Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Here be New Beginnings

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
For no apparent reason other than to make you smile: Let sleeping Nerd Dogs lie. 

This blog's theme for January was new beginnings. As the last author to go this month, I'd been pondering what to write. Then I saw a post from a fellow author saying, paraphrased, that with all the strife in the world now, being a romance/SF/F author felt like a pretty trivial thing.

I've had a slow couple of years due to real life stuff. I know it may sound unprofessional, but my creativity really does dry up under sustained stress. Far from making me want to quit, though, the current global political climate is making me want to write more than ever. It has given me a new energy and determination that I've needed.

Why? Because it's not about me or mine (as much, although I don't know if I'll ever be fully insured again.) This time it's about inclusivity and tolerance and love for fellow human beings. THAT I can bring to my writing, in a way I couldn't bring my personal difficulties.

I have always tried to be inclusive in my writing. If just one reader leaves one of my books with a slightly less narrow viewpoint, I have done something worthwhile. Mostly though, what I think we, as genre fiction authors provide, is hope.

Hope is an important thing to hold onto when the world around us is crumbling. Hope gives us the will to keep going, to not give up the fight. The idea that there is still good in the world is a powerful motivator. So if I can provide one reader with a ray of hope, I've done my job.

Finally, there's the simple human need for a mental vacation. A doctor friend calls genre fiction "brain candy" and agrees that it provides a much needed relief from the troubles of the real world. For a little while, we can get lost in a book, visit another world, and let our strength renew. Respite matters. Having something to smile about matters.

So the next time you feel that writing or reading fiction is frivolous, cut yourself some slack. Keeping yourself sane is important. Helping others stay sane, providing a ray of hope, or a smile--that's never a waste. Best of the new year to everyone, and a promise to provide more brain candy this year.

Peace.

****

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released almost sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance.

Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and three spoiled dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Linda Mooney

Now Available as an Audio Book!
MIRACLE
Above All, Book 1
by Linda Mooney
Narrated by Susan Marlowe
Length: 5 hrs. 1 min.

Hear a Sample

MIRACLE
Above All,
Book 1
Paranormal/Supernatural/Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Word Count:  41.3K
$2.99 e / $9.99 p / $19.95 a

I died and was resurrected, and I don’t know why. 

My name is Casi Clarity. I was 26 years old when I died in 1969. Then I woke up in the 21st century—whole, sane, and unblemished. And at the same age I was when I died.

What's more, when I came back, I brought a friend with me. His name is Coheed. He's a corporeal spirit, and he is also my protector. Against what, you ask? Well, it seems that ever since my return, I've been chased by ghosts. Demons. Ancient evil. Monsters. You name it.

Why are they after me? Because they want to know my secret. They want to wreak havoc on mankind and bring about our ultimate destruction, and the only way they can accomplish that is by being fleshy beings again. To inhabit as many bodies as they can to cause untold horror. They are determined to discover how I returned from the dead, even if it means trapping me, torturing me, and ultimately killing me again to see if I'm resurrected a second time.

My name is Casi.
The undead call me Mouse.
Coheed calls me Miracle.

Warning! Contains a houseboat, explosions, a rain of ashes, invisibility, sanctuary, a forbidden testament, and a love that was prophesied thousands of years ago.

Excerpt and buy links.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Resolutions & New Beginnings—Looking for a Do-Over?

Posted by: Maureen
 By Maureen L. Bonatch

It’s January 29th. Wow, how did that happen? Remember the New Year’s Resolutions we all started with excitement at the beginning of the month? Or have those resolutions faded faster than the glow of the holiday season?

o   Diets are put off until the next Monday rolls around. (Ack—poor Monday! That’s probably how Monday got the bad reputation. “Let’s start the diet on Friday—” …said no one ever.)
o   Resolutions are failed or forgotten
o   Writing and word count goals are pushed to the backburner as life interferes.

Embrace the Day

No worries, there’s no reason why each day can’t be an opportunity for change and positive improvement. But it doesn’t take a special month, or a special day of the week to start a new beginning, or resolve to make a change.

