Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Flash Fiction

Posted by: Jenn Burke
This exercise was a lot of fun! My words were revenge, stymied, petrichor, horripilation, poof, trace.


Zed leaned back, settling his weight onto his hands as he watched the sparks of the fire dance up toward the stars. The crew of the Chaos was happily taking a break planetside, enjoying the hospitality of a pair of Elias’s colonist friends. Okay, happily might not be the right word to describe how Flick was starting at the dark forest surrounding them. The former station rat did not enjoy the outdoors. At all.

“Since we are all gathered around the fire, may I attempt something I read about on the net?” Qek’s large, unblinking eyes swept from Zed and Flick over to Nessa and Elias. “I wish to tell a ghost story.” A series of excited clicks followed Qek’s request and the little blue ashushk seemed like she was about to vibrate with excitement.

“A ghost story?” Flick didn’t sound too crazy about the idea.

“Yes. I wish to see if I can make you experience horripilation.”


“Horripilation,” Zed repeated. “It’s when the little hairs on your arms stand up because of cold or fear or—”

“How do you even know that?”

“Go ahead, Qek,” Elias said, chuckling.

A few more excited clicks escaped before Qek calmed herself. When she spoke, her voice was smooth and low, and surprisingly well-suited to encouraging an eerie atmosphere. “The history of this colony, like many others, is not free of horror. In fact, a mass murder happened.” She nodded solemnly at the clearing near the woods. “Right over there.”

Zed wasn’t sure if Qek was making up the story or if she’d found a weird trace of something on the net that would’ve led her to such a morbid history. A glance at their colonist hosts gave nothing away.

“Arranged marriages were common in the early days of human colonies. As the story goes, this young woman did not want her dreams stymied by such a thing. She ran into the woods, losing herself in the shadows. She wandered with nothing but the smell of petrichor for company. Eventually, temper diminished, she returned—only to find her entire family murdered. Their throats were sliced from ear to ear.” Qek made a slow cutting motion just under her chin—which was more than a little chilling, coming from the friendly alien. “She sharpened a stick and set about taking her revenge against her family’s murderers. And some say…she is out there, still.”

Something rustled in the woods.

Flick jumped to his feet. “Okay, I’m done! Time to go in. Night.” He started backing toward the main house, his gaze never leaving the woods. His hands rubbed his arms absently.

Zed got to his feet as well and shot a wink at Qek. “Horripilation achieved.”

“Score one for the blue team,” she said, her face wrinkled in the ashushk version of a smile.


"You're not real. Felix Ingesson is dead."

The war with the alien stin is over, but Felix Ingesson has given up on seeing his lover, Zander Anatolius, ever again. Zander's military file is sealed tighter than an airlock. A former prisoner of war, Felix is attempting a much quieter life keeping his ship, the Chaos, aloft. He almost succeeds, until Zander walks on board and insists that Felix isn't real.

A retired, broken super soldier, Zander is reeling from the aftereffects of his experimental training and wants nothing more than to disappear and wait for insanity to claim him. Then he sees footage of a friend and ally—a super soldier like him—murdering an entire security squad with her bare hands and a cold, dead look in her eyes. He never expected to find Felix, the man he'd thought dead for years, on the ship he hired to track her down.

Working with Felix to rescue his teammate is a dream come true…and a nightmare. Zander has no exit strategy that will leave Felix unscathed—or his own heart unbroken.

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Carina Press

Monday, March 30, 2015

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Releases

A darkling with a lust for power…
Henry Saint shouldn’t exist. Every year on his birthday, he kills someone and takes their soul so that he may live another year. He is a darkling, not fairy… but not human either. Yet he is bound by the laws of both worlds. With a new King on the throne of Annwyn and the mortal world trying to rebuild after plagues killed so many, Henry seizes the opportunity to carve out a place of his own. He wants Detroit.

A spy without a soul…
Darah was Felan’s spy before he became King of Annwyn. Now he has one last mission for her. He wants her to join the darkling’s Court and discover what Henry’s endgame is. No one trusts the Banished when they gather in great numbers. As Darah gets drawn into Henry’s world she realizes he can give her the one thing she could never find in Annwyn—love. But is love worth betraying her King?

Buy links:
Amazon Barnes and Noble iTunes kobo Add to your Goodreads shelf


Book 6 of The Battle Lord Saga
Sensuous Sci-Fi/Futuristic/Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Music And Press
ISBN 978-1-941321-42-3
Word Count: 67.2K

Determined in his quest to bring peace between Normal and Mutah compounds, Yulen D'Jacques accepts an invitation for him and Atty to attend a summit conference in the distant westerly province of Corado.

If the long trip isn't dangerous enough, they face an onslaught of illness and disease, as well as creatures they've never before encountered. Worse, once they arrive at Rocky Gorge compound, they discover a plot that will shatter their lives and their love.

What follows is a harrowing experience of deceit and revenge served cold. And it soon becomes clear to Yulen and Atty that they will not survive this treachery.

