Friday, October 31, 2014

Free Anthology of Feline Goodness!

Posted by: Jody W. and Meankitty
Well, and feline badness, too, because cats.

The authors of Here Be Magic have combined their efforts once again to bring you the finest in short paranormal fiction! Today we are thrilled to announce the release of The Cat's Meow by "Hera B. Magic" with stories by Cindy Spencer Pape, Shona Husk and Angela Campbell, who also created the cover. Editing and formatting by Jody Wallace.

Three splendid short stories full of black cats, Halloween and even a little romance. Another anthology from Hera B. Magic and the authors of the Here Be Magic blog. 23,000 words.

“Kit’s Cat” by Cindy Spencer Pape. Kit’s life has gone downhill and then downhill some more, and she can’t even get a good night’s sleep. When she realizes the stray cat that’s been caterwauling outside her window is injured, saving it will take her life on some ups and downs no one could ever have predicted.

“The Tenth Life of Vicky Torres” by Shona Husk. Seth expected the world to end in wars and bombings, not in a plague. When he obeys his dying father and heads for their secret cabin in the mountains, he gets lonely so fast that he’s willing to share his meager food with the stray kitty that appears in the woods. But is the cat what it appears to be or is it something else entirely?

“The Night Shift” by Angela Campbell. Hailey Crawford has finally got her life in order, and it’s unfortunate that it doesn’t have much space left for sisters, nieces, or boyfriends. It definitely doesn’t have space for vagrants hanging around her florist shop...until one night when an accident involving the vagrant changes Hailey’s outlook on everything. In fact, she wakes after the tragedy to find her outlook has gotten very close to the ground. Cat close, in fact.

It's possible stories will be added to this already magnificent anthology in the near future if other members of the Hera B Magic penname finish what they've been working on. We'll announce that if that happens. Talk about a revised edition!

This is the third and hopefully not final effort of Hera B. Magic. I (Jody W.) for one am thoroughly enjoying collecting and uploading these anthologies and can't wait to see what Hera comes up with next.

Right now the story's only at Smashwords but it's free and available in all formats. PLEASE let us know what you think! Since it is free, your feedback is our payment.

Thanks, readers!


Hera B Magic (and Jody Wallace performing as today's typist)
Oh, and Meankitty. She helped with this one a lot.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Real Life Love Stories

Posted by: Kathleen Collins
If you're reading this the day I posted it, today is my 15th wedding anniversary. That number is kind of surreal to me. I never could have envisioned what the last fifteen years would bring and I'm looking forward to the next fifteen.

I'll return to that in a moment. I should confess that I am one of those people that loves tropes in my romance novels. What's a trope you ask? Well, it's those storylines you see over and over again. The secretary that falls in love with her boss, falling in love with the best friend's brother, falling in love with your best friend for that matter. Well you get the idea.

Part of the reason I love tropes might be because my real life love story is one. December of my Senior year of high school my boyfriend introduced me to his best friend. Flash forward a few months and that best friend was now one of my best friends. When I broke up with the boyfriend, the friend stuck around. He made sure I got fed when I was a poor college student and eventually told me he loved me. While we didn't end up together right away for a variety of reasons, eventually we did go on that first official date, got engaged two weeks later and married six months after that.

So actually, now that I think about it, it seems we hit three tropes. Falling in love with the boyfriend's friend, falling in love with your best friend and the whirlwind wedding. Yay me. So tell me, what's your real life love story? Is your story a classic trope or your own adventure?

Happy Reading everyone!

Kathleen Collins is the author of the Realm Walker series. You can find her online usually on twitter @kathy_collins or facebook or her website She is currently working on her next book.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Posted by: Shawna Reppert

Halloween is a time for masks.  You can dress up as who you want to be, or you can dress up to frighten or amuse.  You can try on a new identity, at least for a night.  

Disguises are powerful tools.  In Victorian times, the upper classes used their masquerades to escape for a night the strictures of their society.  Bank robbers use masks to gain anonymity to avoid prosecution for their crimes.  Shamans put on masks to call down their gods.  Is it any wonder that masks and other forms of disguise have appeared in stories from the time of the earliest fairy tales up to today?

The mask, literal or figurative, has uses and symbolism as varied as costumes in a Halloween parade.  In the world of archetypes, masks and disguises are the province of the Trickster, the dual-natured, two-faced character.  But sometimes the hero himself is the trickster.  Think Robin Hood, disguising himself as an old tinker to win the golden arrow in the archery contest.  Or Sherlock Holmes (just as mercurial, if far less merry), and the variety of disguises he adopts to foil criminals (or, in one case, nearly give a heart attack to poor Watson who thought his friend was three years dead).

