Tuesday, March 29, 2022

March Vignette - "Worm Moon" by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney

"Worm Moon"

The night was unusually warm for this time of year, but it felt good. It took the edge off of the brutally cold winter they’d had. Also on the plus side, the humidity had yet to set in, which signaled when spring was about to morph into summer.

Mattias followed the small dirt trail through what was left of the wooded area to the rotting log he’d discovered a few days ago. The lantern he carried gave him enough light to follow the path, but the full moon overhead gave him extra illumination, allowing him to see far beyond the lantern’s perimeter. The glow coming off the silvery-white orb was so intense in the cloudless sky, he believed he almost didn’t need the additional light. At least not until he reached the digging spot.

            “Papa!”  

           He turned around to see Jeff running toward him. The six-year-old was panting, which told him his son had probably run all the way from the underground bunker.

            “Hey, Papa! Wait for me!”

             Mattias waved for the child to hurry up. He was glad that the moon was as bright as it was. Otherwise the boy could easily have gotten lost. What are you doing out of the bunker?” he scolded the child. “And without a light!”

            The youngster skidded to a stop, a confused expression on his face. “I can see fine, Papa.” Mattias concurred. Still… 

            “Why aren’t you watching after your mother?” he asked in a softer tone.

            “She’s asleep. I wanted to come see what you were doin’.”

            “I’m going after worms,” Mattias told him.

            Jeff screwed up his nose. “Worms?”

            Mattias waved at him again. “Come with me. You can help.”

            “Why worms?” the young boy asked.

            “Because they’re full of protein,” Mattias explained.

            “What are you gonna do with ‘em? Are you goin’ fishin’?”

            “No, because there aren’t any fish anymore.”

            “So whaddaya goin’ to do with ‘em?”

“We’re going to eat them.”

            “Eat them?” Jeff wrinkled up his nose. “Why?”

            “Because if we don’t, we’ll starve to death. Come on. You can help me.”

            Together they reached the area where the trees and plants were naturally decaying, and not because of the massive devastation caused by man. Dropping to his knees, Mattias set the lantern to the side where it shone on the ground and pulled the slotted spoon from the waistband of his jeans.

            Jeff settled across from him. “Whaddaya want me to do?”

            “Watch.” Shoving the spoon into the loose loam, he dug up a small amount and flipped it over. Two earthworms glistened as they tried to wriggle back into the dirt. He grabbed both of them, dropping them into his palm before reaching into his pocket for the cloth pouch. “I’m going to dig them up, and you pick them out of the dirt and put them into this bag. Like this. See?” He showed his son. “This way we won’t have to stay out here too long.”

            “Okay.”

            He continued digging, tossing the earth over in front of Jeff, who meticulously checked each mound. “Boy, there’s a lot of ‘em,” the child remarked.

            “That’s good.”

            “How’d you know we’d find some?”

            Mattias pointed overhead. “See that? The full moon in March is called the Worm Moon.”

            “So?”

            “It’s named that because people used to believe that the earthworms finally appeared this time of year when the ground began to thaw in the spring.”

            “Guess it’s true,” Jeff remarked as he continued to drop worms into the pouch. “There’s a kajillion of ‘em here.”

            They labored for what Mattias guessed was a good half hour when they heard the high-pitched bark of a dog. The animal sounded far away, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

            “We need to go,” he announced, getting to his feet and dusting his hands off on his pants.

            Jeff lifted the bag. “Ugh! It’s heavy!”

            “I’ll carry it.” He took the pouch from the child, noting it was indeed heavy. “This should do us for a while.”

            “How you going to cook ‘em?”

            “They have to be boiled first. In fact, they’ll have to be boiled three times to make sure we get all the dirt out of ‘em. After that, we can either make a soup out of them, or roast them over a fire.”

            Jeff cast him a wistful smile. “Do we got enough to fill us up?”

            Mattias gave him a warm smile in return. “Yeah, son. We have enough to eat on for a little while. Until we need to go hunt for more.”

            The dog howled again, this time closer. A second hound answered. It was difficult to tell if the creatures were baying at the moon, or because they’d caught the scent of the two humans who’d ventured out of their bunker in search of food.

            Placing a hand to his son’s back, Mattias urged him to go faster. The once domesticated but now wild animals preferred to hunt at night. And anything was fair game, including what few humans were left in the world.

            They safely reached their underground home. Once they were behind the heavy iron door, Mattias locked the inner seal to prevent anything or anyone else from getting inside. When he finally climbed down the ladder to the main room, he found Simone lying on the couch, having moved herself there from the bedroom to await their return.

            Mattias strode over, dropping to one knee beside her, and gave her a kiss. “How are you feeling?”

            She stared up at him with overly large eyes. Their slow starvation seemed to be taking its greatest toll on her after the harsh winter. “Better, now that you’re back. Did you find anything?”

            “Momma!” Jeff held up the stuffed bag that wriggled in his grasp. “We got worms!”

            “Worms?” She turned to her husband.

            “They’re full of protein,” he told her. “There’s lots and lots of them to be found! We won’t be going hungry again any time soon,” he promised her. Down here she wouldn’t be able to hear the animals crying out on the surface, so she’d never know how close they’d come to being discovered.

            Simone smiled as she tucked a bit of long hair behind his ear. “How do you cook worms?”

            “Papa says you hafta boil ‘em at least three times before you can make soup out of ‘em,” Jeff spoke up.

            “Or we can grill them over the fire,” Mattias told her, indicating the small hibachi over in the corner that served as both barbeque pit and brazier when it got too cold down here. “I’ll probably grill this first batch. It’ll be faster than trying to make soup. Jeffrey, go put a pot of water on the stove to boil.”

            The child hurried away to get their meal started. Their first meal that day, and their first real meal in three days.

