Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween Costumes--who do you want to be?

Posted by: PG Forte
One of my favorite things about Halloween are the costumes. I love how each one tells a story.  Are you dressing up as who you are, or who you’d like to be? Or are you picking your costume for some other reason altogether?

I once knew a woman who worked for a government agency. She told me that, in order to keep up the pretense that they were just an ordinary company, all the agents would show up at work on Halloween wearing costumes. In my imagination they all dressed up as spies and secret agents in trench coats and masks. I’m guessing they really didn’t do that, but wouldn’t be great if they did?

For myself,  I tend to take a very minimalist approach to costuming—not that I dress up very often. The last time was for a circus-themed party at RT. I went as a Tattooed Lady because, well, I have tattoos.

For my son’s first Halloween I took the clothes off the large, stuffed Paddington bear he’d been given and dressed him in them. As you can see from the picture, he wasn’t all that impressed with my costuming skills

For several years in a row my son would only dress as a pirate for Halloween.  He’d played Captain Hook in an afterschool production of Peter Pan and it stuck. My daughter, on the other hand, clearly inherited my less-is-more costume philosophy. When she was in third grade she went to her school party in her usual clothes. When questioned she’d explain she was dressed as a juvenile delinquent, then she’d pull out the fake cigarette she’d bought at a magic shop and pretend to light up. That didn’t really go over all that well.

That was the year I “dressed up” by accentuating the dark circles under my eyes. When  anyone would ask what I was I’d tell them: “Tired.”  A few years later, I accompanied my kids to a party dressed as a coat rack, because that was obviously what both of them thought I was anyway given the way they expected me to hang on to all their belongings for them. But I digress.

No conversation about brilliant Halloween costumes is complete without mention of the first Halloween episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer—the one where everyone became whatever they were dressed as. “Outside to inside,” as Drusilla put it. It was a brilliantly written episode. In fact, now that I think of it, I’m sure this episode was a big reason why I’ve written several Halloween costume parties into my own vampire series.

My characters are often less than thrilled with the idea (much like my son and his Paddington costume, I guess). This is what Jason (the hero of  Going Back To Find You) had to say on the subject:

Everywhere Jason looked, he saw reminders of the holiday. From the artificial jack-o’-lanterns grinning at him from every lamppost, to the amiable scarecrows and sheaves of corn that lined the sidewalks. There were gauzy ghosts hanging from the branches of trees in the park, comical “gravestones” in front of the haunted house. It was all so charming and picturesque and playful--and depressing as hell.

Jason knew there were vampires who enjoyed Halloween, who took a perverse pleasure in dressing the part. Occasionally, they’d tried to convince him to join them in crashing one of San Francisco’s infamous Halloween parades. But the idea of pretending his very existence was imaginary left Jason feeling like the punch line of a really bad joke. Like being a turkey at Thanksgiving, an elf around Christmas time, or a small, winged god on Valentine’s Day. Not that he’d ever personally met any small, winged gods, but it stood to reason.

Despite my characters’ reluctance, I’ll probably keep on subjecting them to embarrassing costumes After all, my kids are too old for me to dress, and I enjoy it. As Spike observed, it’s just...neat.

So what about you? Do you like costumes, hate them, or don’t care either way? Do you have a go-to or fall-back costume that you reprise every year (like my son’s pirates, or Willow’s ghost)?


To read more about my books, check out my website at, www.PGForte.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It's Almost Halloween: Do You Believe In Ghosts?

Posted by: Angela Campbell

Like many of the people who write in the paranormal genre, October is my favorite month. I love the way the cooler air whisks at my face; the crunch of gold and rust-colored leaves beneath my boots; the smell of pumpkin spice; and seeing fun and scary costumes in stores. Of course, I also love Halloween. I suppose I tend to gravitate toward spooky things year round, but it somehow seems more acceptable in October.

Speaking of spooky, some of the spookiest things that have ever happened to me have happened in graveyards.

Here’s a really strange fact you probably never wanted to know: I actually visit the cemetery a fair amount, having lost my mom when I was 12. My best friend also lost her mom as a young adult, and she’s buried not too far from mine. Now, we regularly go place fresh flowers on their graves. Nothing odd in that, right? Well, except we usually go late at night.

I know. Weird.

We’re both night owls, and I work long hours during the day. It’s not uncommon for us to meet up — safety in numbers — to go to the cemetery at night.

One time we were inside my car when the headlights captured a woman and a dog standing beside a grave. There was something unnatural about them that caused me to immediately stop and turn around. I mean, they had no flashlight and they weren’t near a car. “Did you see a woman and a dog standing there?” my friend immediately asked, but when we both turned back to look seconds later, they were gone. GONE!

Another time, I took my then-teenage niece with me to my mother’s grave, and she carried a voice recorder to try to capture EVPs — electronic voice phenomena — because we’d been watching ghost hunting shows and she thought it would be a fun experiment. Yes, she’s a bit weird, too — probably my influence, sadly. Anyway, she was playing back the sound and had asked, “Is there anyone here?” when a man’s raspy voice replied, “Leave.” Needless to say, I drove a little faster than necessary to do just that.