It’s your mindset. Or, like our stories, it might takes an inciting incident/black moment/point of no return to force you to change your ways.

Do-Over Tip: 21/90: It takes 21 days to create a habit & 90 days to create a lifestyle

A New Beginning


Speaking of new beginnings, I’m thrilled to be the new witch—err, blogger on the block at Here Be Magic.

 A little about me.

  •          I like to have control over my own life. Unfortunately, I, like most, have very little of it. It almost makes me think sorcery is going on, although that’s just how my mind works.
  •         Despite my meticulous plans, my day-job career isn’t what I envisioned as a child, and when the hubs and I decided to have children we hadn’t considered that we might get a two for one deal until the five-month sonogram revealed twins. (Plot Twist!)

So much of life is out of the hands of our control, and often that’s a good thing. It just might be the direction you were meant to go. We can work on what we can control. Things such as a positive attitude, mindset, or habits.

  •         Another thing about me is that I love to laugh. The sound of other’s laughter is music to my ears.
  •        Therefore, it comes as no surprise that my stories are filled with magic, laughter and love (okay, and maybe a little sarcasm sprinkled in—not that there’s anything wrong with that.) 

Forget the Do-Over—Turn the Page 

Sometimes, there are no do-over’s, but we become a better person because of the change, or the path we hadn’t initially chosen. Almost every story begins with a change or a new beginning. Just like each day offers a chance to turn the page or start a new chapter.

So Tell Me, How's Your New Year Shaping Up? 

About Maureen:
Maureen Bonatch dreamt of becoming a Solid Gold Dancer. When the show ended, she followed other paths. Surviving motherhood to twins (so far) gave her the confidence to learn belly dancing, declare herself a tequila connoisseur and biker babe with her alpha hubby. 
Maureen grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—biking, sweat pants, hockey and hibernation—kept her there. While immersed in paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

Find Me:

Friday, January 27, 2017

What's chocolate cake got to do with it?

Posted by: PG Forte
So apparently today is National Chocolate Cake Day. Yes, I know. Who makes this stuff up? And I figure that means a link to a killer chocolate cake recipe is an absolute necessity for this post. However I also have a new trilogy coming out next month and I really wanted to talk about. After giving the matter some thought, however, I found a way to link the two into one semi-coherent post. 

First the series.

Gwyn Carmichael, Luke Kelly and Brenda Donovan are three cousins who have just inherited their family’s business—The Wild Geese Inn, located in Atlas Beach, New Jersey—following the death of their maternal grandmother, Moira Gallagher. Atlas Beach is fictitious, but it was fun (and more than a little trippy) to go back to my roots and write books set in my original home state of New Jersey. 

Each book in the Games We Play series focuses on one of the cousins as they attempt to manage their love lives and their inheritance—all of which is complicated by a variety of supernatural forces. But I’ll let them tell you about that...
* * * *
[Brenda] eyed the others uncertainly. “So you really want to do this, huh?”

“Hell, yes, I want to do this,” Luke assured her. “I’ve always wanted my own bar, even if it is haunted.”

“Don’t be silly,” Gwyn told him. “The bar’s not haunted.”

“Of course it’s not!” Brenda agreed.

“It’s the hotel that’s haunted,” Gwyn continued. “The bar is infest—”

“Stop that,” Brenda interrupted angrily. “That’s what I started to say before. If you really want to do this, there are conditions. We have to stop with all the hocus-pocus.”

“For example?” Gwyn asked.

“Number one,” Brenda said, “the hotel is not haunted. It’s an old building, Gwyn. I know you love it. But you have to admit it’s not in the best of shape. The walls are too thin, the stairs creak, the pipes make noises, the lights flicker, it’s drafty—that’s all normal. And maybe you think it sounds romantic, but when you tell our guests that the hotel is haunted—”

“Which it is.”

“—you’re just calling attention to the hotel’s deficiencies.”

“What else?” Luke asked, jumping in before the girls got into it. Too much of his childhood had been spent watching the two of them fight and make up.

“Number two. There is no boggart in the bar.”

“Okay, stop,” he said, starting to get annoyed himself. “Now you’re going too far. You don’t know that for a fact.”

