Friday, March 31, 2017

Romance Gaming

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
I was going to call this "Top Three Romance Games" but I couldn't even name three!  Which makes me sad, because they're really fun.

I never really was a big gamer - until I stumbled across Big Fish Games in 2007/2008.  I'd never played a hidden object or time management game before - and I was instantly hooked.  (I'm ashamed to admit how much I've spent there over the years!!)

They have such beautiful, incredible games with fantastic worlds and fun puzzles.  Love spooky cemeteries?  Old castles? Insane asylums? New planets? Murder mysteries? Edgar Allen Poe?  You name it - there's probably a game for it.  I like this style of game because they're compact and contained.  I'm pretty compulsive/obsessive and if I start a game (or book), I want to play (or read) straight through to the end.  So huge worlds like Dragon Age are terrifying to me.  I'm literally afraid I would not be able to stop playing.

However, over the years, I've turned into a brooding duke staring morosely into the fire and declaring that he's suffering from ennui because I haven't played a really new and different game in a long time.  My favorite game dev teams haven't been wowing me quite as much.  The favorite worlds or themes are overdone.  Kind of like when you glut on your favorite author's series and the little writer tics like overusing certain words suddenly becomes glaringly obvious.

I didn't want the same-old story line.  "You're a a). detective b). reporter c). long lost family member and you've been sent to find the missing person in a town where all the people are mysteriously a). turned into statues b). disappearing c). plain old dead. As you enter the town, an ominous specter or shadow startles you and a). your horse runs away b). your car runs off a cliff c). you see your sister/brother/father/client taken by the mysterious villain a). who's always one step ahead of you b). in a cloud of smoke c). in a huge flash of blue or purple flame."

Then I heard someone talking about a ROMANCE choose-your-own-adventure game called Regency Love. It was so fun, so charming, and while the graphics were lovely, it wasn't over-the-top loaded with complicated graphics like the HO/TM games I'd been playing.  In fact, I started to think....

Hey.  Maybe.  I could possibly. Write one.

Because I love the style and fun.  It's a game - plus a story.  Add in romance, and I'm all in.

I'm still hoping to develop my own romance game and have bought some software to try out.  It's just making sure I set aside some time to do it (and it's going to take a year or more to even get up to speed in the coding arena).  

In the meantime, have you played any romance games like Regency Love?  The only other game I've played was Speakeasy Tonight (which I didn't like quite as well as RL).  If you have any recommendations PLEASE shout them out!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The things I'll do for research: taking up the fiddle!

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
If you’ve read Faerie Blood and/or Bone Walker, you know that my heroine Kendis Thompson is a fiddle player. There are reasons for that! One is that I am myself an amateur musician, so I’m very inclined to have my protagonists also be musically inclined. Another is that fiddle-playing protagonists are very common in fantasy (and urban fantasy), but also in fiction in general—and in the mythic sources that modern fiction can draw from.

And if you’re a fan of traditional music—Celtic/Irish/Scottish, or if you’re like me, Quebecois—certainly you can’t swing a stick without hitting a fiddle player. Either in the band, or as subjects of songs! “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is what a lot of Americans think about these days when they think about fiddle players in songs, but in trad music, there are dozens of songs where the subjects involve the fiddle. If you have a song about people showing up for a party, chances are there will be a verse about a fiddle player. If you go up on and search for tunes, you will find lots of them that mention ‘fiddle’ in the title.

And when it comes to songs about musical deals, my favorite, hands down, is Heather Alexander’s Faerie Queen—which has not only a duel, but also a female protagonist fighting the queen of the fey to win back the man she loves. Way more entertaining to me than the idea of just trying to win a fiddle made of gold, because seriously, have you ever thought about how heavy a fiddle made of gold would be? Not to mention whether it would actually produce anything resembling a musical sound.