Did I also mention my best friend lived in a haunted house when we were kids? Yes, I have tons of stories I could share on this topic, but I won’t, except to say that the things I experienced firsthand in that house helped convince me there are unexplained things that do go bump in the night.

After reading all of that, it should be no surprise that I believe in ghosts.

It should be even less of a surprise that I enjoy writing about them. I should probably be terrified of ghosts — lord knows my best friend is — but I’m actually quite fascinated by them. And I love Halloween. I have three older brothers who forced me to watch scary movies as a child. I kind of blame them for making me this way. I don’t scare easily anymore, which is a good thing, I suppose, since I’m weird and traipse around graveyards at night.

What about you? Do you believe in ghosts, or better yet, ever experienced one?

***

You can read more about Angela Campbell and her books at her website, www.AngelaCampbellOnline.com, or connect with her on twitter @angelacampbel.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

GHOST SHIPS and HAUNTED VESSELS

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR

Image from Bigstock.com
October is the perfect time to talk of all things ghostly, and one of the most fascinating of paranormal phenomenon occurs at sea. Ships are said by those who crew and captain them to take on lives of their own ... and sometimes those lives seem to continue. Here's a sampling of spooky ocean tales that are sure to put you in a Halloween mood!

..........

The Flaming Ship of Nova Scotia


Since 1583, a three-masted sailing ship has often been sighted in the Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in Canada. The nameless vessel is described as completely engulfed in flames, or sometimes outlined in a fiery glow.

There have been a number of rescue attempts over the years, but no one has ever been able to reach the burning ship before it vanishes. No debris has ever been found.

In 1965, there were two sightings witnessed by hundreds of people along the coast of Nova Scotia near Cape John. The fiery ship lingered for nearly half an hour before it faded away. One of the most recent sightings was in 2008, where a glowing phantom ship was spotted sailing up Northumberland Strait ... but the strait was completely iced over at the time!

The Ghost Ship of the Arctic


The Baychimo, locked in the ice in 1931
Photo: Public Domain
The Baychimo was a 230-foot steel cargo steamer used by the Hudson Bay Company for transporting furs along the Arctic coastline and carrying supplies to Inuit communities. In October 1931, the Baychimo was near Barrow, Alaska when it became blocked by sea ice. The crew left the ship to seek shelter on land, but returned when the ship broke free a week later. It was only a few days, however, before the ship was again trapped. The crew returned to land, knowing they would have to wait until spring before the ship would be free again. A month later the ship vanished during a blizzard!

The crew thought at first that the Baychimo had broken up and sunk, but a seal hunter told them that he’d seen it 45 miles away. When they tracked the ship down, the captain decided that it couldn’t possibly survive the winter. The crew removed the most valuable furs and abandoned the vessel to its fate.

The Baychimo did more than survive until spring, however. For the next thirty-eight years, the Baychimo was sighted again and again along the northern coast of Canada. There were many attempts to board the ship, and a few were successful. Each time, however, the salvagers were thwarted by terrible weather and the ship disappeared once again. The last confirmed sighting was in 1969 when the Baychimo was again frozen in sea ice off the coast of Alaska. No one knows whether the ship sank or sailed free to roam the frigid Arctic waters once more. In 2006, a group of researchers began actively searching the sea floor for the Baychimo ... but no wreck has been found to this day!

The Lone Lifeboat


In 1906, the SS Valencia, an iron-hulled passenger liner, was making its way from San Francisco to Seattle. A severe storm caused it to miss its destination and run aground on a reef off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. The situation was horrific, with the Valencia trapped between the pounding waves and sheer cliffs. Rescuers could not get to the stricken vessel by sea or by land, and could only watch helplessly from a distance as the sea tore the ship to pieces and 136 people perished. Thirty-seven survivors were eventually rescued from the forbidding coastline.

SS Valencia in 1900
Photo: Public Domain
In 1910, Seattle area newspapers reported the sighting of a phantom ship resembling the Valencia on the rocks where she perished. Stories were told of a lifeboat found in a sea cave with eight skeletons aboard. Native fishermen claimed to have seen a lifeboat still at sea with skeleton passengers!

A single lifeboat from the Valencia was eventually found floating in the area -- 27 years after the sinking! It was in remarkably good condition despite being exposed to the elements for so long. The nameplate of Lifeboat #5 can be seen at the Maritime Museum in Victoria, British Columbia.

Alabama's Phantom Steamboat


1888 photo of the Tombigbee River
in Alabama, near the site of the
Eliza Battle sinking.

Photo: Public Domain
The Eliza Battle was a luxurious side-wheeled paddle steamer that had hosted presidents and many other prestigious passengers as it traveled the Tombigbee River in Alabama. In addition to some wealthy clientele, the Eliza Battle was also carrying a thousand bales of cotton on her main deck on the wintry night of March 1, 1858, when a fire broke out. Strong winds quickly whipped the flames out of control. Most of the passengers and crew leaped from the ship, but many succumbed to the frigid water before they could be rescued.