Though far too serious to count as a trickster figure, Aragorn shows a dual-natured aspect, originally meeting the hobbits in the guise of Strider, the somewhat-disreputable-looking wanderer.  On a more sinister note, Darth Vader’s literal mask symbolizes his hidden identity—masks within masks, it that case.  The ambush he lays for our hero with that truth in the second act of the first set of Star Wars films is just a pale shadow of the impact on Vader himself when he realizes that the monstrous evil he thought to be his true nature was only an ill-fitting mask that concealed Anakin still within.

Often the masks are less literal.  In my novel Ravensblood, Raven takes on the role of the dark mage to disguise his pain at being rejected by the Guardians and by society as a whole because of his ancestry.  He plays the part so well that he believes it himself—until the conscience he suppressed for so long begins to crack the mask.  Even then, he plays a part, acting his old role as confidant and right hand to William, the most dangerous dark mage of their time, while spying on him for the Joint Council who want to bring him down, and all the time denying the resurgence of his feelings for Cassandra, the former apprentice and lover he betrayed, as well as his growing friendship with Zack, her partner in the Guardians.

So, why are we all so fascinated with masks?  A lot of it lays in the dramatic potential of having characters who are not quite what they seem.  It puts the readers off-balance, and readers like to be off-balance.  It’s fun trying to guess what might be around the next corner, and it creates tension that ever-important tool in the writer’s toolbox.  Many mystery plots simply could not exist without characters with hidden natures.

More than that, though, I think the storyteller’s fascination with masks and disguises, and the reader’s love of such tales, stems from the desire to play make-believe, to imaging that we, too, could be other than we are.  More, it springs from a deep-rooted need to understand, explain of merely cope with the duality of the people in our lives.  We’ve all had at least some experience with this. It might have been the kid in grade school who you thought would be your BFF until we found out that she was talking about you behind your backs.  Or it could be the man you married for love that turned out to be a serial killer.  (For real, happened to a friend of mine.  Know the warning signs of sociopathy, folks.  But that’s a blog for someone else to write.)  In real life, such things might never make sense.  

That’s one of the reasons we need fiction.  Stories may or may not have a happy ending, but if the writer has done her job, the reader will close the book feeling like the world, or at least the world between the covers of the book, has a ‘why’ that is answered by something more meaningful than ‘why not.’

Monday, October 27, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Releases

Book two of The Tudor Enigma

Blood, frogs and a deadly threat to the firstborn...

Luke Ballard, Dominus Elemancer and Privy Inquirer into Divers Mischiefs and Grievances, has grown his magical powers since his last encounter with the Sunderers, dark sorcerers who will stop at nothing--including partnering with England's mortal enemies--to destroy the throne. But is he skilled enough to protect his own and prevent tragedy from reaching the royal family?

The continuation of Tudor rule and the future of England's true religion rest with King Henry IX's new bride, Queen Madeline of Scotland. Pregnant with a possible heir, she's nearly killed--twice--in incidents that bizarrely mimic the Plagues of Egypt. And she is not alone. All of Hampton Court, it seems, has been surrounded by a dark cloud of otherworldly danger.

Fearful for his wife and unborn child, King Henry can only turn to one man.
Get it today!

Other News

Regan Summers: Cover Reveal

Book 2.0 in the Night Runner Series

Phoenix, AZ

All Sydney Kildare wants is a minute in the slow lane, some time to decide where she’s going with her vampire lover, Malcolm Kelly. But after sitting out the last battle, the powerful Master Bronson is giving orders again, and he isn’t above blackmailing his former courier to get what he wants.

With Mal sent to track a vicious killer, Syd is forced to infiltrate a pharmaceutical company responsible for a drug that turns vampires into real monsters. She’s unprepared and alone, but fiercely determined. If her investigation doesn’t satisfy the Master, Malcolm will pay the price. A wrong turn throws her into the middle of a vampire power play. Caught between twisting forces, with their freedom at stake, she’ll have to decide what’s more important: love, power or revenge. But choosing what feels right might turn out all wrong.

Coming November 24th

Pre-order: Amazon     Other e-book retailers to follow soon.

Sonya Clark and Jane Kindred: A big congratulations to Sonya and Jane whose books made Library Journal's list of the Best Books of 2014! Witchlight by Sonya Clark and Master of the Game/King of Thieves/Prince of Tricks by Jane Kindred.