All of which leads me to note that since I’m a) a writer, b) an amateur musician, and c) a fan of traditional music, it will therefore probably surprise none of you that writing about Kendis has led to me taking up the fiddle myself. When I wrote Faerie Blood, I hadn’t ever handled a fiddle before. But by the time I wrote Bone Walker, I had at least picked a fiddle up once or twice and tried to get noises off of it—and that had led me to discover that if you hit a good strong note on the instrument, that thing will resonate right up your arm. It feels just like magic. There’s a bit in Bone Walker where I describe this, and it’s entirely because I have in fact handled a fiddle now.

When Warder Soul drops, though, I’ll have gotten to the point where I can make better noises—and hopefully even play tunes. I’ve been taking lessons for several months now with a highly skilled teacher, and there are all sorts of things I’ve come to learn about the subtle nuances of motion a fiddle player needs to keep track of when she plays. You have to think about where to put your left hand’s fingers on the instrument. You have to think about where to put your right hand’s fingers on the bow. There’s a certain way you have to twist your left wrist to get your fingers into position. Your left elbow needs to work like a pendulum when you’re changing strings, just to help the angle of your fingers. Your right arm needs to stretch in certain ways as you’re bowing, to help you keep bowing in a straight line.

Which is a lot to keep track of, and that isn’t even touching on playing actual music and how you can do ornamentations and accents on tunes to make them more awesome! All of this is entirely why I wanted to take lessons with an actual teacher—because let me tell you guys, when your native instrument is the flute and you’re used to just having to think about your embouchure and what order you put your fingers down on keys, the fiddle is a whole new paradigm.

And I’m adoring learning about it all. I ain’t gonna lie, my love of music is fueling this a lot more than any needs I have as a writer. But there’s still a lot here I can mine for ways to improve how I write about Kendis. I’ve already utilized some of the ideas of what you have to do with your hands, elbows, and arms to roll over into writing about Kendis getting lessons in magic, just because for me—and by extension, my characters—music and magic are often one and the same.

What about the rest of you? Writers, have you taken up new hobbies as a result of characters you’ve written, or are planning to write? Readers, have favorite characters of yours inspired you to learn a new instrument or craft or other form of art? Share your experiences with me in the comments!

Angela writes as both Angela Korra'ti and Angela Highland, and you can find out all about her books, all of whom have at least one musician in them, at! Come geek out with her about your favorite fiddle players, and find out who her favorite fiddle players are, on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

THE CAPTIVE SHIFTER New #Fantasy Romance Exclusive Excerpt

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Cover by Fiona Jayde
I had a fantasy romance about 90% done for quite a while, fully edited, but I was prioritizing my scifi romances. Well, I've now finished The Captive Shifter (Magic of Claddare Book 1), available at major ebook sellers.
Here's the blurb:
Concealing her own considerable magical powers, Caitlyn enters the service of the northern Witch Queen masquerading as a simple healer. Under order from her goddess, she’s searching for a magical gem stolen long ago from her own people, believed to be hidden in the massive castle. The task is daunting but Caitlyn is sure she can locate the gem and escape, bringing the prize back to the temple where it belongs. Until she meets the captive shifter and her loyalties become dangerously divided.
In payment for her past services to his people, Kyler the leopard shifter has entered into a life of servitude far from his forest home, allowing the Witch Queen to tap his magic to power her ever darker spells. Factions at Court are threatening to turn the Queen to the Shadow. Her increasing demands for magic will cut short his nearly immortal lifespan. Kyler’s resigned to his fate until the day he crosses paths with the new arrival, whose secrets and magic entice and attract both man and leopard. Has he met his mate at last?
The Queen will never willingly release him from captivity. Caitlyn’s goddess refuses to grant her any delay in accomplishing her own task. Can they locate the magical gem, fight the Shadow and win free of the Witch Queen to earn the right to be together?
The Excerpt:
Glittering gemstone crystals lay heaped several feet high in the center.

A queen’s ransom.

“Has this test been explained to you?” asked an elderly adept.

Caitlyn pointed at the table. “Something about the crystals?”