The steamboat finally came to rest outside Pennington at Kemp’s Landing, and the burnt-out hull still remains on the river bottom there, approximately 28 feet below the surface.

To this day, sightings of a flaming ship are reported in the area on cold and windy nights. It has been said that music can be heard playing within the ship while fire engulfs the deck! The appearance of the ghostly Eliza Battle is considered an ill omen by fishermen and ship captains alike, a warning of impending disaster.

The Haunted Hornet


USS Hornet
Photo: Bigstock.com
The USS Hornet joined the war in the Pacific in 1943, and quickly became one of its most decorated ships. The Hornet, nicknamed The Grey Ghost, was at the forefront of the action, supporting troop landings, shooting down enemy planes, sinking Japanese battleships and earning no less than nine battle stars for its service. Later in its career, the Hornet recovered the astronauts from the first moon landing mission, Apollo 11, and also those from Apollo 12.

In its retirement years, the Hornet was designated as a National Historic Landmark and opened its doors to the public as a museum in Alameda, California. And that’s when it came to light that the Hornet has one more distinction – it’s arguably the most haunted ship in America!

Workmen, museum staffers and tourists have reported heavy doors opening and closing by themselves, things falling off shelves or large items sliding across the floor, the sudden smell of pipe smoke and the sensation of being grabbed or pushed. Sailors and officers in WWII uniforms have been sighted, moving with purpose as if carrying out their duties as usual. Footfalls are heard where there is no one present, plus voices talking, shouting laughing, even calling for help. Some individuals have heard entire conversations, as if aircraft crews were talking shop.

USS Hornet
Photo: Bigstock.com
If there are ghosts aboard the Hornet, no one is surprised. Over 300 men died on the ship, some in combat but many through horrific accidents – an aircraft carrier is a dangerous place. And like all warships, the Hornet had its suicides. Despite this, most of the people who have had paranormal experiences on the old ship say that the spirits tend to be friendly, even playful. And not above playing pranks – one volunteer was alone in a restroom when the urinal beside him flushed by itself.

In recent years the USS Hornet has attracted the attention of many psychics and mediums, and even a number of TV shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. Fortunately, the average person doesn't need special permission to ghost hunt since the Hornet is open to the public during museum hours. And if the stories are true, then ghost hunting really isn't necessary -- the ghosts will find YOU!

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



Legend, lore, love, and magic. These are the hallmarks of Dani Harper’s transformational tales of faeries, shapeshifters, ghosts, and more, for a mature audience.


See all of Dani Harper's books on her Amazon Author Page -

Watch for the newest installment of the Grim Series, STORM CROSSED, releasing January 9th!
Available now for pre-order in ebook, paperback, and audiobook.





Monday, October 16, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:
BLOOD TENDERLY
Paranormal Horror Romance
by Linda Mooney writing as Gail Smith
Word Count:  11K
$1.99 e / $6.99 p

With the cold weather quickly setting in, Lark is trying to ensure she has what she needs to make it through another bone-chilling winter in the cabin in the woods, but something has decided to pay her a visit. The question is, who? Or better yet, what?

There is a human invading his sanctuary, and he is determined to get rid of her. Humans in the past have left of their own accord, but not without a threat from him. However, this one is proving difficult. But she’ll go. One way or another, he will make her.

The thing is demanding that Lark leave, but she has nowhere to go. No one who cares.  So she's determined to stand her ground.

After all, what does she have to lose, besides her life? 

Excerpt and buy links

Other News:
Veronica Scott was the guest on the Hank Garner podcast, talking scifi romance, writing process and more! 

Giveaway Contest Results: Veronica sez: Final Update: I'll award an ebook OR a paperback copy of EMBRACE THE ROMANCE:PETS IN SPACE 2 signed by me to both PamK and Linda since there were only two comments. Their choice of ebook version or paperback version - need your preference and either e mail or snailmail address. Thanks! This giveaway now closed.

Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Visions Before Midnight by P G Forte

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bring It Back(list): Excerpt from Visions Before Midnight

Posted by: PG Forte
I've written several books now that are set either primarily or partially at Halloween, but Visions Before Midnight was the first. Glancing over it now, for the first time in awhile, I'm overwhelmed by all the various sources of inspiration I can pick out--from my daughter's third grade teacher who took her class on a field trip to the Oakland Museum of California to see an exhibit about Dia de los Muertos; to all the people I met while working both in a Native American arts and craft store, and as a docent in two California nature centers; or even my own time in high school. 

I guess that shouldn't really surprise me as much as it does, given that the hero and heroine are both involved with education. But it still does. 

 It's also a very spooky book. A lot of the action takes place at night or in the woods (or in the woods at night).  Here's a brief excerpt. 

