Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Block By Any Other Name

Posted by: PG Forte

Rant alert. This post is a response of sorts on a blog post I read recently, written by an author whose work I admire, in which she discussed a blog post she’d recently read that had been written by an author whose work she admires.  

The subject of this entire nesting doll collection of posts is Writers’ Block. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh, gawd, no. Not another one of those!” Then, you have my condolences because, yes, I’m afraid it is.

See, I’ve kind of lost patience with the idea that writer’s block isn’t a real thing, or that naming it somehow gives it more power than it would have otherwise. “Calling it a block makes it seem like something outside yourself over which you have no control,” we’re told. Which seems to me is likely exactly the situation in most cases.  

There are a whole lot of formerly prolific, professional, talented, more-than-moderately successful authors who are struggling right now—hell, I’m struggling right now—and it’s insulting to suggest that we haven’t all done our best to analyze the problem, that we haven’t all sought advice, or tried to correct whatever personal failings are contributing to the problem.

This is not a case of collective amnesia. We haven’t all suddenly forgotten how to write.  We didn’t just lose the skills we’ve honed over the course of writing multiple books. We aren’t any more paralyzed by doubt or a lack of confidence than we’ve always been. I don’t think the books themselves can be the issue either. Because, seriously, how likely is it that we’ve all found ourselves suddenly dealing with unworkable storylines, recalcitrant protagonists, and deeply flawed plots? Not very.  

And, even if that were the case, it’s not like we haven’t all written through these kinds of things before.

When so many of us are simultaneously complaining that our creative wells are running dry, I suspect that the problem lies (at least in part) with our common watershed—with the socio-political climate we find ourselves in, perhaps, or with the massive changes that have taken place within the industry; with new markets opening up and established publishers closing down; with the many, many unrelated-to-writing tasks that we are finding ourselves involved in as we attempt to re-home, or re-write, or re-release a good portion of our backlists; with all the rules that have changed.

There’s been a massive sea-change in the publishing industry lately (and with the world at large, I think) and I think a lot of us are having trouble finding our sea legs.

If I may be allowed to continue the water metaphor, then I think that, yes, Writers’ Block is a good term for the problem.  Our creative streams have gotten damned up somewhere along the way; and I’m not sure it matters where, or how, or by what. But, what I do know is that, if the problem is not something we can eliminate by altering our behavior, then adding guilt to the mix, is only going to make things worse.

  “There’s no such thing as plumber’s block,” we’re also told. And, no, I don’t suppose there is. But, on the other hand, I don’t see how that’s even an argument worth making. Creating a fictional world out of nothing is not AT ALL THE SAME as connecting a few pieces of pipe that already exist. Which is not to suggest that plumbing is not a useful, valuable—dare I say invaluable—skill. There’s no such thing as surgeon’s block, either. And yet no one’s ever suggested that a plumber shouldn’t unclog the toilet of someone he or she knows because they need to stay objective, that they need to maintain their emotional distance in order to be effective in their work.

I don’t really know what the answer is, but it seems that most of us who write do so because we have to, because there’s a need within us that must be expressed. So I have to believe that, sooner or later, that need will find a way. That our creative streams will overflow their banks and carve a new route around the block—or over it, or through it—and we’ll all be awash with juicy new stories once again.

Or, on the other hand, I may have forgotten how to write after all, because I think I’ve just taken that water metaphor way too far.

Monday, November 25, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for November 25, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author

Guess what? This is the last time we'll be using the "keyboard" banner - see ANNOUNCEMENTS for a peek at our new design!

Monday, November 18 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic.


The D’Jacques Dynasty, 
Book 2

Futuristic/Post-Apocalyptic Romance
by Linda Mooney

Word Count: 54.5K
$3.99 e / $9.99 p

Stories of the Battle Lord and Lady of Alta Novis’s exploits have reached far and wide. Some sound almost unbelievable. That’s why Brass Cullum, along with his sons Dyer and Rayburn, have made the long trek to the D’Jacques compound to seek the help of the notorious battle lord in training an army of his own, to enable them to protect themselves from the increasing tribal attacks on his own compound.