Warning! Contains extreme cold, vampire bats, tainted meat, rigged games of chance, a beloved found, and a never-ending nightmare that will haunt the Battle Lord of Alta Novis for the rest of his life.

For excerpt and buy links: http://lindamooney.com/BattleLord.htm


When a religious sect settles north of Fort Dougan in an abandoned city called Ruin, it doesn’t take long for stories to spread that something’s not right about the place. Charismatic preacher Thaddeus Blackwell has promised his flock a better life, unsullied by the decadence of Scraper society and the immorality of life on the border. With an army of cured Reapers under his command, Blackwell is determined to build a godly society…even if he has to use ungodly means to do it.

Working the ranch with the horses she loves, Ellie hasn’t paid much attention to the rumors about Ruin until her sister is charged with Blackwell’s murder. Ellie drops everything to ride to Lu’s aid only to find that her sister has fled town with a Ranger hot on her trail and Thaddeus’s son, Mordecai, out for her blood.

Ranger Garrett Landry believes Lu is the key to getting his family out of Ruin alive, and he needs to find her before Mordecai gets to her first. Reluctantly accepting Ellie as his partner in the search, Garrett doesn’t expect to fall in love with the brave but in over her head rancher. And he never imagines that Ellie might be the one to save him instead.

Now Available


He crossed the centuries to find her…

For months Lord Arik has been trying to find the right combination of runes to create the precise spell to rescue his wife, Rebeka, but the druid knight will soon discover that reaching her four hundred years in the future is only the beginning of his quest. He arrives in the 21st century to find her memory of him erased, his legacy on the brink of destruction, and traces of dark magick at every turn.

A threat has followed…

Bran, the dark druid, is more determined than ever to get his revenge. His evil has spread across the centuries. Arik will lose all. Time is his weapon, and he’s made sure his plan leaves no one dear to Arik, in past or present, safe from the destruction.

But their enemy has overlooked the strongest magick of all…

Professor Rebeka Tyler is dealing with more than just a faulty memory. Ownership of Fayne Manor, her home, has been called into question. Convenient accidents begin happening putting those she cares for in the line of fire. And then there’s the unexpected arrival of a strange man dressed like he belonged in a medieval fair—a man who somehow is always around when needed, and always on her mind. She doesn’t know who to trust. But one thing is certain. Her family line and manor have survived for over eleven centuries. She won’t let them fall, not on her watch… in any century.

Buy Links
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CtC7ad
Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/1EN0Hhk
BN: http://bit.ly/1McK4oC
KOBO: http://bit.ly/1NaqW7Q
iBook:  http://apple.co/1M5o92x

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Flash Fiction by Cindy Spencer Pape

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape

My words: kraken, strut, super, chimera, calumny, eclectic
Mort’s in the Afternoon

“So, a kraken, a chimera, and a griffin all strut into a bar.” The small, red-haired man (loosely speaking) perched on a barstool, making Dita, my waitress, giggle while she dried glasses before the dinner rush.

“Mr. Finn, how could a kraken strut?” In the six months she’d been working for me, the waif I’d taken in had lost a touch of her Bosnian accent and gained the ten pounds she’d been missing from malnutrition. It was amazing how quickly she’d settled into our eclectic little group, even if she was as odd as the rest of us. “Wouldn’t it have to swim?”

Just for fun, I thumped Mickey Finn on the shoulder. “Dita, you should know better than to believe a word a leprechaun says. Can’t trust a word of it.” I winked at Mick, one of my oldest friends and best customers. Dita got a kick out of our antics.

He replied with a haughty hmmph. Calumny! Especially coming from a lying lizard of a dragon!” He thumped his mug on the bar, and Silas, the only human on the staff, and a retired Detroit cop, poured another round of Jameson’s with his right arm, having lost the left back in his days on the force.

Dita mouthed the word calumny, and Silas, who’d quickly taken on the role of father to the young witch whispered, “Slander.”

“Ah.” Dita nodded and chuckled. “It is all right. Mr. Finn’s jokes are super. And you, Mr. Gwynn, should know better than to punch a customer. Well, except for trolls. You may punch them all you like.”

“Call me Mort,” I grumbled. My name, at the moment, was Mordecai Gwynn and my place was the Draig Gwyn, Welsh for White Dragon, aka, me, but most folks call it Mort’s. It’s is an odd little bar that most people walked by without noticing. Unless they had special…gifts, that is. Dita, a white witch, had originally found the place when she was trying to escape a particularly nasty troll. “I’m not your freaking father.”

“No.” Her voice softened as she smiled at me. Once again, that spark of…something… glimmered between us and then the moment was gone. That happened maybe once or twice a week, but never lasted long enough for either of us to explore the possibilities, damn it. “But you are my boss and I was raised to show respect.”

“Got you there, lad,” Mickey muttered, lifting his glass. The little bastard knew I’d been holding back because she was so young—and I was several hundred years old.

The front doors opened and a handful of regulars strolled in. No kraken or chimaera, but there was, oddly enough, a griffin among the crowd. I wondered if Mickey knew?