            For most people, night spreads a cloak of silence and mystery upon the natural world.  If we dare to venture outside after dusk, we hear little and see less.  At night, this world we think we own does not feel quite so much like home.  We may sense that there is an abundance of life here, we may even feel ourselves drawn to it at times, but it is a life that is always slightly beyond our ken.  We are alien to it. 
            With every minute we stay within the shadowed borders of the land of night, the uneasy conviction grows stronger.  We are not alone.  We are being watched.  We are being...hunted.
            To Chay Johnson, however, the night was no more mysterious or frightening than the day.  And, like the day, it was filled with myriad sounds and signals.  He was aware of everything around him.  From the cautious scurry of a squirrel seeking its dinner amid the fallen cones at the base of the Douglas fir, to the fell swoop of the silent owl, that brought the rodent’s searching to an end.
            Over the course of many years, Chay had learned how to blend into his environment.  To make himself one with the forest, one with the night.  To become invisible to all but the most alert.  There were no other people in the woods tonight to observe him, but, if there had been, his passage would have been no more than a faint rustle on the edge of their hearing, a flicker of shadows, dark on dark, beneath the trees.
            Chay was as much at home in the wilderness as he was anywhere else.  And that, he thought, as he made his quiet way down from the foothills of Mt. Totawka, through the woodlands and parks that surrounded the small town of Oberon, was precisely the problem.
            He was the product of too many cultures, too many traditions, too much training.  His grandfather was a straight-up Bahamian Shaman; his grandmother had been Metista––half Mexican, half Apache, with a little Dine` thrown in for good measure.  But it was his mother’s family, with its ties to the Comanche, Chumash and Lakota nations, that had really complicated the mix.
In his need to honor all his roots, Chay often wondered if he hadn’t taken too many steps down too many paths.  And spent entirely too many years on his own in the process.  He was comfortable and competent in a wide variety of environments––natural, and otherwise––but, he didn’t feel truly at home in any of them.  Not even in the isolated little woodland cabin where he kept most of his things, and where he was currently spending most of his nights.
            As he crossed Alder creek, and prepared to exit the park, his pace shifted automatically into the stealth walk he’d adopted many years ago for passing unseen, and unheard, within the more urban environment of the town itself; into the gait most useful for stalking humans. 
            Not that he was stalking anyone tonight, but old habits died hard.  For years he’d walked these streets, following after his sister Chenoa and her friends, after his aunt Camille, after anyone his grandfather had designated as part of their tribe.  It was an exercise that had served several purposes.  First, of course, it helped insure their safety.  Something his aunt, with her militant stance on any number of topics had occasionally needed even more than the girls.  He’d trained himself to anticipate threats and move swiftly to neutralize them.  He’d taken pride in his role as family warrior, even if it was, at times, a lonely one.
Secondly, it helped hone his skills.  If he could successfully stalk those he knew, people with reason to suspect his presence, and yet remain undetected by them, he would be able to stalk anyone.   
            But, it was the third reason that most interested his grandfather.  You can learn a lot through observation; by keeping your mouth closed and your eyes and ears open.  You can gain all sorts of insight that way.  And, over the course of the last ten years, there was a whole lot Chay had learned––about human nature in general, and his family in particular. 
            A wealth of personal information had been revealed to him.  Secrets that the individual members of his tribe believed they alone were privy to, he had discovered.  Some he had kept to himself, but most of what he learned he shared with his grandfather.
            Not that his grandfather didn’t have his own methods of gathering information.  Paco’s methods might have little to do with ordinary reality, but they were no less accurate for that.  Chay had great respect for his grandfather’s ability to perceive things that existed beyond the physical realm.  But, all the same, he was well aware that at least part of Paco’s reputation for uncanny perception was based on information that his grandson had provided him.
            Things had changed in the last two years, however.  Chay had moved out on his own, and no longer ran patrols on a regular basis.  Many in their tribe had moved on or moved away or, in the case of Chenoa and some of her friends, they had grown up and gotten a little more sense.  Not that Chay would ever tell Chen that, of course.  His little sister didn’t need to be getting a swelled head.
            Perhaps the biggest change that occurred, though, was that Chay no longer shared everything he learned with his grandfather.  It was partly from a desire to keep his own counsel, to make his own path, his own decisions, without being influenced by his grandfather’s opinions.   And it was partly from knowing his grandfather would not always approve the choices he made.  Last but not least, it was partly the result of his work with Bobcat.
            A little over a year ago, Chay had helped to reintroduce an injured bobcat to the wild.  There is often more than one meaning to everything we experience, and, as Chay had long since learned to appreciate, whenever a particular animal appeared in his life it was significant.  Bobcat had become an important totem for Chay over the past year.   It had taught him many things.  Bobcat medicine has to do with mystery, with the keeping of secrets, and the search for a mate.
            It was the last which had brought him downtown tonight.
            He was twenty-seven years old, long past the age when many people settle down, and he was alone.  Again, it was partly the result of the choices he’d made.  He wasn’t altogether certain that the path he’d chosen to walk was wide enough for two.  The life of a shaman was often a solitary one.  He had no one to come home to, and he might never have, because, as he’d already realized earlier tonight, he might never have a real home.
            That thought kept him company as he made his way through the quiet streets of Oberon.  But, when he reached his destination, he let it go.  What did it matter?  He wasn’t looking to find his life partner tonight.  The restlessness that had brought him here was of a far more transitory nature.
            Maybe, if he were already a shaman, if he were already a holy man whose life was dedicated to Spirit, he would be content to wait, to conserve his energy, to sublimate his sexual impulses until the proper time and place.  Until the proper woman appeared.  But, however worthy such a path might be, he couldn’t walk it.  He guessed he just wasn’t that evolved yet. 