Bradana closed her eyes for a moment, brow furrowed as if she had a headache.  Opening her eyes to glare at Caitlyn, the princess said, “We’re wasting our time here. Apparently we fielded a team of Searchers who must have been drunk or addled.” She took a goblet from one of the pages and sipped the ruby beverage delicately, keeping her eyes on Caitlyn.

Ylain frowned, the expression ill suiting her sweet, placid face. “She’s here, she deserves her chance to show us what she can do.”

“Thank you, your highness,” Caitlyn said.

Nodding, the younger princess leaned forward on her chair. “You must use your power to levitate the crystals and cast them on the altar sands, making a picture for us. Any picture will do. We discern from how the crystals respond to your will and what you do with them where your talents manifest. Then we know how best to train you for our mutual benefit.”

“Searchers should have explained all this to her,” Bradana said, rubbing her forehead before draining the wine from her goblet and slamming the cup down. “We waste time, sister. There’s an entire room full of more likely applicants waiting.”

Ylain kept talking, as if she was accustomed to ignoring complaints from Bradana. “Your power must fit into the harmonious composition the Witch Queen uses to cast her spells or it isn’t worth our time to work with you.”

Pleased to see her hands weren’t trembling, Caitlyn rested her fingertips lightly on the table’s rim. “Thank you for the explanation, your highness. I’ll do my best.”  The unexpected test was going to be a problem no one foresaw at home when the plans were laid. Caitlyn’s power spoke to and worked through the energies of living things. Suppressing a shudder, she ran one hand through the closest haphazard stack of faceted gemstones. Cold, dead, no spark of life. They might as well be pebbles in the road for all the use they were to her. The sparkling stones were primarily in red and purple hues although she noticed some flashes of green and yellow. Those maybe she could influence.

“We don’t have all day to await your pleasure, bumpkin.” Bradana’s voice was icy and several of her ladies in waiting tittered behind their fans.

Closing her eyes, Caitlyn visualized a flower garden, with purple iris and red roses, lush green grass underfoot and golden sunlight illuminating the entire scene.  The best I can do with this material. Holding the picture of the garden in the center of her mind’s eye, she opened her physical eyes and stared at the pile of gems. As if there’d been a mild earthquake, vibrations ran through the gleaming heap. The stones slipped apart from each other, rising to float an inch or two above the table. She held them suspended with her power and attempted to move them as a group from the table to the waiting altar sand a few feet away. The mass of gems flowed sluggishly through the air, stones dropping out here and there, crashing on the floor as she failed to maintain her hold on all of them. Caitlyn’s whole body felt rigid, stress thrumming in her nerves and pounding behind her temples as she battled self-doubt and fear of failure. Never before had the use of magic been an ordeal.

The door creaked open and then crashed shut behind her, the unexpected noise making her flinch. All the stones fell to the ground in a rainbow shower accompanied by discordant musical notes.

To keep herself from falling, Caitlyn locked her knees and slumped against the table, nausea rising in her gut. Have she failed so early in her quest? What thrice damned servant of the Shadow interrupted me?

The new arrival was the Witch Queen herself, walking to the empty throne, flanked by ladies in waiting and guards, trailed by the shapeshifter. “I’ve come to watch your trial, woman from Ordlathus,” she said.

“Too late, sister, she failed most spectacularly. As might have been foretold.” Bradana’s face bore a look of satisfaction like a cat who’d devoured a succulent songbird.

The triumph on the princess’s face spurred Caitlyn to protest. “I—I was distracted by the slamming of the door, your majesty.”

Scowling, Bradana shook a finger at her. “A true adept, even untrained, would never be taken off task by noise. You failed.” She handed the empty goblet to the smirking captain, who refilled it to the brim from a nearby carafe.

“I wasn’t finished.” Caitlyn dug her nails into the varnished wood under her hands. Her mission couldn’t end in this dismal fashion – there was too much at stake for Ordlathus. She opened her mouth to beg for a second chance but Princess Ylain was already speaking for her.