I tore my eyes away from Dita and sucked in a deep breath. Another time, dragon-boy. Another time. Something in the way my magic clicked with hers told me my relationship with Dita might someday be far from over. Might even be, as she liked to say, super.

To read the beginning of Mort and Dita’s story, Christmas at Mort’s check it out on my website: http://cindyspencerpape.com/morts.html 

To find out more about my latest paranormal romance, Sea Change, you can check it out at www.ellorascave.com or any other major e-tailer.

Shot at by drug dealers and left to drown, marine biologist Heidi is rescued by the hottest boat bum she’s ever seen. Tall, dark and handsome, Jake is every girl’s dream. But with her best friend missing or dead and the bad guys still after her, the last thing she has time for is romance.

As a merman, exiled from his colony and under a curse on when to shapeshift, Jake can’t afford to be around humans, especially a
marine biologist who might discover his species. But he can’t throw Heidi to the wolves of the drug dealers and possibly corrupt law enforcement. 

He’ll fight drug lords, pirates and even the gods to protect
her. More complications arise when Jake’s family shows up looking for help, but the biggest problem of all is whether Jake and Heidi can resist the massive attraction that grows between them.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Flash Fiction

Posted by: Janni Nell
It was a fun challenge using six words in a very short story. Mine were: mellifluous, bellicosity, ennui, weird, bloke, chocolate.

Saturday Night

He was a weird bloke. Despite the mellifluous voice, his bellicosity led me to believe he was a bunyip-shifter—the kind who’d come to town for the cage fight on Saturday night. Our outback town is known for two things: cage fighting and chocolate. I doubted this guy with his ripped muscles and a scarred, but handsome, face had his sights on Madge’s Chocolate Fountain. I wondered what he was doing in my florist shop.
            I’d run the shop with Sally Boganmaster for the past three years. During that time, we’d had all kinds of customers, but never a cage fighter. They tended to spend their money on other things—like medical expenses.
Bike helmet in hand, the bloke strode up to the counter, looked me in the eye and said, “I’m new in town.” His fists were clenched as though he was primed and ready to fight.
            Sally, who didn’t give a damn about anything much, including tall, built bikers, yawned widely.
            To make up for her ennui, I made an effort to be polite. “How can I help you, sir?” Call me suspicious, but I got the feeling he didn’t want to buy flowers.
            “I’m looking to make some new mates. Get to know the locals. Ya know.”
            “You here for the cage fight?” I asked, unable to keep the edge from my voice. I was no fan of the sport.
            “I’m here for a lot of things,” he said.
“Such as?”
            Suddenly he seemed shy. Glancing at my name badge, he murmured, “Chloe,” as though my name tasted as good as a cold beer. “I’ve seen you around. You wanna do something sometime?”
            “Like a date?” I squeaked, hoping I was mistaken. This guy might be handsome, in a scarred weird kind of way, but I didn’t date cage fighters.
“Yeah, like a date,” he said, his dark eyes meeting mine. “How does Saturday night sound?”
            I groaned inwardly. No way was I going to the fight with him. I opened my mouth to say, no.
            But before I could speak, he went on, “I was thinking we could go to Madge’s Chocolate Fountain.”
            Hmm. Perhaps he wasn’t so weird after all.


Janni is the author of the Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator series, and the Sassy Chance series of fun mystery novellas. The first Sassy Chance story “The Bride, The Groom & Me” is currently free here: Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Crikey! Flash Fiction

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
So Veronica Scott challenged me to use the following words in a short story: crikey, chaos, defenestrate, copacetic, dog, and, obstreperous. She should have known that giving "crikey" to an Aussie would only mean one thing ... yowie! We were allowed to drop one word, so I resisted the temptation (and so did Charon) to defenestrate the hero. Enjoy :)


The chaos? Well, Cerberus was the sort of dog who caused chaos wherever he went. Thunderclap, the ogre toothfairy, crying in the corner, yeah, that was unexpected. But I’m an Aussie yowie. I can cope with anything.

I headed straight for Charon’s collection of romance novels—the only things unaffected by the chaos, shelved from floor to ceiling behind his desk. Of course they were copacetic. Charon is so bloody particular about everything. Shame about his desk being upside down. The computer lay in shards beneath it.

Thunderclap whimpered. “Charon’s gonna kill me. He said to keep Cerberus on a lead.”

The mutt shook its three heads, drool flying everywhere, then collapsed at the ogre toothfairy’s stony feet. A tongue licked a lichen-decorated nail.

I shrugged. “No sympathy from me, mate. Ya know Cerberus is bloody obstreperous.”

Ah, gotcha! Charon had tried to hide the Here Be Magic authors’ books on his top shelf. I leapt up, snaffled them, and landed silently on the broken desk.

A large hand settled with equal silence on my shoulder. A very large hand, calloused from handling the oars. Charon.

Thunderclap and Cerberus bolted for the door. It slammed shut behind them. Treacherous bastards!

Alone with Charon, my arms full of purloined books.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Confrontation: A Warder Universe March Melange Flash Fiction Scene

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti

“You—you—you poikilothermic snollygoster!”