            Chay wasn’t looking for love everlasting tonight.  He was simply looking to get laid.

Visions Before Midnight can be purchased on its own at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or as part of the Happily Ever After in Oberon boxed set.

Happily Ever After in Oberon: Boxed Set #3

Mystical forces are once again at work in Oberon, the quirky small town set amid the beaches, wineries and forests of California’s Central Coast. Evil has come home to roost, an evil that threatens everyone’s happy endings and that brings with it a darkness that only love can dispel. 

The exciting Oberon series concludes in Happily Ever After in Oberon, a collection that contains books seven through nine. Once again these are full-length novels in whose pages you will re-visit many of the characters you’ve previously met. Unlike the first two collections, however, a familiarity with those earlier books is recommended. 

Book Seven: Visions Before Midnight

When the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, something wicked haunts the hills around Oberon. 

Chay Johnson is a traditional man; and the educator, flute maker, apprentice shaman has a lot of traditions to uphold, especially when it comes to choosing a life mate. Erin Allridge is a modern woman, with modern ideas about relationships and a painful personal history she has no intention of repeating. 

When terror and tragedy strike the small town of Oberon, Chay and Erin find themselves faced with painful choices. If they can’t put aside their personal differences and re-think their visions for the future, they could lose everything they hold dear. 

Book Eight: Dream Under the Hill

The Spring Equinox falls in the month that nearly all Native Traditions recognize as being one of Big Winds—big changes. And big changes have certainly come to Oberon this spring, along with an ancient evil that must finally be laid to rest.

Cara Matthews is a girl with a troubled past and a very troubling present. The teenage girlfriend of Oberon's newest guru has always looked for love in all the worst places and it just doesn't get much worse than the Church of Truth, Light and Vision.

Former cop Liam McKnight could have told her that, but having finally infiltrated the cult in hopes of discovering some clue to the whereabouts of his missing family members, Liam’s not about to jeopardize his mission for anything—not even love.

In a month marked by birth, death and marriage, the inhabitants of Oberon must all come to terms with what's really important to each of them—important enough to die for. Only one thing is certain; when the winds of change finally stop blowing nothing, and no one, will be the same. 

Book Nine: And Shadows Have Their Ending

The last two years have not been kind to Seth Cavanaugh. But Oberon’s former “golden boy” has suffered and grown and finally feels ready to put his troubled past behind him. So, doesn't it just figure that the girl who caused all the trouble in the first place should pick now to return?

Deirdre Delaney Shelton-Cooper has spent the past two years trying to forget the events that marked her first visit to Oberon, but can you ever really forget the memory of your first love, no matter how painful those memories are? It's just her luck the boy she put herself through hell for has turned out to be such a loser. 

After a disastrous reunion, they'd both be content to have nothing more to do with each other. But when a murderer targets Deirdre, Seth’s the only one she can turn to for help. Now the pair must determine how much they’re willing to risk for a love they’d all but given up on.  


Available at: AmazonBarnes & Noble SmashwordsKobo, and SynergEbooks



Friday, October 13, 2017

Crafting a Fan Favorite

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
Ah, fall is in the air here in the Midwest, and that means I'm feeling crafty!

I want to drag out my cozy yarns and start making hats, gloves, shawls, maybe even a blanket. (Who am I kidding - I always get sick of the pattern and colors before I ever finish a big blanket.)

This year, I've noticed a ton of awesome fan-inspired projects.  Love Wonder Woman? There's a cool shawl pattern available (knit, crochet).

Know a Dr. Who fan?  These crochet fingerless gloves were a fun challenge to whip up for a Christmas gift. (Yes, I'm actually ahead for once! One gift down.)

My daughter wants me to make her Toothless, but I've never tried amigurumi.

And of course Outlander has inspired many beautiful chunky, rustic cowls and projects.

The Tentacles of Doom scarf above is my favorite project I've ever made, though I've never actually worn it. He's not exactly a fan favorite but he was fun to make.

If you're crafty, are you making any gifts? I'd love to see your progress in comments - and maybe get inspired to try something new!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Joining In

Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty

Halloween month at Here Be Magic has lured me out of my hermit basement like a ground squirrel checking the area for predators. Since there are none--besides vampires, werewolves, soul-sucking ghosts, scary clowns and T-Rexes--I guess it's safe for me to join in.

