Friday, June 23, 2017

Finding your voice again

Posted by: Angela Campbell
Not too long ago, author Joshua Roots wrote an eloquent post here at Here Be Magic about how difficult it can be to hone your craft after taking a break from it. To say it resonated with me is an understatement.

The past two-plus years have been extremely difficult for me from a personal standpoint as I've been playing dodgeball with the universe, which has decided to get its kicks from throwing illness, surgery, career difficulties (in the day job), family problems, and more my way. Forget dodgeball. I feel more like one of those people in carnivals who stand still against a board and pray they don't get stabbed when someone continuously throws knives at them (seriously, though — why would anyone do that willingly for a career?) The latest thing I'm dealing with is a very sick kitty who requires force feeding and frequent medicating. Yes, I have many scratches on my hands and arm right now. Shut up about it. She's my child.

The point is — pun intended, ha ha, ugh, geez — it's been a long time since I've published anything and I am as rusty at writing as an old cargo van. Oh, I'm still writing. I have a complete draft of the next book in my psychic detectives series sitting on my desktop waiting to be critiqued by me and others so I can revise it — for probably the fourth or fifth time — and send it to my editor. Every now and then I get an email from a reader asking, "Is Connor getting a book?" Yes, he is, but I haven't polished it yet. It's not that I don't love that series or those characters, because I do. It's more that I feel I've lost my writing mojo, and to be honest, I'm too darn exhausted most of the time to pull out anything I've written and work on it. Truth. Connor deserves better than a story I feel less than passionate about, so I'm making him wait as long as it takes for me to get my mojo back and make sure he has the story he deserves.

A couple of months ago, a new writing opportunity opened up to me, but there's a catch. I would be writing outside of the genre I'm comfortable with, which is paranormal/romance/suspense. This is more mainstream — a straight up romantic comedy. At first, I balked. I love romantic comedy, but I couldn't see myself writing one. Then I thought about it. Maybe stepping outside of my comfort zone is the kick in the hiney I need to get my writing mojo back. I don't know. I'm probably stretching, but at this point I'll try anything.

So believe it or not, I've been writing regularly again, and — gulp — enjoying it again. I have a suspicion what I've written so far for this rom-com is complete and utter crap, but I am a writer, and we all feel that way. At least, I think we do, right? And there is the fact that I average about five hours of sleep a night these days and I'm definitely a needs-at-least-eight kinda gal. So this book, born out of desperation and exhaustion, is probably all kinds of coo-coo, but I don't care. Because I'm actually writing again.

I'm curious though. Have you ever taken a break and struggled to get back in the game? Got any tips in case I run out of steam again? Seriously, I need all of the help I can get.

Angela Campbell is the author of the psychic detectives series from Harper Impulse. Learn more about her and her books at

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Social Voyeurism

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
I'm not particularly good at using social media. I'm too flighty to be consistent, and I rarely tell even my best friends when something personal is going on. I'm a hider, not a teller when it comes to those things.

But that's not the whole truth of it. What I do like is watching.

I am a social media voyeur.

Stories, people. Twitter and Facebook are a wealth of personal stories I can't look away from.

 I lurk.

I'm constantly surprised by how personal people get in public. Fights. Medical problems. In-depth discussions about breakups. Thinly-veiled threats. Money problems.

On Facebook, I can almost understand it. In theory, those are your real-life friends--although the most verbal people often have hundreds of "friends," so I doubt they know them all. On Twitter? That's like taking an ad out in the paper to confess to all of New York City that you have hemorrhoids and you like to eat steamed asparagus in the nude while watching reruns of The Golden Girls. While you cry.

I can't look away. What I really, really love are the passive/aggressive notes to an anonymous person who "knows who they are." How can I not be interested in that? "Some people need to get over themselves and stop acting like little bitches when they don't get their way. They know who they are." Really? Now I'm not getting any work done today. I must know what happened or  I will DIE.

I won't ask, though. I'll never ask. I only watch.

Sometimes the "little bitches" in question recognize themselves in the vague status, and the hair pulling begins. Or somebody's status goes from "in a relationship" to "single," while the other person changes theirs to "it's complicated." There's an entire story right there. Somebody's not letting go. If you're really lucky, those two people will have a thinly-veiled argument about something trivial, like sports, but if you watched the relationship statuses change, you can read between the lines and see what they're really fighting about.