He had to admit, it was the most unusual epithet a mortal had ever hurled at him—and at any other time, in any other place, he might even have found the thick Southern drawl that delivered it endearing. The mortal herself was the very opposite of intimidating. She was small of stature and primly clad, with most of her figure swathed beneath the folds of a work apron. A nurse’s cap crowned her dark curls, but could not quite contain them; one or two escaped from beneath it, and along with the dusting of freckles across her cheeks, gave her an entirely earthy, prosaic air. But anger flashed in the brown eyes behind her spectacles, and with a stony bravery most mortals couldn’t bring to bear against him, she held a pistol aimed straight at his heart.

“My dear Miss Hathaway,” he said blandly, holding out his hands to either side, “you wound me to the quick.”

“Not as much as I’m gonna wound you if you raise even the slightest scrap o’ magic. You told me you were a doctor.”

“Healer,” he corrected, only to swallow hard as she drew back the trigger of her gun. Cold iron. She wouldn’t have to strike a fatal hit at this range. Even if she got in a glancing shot, the iron in the bullet would cause him worlds of pain.

“You told me you were human.”

Which was, of course, the entire question.

He’d been ready to have his fun when all his instincts, with near omnipotent precision, had led him to her. Warder’s blood, but not yet committed to the city—and a young and untried mortal like her should have been an easy and delectable morsel. But that had been before he’d tracked her to the hospital where she spent her nights. Before he’d seen the stricken children that were her charges, each one of them fighting against the cancers that threatened to devour them from within.

In four hundred years of life, Merekir had seen much. Yet he wasn’t sure what frightened him more, now—the death in the flesh and bones and blood of the mortal children, or the blaze of determined compassion in Lillian Hathaway’s eyes as she made war upon that death.

Did she know how radiant she was, like the evening star in the gloaming of oncoming night?

Did she know how fierce she looked even now?

Merekir blew out a breath of resignation. It was the height of folly to reveal his true nature to a woman of the Warder lineage, but she’d already fathomed it. More importantly, he found that he couldn’t abide how she glared at him. It was the same glare she turned upon the signs of sickness she fought in her charges. To be equated with cancer in her eyes—as if he were alien, anathema, foul—made something painful constrict within his heart of hearts.

And so he dropped his glamour, letting her see his true face.

“I’m not human, Miss Hathaway,” he said. “But I am a healer. And I want to help.”

* * *

And, an addendum from the author:

Victory is mine! I used all of my words, though it took a bit to figure out how to use poikilothermic and snollygoster. Those two words together gave me a bit of an idea about the character Lillian Hathaway, as well as the probable time frame in which this fragment is set. Given that snollygoster is an archaic word, this scene is probably somewhere in the 1800s, or early 1900s at the very latest. And Lillian is very bookish and very dedicated to her profession. I’d call her a bluestocking, except that I’m pretty sure I can’t quite throw that term at a young woman from the South.

Merekir is the barest sketch of a character idea here, although I know he’s Unseelie, and a healer, and rather more principled than the average Unseelie mage. He’s probably a very rare bird in the Unseelie Court—if not outright rogue. Luciriel would not, after all, be very pleased to have a healer outside her control. HA. I may need to do something further with this concept. But if I do, Internets, you can say you saw it here in this post first!

And oh yes: the rest of my words were fun, alien, omnipresent, and gloaming. Also, poikilothermic means “cold-blooded”, and a snollygoster is someone who’s deceptive. I figured these would be the sorts of words that the extremely bookish Lillian would actually use as insults.

Hope you liked my scene!

* * *

Angela writes the urban fantasy series The Free Court of Seattle under the name Angela Korra’ti. Book 2 of that series, Bone Walker, is available now! As Angela Highland, she writes the Rebels of Adalonia fantasy trilogy for Carina Press. Book 3 of the trilogy, Victory of the Hawk, releases on April 6th. Come say hi to Angela at angelahighland.com, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jewel of the City Flash Fiction