The fact is, nearly all of us have hectic schedules, but it's important to periodically make time to do things like this -- to join in. Whether online or in real life, fellowship with other authors, with readers, with other folks in the publishing industry is part of what makes this difficult career satisfying. In any career or role in life, I imagine we experience a certain bond, even a need for fellowship, with others in similar occupations. We can all benefit from new ideas, inspiration, and advice, or even provide these things and be a helper to someone who needs the wisdom we've gathered.

In the last year and a half, I've focused more on my freelance editing business than writing, but my first foray into a Kindle World, writing a dragon shifter paranormal romance set in Magic, New Mexico, under the jolly and somewhat wacky auspices of SE Smith, was released recently, reminding me just how much I need to nurture both sides of my publishing brain. It also reminded me how much I love interacting with other authors, as a group of us in the Kindle World wrote our stories together, discussed marketing, and shared our ups and downs. I love editing and helping others achieve their goals, but I also love storytelling and, well, telling lies for fun and profit.


So my advice to all of you, readers and authors alike, is not to be scared of the predators out there. Jump out of that burrow. Make time to join in. To discuss your career or just your love of reading. If I hadn't been a member of an active local RWA chapter, with a monthly opportunity to enjoy that fellowship with others in my career, I don't know that I would be pursuing writing or editing. 

Social media, too, has opened up the range of voices, authors, and readers I can share with, expanding my horizons in my career (and my crochet hobby!), as it can with yours. I doubt I could have found too many neighbors who appreciate the fact that I crochet peens and take photos of them in ridiculous poses, but online I sure have!

Sincerely,

Jody W. & Meankitty

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Shazam!

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

Spells and spellcasting. The very first spell I clearly remember is salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. Put them together and what do you get? Cinderella! A magic coach, horses, a footman, glass slippers and a beautiful ball gown and let’s not forget the handsome prince.
What makes the fairy-godmother’s words a spell? A spell is much like a prayer said with a great deal of intent, focus, and will that gives words (or nonsense ones) new meanings. Deborah Blake, an authority on Wiccans, explains that taking a shower can be a magical event. Your intent or goal is to wash away the stress of the day. You focus on the water pouring down on you and visualize your stress being washed away. Your will is to apply energy to the task. Along with the words she uses to increase the impact of the magick “Water, water, wash away all the stress of the day,” your shower becomes magickal.
 So, is Cinderella’s fairy-godmother invoking magick? Her fairy-godmother cast her spell speaking an incantation to create a specific outcome. She clearly imagined what she wanted. She intended the magic coach, horse, etc. to all appear. She was keening focused on the results. And through sheer will she used all the energy at her disposal to make it happen.
What is a spell? Spells are written or spoken words together with set actions sometimes using objects, all with the intent to bring about specific results. The words are the important thing. The actions and objects are used to help the spellcaster concentrate and amplify their request. They use what they feel works well for them candles, herbs, oils, gems and other things. Color, phases of the moon and the day of the week may also play an important part of the spell.
Are there any rules for using magick? Deborah Blake, in her book, The Goddess is in the Details by Llewellyn Publications, July 2009, lays out the seven beliefs at the heart of being a witch.
1.     Harm none. The Wiccan Rede says, “An it harm none, do as ye will.” While this sounds simple, whatever you do make certain you harm no one. That includes yourself and anyone else. She pointed out quite clearly that downstream affects are really unknown. This rule is a guideline and a reminder that the intent should always be to do good.  
2.     Do not interfere with free will. Everyone is responsible for their own actions and should not interfere with the actions of others. Not every witch (other regular person for that matter) seems to believe in this.
3.     What you put out (into the universe) is what you get back. The Law of Return. I believe very strongly in this rule and I’m not a witch. I call it paying it forward. I truly believe that if you give of yourself will come back to you threefold.
4.     As above, so below: Words have power. Witches believe that words have power. It is the reason why spells are said out loud—to announce your intention to the universe. They also believe symbols can be used to heighten the effects of words and can stand for objects or ideas. Sometimes they use candles, stones, water, wine, or anything that will help connect them to the object or idea. As above, so below means they not only have the power to effect change through symbolism and their connection with the universe, but they must also be careful with their words and thoughts. Ms. Blake gave a great example. If words have power, and you get back what you put out, think what would happen when you say, “I hate you.”
5.     Magick is real and witches can use it to bring about positive change. With combination of their belief that they can bring about positive change and the power of words and symbols, they use intent and focus to alter their world.
6.    
We are part of nature. All Pagans have one thing in common—they respect nature and believe they are a part of it, not above it. While traditional religions view humans as superior, Pagans see themselves as guardians. Witches worship the mother earth, the nature goddess. They follow the cycle of the seasons and strive to connect to nature and stay close to their primordial gods. 
7.     The divine is in everything, including us. Pagans believe in the old gods and goddesses and that there is an element of the divine in everything. This is at the heart of what it means to be a witch. This connection to the universe and to the divine gives witches both power and responsibility. It connects them to every other living being.
So, let me leave you with this. Find a comfortable place to sit where you won’t be disturbed. Light a white candle, take a sip of red wine, hold the book your reading, and say:  
The winds are still,
as the words unfold.
Strong is the will,
as the story is told.
Peace fills the room,
and carries you away.
Imagination in bloom,
the rest of the day.