Brenda shook her head. “C’mon, Luke. How’s that even make sense? It’s an Irish bar; what would a mischief-making Scottish spirit even be doing there?”

Luke grinned. “Making mischief. Obviously. Besides, it’s people they attach themselves to, I think. They’re family spirits, like the bean sidhe. Who’s to say there’s no Scotch-Irish somewhere in our family mix? There’s some funny stuff goes on in that bar, Bren. I’ve seen it.”

Brenda nodded. “I’m sure there is. Do you know why people go to a bar in the first place?”

“To have a drink?” Gwyn suggested.

“Exactly. And what happens when people have a few too many drinks?”

“We make money?”

“They get clumsy. They trip over their own feet. Sometimes they fall down. They misplace things—their keys, their wallets, their phones.”

“Their clothes?” Gwyn smiled at her cousin. Brenda ignored her.

“They make stupid jokes and play stupid pranks and generally act—”

“Stupidly?” Luke supplied.

“And that’s all there is to it. There’s no supernatural troublemaker behind it. The only spirits in that bar are the ones that come in bottles.”

Gwyn gasped. “There’s a genie there now too?”

This time Brenda glared at her.

Luke sighed. “Is there a number three?”

“Yes.” Brenda pointed toward the restaurant’s dining room. “You know that odd-colored stone floor tile in the entryway?”

Luke and Gwyn exchanged a smile. “You mean the Blarney Stone?” they asked innocently.

Brenda glared. “No, I don’t mean the Blarney Stone,” she repeated mockingly. “For fuck’s sake, guys. The Blarney Stone is right where it’s always been. In Blarney Castle. It’s part of the friggin’ wall. No one chipped it out and shipped it across the ocean.”

“Okay, fine,” Gwyn said. “I’ll give you that one. I always thought that was crazy. What would the Lia Fiál be doing here?”

“The what now?” Luke asked.

“The Lia Fiál,” Gwyn repeated. “The Stone of Destiny? That’s what they used to call it.”

“Oh. Well, then that actually does make sense, doesn’t it?”

“What does?”

“That business about how if you kiss your true love while standing on the stone you’re destined to be together. Destined—get it?”

“Yes, Luke.” Gwyn rolled her eyes. “We get it. It’s still crazy.”

“Number four,” Brenda continued without waiting for the others. “There is no family curse.”

Luke and Gwyn looked at her in pained surprise. “Well, of course there isn’t,” Luke said. “You mean the ‘nothing will prosper the family Walsh in Atlas Beach until the Wild Geese return and are reunited with their loved ones’ nonsense? Yeah, that’s bullshit.”
* * * *
Each story in the series is linked to a specific holiday—which, in turn, corresponds to their release dates. Truth or Dare releases Valentine’s Day (February 14th). Never Have I Ever comes out on  Mardi Gras—February 28th this year. And Two Truths and a Lie  debuts on March 14th, just in time for St Patrick’s Day.

That St Patrick’s Day release is especially fitting given that much of the action in the trilogy takes place in the inn’s Irish bar and (as you've probably figured out by now) the Donovan-Kelly-Carmichael clan is Irish American.

So what does all of this have to do with chocolate cake, you ask? THIS:


Yes, that’s right. A chocolate Guinness cake with an Irish Whiskey ganache and a Baileys Irish Cream icing. BOOM. Because the only thing better than a chocolate cake is a chocolate cake made with Guinness, whiskey, and Baileys. Am I right?

Wait...no bacon? What’s up with that?

Anyway, this cake is literally the bomb—the Irish Car Bomb, that is.  Oh, don’t groan at the pun; you know you were thinking the same thing. 

Slainte!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Being a Failure Isn't So Bad: 5 Examples of Successful Failures

Posted by: Angela Campbell
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that do not work.” - Thomas Edison

The past year has been tough, and the new year isn't looking much better for this writer. The truth is, I've been so slammed with life problems I've barely had time to think about writing, much less have time to actually sit down and write something (you know, besides this blog post).

