Thursday, November 30, 2017

Trying new things to rejuvenate old passions

Posted by: Angela Campbell
The past year has been one of the most difficult of my life. I became a caregiver for an aging parent who has a terminal illness, and I recently found out my beloved cat has cancer. Plus, with day job and family drama, I really, really mean it when I say I could use a vacation.

Still, I've continued to write. Slowly. I mean, I barely have time to sleep, so writing means not sleeping, and there have been days where I've run on only two hours of sleep because I felt compelled to write the night before. For me, writing is a form of therapy, so I refuse to give it up completely. I've been writing a romantic comedy because I thought it would improve my personal outlook on life, and laughter is the best medicine. Problem is, I don't feel funny these days, so my rom-com always takes a dark turn and I have to hit the delete button a lot. I've also been rewriting the next book in my psychic detectives series, but I keep having to step back because, again, my mind takes me to some dark places. But I've also tried something new.

I've always loved movies and, once upon a time, I wanted to be a filmmaker. I took some screenwriting classes in college that never amounted to anything, and a few years ago, a production company showed interest in my first book "Cry Wolf," but if you know anything about the movie business, it's that you should never get excited until the cameras start rolling, and even then, there's a chance your project never sees the light of day.


What happens when your life is in chaos and you're constantly trying to hang onto your sanity through writing? You end up writing a bunch of different things because you can't stay focused on one project longer than two days at a time.

So amidst all the chaos of my life this year, I recently had the idea that I wanted to try to write a screenplay, too. It's original, not based on any of my books, but I decided why not? So I'm channeling all my dark thoughts and impulses into a screenplay. It's a horror film, of course.

An odd thing has happened since I began writing my little dark horror movie.

When I've returned to my rom-com or psychic detectives story, I'm not having to hit delete as much because I killed off a character who had no right being killed in the first place. I think I've actually written some funny scenes...I think. We'll see. The point is, channeling my dark feelings into a separate project has helped me focus better on the lighter stuff I want to write. Go figure.

What about you? How do you write when it's a challenge? I'm always looking for advice.


You can read more about Angela Campbell and her books at her website,, or connect with her on twitter @angelacampbel.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Where One Idea Came From

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
Writers get asked this question a lot:  Where do you get your ideas?

Here's one example of an idea that is haunting me -- and will definitely inspire a book.

I'll watch about anything with Clive Owen in it, and so the other day I was scrolling through the television guide and found Last Knights on.  I'd seen it before and I knew how it ended. (This is an old movie so I think I can spoil it for you without repercussion. Raiden probably dies at the end in a sacrifice move to save the other knights--though they do try and make you think hmmm,  maybe he decided to fight after all, but no.)

But hey, it's Clive and there wasn't anything else on.  Plus he inspired a knight in my current series, so I thought, hey! Background inspiration!  I'm writing away on my current book, trying to hit the NaNoWriMo total while watching bits and pieces of the movie in the background.  Again, I've seen it before, so I know about the big siege and Raiden's "fall from grace" which is all part of the secret plot.

But then, whammo, a scene got right back in my face. And I wanted MORE.  I knew immediately I had a story.

Since he's playing a drunk who has totally lost his honor, he does nothing to save his lord's daughter, even though she cries and pleads with him for help. That scene is pretty wrenching. She's young and pretty and you're pretty sure bad bad things are going to happen to her. But he can't do anything.  YET.  After the big siege and he's won, he goes stomping down into the depths of hell to drag her back out to safety, and there's this killer scene....

All the surviving knights who served her father go down on one knee before her, including Raiden. "Your father's honor (and yours) is restored."

GAH.  I love that scene so much.  Only I want more about the daughter and these loyal knights who did the impossible, not just to redeem her father's honor, but to save her. To honor her.

Oh, yeah.  I want that book.

I can't find that particular clip on YouTube, but here's a pretty powerful scene where Bartok makes his "confession" at the beginning before the Emperor forces Raiden to kill him.  

If you want to see him in a crazy over-the-top love scene be sure to check out Shoot 'Em Up!


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Guest Author Diane Burton on Holiday Madness? Or Magic?

Posted by: Veronica Scott
Purchased from DepositPhotos
Veronica Scott: It's a pleasure to welcome our friend Diane Burton to Here Be Magic today, to share thoughts on the holidays and an excerpt from her upcoming new release Romance Rekindled!

Diane: This time of year, people rush around like crazy. They descend on jampacked malls as they track down bargains like hunters after deer. At grocery stores, they fill their carts to overflowing in preparation for extended family banquets. Last-minute shoppers feverishly rush through stores for forgotten gifts.

While I admit to rushing around in past years, I’m getting better about thinking ahead—not my usual modus operandi. In seasons past, I would see a perfect gift in a catalog, dogear the page, then forget to order. I became one of those feverish shoppers trying to find that last-minute gift. This year, I’ve already gotten many gifts. Again, not my usual style.

For me the holidays, especially Christmas, is a magical time. We celebrate with meals, gifts to our loved ones, decorations, especially a tree with lights and ornaments. While many enjoy color-coordinating their tree—e.g., gold ribbon, gold ornaments, gold lights—ours is filled with ornaments our children and grandchildren made and souvenirs from visited locales. Most ornaments have a history, a memory attached. A reminder of fun times.