“She was in the middle of moving the crystals after all. I propose we let her complete the effort and then we’ll know beyond a doubt.” Nibbling at a frosted pink pastry, the royal brushed crumbs from her lap.

“Fair enough.” Apparently the Witch Queen was pleased to agree. She sat on the throne, her guards and ladies arranging themselves in a grouping according to rank. Caitlyn couldn’t help but notice the shapeshifter stayed aloof from the group, leaning against the wall, a bit removed from where the Queen sat. He crossed his arms as if bored.

Queen Margred inclined her head regally. “You may take a moment to gather yourself, before you start again.”

“Thank you, your majesty.” Caitlyn half curtseyed and then shut her eyes, trying to calm her mind and body before calling the energies she’d been harnessing. Magic doesn’t flow without both in harmony. If only so much didn’t depend on this one ridiculous task.  Staring at the jumbled crystals all over the floor place was depressing, threatening to bring tears to her eyes. The gems were on the table, in the sand, on the bare floor. She visualized a straw broom sweeping them together and the crystals obligingly moved into a heap, all on the floor. Encouraged, she commanded the stones to rise into the air, which they did, in twos and threes, until all had united and become a swirling kaleidoscope. Caitlyn tried to hold them while focusing on the garden picture she’d attempted to create. The next step was to separate and rearrange the different colors. Closing her eyes to diagram the picture she was creating, she heard stones falling to the floor again. Forcing herself to draw a deep, calming breath, she took comfort in the fact she only had to do a good enough job to pass.  Commanding the stones to create her picture, she willed them to go and imitate her favorite flowers from Ordlathus. Needing to see the pattern, she opened her eyes, only to be confronted by a misshapen mess, colors in the wrong places.

At least the crystals were still moving. She clung to a tiny flicker of hope.  Caitlyn was at the edge of losing the spell, the picture was nowhere near complete, when suddenly she was jolted by a wild, nearly uncontrollable energy adding itself to hers. The surge lasted for a heartbeat. She hung onto the new magic, channeled the unruly power, wove it firmly into her own pattern. The extra boost was enough to shake the picture into a recognizable, fairly well done portrait of a spring garden.
The final stone, an iridescent green, slipped with a clinking sound into its spot as the tip of an iris leaf.

iBooks  Amazon and Barnes & Noble    Kobo      

Monday, March 27, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Unknown

New Release


Sweet Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 60K
$3.99 e

She sold herself to a dark and angry master.
He bought her, hoping she would save his world, and himself.

Tired of letting his people down time and time again, Egan Pri, costell of Unurit, has decided to do whatever it takes to save his people. A Charm is coming to town, and if he can scrape up enough money to buy her, his people could reap the benefits…but he's skeptical. Still, he'll try anything. The only rule? Keep her happy. He could do that.

Genesee ii Duuru, a magical gypsy of sorts, is ready to be sold. She feels the pull of a planet desperate for her help. The sadness, the hopelessness—it's time for her to do her part, what she was born to do. With two offers on the table, does she go with her heart, or the betterment of her tribe?

Genesee finds herself wanting to heal more than just the land and the people. But with this being her first sale, she fears she's gotten in over her head. What had started out as answering a call for help had morphed into her becoming a pawn in a political game she had no business being a part of.

Forgotten enemies, unexpected allies, and a love forbidden.

* NOTE: This is a sweet romance, but you can get the love/consummation scene for free by clicking the this link: 

Warning! Contains puffy balls of light, drought, near starvation, budding knives, internal conflicts, revenge years in the making, and one woman's attempt to revive one man's cold and lifeless heart with her own warmth and love.

Other News

Cover Reveal! New Fantasy Romance from Veronica Scott
The Captive Shifter

The story:

Concealing her own considerable magical powers, Caitlyn enters the service of the northern Witch Queen masquerading as a simple healer. Under order from her goddess, she’s searching for a magical gem stolen long ago from her own people, believed to be hidden in the massive castle. The task is daunting but Caitlyn is sure she can locate the gem and escape, bringing the prize back to the temple where it belongs. Until she meets the captive shifter and her loyalties become dangerously divided.

