Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sirens and Mermaids - Beautiful but Deadly

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
Sea Goddess mural in Monteray, California
Image: Bigstock.com
A new TV series, SIREN, premiered in March of this year and by May it was signed for a second season. With it comes renewed interest in sirens and mermaids, two legendary sea creatures who have merged into one over the centuries. 

In modern times we think of sirens as glamorous women who captivate men with their beauty, or deliberately lure and seduce them into forgetting their own better judgement. The term "siren" comes to us from Greek mythology and literature, in which the Sirens were once handmaidens to Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter. When Persephone was kidnapped and taken to the underworld to marry the dark god Hades, Demeter blamed her handmaidens for allowing this to happen to their mistress.

As punishment, Demeter marooned the hapless women on a beautiful green island surrounded by treacherous rocks. Any ship that ventured too close to the island would be wrecked so that rescue was impossible. However, merely banishing the women wasn't enough for the vengeful goddess. The women were changed into strange half-human creatures. Still alluringly beautiful, they are sometimes portrayed with bird wings and feet. However, in many versions of the story, they became the first mermaids. While we usually picture them as possessing the head and upper body of a lovely woman and the lower body of a fish or a dolphin, there are some legends where mermaids have legs and appear human.

Demeter gave these unfortunate women unearthly voices and commanded them to sing without ceasing. Sailors in passing ships would hear the sirens' song, and either steer the vessel onto the rocks, or dive from the deck into the sea and drown. Any man that managed to survive the ocean and the rocks would make his way to the island, but find it far from a paradise. So enchanted was he by the siren's songs that he would follow the women wherever they went, forgetting everything else in the world. The hapless sailor would even forget to eat and eventually starve to death. The island became covered with bleached bones.

The Sirenuse Islands in the Mediterranean Sea
Image: Bigstock.com
Embittered by their unfair fate, the Sirens eventually took great pleasure in their cruel task of luring men to their doom. Stories tell that they would often sing passing sailors into a deep sleep. The sirens would then board the ship and kill all the men as they slept, feasting on them for days afterward and tossing their gnawed bones into the oceanor making musical instruments from them!

The only man to hear the song of the Sirens and live to tell about it was Odysseus (also known as Ulysses). He filled the ears of his men with wax and bound their heads with cloth, so that they would be able to row directly past the deadly island, unaffected by the alluring music. Odysseus himself, however, had not plugged his ears. Instead, he commanded his men to tie him to the mast, so he could hear the Sirens' songs, but not be able to jump overboard or steer the ship into danger.

Demeter's magic had condemned the Sirens to live foreverbut only until the day came that a mortal was finally able to resist them. After Odysseus's successful plan, the Sirens were said to have flung themselves into the sea which turned against them and drowned them.

Ever since, maritime superstition claimed that hearing the song of a mermaid is a sign of a particularly ferocious storm approaching, or even spelled certain disaster for the ship.

Mermaids are found in the mythology of many countries, including China, Cambodia, Thailand, Africa, the Phillipines, the Caribbean, Brazil and Japan. They are called merrows in Ireland, and rusalkas in eastern Europe. Undines are freshwater mermaids from Celtic legends, which live in the faery realms of my Grim Series novels. In some myths, the mermaids are kind, even benevolent. In a few stories, a mermaid even falls in love with a human (Hans Christian Anderson’s 1837 tale, “The Little Mermaid, was based on such folklore). Unfortunately, most of these sea creatures behave like the Greek sirens, luring men to their doom, drowning them, and even eating them!
Female figureheads ensured fair weather
Image: Bigstock.com

Christopher Columbus wrote of sighting mermaids on three occasions, noting that they weren't as beautiful as the legends claimed. It's generally accepted that what he actually saw were manatees. However, the infamous pirate Blackbeard also noted in his ship's log several times that he had witnessed mer-folk, and instructed his crew to steer clear of the areas they frequented. And in more modern times, from 1870 to 1967, both sailors and ship's passengers have reported seeing mermaids in the waters off British Columbia, Canada!