Posted by: Veronica Scott
The miasma of fear hung over the city. No matter where one went, there was a great murmuration from the crowds gathered in the squares, the inns and at the temple.
                The elders took the podium time and again to pontificate and predict. “Our army will prevail,” they said. “We’ll defeat the invaders before they ever reach the outer wall.”
                “How?” said the crowds, not content with platitudes and empty assurances, now that doom was upon them. “How how how how…???”
                The enemy had greater force of arms. The enemy had mighty war engines. The enemy’s king was said to be immortal and if not, certainly he’d survived many a wound that should have killed him, many an assassination attempt, even those powered by black magic. Or so it was said.
                The city’s ruler took council with the elders and the priests. “What are we going to do?” he said. “Do we even know what he wants from us?”
                The most senior counselor, an elderly woman, said, “He’s transmitted a single demand, your majesty, over and over. He desires the jewel of the city and will depart from our gates, leaving us unmolested and indeed, declared his allies for all time, if we but render him the jewel.”
                The king pulled at his hair and slammed his fist on the table. “What jewel? We have no single stone that the entire city worships. Does he want my crown, is that it? The statue of our god in the primary temple perhaps? That’s made of jade most rare.”
                “We can survive a siege for months,” ventured another counselor. “Perhaps he’ll give up and go away.”
                “Not likely.” The king paced to the window overlooking the city walls. “And we know he shattered the walls of other cities with his rams and catapults and fire that consumes all in its path.”
                The elderly woman drew him to the window opposite, the one overlooking the king’s private garden, where a woman sat writing in a journal while all around her maids painted and sewed and made music. “There,” she said, “That is the jewel of the city.”
                “My daughter? You think he wants my daughter?” The king laughed. “We’re not living in a fairy tale. Why should a conqueror of men be satisfied with my daughter? I grant you she’s lovely and talented, of royal blood, but he can get any number of women from more powerful realms, if he seeks an alliance.”
                “Yet it is her the man seeks.” The priestess of their deity spoke up now. “The omens are clear.”
                The king’s shoulders slumped. “I will speak with her alone. See if she’s willing to take this risk.”
                Two days later the city flew white pennants of truce from all the ramparts. The invading king’s army sat patiently on the plains beyond. The king and five of his knights rode to the fore and sat on their majestic horses, waiting.
                A portion of the gate creaked open, just wide enough to allow one person to exit.
                The princess, ethereal in her beauty, dressed in royal blues and brilliant greens, walked calmly away from the city of her birth and stood between the walls and the army.
                Slowly the king’s horse paced forward, urged into motion by no visible signal. The king circled the princess , neither of them uttering a word as he made his leisurely turn. The horse stood still and the king extended a hand to the woman, who walked forward and put her slender fingers over his. A soldier came forward and assisted her to the saddle, where she sat at ease in front of the king.
                The king rode through his army, followed by his knights. Trumpets sounded a triumphant call, and the soldiers turned as one and began to march away, dragging their engines of war with them.

                Note from Veronica: So I used all six of my assigned words: ethereal, pontificate, majestic, murmuration, miasma and triumphant. 

I have in mind that the dreaded king and the princess had met as children somewhere, maybe before the king became who he is today…yet he never forgot the beautiful girl he’d loved. And this was his way of getting her back. And as for her, she’d dreamt of him ever since the day they were separated…because I do know this is a Happily Ever After ending for them.

Copyright Veronica Scott 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Release

It’s all or nothing, and to the victor go the dirty sweet spoils.
Best Revenge, Book 3

As if buried in their respective DNA, Riley Hewitt and Anson Black have been rivals since grade school. Always trying to one-up the other…until Anson left town right after graduation.
Fast forward a few years. Just as Riley is thinking of expanding her profitable baking business, who should plant his new restaurant right next door but smug, annoying—and, unfortunately, drop-dead-sexy—Anson. Spurred by a large bottle of wine and her two best friends, Riley sets out to get revenge.

Of all the women Anson has known, no one has stirred him—or made him work harder—than Riley. Moving in right under her nose, he’ll be a constant thorn in her side. After all, he’s smart, sexy and successful. What’s not to love?

Much to her chagrin, Riley finds more than her competitive edge coming back to life. So is her libido. But if she lets her heart fall into Anson’s win column, she could lose in more ways than one. And this time around, second place just isn’t going to cut it. 
Product WarningsA smug man needing his comeuppance duels with a baking queen who stirs his passion like nobody’s business. No cupcakes were injured in the making of this romance, but the same can’t be said for the knitting needles.

 To Buy


Still time to get in on a raffle for an ebook copy (Epub or Mobi) of Shawna Reppert's award-winning urban fantasy Ravensblood!   

Raffle is over at the Howling Turtle site!

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.

Ravensblood won a Gold Medal in the 2014 Global E Book Awards. The author's first novel, The Stolen Luck, won a Silver Medal in the Global E-Book Awards and a 2014 Eppie Award.



March Melange Flash Fiction Week at Here Be Magic! This week some of our authors will be offering flash fiction short stories in this space, based on words submitted to us by you, the Readers, earlier this year. See what our imaginative authors have done with the melange of words they each received!

Veronica Scott leads off tomorrow with her story "Jewel of the City."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let’s hear it for the boys

Posted by: PG Forte
My book The Oak King released this week. It’s a fantasy ménage set in nineteenth century Ireland between a very independent-minded—and very human--widow named Aine and the two tree spirits who have fallen in love with her. And with each other.  

This book has been a long time in the planning and has been through more re-writes than any other book I’ve ever written. At one point, it was a novella. At another, I thought I was going to have to turn it into a trilogy—never mind the fact that the last book I tried to turn into a trilogy morphed into a series that I hope to be able to wrap up in seven books. Thanks to my wonderful editor and a couple of equally wonderful beta readers, I managed to wrangle the story into something more manageable.