When I rush around like a mad woman, I forget the true meaning of Christmas. I forget the magic. This year, I’m diligently working at slowing down and planning ahead.

With staying away from the madness in stores and ordering online, I’m better able to enjoy the holidays. My youngest granddaughter, Toddler Girl, helped put out the Halloween and fall decorations. This week, she’ll help with Christmas decorations. I can’t wait to see her face when she sees how many stacker dolls I have. As if you couldn’t guess, she is fascinated by stackers. Her squeals of delight in new things makes me smile and fills me with joy.

At two and a half, she’s so aware and quite vocal. Since our son and his family lived in Arizona until this summer (when they moved near us) this will be our first year enjoying the Christmas season with her. The wide eyes and excitement remind me of those times with her daddy and his sister. Of their delight in the magic of the holidays. While our older grandchildren did the same when they were small, at the time, they lived too far away for us to see. We visited them on Christmas day, but we didn’t get to experience the lead up, as we’ll do this year with Toddler Girl.

This will be the twins’ first Christmas. At two months, they won’t be as animated as their sister. Another couple of years and we’ll get to experience the phenomenon again.

Slowing down and taking each day as it comes allows me to escape the madness and enjoy the holidays. Seeing them through the eyes of a child makes me experience the magic again.

In my upcoming novella, Romance Rekindled, a kiss under the mistletoe on Christmas day awakens a driven shopkeeper’s suppressed emotions and reminds her of what’s important in life.

Romance Rekindled blurb:

Abby Ten Eyck likes her life the way it is. She runs a successful business, has a well-adjusted teenage daughter, and has managed to keep men at bay since her divorce fifteen years ago. Just before Christmas, she’s hit with change. Her mother decides to sell the family home. Then she’s arrested, with an unknown man. Could this new man in her mother’s life create more upheaval? Or could his handsome son be just what Abby needs to revive her dormant feelings?

Sam Watson embraces transition from frenetic Wall Street to a small Michigan resort town. His health is worth moving close to his dad who seems over the moon in love. But it’s the daughter of his father’s girlfriend who fascinates him. Abby Ten Eyck reminds him of his driven self. He must help her slow down before she burns out. Like he did.


“If the folks do get married, that would make us brother and sister. Here’s to getting to know us better.” Sam glanced up at the mistletoe. “Who’s the thoughtful person who hung this?”
Without waiting for an answer, he pulled her close. Oh, no. He was going to kiss her. Mesmerized by his gray eyes turning as dark as storm clouds over Lake Michigan, she didn’t, couldn’t move.
He wrapped his arm around her waist then kissed her. “Merry Christmas.”
That wasn’t a brotherly kiss.
* * *
Abby lay awake long into the night.
Sam Watson confused her. His kisses made her feel. Feel things she hadn’t felt in ages. He brought her senses alive. Not just the surge of lust when he kissed her. He made her feel like a teen on the cusp of womanhood, when hormones raged. She got all hot and bothered just thinking about him.
She’d resigned herself to forgetting that part of life. After her ex destroyed her confidence, Abby let her feelings for a man dry up. She didn’t need that grief in her life. She had Bethany, for whom she was grateful. She had her mother, who drove her crazy. And she had friends. What more did she need?
A man’s arms around her.
A man’s kisses.
A man’s lovemaking.
Abigail Louise, get your mind off that subject.

Romance Rekindled will be available at online bookstores on December 4th. The cover art is still pending!

Author Bio:
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:

Connect with Diane Burton online

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:
Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
By Linda Mooney
Word Count: 50K
$3.99 e

Garenth had been awakened to retrieve an ancient artifact that was crucial to his well-being. He had few memories of what his life had been like when he had been a man. What memories that were left were filled with blood and excruciating pain.

That part of him was over now. The talisman had been taken from its sacred burial place, and it had to be returned as quickly as possible. It was up to him to follow through with his mission so he could return to another thousand years of sleep.

Brielle Van de Camp knew an extraordinary find when she saw it. The small clay figure was the key to a potentially earth‑shattering revelation about a previously unknown time in man's ancestry. She would bet her life on it.

Unfortunately, others had gotten wind of the talisman, and they were equally determined to claim its promise for themselves. If Brielle wasn't willing to part with the figurine, they had no compunction about prying it from her dead fingers.

They never counted on having to face the guardian of the statuette, who turned out to be more than a creature of mythology.

Warning! Contains a magic talking rock, a mother idol, boo-lets, a cell phone app, deadly intruders, a ruthless businessman, a key card, and a warrior trying to cope with an ages-old curse with the help of a woman who must be a blessing from the gods.

Other News: 
USA Today Best Selling Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 anthology was selected by the Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2017! Here Be Magic author Veronica Scott is the co-organizer of the anthology and her novella "Star Cruise: Song Bird" was one of several mentioned in the award citation. The anthology is still available in ebook and paperback formats.

Bring It Back(list) Feature:
A Different Yesterday by Linda Mooney - SciFi Post Apocalyptic Romance

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bring It Back(list) - A Different Yesterday, a Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic/Futuristic Romance by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney
Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Futuristic Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count:  67.3K
$0.99 e / $9.99 p

The Apocalypse.