Strangely, despite all the ancient tales of dangerous sirens and mermaids (and later, the notion that women on board were just plain bad luck), there was a prevailing belief for at least two thousand years that the sight of a woman's bosom could settle an angry ocean.

By the 1800s, most sailing ships featured an amply-endowed female figurehead on the bow, often with breasts exposed to the salt sea air. And the most popular of all? A mermaid!



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THE GRIM SERIES by Dani Harper

The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim. Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.


See ALL Dani's novels on her Amazon Author Page

Monday, August 13, 2018

Here Be News for August 13, 2018

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
All the latest 
from the authors at 
Here Be Magic
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Case You Missed It:

Monday, August 6 - 

"HERE BE NEWS" -  All the latest from the authors at Here Be Magic.

Wednesday, August 8 - 
"CREATING TENSION"  - Author Nicole Luiken talks about hooks and cliffhangers, conflict, high stakes, and more. 

Saturday, August 11 - 
This week's Bring It Back(list) feature is "THE FINAL PLEASURE", an erotic Sci-Fi Romance by Linda Mooney. See more of this exciting book, plus Linda's new release, below!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Release!


Randy as a Goat

A Sweet But Naughty Humorous Paranormal Romance

By Linda Mooney writing as Carolyn Gregg
Word Count: 17.5K
$1.99 e / $6.99 p



Randy Greebley is your typical teenage boy, with typical teenage boy issues, except for one big difference – when he gets horny, he tends to get “horny.” Literally. His feelings for his best friend Cricket have grown recently, and it’s becoming more than obvious, making it harder for him to hide his other side whenever he sees her.  

A nerdy, middle-class farm boy, Randy doesn’t really have a lot to offer Cricket, but he can’t let graduation pass without letting her know his true feelings. Can Randy get up the courage to reveal his secret and tell her how he truly feels? Does she feel the same, or will he always be stuck in the friendzone?


A senior class trip to the water park could be the hardest test of all for them both. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bring It Back(list) Feature:

THE FINAL PLEASURE
Erotic Sci-Fi Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 54K
$0.99 e / 
$9.99 p


He fully expected to die, until he met a woman who gave him every reason to live.

Those condemned to death are sent to Doora IV, one of four prison moons in the Doora system. Webb Grace realizes that he has less than a month to roam the moon's tunnels before he's taken above and ejected into the airlessness of space. However, before he's released, he is allowed to spend his last night in pure carnal exploration with a Lady Lay.

Myka Tolbert is a Lady Lay. She is one of the few women on the maximum security prison moon who treats the condemned to their Final Pleasure, a last sexual fling, before they’re executed. In return, her sentence is shortened by one week. She hopes she lives long enough to earn her freedom.
A chance meeting between her and Webb gives the con more than a reason to live, but also the belief that he can escape Doora IV and his execution. But first he has to figure out how, and then he has to find a way to bring along the woman who has managed to touch his heart.

They never foresaw all hell breaking loose before he could act.

Warning!  Contains expired food, exploding moons, land squatters, dirty dealings, fraudulent contracts, transparent walls, revenge, cold showers, a death board, pink jumpsuits, and life measured in ten minute intervals.


Excerpt and buy links.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming:

Image: Bigstock.com
As readers, we often wonder how a story gets written. But do you ever wonder where it was written? 

The Here Be Magic authors are getting together to share their location secrets in "WHERE DO WRITERS WRITE?"  


Watch for it here on August 17th! 




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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Bring It Back(list) - THE FINAL PLEASURE, an Erotic Sci-Fi Romance by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney
From August 1st - 31st, you can get the ebook for just 99 cents! (Available at this price only on Amazon and my websiteNote: Click BUY EBOOK to get the Nook or PDF version.)