I love Aine. She’s a woman who knows her mind and isn’t afraid to change it. She’s also not afraid to go out and get what she wants, even when it runs counter to everything she used to think she wanted. She’s also probably the only woman who could ever have handled not just Fionn and Kieran, but all the angsty, complicated baggage the two of them brought along with them.

 I do love angsty, complicated heroes.  It’s a weakness. And, I have to confess, when it comes to Fionn and Kieran…I’d have a hard time choosing a favorite as well. They belong together, although they fight it for a good part of the story.  And they both belong with Aine. And when they finally all come together…well, I’m sure you can guess what happens then.

Anyway, here’s the blurb and a short excerpt, because sharing is caring--as I'm sure Aine would agree--and I love sharing excerpts.

Twice each year, Aine Murphy ventures into the woods to hold ceremonies to honor the Oak King and the Holly King, never dreaming these Lords of the Forest could be anything more than myth. When the legends spring to life in front of her, how can she help but fall for the sexy demi-gods she's loved all her life?

From midwinter to midsummer, Fionn O'Dair rules the Greenworld as the Oak King--a role he feels is beyond his abilities, and one that dooms him to a loveless future, forever craving the one man he can never allow himself to have. How can he resist what Aine offers--the sweet devotion that soothes his aching soul, and the slim chance to live a "normal" life as her husband, if only for half a year?

Holly King Kieran Mac Cuilenn never desired a human lover--until now. Seeing Fionn and Aine together fills him with longing for the love he threw away and awakens feelings he thought he'd buried with the last Oak King. Is there enough magic in the solstice to correct the mistakes he made years ago? Or is he doomed to be forever left out in the cold?


December 1895
At the time of the winter solstice

From his vantage point, beside the farmyard gate, Kieran surveyed the seemingly peaceful scene spread out before him. The night was still with nary a breeze to stir in even the topmost branches of the nearby trees. High above his head, thin white clouds stretched misty ribbons across the sky, blotting out great swaths of stars and wrapping the half-dark moon in a gauzy embrace. Kieran studied the orb’s shadowed form for several moments, the better to divine her wishes. Fionn might claim to serve the sun alone, but Kieran, Ruler of the Waning Year and creature of the ’Tween, knew better. There was naught on this earth could escape the Night Queen’s influence.

In a little over a week, when the moon rose full, it would be for the thirteenth time this year. A rare and unusual occurrence, it signaled a time of transition and change, a time when one might reasonably hope to alter one’s path. A hot swell of anticipation arose within him as he thought of it, the moon of opportunity and rebirth. The opportunity to change—wasn’t that exactly what he needed, what they all needed?

Tonight. Why should it not be tonight?

The sentinels of the forest were used to biding their time. A delay of several decades before a goal could materialize or a dream come to fruition meant little to one such as he. That didn’t mean he didn’t suffer through the waiting, however. It didn’t mean he couldn’t yearn, or covet, or long for what he could not have, what he might never have, or what he might have foolishly thrown away.

Tonight. Please let it be tonight.

On the surface, the cozy farmhouse nestled in its tidy yard looked much as it had the previous year, snug, warm, and inviting, but as Kieran well knew, looks were oftentimes deceiving.

Last year, even despite the pleasant setting, the sight of this place had sparked only fear and uncertainty within him. Tonight, the small stone building, with its whitewashed walls and slate-tiled roof, with candles burning in the windows and a lazy curl of smoke eddying from the chimney, marked the seat of all his hopes and dreams, as well as the crux of his restless discontent. Within its four walls resided everything he longed for and ached to possess.

It was that which kept him standing out here in the cold, which made him hesitate, afraid to enter or even to make his presence known to those inside. Fear. Anticipation. Hope. Uncertainty. Excitement. Desire. Love. Regret.

If his dreams were ever to be realized, it would have to happen sometime. It might be now, or a hundred years from now. Kieran would much prefer it be now, of course, but even a hundred years was better than the third possibility—that his dreams should die aborning and never be realized at all.

Maybe he’d already had his chance and lost it. Maybe what he longed for now would never be his again. In truth, he didn’t know what to expect. That, at least, was the same as last year.

He’d sped here last winter on the full moon’s bright wings and his own breathless terror, his whole mind focused on a single goal—that of saving Fionn’s life. When he’d arrived at the farmhouse, it was just in time to hear Aine’s threat to cut down his grove—and out of nothing more than spite! It had seemed to Kieran then that his fears had all been justified.

Now, he could laugh about it. A smile creased his face as he remembered it. How fierce and fiery she’d appeared. Despite the danger she’d represented, she’d been radiant with her red-gold hair catching the fire’s light and her blue eyes gleaming like sapphires over her flushed cheeks. Even smudged with flour and seething with rage, she’d been a sight to render him almost speechless.

She’d seemed even more magnificent in her anger and wounded pride than she had on that previous midsummer morning. She’d looked like a goddess or a proud young queen as she’d stared Fionn down. Her hands had been fisted on her hips. Her chest had heaved with every angry breath. But queens and goddesses are ofttimes cruel, as Kieran was well aware. And, in that moment, nothing about the situation had struck him as even remotely humorous.