It didn't come because of man's inhumanity to man. It didn't come from bombs, or plague, or even from aliens descending from outer space. In fact, no one knows what triggered it. And even if they did, there was no way to turn back time.

Only one thing was certain. One evening the sun had grown unexpectedly bigger and hotter, and heat and radiation unlike anything ever experienced washed over the Earth, bathing it in searing rays that devoured over three-quarters of the world's population.

Now the sun is smaller, and it doesn't radiate as much heat as it used to. The world is colder. Food is scarce, and people are fighting to stay alive.

Andrew Michael Tollson, aka "The Silent Wraith", was a man who roamed from settlement to outpost to city, offering his protection from scavengers and renegades. Years ago, right before the sun had exploded, when he had been a boy growing up in a small Texas town, he had felt his first crush for the little tomboy he knew as Jo. Now, as a grown man, he has finally made his way back to his boyhood home to see if Jo is still alive, or if she has been a victim of the Apocalypse. He has to know if the dreams and memories he has harbored were mere fantasies, or if the infatuation he'd felt then has grown into something else, something stronger and more tangible.

JoBeth Wythe was a member of The Triad, three leaders who protected their little settlement, and tried to recall the carefree days before the Apocalypse. All they wanted was the chance at a decent life, with enough food, some shared warmth, and a little hope for the future. She had never forgotten the pudgy little kid who had followed her around when she was growing up, the little boy she called Mikey. Every time she thought of him, it only brought back pain and a wistfulness for a past that no longer existed.

For Drew and Jo, it was only a matter of time before they would be reunited to fight together. To survive together. And to discover that the innocent kisses they had shared as children had grown into a love that would overwhelm them with desire.

Warning!  Contains permanent extreme cold, love everlasting, survivalists, separation, a legend in the making, a brutal mass murder, childhood friends to lovers, and the end of the world as we know it.

From November 1st through the 30th, you can get the ebook for only 99 cents! (Available at this price only on Amazon and my website. Note: Click BUY EBOOK to get the Nook or PDF version.)  