THE FINAL PLEASURE
Sci-Fi Romance 

by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 54K
$0.99 e /
$9.99 p



He fully expected to die, until he met a woman who gave him every reason to live.

Those condemned to death are sent to Doora IV, one of four prison moons in the Doora system. Webb Grace realizes that he has less than a month to roam the moon's tunnels before he's taken above and ejected into the airlessness of space. However, before he's released, he is allowed to spend his last night in pure carnal exploration with a Lady Lay.

Myka Tolbert is a Lady Lay. She is one of the few women on the maximum security prison moon who treats the condemned to their Final Pleasure, a last sexual fling, before they’re executed. In return, her sentence is shortened by one week. She hopes she lives long enough to earn her freedom.
 
A chance meeting between her and Webb gives the con more than a reason to live, but also the belief that he can escape Doora IV and his execution. But first he has to figure out how, and then he has to find a way to bring along the woman who has managed to touch his heart.

They never foresaw all hell breaking loose before he could act.

Warning!  Contains expired food, exploding moons, land squatters, dirty dealings, fraudulent contracts, transparent walls, revenge, cold showers, a death board, pink jumpsuits, and life measured in ten minute intervals.

Excerpt and buy links.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Creating Tension

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

This weekend I’m attending When Words Collide, a wonderful writer and reader’s convention in Calgary.  I can’t  wait! I go every year and always learn a lot. In addition I’m going to be on a panel called Creating Tension. Here’s a preview of what I’m going to say:
1.  Hooks and cliffhangers. Everyone knows that your novel should  start with a hook, but it’s even better if every chapter and every scene begins with a mini-hook and ends with a mini-cliffhanger. I grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. The chapters always ended with Nancy in trouble of some kind. 

2. Conflict. I know this seems obvious, but, yes, there should be conflict in every scene. Even a quiet scene between two friends can have conflict, provided they both want something different. I once wrote a book where I deliberately gave the heroine a conflict with every other character she encountered.
3.  High stakes, both public and personal stakes. What’s the difference? The public stakes in a thriller might be a madman threatening to blow up a building. The private stakes may be that the heroine’s grandmother is trapped in that very building. Your novel should have both kinds. When revising, try to raise the stakes.

4.  Use the Scene Question (sometimes also called Dramatic question) and Scene Answer to add punch to your scenes. During revision, I hunt for what the scene question is and move it up in the text so that the reader naturally poses this question to themselves.  Sometimes the scene question is quite simple. In a fight scene, it’s Will the protagonist successfully repel this attack? In a different scene it might be something more subtle like: Will the princess persuade her handmaid to spy for her? 
The scene answer should either be No, AND or Yes, BUT therefore complicating matters for the hero even more. For example, in the aforementioned fight scene, the protagonist could lose the fight and wake to find themselves a prisoner. Or the protagonist could win the fight but kill their opponent therefore losing the opportunity to question them about the villain’s plans. Either way, their situation is worse off than at the start of the scene.
If you have any tips, post them in the comments! 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Here Be News for August 6, 2018

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
All the latest 
from the authors at 
Here Be Magic
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In Case You Missed It:

Monday, July 30 - 

"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the authors at Here Be Magic.

Tuesday, July 31 - 
"FALLING INTO ROMANCE - how one writer found the genre" by Dani Harper

Wednesday, August 1 - 
Magic can take many forms. Check out "WEATHER AND ELEMENTAL MAGIC IN SF/F" by author Angela Korra'ti

Thursday, August 3 - 
"PREPARE TO PROMOTE BEFORE YOU FINISH THE BOOK" - Advice for authors by Maureen Bonatch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming:

Image: Bigstock.com
As readers, we often wonder how a story gets written. But do you ever wonder where it was written? 

The Here Be Magic authors are getting together to share their favorite places to hang out with their laptop in "WHERE DO WRITERS WRITE?"  

