finally!) of THE PAGES OF THE MIND and the concurrent release of my duet of novellas with Grace Draven, FOR CROWN AND KINGDOM.

Both the novella in the duology with Grace, THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN, and THE PAGES OF THE MIND novel are told from the point of view (POV) of Dafne Mailloux, mild-mannered spinster librarian who assisted the heroines on their epic journeys in the original Twelve Kingdoms trilogy.

 Dafne was never meant to be a heroine, in more ways than one.

First of all, she was a secondary character, if that - and a surprise one. When the heroine of THE MARK OF THE TALA, Princess Andromeda (Andi), needed information, Dafne stepped up to point her to the correct scrolls. Then she turned out to be both wry and warm - and she told Andi something that no one else would. I expected her to stay in her library, but - to my surprise - she went along when Andi fled the castle to go into hiding.

Dafne continued to take her own path, in her gently stubborn style, carving her own destiny alongside my three princesses. She never quite did what I expected.

Nor did I expect her to be one of the most popular characters in the series.

From the beginning, readers asked me if Dafne would get her own book. The question surprised me at first, because I never saw Dafne as heroine material. Nor did she, for that matter. Dafne fully expected to continue to lead a quiet life of study, giving good scholarly advice, and manipulating politics from the safe shadows behind the throne.

I end up on a lot of panels discussing the "kickass heroine." There's a lot of reasons for this, that could probably be a book, but one thing about writing Dafne's story that gave me joy was redefining both "kickass" and the librarian trope.

Dafne isn't particularly shy - but she is retiring. The library and books offered safety to her when she was a child orphaned by war and raised by her conqueror. She has good reasons for keeping to the background. And, it turned out, a deep agenda I only realized once I got inside her head. Though Dafne ultimately goes on an academic's quest, she's forced into a different kind of heroism. She becomes kickass through necessity - and out of love.

But she doesn't radically change into an entirely different person. She doesn't learn to wield daggers like Jepp, or a sword like Ursula, or magic like Andi - or even Ami's weapon of choice, her devastating beauty. No, Dafne's skill is her incisive intelligence and long-earned knowledge.

She's a kickass librarian - and it's through being who she is that she discovers the real treasure.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

Cover reveal!

Jeffe Kennedy and Grace Draven are delighted to share the cover of For Crown and Kingdom, their duology out May 31!


Will contain the Twelve Kingdoms Novella ‘The Crown of the Queen’ 




Dafne Mailloux, librarian and temporary babysitter to the heirs to the High Throne of the Twelve – now Thirteen – Kingdoms, finds it difficult to leave the paradise of Annfwn behind. Particularly that trove of rare books in temptingly unfamiliar languages. But duty calls, and hers is to the crown. It’s not like her heart belongs elsewhere. But how can she crown a queen who hesitates to take the throne?

New Audiobook Review and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!


Veronica Scott's award-winning Wreck of the Nebula Dream audiobook received a good review from Audiobook Reviewer and there's a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway going on HERE.  
Loosely based on the sinking of Titanic...

The story:

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?


New Release and Sale!

HOODOO WOMAN, the third book in the Roxie Mathis series, is now out.

Storm magic – wild, unpredictable, and guaranteed to turn the world upside down. Roxie Mathis is stronger than ever now that she’s learned to call thunder and lightning and she’s rebuilding her life. But her lover Blake doesn’t trust her new supernatural assistant or the untamed magic she now practices. Roxie will have to decide between making him happy or being true to herself.

To complicate things further, her old love Ray Travis asks her to come home. A dead girl is haunting the entire town and the only way to bring the spirit to peace is to solve her murder. With her vampire ancestor along for the ride, Roxie bites the bullet and decides to face her past. Caught in a web of secrets and magic, going home could kill Roxie – or set her free.




To celebrate the release, all three Roxie Mathis books are on sale for .99 through June 1st. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

2015: the year of trying new things

Posted by: Shona Husk
For the first time in a few years I have had six months without anything new coming out. It wasn't that I wasn't writing, I was. I wrote so much last year, but nothing was coming together the way I had hoped.