Yesterday, February 6

            It had been one hundred thirteen degrees since before eight that morning. The big thermometer nailed to the tree outside the kitchen window only went up to one hundred twenty, making Drew wonder what would happen if it got hotter.
            The electricity had been out since Thursday, but Cort Tollson had bought a generator to help keep the refrigerator going. On Saturday he unhooked their gas range from the main line, just to be safe, he said. They took to grilling their meals outside, cooking everything over an open flame.
            The trees surrounding their house were dying. Cort was afraid to water them to try to save them, for fear the family would need the water for themselves at some crucial future time. So they sweltered in the heat from December through January.
            The news around the world sounded even worse. Thousands were dying in Australia, which was in the middle of its summer season, under temperatures reaching over three hundred degrees. Africa was also slowly broiling. News reports told of trees exploding into flames. Whole species of animals were being wiped out under the relentless sun. Scientists even mentioned that the space probes on Mars were sending back temperature readings of inhabitable range—up to the forties in some areas during daylight hours.
            Teena Tollson turned on the battery powered radio every hour on the hour to get the latest information and weather updates, then turned it off right afterwards to conserve the batteries. When she wasn’t cooking, she took to cleaning their clothes in the sink and hanging them over a line in the garage. For Drew, watching TV and playing video games was a thing of the past. He had yet to be enrolled in his local school, and from the looks of it, it would be a while longer before he could get the opportunity, since the local school district had closed its campuses until the crisis had passed. Alone, bored, and desperately missing Jo, he took to spending long hours simply sitting on the porch and watching the traffic go by, since it was too hot to go exploring.
            Sunset came at six thirty-eight. Once the sun went down behind the treetops, the air cooled. Somewhat. By eight o’clock the thermometer still hovered in the nineties.
            No rain had fallen in the past eighty-three days. None was predicted to fall, not even a trace, for the next sixty. Rivers and lakes were drying up. The snow was disappearing from the peaks of all mountain ranges. The oceans were evaporating at a visible rate.
            From the scientific community came the explanation. The sun was dying, and this unexpected burst of radiance was its final gasp before it imploded. No one knew how long the world had before it released its one remaining wave of energy. Nor could they estimate how long the flare would last. They knew even less what the ramifications would be—what lasting effects would forever change the earth and life upon it. They could only guess, and even then their theories were mere shots in the dark.
            When sunset descended upon the northern hemisphere, every living creature breathed a sigh of relief that they had survived another day. The night would give them the chance to lick their burns and hope to make it through tomorrow.
            They had no clue there would be no tomorrow.
            At four minutes past one in the morning, Drew felt his father shaking him as he called his name. “Drew! Get up, son! Now! We gotta go now!
            Dragging open sleepy eyes, Drew was surprised to see the day shining brightly outside. Confused and disoriented, he pulled on a t-shirt and jeans, and was in the middle of trying to find a pair of socks in his dresser when his mother ran into his room. “Come on, Drew. We gotta go now!
            Grabbing his shoes, she snatched a handful of his shirt with her free hand and half-carried him out into the garage, shoving him into the back seat and tossing his shoes at him. His father and David were throwing some things into the trunk before jumping into the car themselves. Cort Tollson tossed two life vests into the front seat as David jumped into the back with two more.
            “Put the vests on, boys,” he snapped in a hard, tight voice.
            Drew had never seen his father drive as fast as he did that morning. Staring out the window, it soon became clear they were heading for the lake. For what reason, he had no idea.
            “Dad? Where are we goin’?”
            “We’re going to the lake,” his mother answered. The air conditioner in the car was going full blast, but very little of it was making its way to the back seat.
            “What time is it?” Drew asked. He normally didn’t sleep so late that it would be broad daylight when he crawled out of bed. But for some strange reason, his body felt as exhausted as if he’d just gone to bed.
            Once again Teena Tollson turned her head slightly so he could see her profile. “It’s a little after one.”
            “In the afternoon?
            “No, Brewski. In the morning,” David snapped in a condescending tone.
            “Oh, yeah, right,” Drew spat back.
            Their mother intervened before things went any further between the two. “David’s right, Drew. It’s still the middle of the night.”
            Drew took all of five seconds to digest this bit of news. “How?” Outside the window the world was as bright as a cloudless day.
            A frown suddenly creased his face. No, wait a minute. Yes, it was daylight, but it was a funny color of light. Orangish, kind of. And how come there weren’t any other cars on the road?
            “Mom, is the sun exploding?”
            Both parents glanced at each other, then Cort Tollson tightly answered, “Yes, Drew. It is.”
            They reached the lake in less than five minutes. By the time they reached the parking lot, they could see the lake bed several hundred yards in the distance, glimmering like a fiery blanket. Not long ago the water had been up to the pier, lapping against the pylons which supported the short boardwalk.
            “Everyone out! Run to the water! Hurry!” Cort Tollson shouted to his family. “David, help me with that canoe over there!”
            Drew started to protest when his mother grabbed his hand and made him go with her. Underneath the relentless rays they could feel their skin burning with each passing second. When they reached the water, his mother didn’t stop, and went splashing into the warm water, pulling Drew along with her. Not far behind them Drew’s father and older brother followed, carrying the long wooden canoe above their heads.
            “Go deeper!” Cort called out. “Go as far out as you can! Try to make it to the middle of the lake!”
            Struggling in the depths, Drew threw his arms around his mother’s neck as she blindly felt her way along the bottom of the lake. Moments later, Cort and David joined them, swimming toward them while keeping the canoe upside-down overhead.
            Drew stared in surprise as his mother took one end and his father took the other, keeping him and David in the middle. David was taller than he was, but his brother still had to support himself on their father’s shoulders to keep his head above the surface.  There they struggled to remain afloat in the warming water while the sun beat down on the overturned canoe.
            “Don’t touch anything made of metal,” Cort ordered. “If you have to grab something, make sure it’s wooden.”
            At first, Drew wondered why there was a high-pitched hissing sound coming from all around them. Peering through the narrow space between the side of the canoe and the surface, he could see huge columns of smoke rising from the banks.
            “That’s not smoke, Drew. It’s steam. Look closer. You’ll see the water’s boiling where it’s the most shallow.”
            His father was right. Even where they were, the water was growing noticeably warmer. As he watched in fascination, he could swear he could see the water level in the lake slowly falling as the scorching sun drank. There was a huge, oblong rock in the shape of an airplane at the water’s edge. Right now most of it remained submerged except for the left wing, which sat like a white, bleached bone.
            “What if the water gets too hot?” Teena asked her husband. She didn’t dare speak of them possibly boiling to death in front of the children, although the prospect was all too real.
            “Mitch says the sun probably won’t stay hot long enough to get the whole body to that point.”
            Cort kept urging them to go further and further into the deepest part of the lake. It if weren’t for the life vests, Drew would have given out long ago. They frequently had to throw water on their faces, or duck beneath the surface, in order to find some small measure of relief.
            “How long do you think this will last?” Teena asked her husband at one point. Her arms ached from holding the canoe, and underneath the interior the air was quickly becoming humid and steamy.
            Cort shook his head. “I don’t know, honey, but Mitch seemed to think no more than an hour or two.”
            “An hour or two?” Her voice hitched with unshed tears. Her husband tried to soothe her.
            “Have faith, honey,” he spoke in a calm voice, hoping their sons wouldn’t start crying, either. “Remember, if it weren’t for Mitch, we wouldn’t have known what to look for. Or be prepared for it, and know what to do when it came.”
            Hearing his father speak of Jo’s father sent a spasm of sheer panic through eleven-year-old Drew. “Dad?”
            “What, son?”
            “There’s... there’s no lake where Jo is. How is she gonna live?” Already he could feel the tears stinging his eyes, and he knew that when his older brother saw him crying, he would get ribbed mercilessly for being a weak baby. But he didn’t care. Thinking about Jo facing this same terror was almost too much for him to stomach. Thankfully his father knew just what to say to give him some measure of assurance. His eyes riveted onto the airplane-shaped rock across the lake. The water was down past the tail and body, and was sliding over the lower right wing. Before too long the entire rock would be above lake level.
            “Drew, Jo’s probably safer than we are right now. After all, her father knows more about the sun and the solar system than most people on earth.” He gave the little man a small smile. “Don’t worry about her, son. She’ll make it through this just fine, just as we will.”