However, not everyone is quick to trust the newcomers, and with good reason. They don’t know the Cullums have another plan, and it all hinges on luring the battle lord and lady away from the compound. With the D’Jacques gone and disposed of, they’re certain the compound will collapse on itself, making Cullum’s job easier.

Agreeing to accompany the Cullums back to their compound, the D’Jacques assemble their own small army and head out, along with their only daughter, Mistelle, and their oldest son, Mattox, leaving their youngest son to run Alta Novis in their absence. Cullum’s youngest son, Rayburn, has captured Mistelle’s attention, and he has plans to work his magic to win her over. Mattox and her best friend, Nevo, only hope she opens her eyes to see his true colors before it’s too late.

Kidnapping. Pain. Humiliation. Degradation. Mistelle won’t be beaten. She’s a D’Jacques, and she will live up to her name. But defeating the darkness in herself could prove to be more difficult.

Warning! Contains brown powder, wormy snakes, midnight talks, a lethal mutation, retaliation, a stone obelisk, and a life-long friendship that becomes the love of a lifetime.



We're updating our "Here Be News" banner! Beginning Dec. 2nd, THIS is what you'll be seeing at the top of our Monday posts:

The laptop keyboard design has been fun, but as a group we decided we wanted something a little more "fantasy-oriented" to better reflect our collective genres. Hope you like it!

However you celebrate this week, we'd like to wish you and yours a happy holiday and safe travels!

Monday, November 18, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for November 18, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author


Monday, November 11 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic.

Tuesday, November 12 -
IT'S ALMOST THANKSGIVING!” – Author Ruth Casie shares how her family celebrates and the traditions she’s looking forward to. PS - if you’re tired of football, she has just the romantic read for you!  

Friday, November 15 -
"NORTH AMERICAN FAERIES, Part 1 - by Dani Harper"
People usually associate faeries with the UK and Europe, but there's a history of both belief and superstition in the New World. Have the fae been here all along?

by Nicole Luiken

Genre: Teen paranormal

Seventeen-year-old Chloe fears she’s a Dud, a child born to two werewolves who can’t change into a wolf. If she’s still a Dud by the time she reaches adulthood, she’ll be exiled. In the meantime, she’s at the bottom of the pack hierarchy and the other teens in her small town make her life miserable. 

Then she encounters a feral werewolf with the opposite problem: he’s trapped in wolf form. Chloe suspects the feral is her old classmate, Marcus, who everyone believes died along with the rest of his family in a mysterious plane crash. Chloe vows to help Marcus regain his human self because giving up on him would mean admitting possible failure for herself, too. But she must act quickly. Pack law mandates killing ferals.


Friday, November 15, 2019

NORTH AMERICAN FAERIES, Part 1 - by Dani Harper

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
Are there faeries in Pittsburg? Gnomes in Chicago? Sprites and pixies in Memphis?


My Grim Series brings ancient faery legends to modern-day America. Storm Warrior, Storm Bound, Storm Warned, and Storm Crossed feature beings and creatures from Celtic fables and Welsh folklore that find their way to south-eastern Washington state. The fantasy stories have been a pleasure to write, drawing inspiration from the mythologies I’ve collected for many years.

The more I research, however, the more I discover that the so-called New World isn't nearly as new as we once thought, and various peoples here have been well-acquainted with residents of the Otherworld for centuries. Not as urban legends but as an accepted part of the everyday world. Here there were sparrows in the air, foxes in the fields … and faeries in the woods.

One explanation is that as immigrants arrived from Celtic and European countries, they brought their stories of the Hidden Folk with them. If tales were told of Banshees in Ireland and Black Dogs in Wales, then Irish and Welsh families in North America passed on those stories in their new homes and continued to observe the traditions associated with them. My own Welsh gramma put a gilt-edged china saucer of milk with some bread crusts on the back porch "for the faeries", and warned me about the little man who lived in the garden.