But I did 2 things that made a world of difference to how I felt about what I was doing.

I made a new pen name that writes less romancey stuff (nope, not telling because it's still getting established. Other me though has had 0 rejections and 3 contracts...so my other self is already doing better than me. Is it wrong to be jealous of yourself?). I love writing romance, but I also love urban fantasy and I wanted to write longer story arcs between the characters. I could have done it under the same name, but I didn't want to break the promise that my Shona Husk name has, Shona Husk books always have a HEA. With my other name you will be waiting...

I also said yes to a couple of romance projects that I would have usually brushed past because I didn't have time. I had no contracted books, so I dropped what I was doing and made time. The first of those projects is the fantasy romance Skeleton Key Book Series.

It felt good to be trying something different instead following the path. No career is linear, but I know I expected my writing career to be a straight line (in an upward trajectory), it's not and I have decided to view it as more of a meandering adventure. I don't know what is around the corner, but if I'm enjoying what I'm doing then that makes it okay.

Warrior Queen
Skeleton Key Book Series
One Skeleton Key. Endless Adventures.
https://skeletonkeybookseries.com

After a big night out to celebrate his last day at work, Bryce Allard stumbles home. By his door he finds a glass skeleton key that makes his front door open to another world.

Queen Keleti’s city is under siege. Betrayed by her cousin, she must find a way to save her city from the invading army. Keleti is a Heavenly, a hawk shapeshifter, so she could fly to safety, but she will not leave her people. When she finds Bryce hiding in her city she thinks he’s a spy.


Bryce finds himself caught up in the skirmishes and the siege while trying to earn the Queen’s trust. Trust gradually becomes affection, and Bryce begins to consider staying instead of returning home. However he soon realizes why he is here. There is one thing that no one is willing to do to end the siege: kill a Heavenly.

He has to kill Keleti’s cousin. But will he be thanked, or thrown off the cliff by the Warrior Queen?

Buy links: iBooks Kobo Amazon Barnes and Noble

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Wish, a Prayer, and a Little Bit of Nope

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
This is Oatmeal. He wants us all to do less working and
 more napping. He's also part of the reason I now
have an office downtown.
I almost opted out of my turn this month at Here Be Magic. My plate is alarmingly full. Nobody would have thought less of me—people regularly admit to a lack of time, and someone else fills in for them or an archived post goes up instead. It’s cool. Nobody’s mean here. Everybody has the same time-crunch problems.

Instead, I’m writing this when I should be writing one of several projects with looming deadlines. Because no is a little tough for me. I bet a lot of you have the same problem.

Due to two back-to-back trips covering three of the last four weeks, I’m behind and struggling to catch up. Let’s look at what’s on my plate:


  • Book three of the Muse series, so overdue people are beginning to think it’s never coming. 
  • Episode two of Undercover Gorgon, overdue enough that readers have probably forgotten about it. 
  • Book one of the new Djinn Haven series, due to my publisher the end of August. 
  • Three more Undercover Gorgon episodes by the end of August. 
  • A project I agreed to do when I was at the RT convention last month—I’m super excited, but I can’t even start on it until the other things are done. It’s due to be published the first week of October, so has to be done by September so it can be edited. 
  • The last Undercover Gorgon episode (or two) for season one by the end of October so the box set can be released in time for the holidays. 
  • ConQuesT convention in Kansas City over Memorial Day weekend at which I’m scheduled to do a reading and be on five panels. 
  • Speaking at a writers workshop the weekend after that, followed by a book signing. 
  • A mentoring luncheon in July for a youth leadership group. 

I look at this list and I want to cry. And it only covers the next five months or so. Why did I think I could do all of it? Why am I sitting here writing a blog post instead of finishing something—anything—on that list?