Jeffe Kennedy's The Mark of the Tala will be out on audioboook and has a gorgeous new cover for that edition! This pic is from her editor's desk and Twitter, so not perfect, but ooh!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bane of the Synopsis

Posted by: Steve Vera
True story. In the same amount of time it took me to write a five hundred plus page novel last year, I just barely managed to write a single, pithy, one-page synopsis for a book proposal.  That's crazy, right? And should I be ashamed? *tapping chin thoughtfully*

Of course, last year's novel was the climax of a trilogy I'd been writing for a decade and a half, where I already knew the world, the stakes, the characters, the setting, and basically everything that was going to happen. Well, mostly. This book proposal thing I discovered, was a whole different kind of animal.

On one hand, there's this little voice that goes off in my head and says, "I get to write about whatever I want? Just make up a world? About anyone and anything? Total freedom?" And I'm like, "Yep. Go get'em tiger." And then my brain goes full after-burner in a dozen and half directions.

Ever get stuck staring overwhelmed at all the different kinds hand-soaps you can choose from at the supermarket? There's like a zillion of them, different brands, different sizes, different fragrances, different moisturizers, different orangutans--just checking--and it becomes painfully clear that too many options can be debilitating. I'm pretty sure that if I could see my brain in action while brainstorming, I'd have seen it drooling.

There were some other contrasts between the novel and the synopsis as well. For one, I just moved to New York City full time, got a job in Manhattan, left my love, left a job I'd had for ten years, and have been thrown constantly into cauldrons of chaos at this new job and left either to sink or swim. By way of contrast, I wrote the majority of said novel BLOOD SWORN, Book III of the LAST OF THE SHARDYN trilogy, while barricaded in a sanctuary cabin in the middle of the woods (right around Halloween, in fact) focused utterly on writing.

That helps.

And just to make things nice and interesting, I write fantasy. Urban fantasy if you're curious. As much fun as it is, fantasy is a double-edged sword because not only do you have to address the usual suspects of plot, setting, characters, rising action, climax, resolution, jumping up and down on one leg while barking like a dog--you also have to build a whole new world teeming with unique details to put the reader there.

Point? And what's this got to do with magic? Answer: the magic comes from deciding. Sometimes you gotta smack yourself in the face, stare into a mirror, ignore the twitches that have taken residence in the center of your forehead and by your right eye and say, "This is how it's going down. And my agent is gonna love it. And the editor's gonna love it, and my cat's gonna love it.:

That's magic, baby. And that's what I've done. I hope. Submitting real soon. More to follow on my next blog.

P.S. Is it must me or does writing a synopsis want to make you carve the next person who annoys you into a ninety pound steak? Just curious if I'm alone.

P.S.S. Here's the SHARDYN trilogy in order if you're curious:

Carina Press:

Steve's just a guy who wishes he could shoot lightning out of his fingertips.Afflicted with wanderlust at the age of seventeen he's lived in seven states, served briefly in the Air Force as a Pararescue Trainee, and has a profound aversion to mint chocolate chip ice cream. Steve currently resides in Sunnyside, Queens, NY. What bio would be complete without a cat? Steve has one. A great, fat, good-for-nothing but entirely lovable furball who has his own gravitational force. If Steve could go back in time and be anything, he'd be a WWII P-51 fighter pilot or a knight. Being an author is pretty cool, though.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Demonic Adventures in Wichita

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
So, yesterday, book five of my Monster Haven series came out. Demons in My Driveway is out in the world. Yay!

That’s not what I came to talk about today, though. Oh, by all means—if you’ve been reading this series, go now! Hurry! Grab it! And if you haven’t started the series yet, now is a perfect time to start. The first book, Monster in My Closet, is on sale for $0.99 for another week or so.

Ah. No stress.
Nope. I want to tell you what I did last week. I went away. (It’s okay if you didn’t notice I was gone. I’ve been really quiet lately. It’s cool.) My husband and I went to a town on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas, and rented an Internet-less cabin in the woods. And we wrote. A lot.

S'mores action shot! Kapow!
I’ve got to turn in book six, Phoenix in My Fortune, in two weeks, you see. I needed a stress-free zone. Most mornings we had coffee on the screened-in porch, overlooking a river on two sides. We named a few of the squirrels, though they didn’t hold still long enough for the names to stick. We rejoiced in our foresight in bringing our binoculars and were filled with regret that we didn’t bring the bird book so we could identify the birds we couldn’t name.

And in the middle of the week, I traipsed off by myself into a strange city to meet a bunch of strangers at night.

A wonderful group of women, the Bitchin’ Book Club of Wichita took me out to dinner. You guys,
This is most of the BBC ladies. And me!
they had presents for me. Really thoughtful presents. I now have a framed, tatted-lace Bruce the pygmy dragon. I have a quilted purse with my book covers on it. Crocheted earrings made around pop tabs. Sparkling wine. Jars of tasty jams. Seriously. I felt so incredibly spoiled and important.