It's all fodder for stories.

So next time you want to declare yourself free from that two-faced someone (who you won't name right now) now that you know their real agenda and you won't get fooled again? Know that I'm watching. I'm probably scanning your page for clues like I'm Nancy Drew (after she got old and fat). I'm filling in the blanks you've left me with theories and speculations. If you only give me a little bit of the story, I'm going to make things up.

You can't blame me. It's what I do.

And when you apologize for jumping to conclusions, or your target comes at you with excuses for their hurtful behavior, or when you move on to the next vague statement of emotional turmoil brought on by some life event and person you refuse to name, I'll be watching.

And using it in a story of my own.

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New release: Warrior of Fire

Posted by: Shona Husk
I'm celebrating the release of book 2 in the Blood and Silver series. Warrior of Fire can be read as a stand alone, but there is an over arching thread regarding the creation of albanex (vampires) and also the threat the Guardians of Adam pose to the remaining Albah (my dying out magical people).

This series combines my love of lost civilizations with magic and vampires. The idea that human civilization has risen before (and modern humans have been around for about one hundred thousand years) and fallen is very appealing. It's also very vain for us to assume that this incarnation is the only one to have ever occurred. As for archeological evidence, well it doesn't take long for nature to reclaim abandoned cities (The World Without Us is a great book) and coastlines have changed dramatically over those centuries and the ocean could've swallowed up the evidence. As an author the what ifs are where the stories are to be found.

The book delves into the what ifs of family expectation, what if the villain wasn't sure she wanted to be an assassin (the family trade) as expected by her mother? What if she fell for her mark, but he hadn't fallen for her? How powerful is jealousy?

For the heroine I wanted to know where the line between free will and seeing the future was. What if you knew who your life partner was, but when you met him you weren't sure?

The hero has his own family obligations, his father is king and he is expected to step up and help out. He doesn't need or want the obligation of helping the heroine with her magic, but at the same time he is curious. And the more curious he gets the more destructive his ex becomes...

Is theirs a love match?
For Leira Venn, her future is a given foretold by the oracle of the Albah, the ancient people she was born to. Which is why she knows from the moment she meets Dr. Julian Ryder that he is fated to be hers. But nothing else about the prophecy feels right. For the handsome doctor is shrouded by darkness, and intimately involved with a woman who seems intent on killing Leira . . .

Or a death wish?
Sorrow has shadowed Julian Ryder for as long as he can remember. But from the moment he meets lovely Leira, his heart is filled with hope for the future—a future that is as combustible as the powerful attraction between them. For Leira is marked for death by the very forces who killed his mother. The very darkness that stole everything he held most dear. Only this time, Julian is stronger, more in control of his powers than ever. But will it be enough to save Leira from those who would destroy her?

Buy links: Amazon Kobo iBooks Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Barbarians & Assassins in Love: A NEW RELEASE

Posted by: Marie Harte
A sexy, menage scifi novella. What could be better than one barbarian? Two!  Add in an assassin, psychic ties, romance, and danger and you've got A Warrior's Claiming.

by Marie Harte

It’s time to claim her mates…
Raia is on the hunt, and she never misses a target. No matter how big he–they–might be.
Arghet doesn’t know what to make of the new addition to the clan. Skehl is huge, an indomitable warrior with a beserker’s power. Once part of a hated enemy clan, he’s watched carefully. Somehow Arghet finds himself having to look after the beast. Arghet’s a Vyctore warrior. He has more important things to do than care for a troubled male. He’s doing his best to track down the strange female who stole his kill not long ago. Oddly, she bears the same skin markings as Skehl, a dark tribal marker on her left cheek.
But when he finally finds her, Arghet learns he’s no longer the hunter, but the hunted. And that Skehl is much more than the quiet, subdued warrior he once seemed…
A M/M/F bisexual, menage romance. 
Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Inktera
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit and fall in love.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:

Other News:
Veronica Scott wrote a post about audiobooks for Romance University, in honor of June as Audiobook Month. (And her newly released audiobook!)

Buy Links: Amazon     Audible     iTunes

If you missed Dani Harper's post last week about Gnomes, here's the link: June 21st is International Gnome Day (who knew?)!