In payment for her past services to his people, Kyler the leopard shifter has entered into a life of servitude far from his forest home, allowing the Witch Queen to tap his magic to power her ever darker spells. Factions at Court are threatening to turn the Queen to the Shadow. Her increasing demands for magic will cut short his nearly immortal lifespan. Kyler’s resigned to his fate until the day he crosses paths with the new arrival, whose secrets and magic entice and attract both man and leopard. Has he met his mate at last?

The Queen will never willingly release him from captivity. Caitlyn’s goddess refuses to grant her any delay in accomplishing her own task. Can they locate the magical gem, fight the Shadow and win free of the Witch Queen to earn the right to be together?

Actually the book is available NOW iBooks  Amazon and Barnes & Noble  Kobo will have it soon

Friday, March 24, 2017

Does World Shape Character or Character Shape World?

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

Many years ago, I attended a panel at World Con on world-building and heard Carol Berg (whose fantasy novels I highly recommend) talk about designing one’s fantasy world to test and shape the main character. I thought it was a brilliant approach. Prior to that, I’d always treated character and world-building as two entirely separate things, but in truth they intertwine.

When I started writing In Truth & Ashes, book three of my Otherselves series, I knew three things. First, the True World was science fantasy—a world which used magic to do highly technological things. Second, that Belinda’s first scene was of a magic betrothal going horribly wrong, and, third, that her best friend/love interest was a demi-god.

Why science fantasy? In books one and two, I established that the True World lies at a magical crossroads for the Mirror Worlds. The True World has cherry-picked the best of all four worlds for itself. In particular it has stolen a lot of technology from Water World (our earth)—with one big exception. The ecological collapse of Stone World made the True Worlders decide to shun the internal combustion engine. Instead they power their world by using geothermal and tidal energy to infuse power gems, which then act as batteries.

One of the very important pieces of magic-tech is a neural implant called a genie that Belinda uses like a sophisticated smartphone. She depends on it and is distressed when she can’t access it. Her friend Demian (yes, the demi-god mentioned above) doesn’t have a genie and this technological handicap means that he relies more on his personal magic. This is where world influenced character.

Where character had a big effect on the True World was when I was designing its system of government. Since I wanted Belinda to be torn between love and duty to her family and to her world, I needed an atmosphere of privilege and noblesse oblige. Instead of a modern democracy, the True World has something more similar to the way Britain’s House of Lords and House of Commons operated in the 1800s, with one governing body elected by the people and the other a birth-given right of the nobility. Belinda’s grandmother is the First Councillor (i.e. prime minister) and she has raised Belinda on tales of how her father’s marriage to her commoner mother was a political disaster. Belinda believes she must marry well to secure her family’s power. Breaking free of this massive guilt trip, while still keeping the notion of service to the realm, makes up Belinda’s struggle for most of the book.

So, for me, one influences the other in an organic unplanned way. 

To read an excerpt of In Truth & Ashes click here.
To buy In Truth & Ashes click here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Paranormal, It's Ba-ack!

Posted by: Marie Harte
Everyone likes to talk about trends. What's the hottest new thing? As soon as publishers hear about it, they glut the market. And then there's nothing but the hottest new thing on shelves. The problem is that leaves eager readers of the other genres without their favorites to read.

A few years ago, paranormal was it. If it wasn't furry, fanged, or ethereal, it was a tough sell. Of course, I'm generalizing, as contemporary romance still seems to hold the biggest piece of the marketplace pie in romance genres, but it felt true at the time.

Then contemporary romance climbed back, and everyone wanted hunky brothers and families, angst, humor, you name it so long as the characters were realistic and living in "today's" world.