I signed books. I laughed. I ate. And I worried my husband because I got back so late. Are all book clubs that awesome? If they are, I suggest you all find one if you don’t already belong. Aside from being thoroughly spoiled and treated like a celebrity, I snagged a whole lot of excellent book recommendations.

They want me to come back next week. Too bad I still have work to do. I hate that I’m missing roller derby.

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.

Sign up for her newsletter for news, extras, and exclusive stuff: Newsletter
Hang out with her here: Website Blog Facebook Twitter
Buy her books here:  Amazon B&N Carina Press

Monday, October 20, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Releases

A Monster Haven Story, book five

Zoey Donovan--Aegis and co-opted protector of all things supernatural--is moving up in the Hidden world. Actually, she's being dropkicked onto the front lines of a fight between the newly formed Cult of Imagination and Hidden governments everywhere.

The Cult is opening portals and unleashing demons, vampires and werewolves, growing closer to breaking the lock that holds back the zombie apocalypse with every world they crack open. Oh, and they want every last Aegis in the world dead, and a roving band of Hidden worshippers is only too eager to assist.

On the upside, Zoey finally has her mother back. But having another Aegis around--one with very different ideas on how to run things--is proving difficult. For their own safety, they're stuck inside Zoey's home. What was once a haven is now a prison, further straining maternal relations and alienating her reaper boyfriend. Taking down a cult and saving the world--again--would be a lot easier if she could go farther than her own driveway.

Get it today!

Other News

Eleri Stone: Cover reveal for Dragonslayer!

One year after his bride left him at the altar for his best man, Christian Jager is stuck in a rut. Working at the local co-op, dating the same handful of women he’s known since childhood, riding with the wild hunt twice a month to keep the jötnar who destroyed Asgard from invading earth.

He wants something more, but he’s not quite sure what it is until Jacey Morgan blows into his life like a breath of fresh air. A wildlife biologist who’s come to Ragnarok to investigate rumors of a strange predator in the area, she’s also a native Midgardian who can’t ever learn the truth about Christian or his clan. His job is to distract her and get her the Hel out of town as quickly as possible so the Æsir can take care of the problem themselves.

Jacey wants the case wrapped up quickly too, and she’s not about to get distracted by the sinfully sexy man who’s so unexpectedly determined to help. With a new degree and a plan to get out of Iowa, she’s ready to move on to bigger and better things… A dragon isn’t quite what she had in mind.

Available November 10

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Paranormal Whackadoo : The Most WTF Tropes of Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Posted by: Jax Garren
I'm not going to name names here or mention titles because I don't want anyone to take this as a personal affront, but a twitter exchange I saw the other day has me thinking about all the delightful gonzo that goes on in paranormal fiction. See, a reviewer was quoting her current read and lamenting a more painful than erotic sounding thumb-jab into a less-usual orifice. I was not as concerned with the jabbing of thumbs but a bit distressed over the fact that a were-shark was "devouring" the heroine's nethers. Ouch!!

From dino-rotica to aliens with exotic man-bits, the speculative fiction community has a delightful array of zany. I thought I'd name a few of the most memorable tropes I've read and encourage y'all to do the same. Please keep it friendly and done with love, SFF wouldn't be the same without our craziness!

  • Deus ex monkey-na: Created a problem that can't be solved? Eh, invent a spell or character or alien whatsit to save the day! I've named this trope thusly in honor of a book in which a hero is saved from a mortal wound by a totally random monkey coming out of the forest and spitting leaves on him. It's set on an alien planet where, I suppose, monkey-leaf-spit is the equivalent of divine intervention.
  • Spike-Alike : Because more stories need bleached blonde vampires with cockney accents. (This one is getting less common, but I still see it.)
  • Rolling Beasts : The conflicting forces of all five zillion powers the heroine has acquired strive for magical dominance in an internal power struggle that may save the universe...if the heroine can tame her inner passions. Named for...that series of books you've probably read in which this phrase is used a lot. (I love that series, btw.)
  • The Trauma of Immortals : Because a human lifespan can't contain enough pain, we need thousand year old heroes who never, ever, ever ever ever caught a break. 
  • Occult-gasm : Is normal sex enough? Hell, no! How about magically enhanced sex with paranormal man-parts in an otherworldly realm. Don't forget, ladies, your immortal lover has an immortal constitution that will consistently rise to the occasion...all night long.
  • Shifter-Zoo : Who needs werewolves or were-bears when you can have a squid-shifter. Tentacles, baby, tentacles. The ability to find new shifter-species is only limited by your imagination, and I've seen some highly imaginative writing. 
  • Did I mention Dino-rotica? Because it's a real thing.