A lot of people can’t say no because they want to please everyone. I can honestly say, that’s not my problem. Sure. I want to make people happy. But that’s not why I keep adding to my list. I do it because I get this ridiculous idea that I can do anything. It’s ugly, ugly pride. Plus, I crunch the numbers and truly believe it can all be done.

And maybe it can.

I’ve taken steps. I rented an office downtown so I can focus better. I’m trying to take better physical care of myself so my mental abilities will fall in line. I’ve got careful outlines of all the projects I’m currently working on, and I use different tools like brain.fm and Pomodoro to help keep me focused.

I could have said no to writing this post. But I know you’re doing the same thing—saying yes to stuff because you want to do All the Things. Let’s help each other. See what’s on your plate. Is it a little too full? Try not to say yes to something new unless you can do it without stressing yourself out. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it all—but maybe you shouldn’t.

I saw an anthology call for submissions this morning. I was intrigued. Excited. I started thinking of things I could write for it. But you know what? I have enough right now.

I’m going to say no.

Tell me in the comments what you’re not going to do!


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.

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Buy her books here:  Amazon B&N Carina Press

Friday, May 20, 2016

ARCHIVE But New Giveaway: A Few True Paranormal Stories About Titanic

Posted by: Veronica Scott
May 20, 2016: Veronica sez: Got a great review on the Wreck of the Nebula Dream audiobook, and doing a $25.00 Amazon gift card giveaway at the Audiobook Reviewer site, so hop over there to enter! 28 days left on the Rafflecopter.

WRECK is loosely based on the sinking of the Titanic...

From my archived posts, updated:

I’ve always been fascinated by that disaster, to the point of writing an award winning science fiction novel loosely based on it (WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM) . I’m going to share a few chilling, true paranormal stories about Titanic today.

As with any great disaster involving a large loss of life, there were many psychic and paranormal dreams, warnings, foreshadowings reports. Some were probably hoaxes. Some, on the other hand, are very well documented and generally accepted to be inexplicable but true. 

This one gives me chills every time: W. Rex Sowden was a Salvation Army officer and a doctor in Scotland in 1912. In the late evening of April 14, 1912, he was summoned to the bedside of a dying child at the orphanage, as she had no one else to sit with her.  At 11:00 PM exactly, she sat up and asked Mr. Sowden to hold her hand, saying, “I’m so afraid. Can’t you see that big ship sinking in the water?”

The doctor thought she was perhaps a bit delirious, being so ill, and told her she was only having a bad dream.   She refused to accept that, answering that the ship was sinking, many people were drowning and “Someone called Wally is playing the fiddle.”

Feeling uneasy, he looked around the room but saw nothing. The girl lapsed back into a coma and everything was peaceful for a few hours. Suddenly the latch on the bedroom door lifted and Mr. Sowden felt someone brush past him, although no one was there. The little girl opened her eyes, telling him her mother had come to take her back to Heaven. She died a few moments later.

In the morning Mr. Sowden heard about the sinking of the Titanic and learned that his boyhood friend  Wally Hartley, leader of the ship’s musicians and a violinist, had drowned after playing as the ship sank. The little girl’s vision occurred three hours before the ship actually struck the iceberg and Mr. Sowden had never mentioned his friend to her. Indeed, he was quoted as stating he hadn’t thought about Wally in years.

Another well known psychic event occurred as Titanic was sailing. A Mr. and Mrs. Marshall on the Isle of Wight were having a party on the flat roof of their home, to watch the ship head out to sea on April 10th. Suddenly Mrs. Marshall had a vision, exclaiming the ship was going to sink. Her embarrassed family tried to quiet her, but she said insisted she saw “hundreds of people struggling in the icy water”. The party ended immediately of course and no one mentioned Titanic to her for the next five days because she would become so upset. 

Then on April 15th, word came that her vision had been true.

Years later, this same Mrs. Marshall refused to sail on the Lusitania on the voyage of May 1st, forcing her husband to exchange their tickets for much worse accommodations on an earlier sailing. She told her family they’d be safe going on Lusitania on the earlier voyage, but that it was going to be torpedoed with huge loss of life on the May 1st trip, which indeed it was. I think I would have listened to her, for sure!