Fast forward to 2017, and the glut of romance books in general--thanks to so many avenues of publishing (traditional, small press, indie)--has made just about all romance genres saturated. Yet when I want a traditionally published paranormal romance, I have my tried and true authors (Feehan, Singh, Ashley), yet not many newbies publishing in the genre. Sure, in indie publishing, where authors can write anything they like, authors still produces all manner of books. But by and large, most authors are writing contemporary romances.

Except they aren't. (Thank you, Here Be Magic authors!) I watch the trends. I run a romance review site,and I can tell you what our readers want. Right now? They want romantic suspense...and good paranormal. What happened before has happened again. I think that so many contemporary romances left the paranormal readers needy for some sexy werewolves and hunky aliens. So I see paranormal romance on the rise.

Let's see how long it is until the big 6-4-3 (?) traditional publishers think the same.

Website | Facebook

You can find my own contributions to the paranormal/scifi genres this spring!

The Instinct book 1 (scifi)
The Instinct book 2 (scifi)

Circe's Recruits 2.0: Gideon (shifters)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Five Interesting Phobias that I Didn't Make Up

Posted by: Maureen
Part of the joy I find in writing paranormal and fantasy fiction is the freedom to explore creatures and places not of this world. This opens up the ability to stretch the imagination a bit and do what I love the most—make stuff up! But in my research for my stories, I’ve discovered that often reality is stranger than fiction.

What Makes a Good Villain?

When I’m crafting a villain who plays upon the deepest fears of my characters, I strive to make one who is more than skin deep. I want the reader to be just a little sympathetic to my villain while he strikes terror into the heart of my heroine and/or hero. The process is often referred to as avoiding making cardboard characters. I like to think of it as the whole villain you love to hate.

Phobias Can Be Stranger than Paranormal and Science Fiction

Since my stories are often laced with laughter, I often like to find emotional and/or quirky methods of combat outside of blood and gore for my hero and/or heroine. In researching one of my stories, I stumbled across phobias. I realized that there were a multitude of them that I never heard of, some so unusual that it sounded as if someone made them up in a fictional story.

No Laughing Matter

Phobias are defined as an irrational fear or aversion to something, and as ridiculous as some of them may sound, they can cause true distress to the person affected by the phobia. Therefore, I don’t intend to make fun of anyone who might suffer from one of these unusual phobias, but I might occasionally utilize one or two in a story.

In fact, I used an angle on one of these phobias I listed below for a villain in a manuscript I’m working on. I’m not going to tell which one it is and ruin the surprise. I’ll let your imagination run wild with how I incorporated it into my character.

Five Interesting Phobias

1.     Ancraophobia- also known as anemophobia, is an extreme fear of wind or drafts. Apparently telling someone "Don't get blown away" is more of a concern to some than I realized.
2.     Aulophobia- an unknown, persistent fear of flutes. Luckily my daughter plays this terrifying instrument (to some) so if we’re ever faced with a villain with this phobia we already have the non-violent weapon of choice.
3.     Arachibutyrophobia- the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. As an avid lover of peanut butter, I’d be in trouble with this phobia. With National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day this month (March 1st), it seems that there would be a lot of unhappy people if they couldn’t indulge in this tasty treat.  
4.     Pteronophobia-the fear of being tickled by feathers. Seems that those old cartoons had it right all along when they pulled out a feather to battle their enemy.
5.     Asymmetriphobia- the fear of mismatched or asymmetrical objects. I’d never be out of ammunition for a villain suffering with this phobia. All I need to do is pull out the mismatched sock drawer in my laundry room to strike terror into the heart of the villain who suffers from this.

These are only a few of the odd phobias I ran across in my cyberspace searches. It seems that there is a phobia for just about everything.

What’s the Most Unusual Phobia You’ve Heard Of? 

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

5 Fun Facts about March 21st

Posted by: Janni Nell

March 21st is the 80th day of the year (non-leap years) and that means there are only 279 days until Christmas (Okay, we didn’t really need to know that.) March 21st is also the first day of the astreological sign Aries, which is ruled by Mars, the Roman god of war. According to Roman mythology, Mars was the second most important god after Jupiter. Mars fathered Rolulous and Remus, the twin dudes who founded Roma. Their mom was a Vestal Virgin called Rhea Silvia. The month of March is named for Mars.