            Drew didn’t respond. No matter how hopeful his father sounded, it wouldn’t stop him from worrying. In fact, he never stopped worrying for the next seventeen years.

Buy links.

Friday, November 24, 2017

New Release: Shattered Earth by Jenny Schwartz

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
Woohoo! I love releasing a new story, even if it's nerve-racking. Will people like it? Has Amazon published the right file? *chews nails*

Shattered Earth released on Monday. If there were going to be hiccups, they should have happened by now, so I'm tentatively relaxing (euphemism for limp noodle, puddle of relief).

This is the third book in my Shamans and Shifters Space Opera series. It's a novella because it focuses on the adventure and romance of two much-loved side characters, and I couldn't risk being distracted too long from the third full-length book in the series. Everyone wants to know what will happen regarding the alien Ceph! It can be read as a stand-alone adventure, complete in itself.

Buy link:

The scum of the galaxy are using Earth as a nuclear winter death camp. It outrages pirate captain Kohia Jekyll’s sense of justice. No one deserves to die agonizingly of radiation poisoning, especially not on the planet humanity had to evacuate seven generations ago. So Kohia intends to close the prison camp down.

She didn’t count on an infuriating shaman healer hitching a ride aboard her starship.

Nairo Bloodstone isn’t going to Earth to be a hero. He learned the hard way that when you’re a healer, doing your best for people is never enough. One miracle leads them to demand another and another. Heroes die exhausted and alone, and the galaxy continues with billions of people still clamoring for a miracle-worker to save them.

No, Nairo isn't going to Earth to be a hero. He intends to change what it means to be human.

Read Shattered Earth for FREE in Kindle Unlimited:



Just her name, said in Nairo Bloodstone’s smooth voice, and the low simmer of arousal in Kohia heated to real wanting. Damn him.

 Nairo was the second man forced on the Stealth, and the one she’d known she’d have no chance of refusing. He’d invited himself aboard when he’d heard of her mission. “The chance for me to study Earth’s sha energy flows will be invaluable to my research, especially with shifters present.”

The Conclave had immediately agreed to his request. Hell, they’d have agreed if he’d asked for a harem of hundreds and all the gold on Corsairs. And with Corsairs main industry being piracy, that was a lot of gold.

“Is that all your luggage?” Kohia looked at the duffel bag Nairo carried, then frowned at his nod. The duffel bag was no larger than Aaron’s crew satchel. Kohia wasn’t used to civilians being so restrained. Then again, Nairo was the definition of control—which strummed all of Kohia’s instincts in the naughtiest of ways. Down, girl.

She hadn’t realized that she’d moved to block his access to the Stealth until he halted in front of her. She was tall. He was taller. Nairo matched Aaron for height, although he lacked the Freel’s heavily muscled build. Instead, Nairo had a lean, athletic body that suggested speed and endurance.

He waited. Without a word, simply by being there, he challenged her authority. Or perhaps it was more personal. He unsettled her.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

ARCHIVE: A Slightly Whimsical Look at My Pilgrim Ancestors

Posted by: Veronica Scott
From the ARCHIVES: Note: I originally published this post in November 2011 as a guest on my friend Shawna Thomas's blog, but I thought perhaps the audience at Here Be Magic might enjoy the tale:

As one of the themes of Thanksgiving here in  the United States, we have the quintessential romance story, with a chaste, inspirational love triangle, all centering around the folks who arrived on these shores on the Mayflower in 1620. Poor orphaned Priscilla Mullins (my ancestress, thank you but we’ll get to that in a minute), sought after by gruff old Captain Miles Standish, a well-to-do recent widower. Miles is not a dab hand at coming up with woman-attracting prose so he enlists his friend John Alden, he of the silver tongue. Ah but guess who John loves? The young Mr. John Alden,  my other ancestor, dutifully went and began reciting the beautiful speech he’d written to Priscilla, ostensibly for his friend Miles. (My guess is John poured his own heart out in the speech and that’s what made it so compelling).

Mistress Mullins stopped him and said in her best Pilgrim demure fashion, “Prithee, John, speak for yourself.”  Really, what self respecting heroine of a modern day romance novel wouldn’t have done the same? And John didn’t have to be asked twice apparently. HEA ensued, complete with ten – maybe eleven – children.

Everyone knows the story, right?  

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’ve always taken a special interest in the whole Miles Standish – John Alden- Priscilla Mullins love story because (a) I like romance and love stories and (b) I’m descended from them.  (My mother and her entire side of the family were die hard genealogists before it was popular – don’t ask!)  The relationship was a special point of pride for me as a child. I even got to play Priscilla in the third grade Thanksgiving pageant, with a robin's egg blue bonnet that was amazing in its historical inaccuracy.  I remember nothing else of the costume so the dress was probably a lot more authentically Pilgrimlike and boring. But that hat! I can still see it in my mind's eye some unspecified number of years later.