When it comes to writers, failing is nothing new. I'm pretty sure the only person who cares I haven't written anything lately is me. After all, my life plan to become a best-selling author so I can travel the world with my cat in tow stalking admiring Henry Cavill while a reliable team runs my ranch for homeless and abused animals isn't keeping anyone up at night except me. And maybe Henry Cavill if he reads this.

Point is, I'm at that point where I need some serious motivation to lift my spirits, and I have a feeling other writers reading this might need a shot of positivity, too. So, I thought I'd remind us all that failure is often a pathway to success, as long as you don't give up. 


Walt Disney

The mac daddy of all dreamers was fired from a Missouri newspaper when he was 22 for "not being creative enough." The creator of Mickey Mouse also saw one of his early ventures, Laugh-o-gram Studios, go bankrupt. Of course, he went on to be nominated for 59 Oscars (he won 32). Fun fact: he still holds the record for the most Oscars won by any individual ever. Not to mention, the man created Disneyland and Disney World. Basically, he dropped the mic and walked away before anyone else. Boom.


JK Rowling

Harry Potter's creator was a waitress on public assistance when she wrote the first installment of what would become probably the best-selling book series in history. The first "Harry Potter" book was rejected by dozens of publishers who probably now spend their mornings crying over their corn flakes and doubting every decision they've ever made. Fortune lists JK Rowling's net worth at $1.2 billion now, but above it all, she's one of the most beloved writers of all time. 


Elvis Presley

Elvis sold more than 1 billion records globally, but after his very first performance his manager Jimmy Denny told him, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." Fortunately for this diehard Elvis fan, Elvis returned that advice to sender and became the king of rock and roll. Take that, Jimmy Denny!


Steven Spielberg

Did you know Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California's film school three times? Instead, he enrolled at California State University at Long Beach and his filmmaking career has spanned four decades, numerous box office hits, and three Academy Awards. As for USC, he was eventually awarded an honorary degree from the film school in 1994 and became a trustee of the university in 1996. 


Christopher Reeve

The man who played Superman became a quadriplegic, so this example of a "failure" is more tragic than anything but still inspiring when all is said and done. In interviews, Mr. Reeve admitted he struggled with his situation, at times was suicidal, but, ultimately, he learned to live with it.

“In the morning, I need 20 minutes to cry. To wake up and make that shift, you know, and to just say, 'This really sucks,' to really allow yourself the feeling of loss. It still needs to be acknowledged.” Then, he'd say, "And now...forward!" — Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve had to take a moment everyday to acknowledge the reality of his situation. But he didn't let that stop him. He still traveled doing public speaking on behalf of people with spinal injuries, raised funds for his own and other foundations, and became a movie director. He took what he had and tried to help others in the best way he could. That makes him the biggest success on this list in my book, and a great reminder that no matter what life throws at me, I can roll with it. 

Because Superman taught me so.

***

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Small Goals Do Succeed

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
January is almost over.  How many of your New Year's resolutions are still in effect?

I'll be the first to admit I haven't done as much as I wanted this month.  However, I have started a few new habits that I do believe will make a big difference throughout the year.  And since they're small, I can stick with it!

I've read two non-fiction books this month:  Deep Work and The Miracle Morning.

While I'd love to build my tower out in the woods somewhere and lock myself up until my book is done, the reality is that would be impossible.  I have too many day-to-day responsibilities, including an Evil Day Job and three teenagers.  However, the idea of getting set time without distractions is very powerful.  I've actually implemented some adjustments at the Evil Day Job (with my boss's approval) to not keep my email open all the time.

It's so easy to get sucked into fighting fires all day, rather than getting anything done on my to-do list.  By minimizing how often I crack open my inbox, I can reserve at least the first 1-2 hours in the morning to distraction-free "deep work" sessions.  That way, I know whatever nightmare does wait for me in email, I've at least already finished something!

I'm trying to do this with writing too.  My sister and I started a collaboration more than a year ago, but haven't been able to get together without distractions (my kids, work) to make progress.  So we're planning a "retreat" at her place - away from the distractions of my family!  Just a weekend - but I'm hoping we can get a considerable amount done, and if nothing else, at least have a good time doing it!