Matthew Broderick was born on March 21st, 1962. He starred in the classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. As well as being the adult voice of Simba in The Lion King trilogy, he’s won no less than two Tony Awards (yay Matthew!). One was for Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983), the other for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1995). He’s married to Sarah Jessica Parker.

International Day of Forests
Who doesn’t love a good forest? You can hike in them, play hide and seek, picnic, take awesome photos. Today is International Day of Forests. The theme for 2017 is Forests and Energy.

Michael Dibdin (21st March 1947-30th March 2007) was a British author of crime fiction. He’s best know for his Aurelio Zen series, which was set in Italy, where Dibdin lived for four years. The first Aurelio Zen novel Ratking won the Golden Dagger in 1988. (Awesome achievement!)

Henry VHis father died on 20th March 1413, so Henry V's first full day as king was 21st March 1413. (He wasn't officially crowned until 9th April.) One of his greatest achievement was defeating the French at the Battle of Agincourt. In 1420 he married Catherine de Valois (daughter of French king Charles VI). They had one child, who became Henry VI, after Henry V’s death at the age of 36. Shakespeare wrote his imaginatively titled play Henry V sometime around 1599.


Janni Nell is the author of the Allegra Fairweather paranormal investigator series. She is now working on the new Bolde and Baulsey paranormal mystery series. 

Book 2, Dead Lady Vanishing is available now from:

Google Play

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What Do Readers Want From a Giveaway?

Posted by: Linda Mooney
It seems that everywhere you turn, an author is offering a giveaway in conjunction with their newest release. At first, their main freebie was a copy of their book. That soon morphed into gift cards. Sometimes it was even a Kindle.

Seriously, if your favorite author (or any author) is offering a giveaway, what could they have as the grand prize that would entice you to enter their contest?

Below is a list of possibilities. Feel free to suggest something that isn't mentioned. Authors, what do readers want from you?

* a free ebook
* a signed print book
* jewelry
* a gift card
* miscellaneous swag (bookmarks, etc.)
* a Kindle
* ___________

Note! If you comment below, you'll be in the hat for a $5 Amazon gift card! International readers are welcome!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Lucky in Love

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
Happy St Patrick's Day, everyone! May the green beer not give you a hangover.

Being an Australian, the most memorable thing about the legend of St Pat for me is that he cast out snakes from Ireland. How useful would he be to have around the place?

At the beginning of summer , I was walking at the lake and stumbled across these two. They're juvenile tiger snakes (I think - I didn't get close enough to question them). Poisonous slithery creatures.

But snakes aren't actually what I meant to write about, today. I was thinking about love, luck and romance novels.

Us authors positively torture our characters before we let them have their happy ever after - and even then, if we're writing a series, their happy ever after will be disrupted! But all of that just makes for your intense reading pleasure.

The thrill of fear is arousing, which is why smart teenage boys know to take their girlfriends on scary fairground rides or to horror movies. There have actually been studies done and articles written on this phenomenon, such as Is It Love, or Just a Scary Movie?

But with so many books out now, one of my biggest challenges as a reader is to find the books that get this balance between fear and happiness right for me. I'm too cowardly to enjoy horror novels, but at the same time, I appreciate a bit of an edge to the books I read. (Not always, sometimes I'm in an LM Montgomery mood and a book like The Blue Castle is perfect).

Recently I've found myself enjoying:

Born in Fire by KF Breene
House of Bones by AJ Brahms
The Big Book of Post-Collapse Fun by Rachel Sharp
Call to Quarters by Honor Raconteur
Dance by Demelza Carlton
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
and (not scary, just funny) the Union Station series by EM Foner

Have you read any great books lately? What do you recommend I read next? Luck these days really is finding books you love, so hit me with those recommended reads. I'll even shout you a virtual green beer ;)

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