If you were about to board a ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean and you saw the ship’s cat carrying her new born kittens off the vessel, one by one down the gangplank, might you think twice about embarking yourself? I think I would! Yet when this happened in Southampton right before Titanic sailed, only one Irish sailor took heed of the omen and jumped ship himself. What did Jenny the Cat “know” that most of the passengers didn’t? (And the same thing happened with the Lusitania a few years later - the ship's cat left before they sailed!)

So what would you do if you had a premonition of disaster on a trip? Would you go anyway, as so many did on Titanic? Or would you find an alternate way to travel?

Buy Links:
Amazon  Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks    iTunes   Kobo

Also available as an AUDIOBOOK: at Amazon and iTunes

The story:
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.
All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Revisiting the Backlist

Posted by: PG Forte
I've been giving a lot of thought to my backlist lately, books and series that have been out there for a little while. There are quite a few of them that I could get the rights back to and re-release on my own. And I'm tempted--so, so tempted.

There's the prospect of new covers--something that's always a treat. Even when I initially loved the original covers, who doesn't like a makeover? And in those rare instances where I wasn't completely over-the-moon about a particular cover? Yeah, then it gets really exciting.

There's the lure of total creative control. Including picking the aforementioned covers! I can also price the books any way I want, give away as many copies as I please, and re-edit them to my tweaky little heart's content.

I'd get to keep more of the money. Really, I can't find a problem with that part. Not. At. All.

Finally, and perhaps best of all, I'd have the excitement of release day, several times over, all over again. I'd be introducing new readers to books and worlds I've loved creating and reminiscing with not-so-new readers...

But those are all in the "pro" column. There's a "con" list as well.

It takes time to do everything that's required to relaunch close to two dozen books. And yes, I could start with a few and see how it goes, but that would just mean spreading the pain out over a longer period of time, rather than eliminating it.

Of course, I could hire someone to help me with everything that needs to be done.  In fact, I absolutely would be hiring several someones anyway--an editor or two, an artist, possibly a formatter--but that would still leave me with a lot of tasks, big and small, and when it comes to self-publishing, the buck stops here.

And all the time that I'd be spending revising all these older books is time I would not be spending writing new books.

The biggest challenge--the stumbling block that continues to keep this process on hold for me--is the question of whether or not (or how much) to update the books. There have been a lot of changes in the world since some of the older books first came out. Politics. Technology. Trends in fashion and entertainment that have come and gone.

So here are my questions. And I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

How critical is it to you that a book appear to be "current" in all aspects?  And, if you'd read and loved a series in the past, how disappointed would you be (or would you not be disappointed at all?) if said series were to be re-released with significant changes?


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Excerpt from LADY OF THE STAR WIND

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I just released a new book, Lady of the Star Wind, so today I'm sharing an excerpt!