As for the Miracle Morning, I haven't been able to actually get up an hour earlier each day.  I already have to be up by 5:45 AM everyday.  While I have had great success writing "Dark & Early" - I have to be deep into a project with the burning desire to just finish it already in order to get up when the clock says "four" for the hour.  However, one takeaway I'm still working on is daily meditation.

My job is extremely stressful and I have a lot of personal drama going on pretty much everyday.  (I have three teenaged girls.)   So taking ten minutes in the morning to just work on my mind and be quiet and still is really nice.  I haven't hit every single day, but I am making it a workday habit.  I purchased a year's subscription to HeadSpace and am really enjoying it.

Now if only I could figure out how to make myself get up at 4 AM and finish the book....!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Not Quite a New Release

Posted by: Janni Nell
It's been a long time between drinks, as they say, or in this case books. The first book in the Bolde and Baulsey paranormal mystery series, Dead Monk Walking, was released last year. Since then my family's had a few ups and downs. The ups included my son's business expanding rapidly. Yay! The downs were mostly about the dog's ongoing cruciate ligament problems. Hopefully, he's had the last operation. He's such a sweetie. He doesn't deserve all the crap he's been through.

Anyway, I finally completed the second Bolde and Baulsey book. Better late than never, right? It's called Dead Lady Vanishing and it'll be released in February 2017.

To celebrate the upcoming release, the first book in the series Dead Monk Walking is on special for 99c for a short time only. 

***



Vacations are a bitch. Or maybe it’s just me.

I’m Natasha Bolde, and honestly I’m no one special. Okay, I’ve solved a few mysteries, but I’ve always worked with my best friend and mentor, Clover. She passed recently, and now I’m taking what should’ve been her trip of a lifetime to Cornwall, Britain. It’s just like Clover to choose a place chock-full of mysteries. Why is the amnesiac woman digging in the fields? Can the local psychic medium really contact the dead? And who exactly is the ghost hunter hunting?

I wish Clover was here to help me solve these mysteries, but since she’s not, the best way to honor her memory is to solve them on my own. I’m determined to find the answers. Even if it kills me.







Monday, January 23, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases

NEVERWYLDE

The Rim of the World, Book 5

Sensuous Sci-Fi Romance
by Linda Mooney

Word Count: 33.3K
$2.99 e

Releasing Tuesday, or Available Now on my website!

The adventure is almost over…


Finding themselves on yet another new part of the half-world, Kyber and the crew need to escape quickly or risk death, but he can’t find it in himself to care anymore. His Kelen is gone.  
The group is tired, both Terrans and Seneecians. Tired of fighting. Tired of running. Tired of struggling to survive. They have nothing left to give. But if there’s even the tiniest of chances that Kelen is still alive, Kyber will stop at nothing to find her.  

Giving up hope on ever escaping, the crew decides on a new strategy—survive, learn as much as they can, and hopefully help anyone who may crash there in the future. With new friends and allies, and new information, there just may be hope yet. 

Warning! Contains warmth by furries, death by furries, identification by old Earth code, bowls as weapons, soapy sand, planet-wide monitoring, and a love that will carry two people through tragedy and despair, to the possibility of rescue.

Excerpt and buy links.

Up In Flames


Up In Flames - paranormal romance - just out and FREE till Friday January 27. Enjoy!


Diane Lee is a newly qualified Mage for Hire with a To Do List that ought to include hiding under the blankets. Bad enough she still hasn’t bought her mom’s birthday present, but now that list item has been replaced with “fall in love”. As if she had time! And then there is Number One on the list, “Save the President’s life”. Uh, what? Diane’s organized day goes up in flames as she encounters a very sexy, presidential bodyguard and a salamander with a sensual desire to bliss out.

“Up In Flames”, a paranormal romance novella, was originally published in the Dare collection, which is no longer available. For fans of sexy witches and handsome bodyguards.
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Up-Flames-Jenny-Schwartz-ebook/dp/B01N13GBDQ/


Other News:

 

Sale!

Magic. Mirrors. Parallel worlds...

Buy links
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