Watch for it here on August 17th! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Prepare to Promote Before You Finish the Book

Posted by: Maureen

Most authors realize very quickly that finishing the book is only the start of the journey. Marketing 
Taking advantage of our Halloween decorations last year for promo.
and promotion are a huge ongoing part of the writing journey that most authors would prefer to avoid.

Because often preparing to promote a new release, while marketing past books, and finding time to write (and having any kind of a life!) can become overwhelming.

I discovered this the hard way with the release of my first book years ago, and have worked since then to streamline the process. Since finding more time in the day seems to be an impossible task, my best bet is to squeeze additional time out of the hours I have by multi-tasking, or ramping up my organizational skills. 

1.     Start with Organization- Make a folder for your book on your computer, even if you don’t have the title yet, to keep all the information in one place. Be sure to label appropriately so you can easily identify the most recent copy. (I’ve learned this the hard way–more than once!)

2.    Tweeting & Pinning– While you’re doing final edits, save those lines that jump out on a separate document to use as promotional tweets, graphics and other media to entice readers. 

       Make Pinterest boards specific to each book and share pictures that inspired the story, links to information relevant to the story (such as if the heroine has a medical ailment, or save pictures from the time period or location of your story).

4.    The Making of the Media Kit– As you surmount each baby step in the birth of your latest book, don’t wait to start your media kit until everything is done. Develop your media kit template and then as each piece is completed begin to add in the cover, the blurb, the tagline, keywords, tweets and links so it’s not so much to undertake when you’re overwhelmed once release time arrives. 

      It will save you time if it’s ready to go once you’re ready to send information out for promotion on blogs and book reviewers.

5.    The Inside Scoop- Don’t know what to share in your newsletter while you’re waiting for your new release? Share the process of your book. Where you were inspired for the story, photos that might be tacked upon your inspiration board, let them have first dibs to the intricate workings of the author mind and let them see things first such as the cover, excerpt and release dates. 
Creepy picture that helped inspire my upcoming release NOT A CHANCE. 

      Everyone wants to be the one with inside information and it allows them to get excited with you as you wait for your new release. 

6.    Recycle- Recycling isn’t just good for the environment. It can save you time if you do it with your marketing material. If you’re participating in Facebook, or other promotional parties    with other authors, develop graphics (I use Canva) related to prior books and your upcoming  release. Recycle these posts ongoing as you schedule tweets, on your blog, Facebook page, or newsletter. 

 

Be Marketing All the Time

It’s often difficult for authors to have a marketing mindset, or some tend to market heavily when they have a new release and then you don’t hear a peep from them until the next book. 

One of your older books can still be new to someone. Don’t neglect ongoing marketing even when you don’t have a new release coming out. Being prepared with organized information at your fingertips can make the process easier and less time consuming. 

Share Your Tips for Ongoing Promotion Tips 


Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four
seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Weather and elemental magic in SF/F

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti

In the last couple years it’s been very difficult to miss events of extreme weather in the news: destructive wildfires, massive hurricanes, flooding, and more. And if you’re a fan of SF/F, it may have crossed your mind at least once to wonder how someone might deploy weather-based magic to ease the ravages of these events. If you’re an SF/F author, you may have even been asked if you’d ever write weather-based magic; I have!

So here’s a post about that.

First, I’d like to note that I certainly do like me some elemental-based magic in my fantasy. It’s a very common trope to have a world where users of magic are aligned with Air, Fire, Earth, and Water. The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra is a recent big example, but it’s hardly the only one. If you google for “books with elemental magic”, you’ll find multiple Goodreads lists with titles spanning the epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance genres, and with publication dates over the last several decades. Jim Butcher, Mercedes Lackey, Rachel Caine, Tanya Huff, Sharon Shinn, and many other authors have all dipped their pens into that particular inkwell.