It follows that strange sounds in a strange land, peculiar occurrences and unexplained events might naturally be attributed to the otherworldly beings of familiar legends from the old country. 

There are some, however, who believe the actual creatures followed the exodus of families across the ocean. And others maintain that the vast assortment of supernatural entities were here all along, and known to the indigenous mortals living on the land.

It's important to note that the fae come in every shape and size and type, making it challenging to define them or even describe them. They may appear as tall and ethereally beautiful humans. Others might be the size of children or even smaller. Faery beings may also be ugly and misshapen to our eyes (think trolls and goblins) or be huge and monstrous creatures that defy all description.

With such a staggering variety, it’s difficult to label a supernatural experience as an encounter with the fae – or something else entirely. Still, there are numerous traditional accounts worth considering...

In Maine and eastern Canada, the Native American/First Nations tribes such as the Passamaquoddy, the Penobscot, and the Miꞌkmaq (MicMac) have an abundance of stories about mysterious small people. The Mikumwesuk are described as 3-feet tall with hairy faces, and more often dangerous than helpful. Hunters sleeping in the woods were said to risk death by having their brains removed! As most of Mikumwesuk were male, mortal women were in danger of being lured away to become wives.

The Mohegan tribe of Connecticut told of little people called Makiawisug who lived under a hill, and it was the tradition to leave offerings of food such as corn cakes for them. (This reminds me of the faeries said to dwell under mounds and hills in the British Isles, and the Celtic practice of leaving bread for them.) If shown proper respect, the Makiawisug were often helpful.

In the nineteenth century, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was inspired by Ojibway legends and mentions the Pukwudgees in The Song of Hiawatha (1855). Known to many tribes in the Great Lakes region, these small magical beings with gray skin and canine noses are said to shapeshift or disappear at will. Reported encounters even in modern times show the Pukwudgees to be violent and highly dangerous.

Staurolite or "fairy cross", a naturally occurring crystal
found in Southwest Virginia
In Appalachia, many of the early settlers came from Ireland and Scotland, where belief in faeries was well-established. Since the resident Cherokee already believed in the “Yunwi Tsunsdi” – the Little People, it was natural for these stories to blend. Still, there are abundant tales in this vast region of mortals having married faeries, and their descendants ever after having the gift of healing or “the sight”, or the ability to speak to spirits.

Faery lore is so ingrained in the Appalachians that there is even a Fairy Stone State Park in Southwest Virginia. The site is one of the few places on earth where unusual crystals known as “fairy crosses” (staurolite) are found.

This post is only a tiny sampling of ancient fae tradition in North America, and I plan to continue with this fascinating topic in future blogs. Meanwhile, it's obvious that whether these otherworldly beings exist or not, one thing is absolutely true:  Faery lore is an integral part of our collective culture!


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, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It's Almost Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

We celebrate Thanksgiving the day after turkey day at our house. We started the tradition as a compromise with my kids. They were conflicted about where to spend Thanksgiving. No one wanted to miss dinner with their family. We talked about brunch in the morning or dessert later in the day.
In the end, I opted for the day after. It was not a hardship. I did it selfishly. This way I have them all to myself. The kids, and their in-laws, love the idea.
I start cooking on Wednesday. That's another benefit of celebrating the day after. No turkey. Everyone's had their fill on Thursday. I can be a bit more creative with the menu. Although the family still demands the same menu each year, butternut squash soup, roast leg of lamb with mint jelly, brisket, sweet potato souffle (with marshmallows), green beans, mashed potatoes (yes, even though there are sweet potatoes), and a salad. My daughters bring dessert.
Today the family will begin to gather. Our son and his new wife will drive to New Jersey from Boston. Our two daughters and their families will move back home on Friday and stay for the weekend. It will definitely be a houseful but I wouldn't want it any other way.
For me it's all about family. The coffee runs to Dunkin Donuts, the late night outing to the local ice cream shop, and flopping on the sofa watching movies or football with a large bowl of popcorn. It's magical to me.
I also look forward to Monday when they all go home but I know it's only for a few weeks. We'll do all again in three weeks. This time with presents!
If you're tired of watching football or just want to escape, I have just thing. The Pirate's Redemption.
After her beloved father dies, Moira MacDougall becomes chieftain of their small clan. She is tested on every level, not only by her councilors who question her every move, but also by an exiled Englishman who raids her village under the guise of a notorious pirate, Gareth Talbot.