Available in digital format at Loose Id, Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble

Friday, March 20, 2015

Crafting the perfect 'hunky demon slayer/ghost talker dude'

Posted by: Angela Campbell
I had to take a hiatus from writing after the release of my last book "Spirited Away" for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons were because I was so exhausted, too dang busy at the day job, and (hangs head in shame) I had lost my writing mojo.

It happens occasionally to all writers, I think. The idea of picking up where I’d left off on my next manuscript — or any new story — struck me with a combination of writer’s block and dread, which was a sure sign I needed to take a break.

It’s interesting what can trigger creativity again. I mainly used my writing hiatus to do more reading (or listening, considering my reading these days comes courtesy of audiobooks) and movie watching, mostly thanks to Netflix. Nothing makes me want to write more than experiencing a good story, and I’ve been lucky to have found some good ones in both book and movie form lately.

For the past couple of months, I’ve actually been itching to get back to my unfinished manuscript. For anyone who has read my psychic detectives series, yes, this is Connor’s book. Almost every review “Spirited Away” has received has mentioned the “hunky demon slayer/ghost talker dude” who those readers are anxious to learn more about. Talk about pressure.

For those who haven't read my series, Connor Manning shows up in "Something Wicked," the second book in my psychic detectives series. More than a little mysterious, the leather-clad stranger hints that he's part of a secret society of psychics and it's obvious he has far more knowledge of the paranormal and supernatural than that book's heroine, who is a renowned psychic medium. Then Connor again shows up in "Spirited Away" when that book's main character, Spider, finds herself knee-deep in the middle of a paranormal mystery. Again, Connor saves the day without quite revealing who he really is. Plus, he wants something from the team of psychics I've already portrayed.

Connor is one of my favorite characters to write, and it feels good to be giving him his own story.  Yes, I'm a huge fan of "Supernatural," so Connor might bear a slight resemblance to what I imagine another long-lost Winchester brother would be like, although I have to be careful because I don't want to make him too much like either Sam or Dean. I want Connor to be as unique as I can make him given there are hundreds, maybe thousands of hunky demon slayer dudes in paranormal romance fiction, plus I want him to be awesome. So I'm taking my time with his story. I'm also exploring the secret society hinted at in the other books, which makes me all giddy and feel kind of powerful right now. Or, I might just be losing my mind, which is completely possible.

I have no idea if readers will like Connor's story; the book also isn't contracted, so I have no idea if my editor will want to publish the story, but I hope to finish it by the end of, oh, April, maybe? Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I sure am having fun Googling images of hot, young men to match the image of Connor that's in my head. Feel free to share who your favorite hunky demon slayer dude is in the comments. Pictures of hot dudes are also welcome. ;-)

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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cover Talk

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
How do you look at a book's cover and know that it's a dragon book - if there's no dragon on it?  Or in the title?

That's the problem I faced when I decided to re-release a book after I got my rights back.  I didn't want a cheesy photoshopped dragon graphic, and I wanted to keep the existing title, The Fire Within. I browsed other dragon titles, and most of them had some kind of little winged dragon in the background, and that just wasn't what I wanted.

None of the dragons I could find looked anything like the Keldari dragons in my head.

Someone suggested adding scales to the hero, since he was a shifter... but I couldn't find a dark-skinned man believably from a desert that fit Zahak.  I ended up finding my heroine, Eleni, pretty easily, though.

But she wasn't a dragon shifter, so no scales for her.  I was back to the drawing board!

I finally settled on asking the artist to use lots of flames on the cover in hope that might convey "dragon" rather than "arsonist."  It's still not obviously a dragon book, but I think Eleni is beautiful, I love the rugged desert in the background, and the flames fit the story.  

There are still things I'd change with this cover.  I had it completed more than two years ago, and I've learned a lot since then. I don't think the title or my name are very readable, so someday I'd like to go back to the designer and pay for an update.  But for now, it was more important for me to finally get this crossed off my list and available once more!

What else would scream "dragon book" to you?  (Because I have another one I want to write next year!)

P.S. Wait until you see the new gorgeous cover that Angela Campbell made for my next re-release, Beautiful Death!

~ * ~

Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better.  Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves.  Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they’re hiding, they always fall hard and fast.  Dare to look beneath the mask with delicious BDSM in a wide variety of genres with Joely on her websiteTwitter andFacebook.  Be sure to check out her free reads!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wear Green, Eat Green, Think Green, Read Green!

Posted by: Linda Mooney
Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

If you're following "traditional Irish custom", you may be celebrating today by wearing green, eating some corned beef hash, and washing it down with a pint of green beer. But, just for a moment, think about your book collection. Your print books, I mean.

The reason I mention them is because I've recently had to throw away many of my old favorites that I'd had in storage. Unfortunately, the rats and other critters got to them and made a fine mess, as well as a few nests, out of them. What few volumes I could save are in poor shape, which made me realize something.

Yes, I love to hold a book in my hands and smell the pages. Nothing compares to the scent that wafts your way when you enter an old bookstore filled with volumes of used and new books. But, because of lack of space to keep them all in the house, I had to box up the majority of mine and put them away.  