Bring It Back(List) Feature:
Jenny Schwartz shared her DEMON HUNTER:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bring It Back(list) with Jenny Schwartz

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
I absolutely love reading paranormal romance novels with kick-ass heroines, so I wrote my own! Demon Hunter was enormous fun to write. Fay, the heroine, is an immensely powerful heroine dedicated to keeping ordinary people safe from all the scary magical beings and happenings in the world. The worst of these are the demons, so Fay has become a demon hunter for the Collegium. But when she is professionally and personally betrayed, she breaks her oath ties to the only home she's ever known - only to discover that she is the Collegium's sole hope of survival. She has to go back.

With a wild leopard shifter mercenary hunting her - he believes she's his mate - Fay's life is changing forever ... if she survives a devious, powerful demonic plot!

After I wrote and published Demon Hunter I found that I couldn't just leave the world I'd created. Six more Collegium stories followed, only one of which directly focused on Fay and Steve - Djinn Justice. So now there are demons and dragons, witches and shifters rampaging around the world and it's all my fault! Yay!

You can read the complete Collegium series free in Kindle Unlimited.

Excerpt from Demon Hunter

Fay Olwen walked cautiously through LaGuardia Airport. Security checks and luggage collection had been negotiated successfully, but her tiredness, the confusion of people and the knowledge that some magic users saw weakness as opportunity kept her scanning the crowd. With a demon in her pocket, she couldn’t afford to be challenged.

“If you continue ignoring me, people will guess I’m a bodyguard,” Steve Jekyll said.

He walked beside her with the deceptive slouch of a hunting cat, aware of everything and waiting for prey. The slouch matched his height to hers, six feet of daunting strength and speed. His dark hair and skin carried a hint of the Arabian deserts where his ancestors had hunted. He was a were-leopard, a mercenary and currently, her self-appointed guardian.

She hitched her bag higher on her shoulder. “I told you I’d manage.”

“Yeah, but I watched you crawl out of the grave two days ago.”Not literally.”

“Damn near.” He met her eyes for a second, the dark brown lightening to aroused leopard.

She dropped her gaze. Magic had healed the broken bones and vicious wounds inflicted by the demon, but her mind remembered. Two days ago she had touched death in the jungle. A lesser magic user would have died.

The silver disk in her pocket heated and burned with the memory. She knew it was a sensation created by her damaged mind and spirit, but she strengthened the amulet’s warding anyway. LaGuardia didn’t need a demon loose in its environs. She flinched at the thought.

“You should have banished it,” Steve growled.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Feed Your Book Habit (Without Stealing From Your Grocery Budget)

Posted by: Shawna Reppert

Are you wanting to find some new authors to get excited about but don’t want to shell out for a book that might disappoint? Or are you simply looking for a new way to feed your reading addiction without starving yourself on ramen soup and box mac and cheese? There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free book.  Lots of free books, actually. Lots and lots of free books in almost any genre you can name.

No, I’m not talking about pirate sites. Piracy is stealing from artists, a very bad thing to do which will surely result in bad karma for lifetimes to come (and in this lifetime as well, since you are risking downloading a nasty virus with every work you steal.)

I’m talking about Instafreebie, a site authors go to in order to give away sneak previews, teaser chapters, tie-in short stories and, yes, even whole novels. Absolutely no strings attached, though many works may be available for a limited time only.

While would authors do this? Because we’re confident enough of our writing to think that you might like what you read enough to buy something else we’ve written. Or we hope you might drift over to Amazon when you’re done reading and look up the same work in order to leave a review. (Little-known fact: you do not have to have purchased a book on Amazon in order to leave a review on Amazon.) In my case, it’s a little of both; I’m currently giving away copies of The Beast Within, a short-story prequel to my steampunk Victorian detective novel A Hunt by Moonlight. My fellow author Dale Ivan Smith used Instafreebie quite successfully to create buzz for his fabulous Empowered. superhero urban fantasy series. (Hint: the prequel is still available for free!)

Right now is a great time to try out Instafreebie! Over 100 science fiction and fantasy authors (including Dale and myself) have banded together to offer a June SFFBook Bonanza! While you’re checking it out, be sure to scroll through the offerings. About halfway down you you can enter to win a Kindle paperwhite!

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