He wants the secret weapon Moira possesses, and will do anything to get his hands on it—including committing murder so he can give it to King Henry to prove his worthiness and be welcomed home.
Moira will follow her destiny and do whatever is necessary to protect her clan.
The real Gareth Talbot is through with love. His last romance did not end well. He suffered a broken heart and doesn’t trust women.
Humiliated, Gareth goes to sea and becomes a captain for MacAlpin, the pirate king. When raids along the Scottish coast are blamed on him, he seeks revenge. Nothing less than death will do.
Moira and Gareth are on different missions, but seek the same goal. Can they work together and eliminate their greatest enemy, and in the process, find the one thing they didn’t know they were searching for, true love?
Buy Link: Amazon KU

What are your family traditions? What are your favorite holiday recipes?
Have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 11, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for November 11, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author


Monday, November 4 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic, including the winners from our October Scary Movies Contest.

Tuesday, November 5 -
NANOWRIMO REBEL” – Author Nicole Luiken is taking part in National Novel Writing Month – but being a rebel means choosing your own goals! 

Thursday, November 7 -
"PLANNING FOR 2020" - Every author needs a crystal ball to help decide what ideas will become stories and when. Author Shona Husk has decided to kick off 2020 with cryptids and romance. 

Sweet Contemporary Romance from Linda Mooney
Excerpt and buy link here:


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Planning for 2020

Posted by: Shona Husk
New sci fi romance
It's November, so while I'm trying to finish up this year's projects, I'm also planning next year's work. January is usually editing month, cleaning up anything that was written in last 3 month month and getting them out the door (some of them are due in February so they will get done first).

I also have a list of stories that I want to write (it's a long list) but I have to decide which ones are going to be most marketable. If I write X will I be able to sell it to a publisher? If I self publish does it hit any hot tropes? Can I come up with something more interesting and more saleable?

At the moment I'm tossing up between a few ideas for next year, both are novella series.

What I need is a crystal ball to tell me what will be the most fun and profitable.

Alas, no one seems to have one of them.

What I do now is that 2020 will start with crypitds and romantic suspense on January 4th.

Close to the Truth

Is the truth worth dying for?
coming January 2020
TV biologist, Jasmine Heydon, escaped Bitterwood once. She was 16 and run out of town by the cops for the crime of being born on the wrong side of the tracks. Ten years later, she's changed a lot but Bitterwood hasn't. The town's only claim to fame is the legend of the River Man, a murderous creature who first killed a century ago. Back in town to film a show about the River Man, Jasmine plans to put the mystery to rest once and for all.
Bitterwood's favourite son, Gil Easton, has never forgotten Jasmine, and he's never forgiven his father, the chief of police, for running her off. But now Jasmine is back, stirring things up. This time, Gil is determined to stand by her even when the locals want her silenced.
As Gil works to unearth the truth, Jasmine tries to understand her own childhood sighting of the monster. As the threats escalate, the search for the truth grows dangerous ... because the River Man is killing again.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

NaNoWriMo Rebel

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month (hereinafter known as NaNoWriMo) again, but this time I'm breaking the rules.

The rules of NaNoWriMo are to write a complete 50,000 words novel from start to finish during the month of November, but a significant portion of us bend the rules. There are so many of us Rebels, that NaNoWriMo staff made a badge for us. (See left)

My goals for the month are two-fold: First to finish the first draft of Mike and Angel 5 which I was supposed to finish in October. (I feel like I only have a chapter or two to go, but my outline is sketchy at best so we'll see.) Second, to lay down as many words as I can on a sequel to my unpublished epic fantasy novel Path of Power.

I still want to hit that 50,000 word achievement, but being a rebel means choosing your own goals. This may mean trying to hit a smaller goal like 10, 20 or 30,000 words or simply to write every day.