Now that I'm retired, I decided to clear out the clutter at the storage facility, and that's when I discovered the travesty. Yet, all was not lost. I was able to download most of the ones I'd lost as ebooks. Most, but not all. Furthermore, I saved them on both a CD disk and my backup.

To me, an old book is like mental comfort food. Depending on my mood, I can now go back and find the one I need, and re-read it. Never again do I have to worry about losing it to pests. Or, worse, in a fire.

You've probably heard all the arguments regarding print vs ebooks. And although print will always have a special place in my heart, I'm glad there are e-versions as well.

Just something to think about.

So while you're out and about today doing your Irish thing (hey, everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day!), besides wearing and eating green, think green, as well. It won't hurt to start saving an extra copy of your most beloved stories in e-format. Learn a lesson from this old Irish girl, who also married an Irishman.

As they say in the homeland: May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

(Bunratty Castle in Ireland, picture courtesy of the Travel Channel.)

* * *
Coming Soon! 

Every Battle Lord's Nightmare

Book 6 of the Battle Lord Saga

Monday, March 16, 2015

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Releases

Twice each year, Aine Murphy ventures into the woods to hold ceremonies to honor the Oak King and the Holly King, never dreaming these Lords of the Forest could be anything more than myth. When the legends spring to life in front of her, how can she help but fall for the sexy demi-gods she’s loved all her life?

From midwinter to midsummer, Fionn O’Dair rules the Greenworld as the Oak King—a role he feels is beyond his abilities, and one that dooms him to a loveless future, forever craving the one man he can never allow himself to have. How can he resist what Aine offers—the sweet devotion that soothes his aching soul, and the slim chance to live a “normal” life as her husband, if only for half a year?

Holly King Kieran Mac Cuilenn never desired a human lover—until now. Seeing Fionn and Aine together fills him with longing for the love he threw away and awakens feelings he thought he’d buried with the last Oak King. Is there enough magic in the solstice to correct the mistakes he made years ago? Or is he doomed to be forever left out in the cold?

Releases Tuesday, March 17 from Loose Id  Buy it here!

Other News

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Double Finalist:
Veronica Scott received word on Friday the 13th that both her Mission to Mahjundar (science fiction romance) and Magic of the Nile (paranormal romance) are Finalists in their category. The winner will be announced in April.

For more about Veronica and her books, you can visit her blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

Friday, March 13, 2015

Why Writing a Series is a Pain in the Butt

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

Don't get my wrong. I love series--reading them, that is. When the next Dresden Files or Mercedes Thompson or Toby Daye or Kate Daniels novel is published I am right there in the bookstore on release day, cash in hand. I delight in revisiting beloved characters and breathlessly reading about their latest adventure.

My brain is also quite happy to spawn series. So far I have two completed series: YA paranormals Dreamfire and Dreamline; and fantasy romances Gate to Kandrith and Soul of Kandrith. I also have two ongoing YA series—Violet Eyes, which I am working on book four of, and Otherselves, of which book one will be published by Entangled in Summer 2015 and I’m drafting book three.  Among my unpublished works are a mostly-completed alternate history trilogy and a paranormal romance and a fantasy that beg for sequels.

I love series, but writing one is a pain in the butt.

First there is the time investment issue. Authors always hope that book one will be wildly popular and the editor (or fans) will demand a book two. If it is, then you want to be standing there ready with at least a synopsis for book two and three chapters in hand. Being unready is NOT a good feeling. True story: in 1999 I received the wonderful news that Anne Greenberg of Simon & Schuster wanted to publish my novel Violet Eyes and, by the way, could I write a sequel? The correct answer to this question is pretty much always YES, but I hesitated and asked for a little time to think about it because writing a sequel had never crossed my mind. I brainstormed for ideas over the weekend,  said yes, and then found myself in the awkward position of writing to a deadline for the first time in my life with a newborn baby in the house. I did it, and I’m glad I did, but yeah. Not ideal.

However, all too often book one isn’t wildly popular. If sales are poor, then you may have wasted not only all the hours spent on book one, but all the hours spent thinking about/writing sequels, too. And once I’ve shaped an idea, it HURTS not write it. To put it on the backburner for some day or lock it up in a trunk forever.

Because if you want a career as a writer, and I do, that means making choices about which stories to invest your time in and which are throwing good money after bad.

The second problem with writing a series is the consistency issue. Everything from birthdays to magical rules must be the same for each book. Timelines need to be created and kept straight. Also, few writers can afford to spend years writing and revising an entire series before shopping it around—we need that paycheque!—which usually means book one is published before the next ones are written. And once book one is published certain facts are frozen. Throwaway lines about your world in book one can come back to haunt you later. (Oh, how I regret when Silver Eyes was published in 2001 giving Angel a futuristic ‘palmtop’ computer—which acts basically as a smartphone. I am now stuck with the term and it grows clunkier with every darn book.)  

Do you love to read series? What about writing them?

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