Now sit back, open your book and enjoy the adventure. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2 Release Day + Giveaway

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Final Update: I'll award an ebook OR a paperback copy of EMBRACE THE ROMANCE:PETS IN SPACE 2 signed by me to both PamK and Linda. Their choice of ebook version or paperback version - need your preference and either e mail or snailmail address. Thanks! This giveaway now closed.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention the end date of the giveaway! I'll pick my winner after 6PM Sunday OCT 15 and announce the name on Here Be News on Monday OCT 16. Thanks!

What could be better than sexy heroes, strong heroines and heroic pets (alien or otherwise) in a scifi romance adventure? I’m very excited that today is Release Day for Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2 anthology. I’m one of the co-organizers and I wrote my very first rock star romance novella for the collection!

I’ll give away one paperback (386 pages of SFR goodness) signed by me, to a randomly selected commenter and yes, I will ship it outside the USA if needs be. Tell us why you love scifi romance to enter…
Here’s the blurb for the anthology: About Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2, for which I’ve written my first ever rock star romance!
"How are we gonna lift this thing?!"
"We're gonna need more robots!"
"Guys, most people will buy the ebook."
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Buy Links: 
Amazon JP   iBooks   B&N   Kobo    Google Play

The pets in my story
Artist:Nyssa Juneau
And the story of my novella Star Cruise: Songbird:
Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he and his military war bird Valkyr are dealing with their recent separation from the Sectors Special Forces and uncertainty over their future, with their own planet in ruins.

Karissa Dawnstar is on top of the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.

Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes, from overzealous fans and her own management. Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what’s going on before he loses Karissa or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?

The Excerpt:
When the singer emerged from the room where she’d been getting ready, he was astounded. She looked as if she’d stepped straight from a trideo, her sexy costume elaborate and glittering in the lights, her multicolored hair caught up in coils by all manner of elaborate, bejeweled accessories. Even he could tell her shoes were works of art, with heels designed to resemble stacked planets, standing six inches high. She smiled, obviously enjoying his reaction. “Well?”

Pirouetting on those absurd heels, she laughed and held out her hand. “Escort me,” she said like a queen.

He did so, surrounded by her team, including the backup singers and the six dancers, all of whom joined Karissa when she reached the backstage area. Gently she let go of Grant’s arm and stepped away, gathering her team around her for a pep talk. He stayed alert, watching everyone else in the area, ready to challenge anyone acting suspicious.

The show was already going on at full volume. Karissa’s was the final set of the evening and when she ran onstage, her dancers bouncing and doing acrobatics around her, the roar was astounding. Grant stood in the wings, as close to the stage as he could, and watched the performance. Karissa strutted, she danced, she teased, she brought a child on stage for a brief chat, she sang full throated. The crowd loved it all. He had a hard time keeping his eye on the audience, watching for problems, because she was so riveting.

“First time at a show?” asked an older woman standing next to him. “This is nothing compared to what she’ll do at the big concert on Calillia next week. There’ll be multiple costume changes and aerial components. And maybe some new songs, although she’s been quiet about that. She doesn’t want Ted getting the rights to any more of her stuff if she can help it. Things are really sour between them now.” She laughed self-consciously and held out her hand. “I’m  Desdusan, by the way, her chief makeup artist. Chief busybody too. I try to look out for her as much as I can. Been with Karissa for nine years, ever since she hit the bigtime with ‘Twisted Comets’. She’ll probably sing that for the encore.”

“I hate to admit it but I’ve never heard her music before—it’s all new to me,” he said as they shook.

The woman did a double take. “Really? You’re probably the only person in the Sectors who hasn’t heard at least one Karissa song.”

“I have now,” he pointed out, annoyed to feel so defensive.

As expected, Karissa left the stage briefly at the end of her set and returned to deafening applause to sing the encore. Then she waved to the crowd and danced off. Grant followed her as Desdusan gave her a bottle of water and the two women headed for the dressing room. “Did you like it?” Karissa asked him over her shoulder.


“Full of energy and feeling,” he said. “Clearly I missed a lot while I was on active duty.”