Clarence Somebody played my John Alden but I had a crush on Henry S., who played Miles. Clearly I wanted to rewrite history in our little school pageant and end up holding hands with Henry S, as well as wearing that to-die-for-bonnet. Unfortunately my third grade teacher was a hard liner and we went with the original, historically accurate plot. Clarence and I presided over the feast (chocolate milk and cookies) as the happily "married" couple, while the rakish Henry was off teasing Debbie B, my playground rival. 

Priscilla didn’t have these problems! She appears to have been a woman of unusual gumption for the 1600’s and probably would have ended up with Henry, were she in my sneakers, if she'd wanted him.

OK, flash forward to me in adulthood. I now know there are approximately 1,000,000 descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Alden living today. (One of their daughters married one of Captain Standish’s sons – sequel  material there!) There are actually 10,000,000 living descendants of the entire Mayflower passenger list.  So you and you and you may be just as descended from them as I am.  I clearly wasn’t as cool and unique as I thought in third grade. In fact, I recently found out one of my co-workers and I are cousins, about thirteen times removed.

The idea of taking a day to stop and give thanks for what we have remains a happy thing, even 380+ years later, in my case, or whenever Thanksgiving or its equivalent holiday falls on the calendar in your part of the world! Best wishes to you and yours in November!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Feast on These Awesome Paranormal Shows With Your Turkey

Posted by: Maureen
By Maureen L. Bonatch

The weather is getting colder and many people are settling in for a little winter hibernation indoors. It’s the time of year when I pull out my favorite Christmas movies and watch A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Scrooged and other holiday classics. But sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little more paranormal and fantasy while I’m sinking into a ‘carb coma’ or an all the ‘turkey fixings overload’

As the holidays roll in with a touch of the overwhelm, sometimes it’s nice to escape from the onslaught of holiday movies, holiday commercials and holidayeverything into a world of paranormal and fantasy.

One thing many people enjoy almost as much as binging on holiday treats is binging on their favorite television show. I confess—I don’t usually spend too much time watching television. So when my friends discuss their latest favorite television show I’m often clueless. I’m usually more engrossed in writing or reading. Or I drag out my laptop and multi-task while the hubs watches television. 

But there are a few shows I make an extra effort to make time for. (I also discuss a few of these here.)

A Few of My Favorite Paranormal & Fantasy Shows Include 

  • Supernatural- Because who doesn’t love Sam & Dean?
  • Outcast- This show reminds me of my book, Destiny Calling
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead- This takes a special (slightly warped) sense of humor like mine
  • Stranger Things- Oh, to revisit the 1980’s!

If You Want To Go Old School Consider 

  • Charmed- My all-time favorite! It inspired my story, That Magic Moment
  • The X-Files- Love this! I believe! J
  • Millennium-We all braced for all the extraordinary the millennium might bring
  • Ghost Whisperer- Ghosts and a beautiful love story- I still miss this show
  • Medium –I found this to be such a unique concept for it’s time

Love Feasting Your Eyes on Your Favorite Show? You're Not Alone

It seems many people binge all year long—on television. Since Outcast, one of my favorite shows, is delayed from returning until
next summer, I reached out on a Facebook post to discover some other favorite shows.  

Here are a few recommendations on my To-Be-Watched List:
  • Outlander “Time-travel”
  • Ozark -I did watch this show and enjoyed it
  • The Deuce- a drama of New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s
  • Orville “Tongue in cheek and humorous.”
  • Designated Survivor “Fantasy”
  • Blindspot- A crime drama television series
  • Longmire- American modern western crime drama

Is Your Favorite Show on the List? Or Can You Add to it? 

Not in the mood for television? Or you don't want to wait any longer for Outcast? Escape with my book, Destiny Calling. 

When the woman who raised Hope is murdered by something not human, Hope loses the only family she knows and discovers one she might wish she never met. With a touch that can make the desperate hopeful, Hope is the answer. 

The only question is if she can deal with sibling rivalry, accept that entities feeding off despair exist, and determine if Griffith is the man of her dreams, or not at all what he seems.  

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:
Shattered Earth (Shamans and Shifters Book 3) from Jenny Schwartz.
The scum of the galaxy are using Earth as a nuclear winter death camp. It outrages pirate captain Kohia Jekyll’s sense of justice. No one deserves to die agonizingly of radiation poisoning, especially not on the planet humanity had to evacuate seven generations ago. So Kohia intends to close the prison camp down.

She didn’t count on an infuriating shaman healer hitching a ride aboard her starship.

Nairo Bloodstone isn’t going to Earth to be a hero. He learned the hard way that when you’re a healer, doing your best for people is never enough. One miracle leads them to demand another and another. Heroes die exhausted and alone, and the galaxy continues with billions of people still clamoring for a miracle-worker to save them. 

No, Nairo isn't going to Earth to be a hero. He intends to change what it means to be human.


Maid of Ice by Shona Husk
Stalkers and death threats . . .
For Finlay Ryder, danger means playing a racecar driver on a daytime soap. That is, until he’s forced to reckon with his true identity as an Albah, a magical ancient race, by one of his own kind. Someone wants him dead. And worse, an ancient vampire is on the prowl, drawing blood left and right. Now, Finlay has no choice but to hunt enemies with unspeakable powers—or risk being hunted himself . . .