The story:
Are they merely luckless lovers … or a legend come back to life?
Mark Denaltieri, ex-Sector Special Forces, has been hired by the Outlier Empress to rescue her granddaughter, Princess Alessandra, from kidnappers. Since the Empress once had him tortured and banished, she’s the last person Mark wants to work for. But he takes the job. He’ll save Alessandra, his first love, and discover why she didn’t speak for him when he desperately needed her. Then he’ll be on his way, finally free of his past.
Alessandra would rather her rescuer was anyone but Mark–after all, he let her believe he was dead all this time. But when the couple are forced to flee her captors by Traveling via a strange crystal globe, they find themselves in a lovely Oasis on a desert planet, the old attraction sizzling between them again.
They soon discover they are far from alone. The Oasis holds the entrance to another world, one in which the inhabitants are convinced Sandy and Mark are the Lady of the Star Wind and her Warrior, come to free them from an evil Queen.
Mark and Sandy must work together to unearth an ancient mirror, and crown the true king of this land.  Can they fulfill the prophecy of the Lady and her Warrior … and this time, will their love survive the test?
The Excerpt:
           “Behold the Globes of Amarkana.” She yanked at a corner of what Mark had assumed to be the tent’s rear wall. The shimmering panel fell away, revealing a tree taller than Mark fashioned entirely from crystal. Jagged, sharp branches of clear glass, patterned with leaves incised deep into the surface, jutted from a thick trunk at odd angles. At the tip of each branch hung a perfect golden ball, ethereal bubbles made of solid material. The globes were translucent, empty at first glance, but then Mark saw faint spirals of white smoke in some, flickering lightning in others, flames in a few. Several appeared to contain misty rain droplets suspended as if captured in midair…the branches stirred with a faint chiming sound.
            “The time is nearly gone.” Lajollae’s voice broke into their fascination.
            He checked the floating timer. Sure enough, the upper bubble was almost empty of the sparkling contents, sagging in upon itself. “What do we do?”
            “Pick the globe meant for you,” Lajollae said. “You’ll know which one is your destiny.”
            “What if we pick differently?” Sandy clutched at his sleeve. “I can’t lose you again!”
            Lajollae shook her head. “You can each choose your own destination, or one may decide for both.”
            Mark and Sandy exchanged glances. “We stick together,” he said, clenching his jaw.
“Agreed, this mad escapade we’re on is because I trusted you,” Sandy said, releasing his sleeve with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “So I trust you to decide for us.”
            Mark took a step toward the globes, studying them, trying to decide which to pick, not sure what would happen next—there was no retreat, no other way to end this.                      
            He kept going back to one particular globe, high on the tree, dangling precariously on its crystal branch. Nothing differentiated this bubble from all the rest, but it drew him nonetheless.
            When he stretched to touch the globe, it fell into his hand.
            “You’ve chosen, now breathe the air of the destination you’ve selected,” Lajollae said in a harsh whisper. “Make haste, for your time is over—I’m leaving this place for my next station.”
            Mark stared at the surprisingly heavy globe in his hand, not sure what she wanted him to do. Breathe the air? Was that what the shimmering glass encapsulated—air from somewhere else? 
Buy Links: Amazon    KOBO     Barnes & Noble 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Even Fake People Read (And Like?) Romance Novels

Posted by: Angela Campbell
So there I was one recent morning, struggling to wake up, sipping on some caffeine-infused liquid, and browsing headlines online, when one pretty much jumped out at me:


All righty then. Naturally, I clicked on that click bait. Like some of my fellow Here Be Magic-ers, I tend to write romantic fiction set in a paranormal world, so my first thought was, I wonder if AL (I was half asleep so my eyes had originally misread A.I. as AL in the first sentence, but I thought AL worked so I immediately named Google's artificial intelligence AL) … anyway, I wonder if Al had read any of my stuff, immediately followed by, I wonder if Al liked it? Plus, does Al write reviews?

Once I stopped self-absorbing the headline, I actually read the rest of the article. Wow. Al is kind of a deep poet. I mean, I’m no poetry fanatic and I suck at poetry, but I’m pretty sure Al has me beat at deep, dark poetry prose. Click on the link above to read a sample of Al’s work.

I was curious about Al’s other creations, so I Googled more about it and only found a bunch of articles written by journalists apparently shocked that Al had picked up some good writing from reading “bodice-ripping romance novels.” Because of that stigma, you know? I hate that stigma.

I won’t go into all of the reasons I personally think romance novels are awesome, but I will praise Google for making Al a politer and more romantic fake person by reading our books. Also, someone who writes sci-fi should totally take this premise and run with it for their next sci-fi romance. Or maybe not. It kind of mirrors this movie (“Uncanny”) I watched recently on Netflix, which was OK but a little slow in parts, but I suppose it’s worth watching if you like sci-fi romance thrillers. 




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Angela Campbell writes paranormal mysteries about psychics and their pet sidekicks. Learn more about her and her books at www.AngelaCampbellOnline.com.
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