Monday, October 9, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases: 
Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2: 
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors, brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard Award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr, to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share action-packed SFR stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

Amazon US    Amazon CA    Amazon UK   Amazon AU   Amazon FR   Amazon DE



Between a Rock & a Hard Dragon:
(Formerly titled Between a Rock & a Hard-On)
by Cindy Spencer Pape


What happens when you mix a half-dragon, a pixie and a little sex magic in a wooded park on Halloween? Neither Bram nor Twyla have any idea but when it all comes together the magic explodes in a frenzy of hot sex and sizzling romance.
Exclusively at Amazon for just 99 cents

Other News:

Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Veronica Scott's Star Cruise: Stowaway  excerpt here. This was her story from Pets In Space 1 issued in 2016.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Bring It Back(list) STAR CRUISE STOWAWAY Excerpt

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I’m really excited to say that Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2 anthology is releasing next Tuesday, the 10th. I thought for today’s backlist feature, I’d share an excerpt from the story I wrote for Pets In Space 1, in 2016, which is now available in my ebook Star Cruise A Novella: Stowaway: With Star Cruise Rescue and Golden Token Short Stories. Yeah, I know, totally unwieldy title…but pretty cover, right? (From Fiona Jayde.)

Here’s the story for Star Cruise: Stowaway:  Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Here’s today’s excerpt:
This was the time of day he enjoyed most, when all his crew had gone off duty and the Nebula Zephyr’s top cargo deck was quiet. Sure, more work remained tomorrow to get the cargo squared away properly and ready for the next stop, but there was no rush, being several weeks out. Cargo Master Owen Embersson surveyed his desk in the tiny office on Deck 18. Time to leave the place to the ship’s AI, go have his dinner in his cabin and then resume work on the scale model of a long-vanished temple he was building. This one was incredibly intricate, and he’d charge the customer triple the usual price.

Stepping onto the echoing deck, he called for Moby. She spent most of her evenings hunting vermin lurking among the monstrous crates and containers, but she usually passed the first part of the evening in his cabin, eating the incredibly expensive cat food he had the ship’s AI keep in stock. Not much else to spend his salary on. “Come on, cat, I want my dinner even if you don’t,” he said to the elegant vision in white fur who trotted from the murky recesses of the deck. How she stayed clean when she spent her days prowling the cargo deck, he’d never know.

Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.
“What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now.” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.

In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead. “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”

Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.

Figuring she wanted to show him a recent kill, which he’d then have to dispose of, he followed.
Moby moved faster now that she’d gotten him with the program.

By Artist Nyssa Juneau
He followed her around the corner of the pallet the ship had taken on earlier in the day and found Midorri, the Zephyr’s other pet, crouched beside a free trader container. “What mischief have the two of you gotten into now?” he asked Moby. Midorri came aboard the Zephyr originally as the pampered pet of a princess, but after the whole outbreak incident, Sector authorities refused to let the lady disembark on Sector Hub with the undocumented animal, so the ship had kept the odd green fluffball. Dr. Shane was her official owner of record, but the entire crew liked the slightly clumsy but always amusing creature.

Midorri sneezed, as she was often wont to do, allergic to humans perhaps, and flicked her plush prehensile tail before lowering her head and extending her long green tongue to lap at something on the deck.

“Freaking flares, do not tell me we’ve got leaking cargo. Damn free traders and their beat-up equipment.” He hoped Moby hadn’t sampled whatever Midorri was drinking. The alien animal could probably handle anything up to and including nuclear fuel, who knew, but Moby was definitely a terrestrial cat, with a more delicate stomach. He tried to shoo Midorri away from the slowly growing puddle of green goo, dripping from a dented corner of the container. Musta gotten banged when the shuttle crew offloaded the final pallet too fast and had to straighten everything in a rush.  Funny, he’d never have picked this box—well constructed, made from high-quality materials—to be a problem. “I better see what’s in there,” he said to the interested animals.

Moby yowled, startling him as her voice echoed, and Midorri emitted a high-pitched chirping that grated on his ears like a physical assault.

Spurred on by the animals’ distress, which confirmed his own suspicion he faced a genuine problem, Embersson used his cargo master key, which was supposed to open any container on his ship. Nothing happened. Swearing, he tried again. “This free trader’s never shipping anything with us again, idiot forgot to set the damn code for my access. Maeve, can you open this?”

“Of course,” the ship’s AI said. “I haven’t forgotten all my military skills just because I run a cruise ship nowadays.”

“Wait a second.” He stepped aside, encouraging the animals to do so as well. He imagined a gush of whatever was leaking when Maeve did her hacking thing and overrode the container controls.
Midorri tried to climb over his boot to return to the growing puddle.

A loud click echoed in the cargo bay and the seams on the crate glowed yellow, unsealing in a smooth progression along the rim. Sure enough a deluge of liquid followed, but Embersson froze for a moment as he saw what had been inside the crate. Then he was on his knees beside the now-open container, heedless of the green cryo fluid soaking his pants, as he tried to extricate the woman who’d been illegally stored inside.

Buy LinksAmazon    iBooks    B&N     Kobo

About Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2, for which I’ve written my first ever rock star romance!:
The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero-Dogs.org http://www.hero-dogs.org/. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Buy Links:  
Amazon JP   iBooks   B&N   Kobo   Google Play




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