. . . and that’s just the first date
Ice skater Alina Nyx is using her broken wrist as an excuse for a career change. And when she falls for handsome Finlay, Albah drama feels like her new full-time job. Learning about magic and vampires is exciting, until her life is threatened. Now, as she begins to uncover her own mysterious powers, she must combine forces with Finlay to eradicate their foes for good, or all Albah will suffer . . .

Other News:
The new Book+Main Bites site for romance readers went live last week. The idea is for readers to sample 'bites' or snippets from authors and decide whether to buy the books. There were a few hiccups on the authors' side during rollout (and some NSFW photos from a few authors O_o) but revisions are underway and the site is very browsable. If you decide to try it out - it's FREE for readers - several HBM authors are there, so look for us to Follow: Ruth A. Casie, PG Forte, Linda Mooney and Veronica Scott. 

Bring It Back(list) Feature:
Veronica Scott shared TRAPPED ON TALONQUE, with an alien sleeping beauty...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bring It Back(list) TRAPPED ON TALONQUE Alien Sleep Beauty

Posted by: Veronica Scott
I just thought it'd be fun to talk about this one from my backlist. Part of the story is a scifi take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale...mixed with a lot of scifi action! Plus I love the cover - it's so hard to find stock photos that resemble the heroes and heroines, much less an alien beauty with lavender hair in braids - but for this cover Fiona Jayde managed it!

The story:
Will an alien sleeping beauty awaken to save him, or destroy everyone around her?
When a Sectors Special Forces soldier and his team crash land on an alien planet, they’re taken captive and given a challenge–win at the violent ball game of sapiche and live. Lose, and they die, sending a mysterious, alien beauty to an even uglier fate. To survive, these soldiers must win the game and find a way to free the dangerous prisoner from her locked chamber.
Nate Reilly and his team are in deep trouble. Prisoners on a backward alien planet, they’re brought before an alien ‘goddess’, sleeping in her high tech seclusion. Nate is astonished when she awakes and establishes a psychic link with him. But her news is not good–he and his men must win a brutal challenge set by their captors, or they will die. She’ll give her aid, but in the end their courage and strength must win the contest.
Bithia sleeps in her chamber, as she has for thousands of years, since her own people unaccountably left her there. Viewed as a goddess by her captors, she must hide her ancient secrets to survive. But only the bravest of men may free her. Can she use her psychic powers to keep Nate and his men alive long enough to help her escape, or will her only hope of freedom die with them?
The excerpt:
He stood on the edge of a high-tech chamber out of place on a primitive world such as this one. Ringing the room were strange displays, blinking lights, roving green beams, unknown instruments. The sophistication of the technology was well beyond anything the Sectors had achieved, let alone the dwellers of this planet. Nate spared only a second to glance at these wonders. His attention was caught and held by what occupied the center of a large alcove directly across the room.
The cubicle was lined in shiny metallic material and from the floor rose a graceful pedestal of the same material, topped with a thin platform at waist level. Neatly arranged on a layer of dark purple padding lay a woman, apparently asleep. She certainly wasn’t from this planet, nor any world known to Nate. This mysterious female had ivory skin with the palest of lavender undertones in her cheeks.
“I’ll be moon-damned.” Thom’s attention was riveted on the sleeper as well. “An Ancient Observer?”
“Can’t be—no one’s ever found actual remains,” Haranda said from the other side. “Although this room certainly suggests a high level of technology, it’s not AO. Another sophisticated, highly advanced forerunner civilization. The galaxy is a big place after all.” Roused from his state of funk, he studied the walls, apparently more interested in the devices and displays than in the woman. “I minored in AO studies at the Academy.”
“I don’t think she’s a well-preserved corpse.” Nate couldn’t take his gaze from her, not even to watch what their captors were doing now. He took himself sharply to task for the lapse. What if we’ve been brought here as a sacrifice? He had to be mentally prepared to fight, not gawk at a pretty girl. But the next moment he found himself studying her again, unable to keep himself from indulging in another view.
The woman was tall, probably his equal in height, definitely humanoid. She lay pillowed on her own hair, a thick, sweeping fall of glorious blue mixed with amethyst purple, set here and there with twinkling jewels. From his location across the room, he couldn’t see whether she was breathing, yet he had a definite sense of a living presence.
Her clothing was a simple, silvery white and lavender sheath, like finely woven metallic thread had been spun to make the dress. Thin jeweled straps held the garment at her shoulders. The finely pleated fabric clung to her curves sensuously. She lay on her back, arms stretched out a little on each side, her graceful, six-fingered hands spread open on the cushion. She wore no jewelry save for an elaborate bracelet on her left wrist, studded with colorful stones whose facets caught and amplified the lights in the main room.

Another little snippet:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Conference fun!

Posted by: Shona Husk

Last weekend I went to Genrecon in Brisbane for the first time. As the name suggests it’s a conference for genre writers (horror, sci fi, romance, crime and fantasy). It has a very different feel to RWAustralia, or either of the reader conventions I’ve been to. Many of the sessions were discussion panels about various issues (what writers get wrong, luck vs hard work) but I did go to a few craft sessions.