What are some of your favorite WTF paranormal tropes?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Releases

YOUR HEART, MY HOME A Sensuously Erotic Urban Fantasy Romance Novel
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 53.9K
They were deadly enemies, until a greater threat made them unwilling allies...and lovers.

Sherandar is the most cunning adversary Quazar has ever faced. He never knows when or where his worst nightmare will strike, but when she does, it's with the single-minded purpose to taunt him. Ridicule him. And to make his life a living hell. Regular cuffs and jail cells can't hold her, yet somehow, someway, Quazar has to bring her reign to a screeching halt.

But when a new enemy makes himself known, and tries to kill both Quazar and Sherandar, the two combatants realize the only way to defeat this deadly threat is to call a temporary truce and join forces.

It isn't until she lies broken, bloodied, and dying in his arms that Quazar realizes she has become more to him than his temporary ally. He has fallen in love with her.

Warning! Contains deadly necklaces, delectable desserts, a skintight costume, an antique stove, dining table sex, and a bored megalomaniac who has no qualms about killing because he just wants to watch the world burn.

Get it today!

Other News

Help the sequel happen for an award-winning urban fantasy!  

 On October 31, 2013, I released the e-book edition of Ravensblood, an urban fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest and crowdfunded through Kickstarter.   (Trade paperback edition released this spring.) It garnered many glowing reviews on Amazon, including a positive review from the notoriously tough review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and it won a gold medal in the 2014 Global E Book Awards in the category of contemporary fantasy.
 I see the Ravensblood  universe as one that can be returned to again and again. It already has its passionate devotees.  One of my beta readers traveled here from France to take the Ravensblood  tour of Portland,  One reader who bought the book when it first came out put aside the work she was doing on deadline to finish reading the novel.  A supporter gave me the funds to pay the cover artist, and musicians among my support base did a custom arrangement of the music for the video trailer as well as editing the trailer itself.  (Do check out the video, for the music if for no other reason.  It's spine-tingling good.)

So where do you come in?  I got a good start with the I first book, but I need to get more books out there to build a readership.   Mostly, I need to pay my freelance editor in order to put out the sequel, because, to paraphrase an old axiom, any writer who acts as her own editor has a fool for a client.  I will be using the some editor I did for Ravensblood.  Anything above what I need to pay the editor will go to promotional costs.

A little bit about the book that started it all:

In a life of impossible choices when sometimes death magic is the lesser of the evils, can a dark mage save the world and his own soul? Corwyn Ravenscroft. Raven. The last heir of an ancient family of dark mages, he holds the secret to recreating the Ravensblood, a legendary magical artifact of immense power.

Cassandra Greensdowne is a Guardian. Magical law enforcement for the elected council— and Raven’s former apprentice and lover. She is trying to live down her past. And then her past comes to the door, asking for her help.

As a youth, Raven wanted to be a Guardian but was rejected because of his ancestry. In his pride and his anger, he had turned to William, the darkest and most powerful mage of their time. William wants a return to the old ways, where the most powerful mage was ruler absolute. But William would not be a True King from the fairy tales. He would reign in blood and terror and darkest magic.

 Raven discovers that he does have a conscience. It’s rather inconvenient.

 He becomes a spy for the council that William wants to overthrow, with Cassandra as his contact. Cass and Raven have a plan to trap William outside his warded sanctuary. But William is one step ahead of the game, with Raven’s life, his soul, and the Ravensblood all in danger.

And about Raven's Wing:

In Ravensblood we saw Raven’s struggle to escape the world of dark magic he’d committed to as a bitter young man. In Raven’s Wing he has to come to terms with both his past and his ancestry and figure out his new place in the Three Communities and among the people who enter his life. The task becomes more difficult, of course, when he finds himself on the run, trying to find the stolen Ravensblood in order to protect the Three Communities and beyond from the dangers presented by this powerful artifact in the wrong hands, and at the same time prove himself innocent of the theft.
Raven finds support in unlooked-for places, but he faces an unknown enemy  who is cunning, ruthless and powerful.
The manuscript for Raven's Wing is complete, needed only the deft hand of my talented editor before publication.

Teaser chapters are up here:

Depending on the level of contribution, supporters will get cool stuff to read, Raven's Wing swag and the knowledge that the helped the early days of a compelling new urban fantasy 'verse.

If you can't contribute financially (and believe me, I understand broke), you can still be part of the magic by spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, your own blog, etc.  Every shout-out is greatly appreciated.

On Sale for only $0.99!





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