I’ve also seen that legendary weather events have in fact made their way into urban fantasy as part of authors’ worldbuilding choices. Hurricane Katrina in particular has shown up repeatedly in novels set in and around New Orleans, and with good reason. It was a massive, transformative event all on its own, entirely aside of any connection to settings that include magic. In a setting with magic, weather events of that caliber gain the power to wreak even more havoc. As backstory for a character or a city, it can be a critical developmental event. As an actual on-camera event, it can raise the stakes even higher in the climax of a story—or could even be the climax of the story.

As for me?

Given that I’m already writing an urban fantasy series with magic in it, it’s not out of the question that weather-based or elemental-based magic might eventually show up in the Warder universe. I grew up in Kentucky, an area of the United States prone to tornados and thunderstorms, as anyone from the Midwest knows. To this day, I have visceral memories of a tornado that hit Louisville in 1974 when I was five. And as an adult in the Pacific Northwest, I have a very healthy appreciation for the power of windstorms that hit the Puget Sound region every fall. (Just ask folks who follow me on social media how many times I’ve warned about power outages taking down my website!)

If you’ve read Bone Walker, you know that the climax of that novel does indeed deal with a weather event that strikes Seattle, fueled by the wrath of a spirit-possessed dragon. Seattle’s Warders, along with my heroine Kendis Thompson, must raise their powers in response to that event. Kendis, Christopher, and Millicent do not, themselves, have elemental or weather-based magic. But the Warders and the Sidhe are only two populations in that universe that use magic. A story has not yet presented itself to me for that world where weather or elemental magic would be in play… but one may yet do so.

In the meantime, I’ll continue my affection for the trope in other people’s stories! I do have a strong affection for the two Avatar animated series, as well as Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden books and Tanya Huff’s Quarters series.

What about the rest of you? What are your favorite weather-based or elemental-magic-based stories? Talk to me in the comments!

-----
Angela writes urban fantasy as Angela Korra'ti, and epic fantasy as Angela Highland. But no matter what name she's using, you can come geek out with her on angelahighland.com, Facebook, or Twitter. Come say hi!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Falling into Romance - how one writer found the genre

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
One of the most frequent questions I'm asked as an author is How did you start writing romance?

It's not because I have a history with the genre. True confession time here - I never read romance novels! Not when I was young, not when I was a so-called adult. In fact, not at any time during the 20th century did I read a single example of the romance genre.


*collective gasp*

It's true. From the time I could pick up a book by myself, my personal reading time was filled with:

  • science fiction
  • mythology
  • superhero comic books
  • fantasy 
  • horror
  • did I mention science fiction?

Then right around 2001, I was happily browsing through a comic book store and spied a novella by Christine Feehan, titled Dark Dream. "Aha! A vampire story!" I thought to myself, and picked it up.

It was sooooo much more than that, as fans of Feehan's legendary Carpathians well know. I was amazed and fascinated. I'd never read anything where the MONSTER was not only the good guy, but he GOT THE GIRL as well!

Paranormal Romance was more than a new genre for me, it was an entirely new universe...

After devouring all the Feehan books I could find, I branched out to Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Karen Marie Moning, Larissa Ione, Jeaniene Frost, JR Ward and oh-so-many-more. A feast for the imagination with many worlds and realities to choose from! Add to that the chance to see how supernatural characters dealt with their circumstances, how they grew and changed, how they learned to navigate the complexity of relationships, and I was permanently, irrevocably hooked.

It was really no surprise when I eventually began writing PNR myself.

Later I embraced Urban Fantasy with both arms (Kelley Armstrong, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Karen Chance, Ilona Andrews...).

My own stories today tend to be a hybrid of both genres (para-fantasy anyone?) But there is always, always, always a relationship to be resolved, a strong romantic thread running through the novels I write. And, of course, an eventual "happily ever after".

So that's my "origin story". How did YOU begin reading (or writing) romance?

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

THE GRIM SERIES by Dani Harper

The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim. Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.


See ALL Dani's novels on her Amazon Author Page
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