So if you've been avoiding NaNoWriMo because you feel it's impossible or you're already in the middle of a project, I encourage you to go for it! There's no penalty if you fail (I have both won and lost NaNoWriMo in the past, but I've never regretted trying) and no monetary prize hinged on winning just the simple joy of accomplishment.

Monday, November 4, 2019

HERE BE NEWS for November 4, 2019

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author


Monday, October 28 
"HERE BE NEWS" - All the latest from the gang at Here Be Magic.

Wednesday, October 30 -
HORROR ROMANCES - BALANCING MY SWEET AND SALTY” – Author Linda Mooney writes romance. She also writes horror. And sometimes she writes BOTH. Check out her post on ‘genre-splicing’ on Here Be Magic. 

Saturday, November 2 -
This week's Bring It Back(list) feature is TICKLE MY CANDY CANE, a humorous and sexy paranormal romance by Linda Mooney writing as Carolyn Gregg. Plus this witchy ebook is on sale during the month of November! Scroll below for all the details.

Tales of the Blakeney Sisters, Book 2

Humorous Erotic 
Urban Fantasy and
Paranormal Romance
by Linda Mooney
writing as Carolyn Gregg

Word Count:  18.8K
$0.99 e / $6.99 p

During the month of November, get this ebook for 99 cents!
(Available at this price only on Amazon and Linda's website. Note: Click BUY EBOOK to get the Nook or PDF version.)

Once upon a time, there lived a man with five rambunctious daughters. They were an average American farming family except for one minor detail. The man was a warlock, and all of his daughters were witchlets--half witch and half human.

With Christmas only two days away, Tamberly Blakeney has given up hope of finding her heart's call this year. That is, until Jonathan Mauk walks into the market and into her life. With the magical swirl of a candy cane's stripes, she knows he is the man meant to be her lifelong love. But first he has to pass the sex hex test, which she is sure won't be a problem.

What she doesn't realize is that there is something in Jonathan's past that deeply disturbs her father. And until Daddy gets all the answers, there could be hell to pay.


And the winners are:

1. BEVERLY wins an ebook from Jody Wallace - Catalyst: Cat Ship (Obsidian Rim Book 8) 
2. LOUISE wins her choice of one ebook from Dani Harper
3. GLENDA wins a deluxe canvas tote bag from Dani Harper
4. SHERRY H. wins her choice of one ebook from Linda Mooney
5. MARTHA L. wins her choice of one Audiobook from Linda Mooney
6. ANNE wins the grand prize, a $35 Amazon Gift eCard from all the authors at HERE BE MAGIC

To protect privacy, we've only revealed first names, plus the last initial if we have it. We do have the contact information for all six winners and they will be receiving congratulatory emails over the next few days.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to read our 4-part Scary Movie series! 


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Bring It Back(list) - TICKLE MY CANDY CANE, a Humorous/Sexy/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Posted by: Linda Mooney
Tickle My Candy Cane
Tales of the Blakeney Sisters, Book 2
Humorous Erotic Urban Fantasy Paranormal  Romance
by Linda Mooney
writing as Carolyn Gregg
Word Count:  18.8K
$0.99 e / $6.99 p

During the month of November, get this ebook for 99 cents! (Available at this price only on Amazon and my website. Note: Click BUY EBOOK to get the Nook or PDF version.)

Once upon a time, there lived a man with five rambunctious daughters. They were an average American farming family except for one minor detail. The man was a warlock, and all of his daughters were witchlets--half witch and half human.

With Christmas only two days away, Tamberly Blakeney has given up hope of finding her heart's call this year. That is, until Jonathan Mauk walks into the market and into her life. With the magical swirl of a candy cane's stripes, she knows he is the man meant to be her lifelong love. But first he has to pass the sex hex test, which she is sure won't be a problem.

What she doesn't realize is that there is something in Jonathan's past that deeply disturbs her father. And until Daddy gets all the answers, there could be hell to pay.

Excerpt and Buy Links
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...