Even though I’ve been published for 7 years I think it’s so important to keep learning, but to also learn from other genres as good writing is good writing.

There was also an academic stream and I caught a session on crime noir (which I find fascinating even thought I don’t think I could write it).

I would definitely go again, though I’ll have to wait 2 years as it’s not a yearly conference :( 

If you are in Australia I do recommend it. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why Mistletoe is for lovers...

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
Mistletoe berries are white when ripe
Image from
’Tis November, and the harvest is in, the leaves are gone from the trees, and the first snows are falling. But in the midst of the short, cold days, one plant is just now ripening…  

But you'll have to look UP to find it!

Mistletoe is unusual in the plant world because it doesn’t grow in the earth at all. Instead, it’s a semi-parasite that lives only in the branches of mature trees (and if you've ever gone hunting for it, you'll know it's usually very high up...). This strange plant not only remains green throughout the winter, but usually produces its ghostly white berries between October and DecemberThis makes November the perfect time to go for a walk in the woods and locate a mistletoe plant for holiday harvesting! 

There are 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide, with three dozen native to the United States. The most common of them eventually develops into a woven mass of green stems that can reach five feet across and weigh up to 50 pounds! The tangled plants are sometimes referred to as witches’ brooms.

Although today we think of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration, mistletoe has a much longer history than Christmas itself.

The ancient Celts believed mistletoe to be a gift from the gods, associated with good fortune and great blessings. The Romans recorded that the Celts would harvest mistletoe from a tree after the winter solstice. A druid – a Celtic priest – used a golden sickle to cut the plant. Due to its sacred nature, the mistletoe must never come in contact with the ground and so a white cloth was held beneath the tree to catch it. Two white bulls were then sacrificed to honor the god who provided the mistletoe and to ask that the plant’s potency be increased.

Snow-covered mistletoe growing high in a birch tree.
Image from
The druids were said to be skilled in both herbs and magic, and the mistletoe was one of the most powerful plants in their arsenal. A symbol of immortality, mistletoe was believed to have protective powers against evil spirits and the ability to heal diseases. Although mistletoe is a poisonous plant itself, in skilled hands it was considered to be an antidote to all other poisons. It was also used to promote fertility in both animal and human – and occasionally even used in aphrodisiac potions. 

In fact, the mistletoe was so sacred that if enemies met in a forest and a mistletoe plant was spotted overhead, an automatic truce was declared until the following day. From this grew the practice of hanging mistletoe over the door, or suspending it from the ceiling as a symbol of peace and good will.

The Death of Baldr, by W.G. Collingwood. Note the spear of mistletoe!
Public Domain 
The Norse myth of Baldr added to the mistletoe tradition. The goddess, Frigga, was Baldr’s mother, and exacted a promise from every element, plant and animal, both on the earth and under the earth, not to harm Baldr. She forgot the mistletoe, which grows neither in the ground or on it. The other gods made a game of throwing things at the good-natured Baldr and laughing as they bounced off him harmlessly. Loki, prankster and god of evil, tricked the blind god, Hod, into throwing a spear made of mistletoe at Baldr, which killed him. 

Fortunately, Balder is eventually brought back to life. His mother is so overcome with joy that she reverses the reputation of the offensive mistletoe, declaring that those who passed beneath a mistletoe plant should have a token kiss and be kept safe from harm.

Image from
Centuries later, both Celtic and Viking traditions were condemned by early Christianity as pagan, and mistletoe was forbidden to be displayed within sight of the church. However, that didn’t stop people from hanging mistletoe in their homes and barns or from wearing sprigs of it to ward off disease and evil. Mistletoe became known as All-heal, and is still used in homeopathic medicine. In fact, it continues to be studied today as a possible treatment for cancer.

The plant’s original status as a symbol of peace and love, however, wasn’t revived until Victorian times. With it came the practice of kissing under the mistletoe. Interestingly, the practice began among the servant class and worked its way up until everyone was doing it! Mistletoe could be hung over a doorway or from the ceiling as a sprig or a bouquet, or in England it was often part of an elaborate "kissing bough". This was made by wrapping greenery, nuts, apples and ribbons around a large wire frame sphere and tying a large cluster of mistletoe below it (remember they had VERY high ceilings to accommodate such elaborate ornaments). 

The kisses could be stolen if someone happened to wander under mistletoe, and it considered bad luck to refuse a kiss. Being Victorian times, it was almost always the men initiating the kisses of course... In some circles it was said that couples who shared a kiss beneath this evergreen plant would have a happy marriage. 

In the United States, the tradition was recorded in 1820 by Washington Irving (author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). He wrote, "The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas; and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked, the privilege ceases."­ 

One kiss, one berry. It's easy to see why young men often competed to hunt down the BIGGEST bunch of mistletoe for the party!



Bringing ancient faery legends into modern-day America...

Watch for STORM CROSSED, releasing January 9th!
Available now for pre-order in ebook, paperback, and audiobook.

See all of Dani Harper's books on her Amazon Author Page -

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