            Mattias kissed his wife’s forehead. “You lie here and rest, okay? I’ll fix dinner.”

            “Worms, huh?” she repeated, adding a trembling smile.

            “Earthworms. Don’t knock ‘em ‘til you try ‘em.” Dropping one more kiss to her face, he got up and went to prepare what would be a feast.

Monday, March 28, 2022

HERE BE NEWS for Monday March 28, 2022

Posted by: PG Forte

 

 

                            


Monday March 28, 2022 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:



Tuesday March 22, 2022: Deb Bailey shares the playlist she created for her newest release, 
Worlds of Fire: Blood Red Moon





It's the last week to pick up Shadows and Chaos. 

In the shadows chaos reigns... ​ Let your imagination take you away to fantastic places filled with wonder and whimsy. Delight in tales of witches, vampires, demons and other supernatural beings as they negotiate the realms of darkness and light.




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We got Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Apple & Google! Stuff your e-reader now! 

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#free #giveaway #freebooks #amreading #romance

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Book Playlists for Listening & Sharing with Readers

Posted by: Deborah A Bailey

Usually when I write I have music in the background. My playlist includes songs that might remind me of certain characters or give me a feeling about what I'm writing.

Lately I've been taking some of those songs and putting them into playlists for my books. Though I use Spotify for my playlists, YouTube is also a good place to create one. Since I also have a Pandora account I've got favorites there, as well as Amazon Music and Apple Music. (The plus about using YouTube is that it may also include music videos.)

How easy is it to create playlist? Very easy! If you're on Spotify, just create a playlist then start adding songs to it. You can share the link even as you continue to find songs to add. Listeners will have access to the playlist even as you're adding (or removing) your music.

What should the playlist include? Any music that fits the mood of your book. Do you have favorite songs or artists that relate to your story? Add them. I've found a few songs that sound as though a character could've written the words. Or they describe the action in a certain scene or chapter. Those are the songs I usually listen to as I'm writing. So of course, I make sure they're included in the final playlist.

The fun is in setting the mood for your reader/listener. They can hear the songs that inspired you as you were writing. Music playlists are a wonderful way to give your readers a treat that they can enjoy while they're reading your book.

Click the link below to check out the Spotify playlist for my latest book, Worlds of Fire: Blood Red Moon.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6v5P5zZcDIt3PeyKGegiFj?si=d1a236554f8c4bac

Happy listening!


Monday, March 21, 2022

HERE BE NEWS for Monday March 21, 2022

Posted by: PG Forte

 

 

                            


Monday March 21, 2022 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:




Thursday March 17, 2022PG Forte offers a special St. Patrick's Day themed Bring It Back(list).

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Bring It Back(list) Two Truths and a Lie by PG Forte

Posted by: PG Forte

 


A special Bring It Back(list) post for St Patrick's Day





All work and no play has been the story of Brenda Donovan's life these past few months. Her concern about the future of her family's inn has her tied up in knots--and not in a good way. Between searching for a buyer for the business, and keeping secrets from her cousins, she's had no time to pursue an actual relationship. But pretending to date sexy Max Murphy, the hotel scout who's there to assess the property? That's totally doable. Especially when games, role-playing, and light bondage are included in the package. Falling in love was never supposed to be part of their deal; but now her heart's in play and all bets are off. 

 Max has no problem with hiding his true identity from Brenda's cousins. If that's the way she wants to play it, he's all in. But are Luke and Gwyn the only ones he's deceiving? It's game, set, and match this time around. And when all the scores have been tallied, and everyone's secrets are finally revealed, will the cousins lose the Wild Geese Inn?



Excerpt: 


“So, what made you decide to sell the hotel?” Max asked as he cut into his steak. They were having dinner together in the hotel’s dining room—their “test date,” as he’d called it when he’d talked her into it that morning in her office. And already Brenda was having second thoughts. 

“Not so loud!” She cast a worried glance around, but no one appeared to be listening. Still, it never hurt to be cautious. “I told you I don’t want anyone to know yet.” 

“Sorry.” 

“And besides I haven’t decided anything. I’m just ‘entertaining offers,’ as they say.” 

“You know what I mean. You sent out feelers. You wouldn’t have done that if you weren’t at least considering it.” 

“What’s your point?” 

“The inn’s been in your family for quite some time now, hasn’t it? I’m just trying to understand why you’re suddenly looking to change things?” 

Brenda sipped her sauvignon blanc. “Fishing for information, Max? I thought this was supposed to be a ‘date’?” 

“It is. But we’re still in killing-several-birds-at-once mode. And, as far as I know, it’s considered usual for people on dates to ask each other questions, isn’t it? Or to share information about themselves?” 

“TouchΓ©.” 

“I’m not trying to trip you up—really I’m not. I’m just curious. I’d been told the property was under new management, so you’ll understand my confusion.” 

“It is under new management. My cousins and I only inherited the hotel a few months ago, after our grandmother passed away. So, if you think about it, it’s actually a very good time to reevaluate our situation.” 

“I’m sorry,” Max replied quietly. “I hadn’t heard about your grandmother. I apologize if I came across as insensitive.” 

“Thank you. And no, don’t apologize. As it happens, I’m a little defensive on the subject. As you’ve probably already gathered, I’m anticipating a fight. My cousins want to hold on to the place at any cost. I prefer to keep our options open and explore the possibilities. Don’t get me wrong,” she added. “I love this place as much as they do. There’s so much history here, so much potential for growth. But I want to see it reach that potential. I don’t want my mismanagement to be the cause of its demise.” 

“I’m sure that would never be the case.” 

“Thank you again. I wish I shared your confidence. But I’m afraid reaching that potential will require resources my cousins and I can’t supply.” 

“Such as money?” 

“In large enough amounts? Yes. Among other things.” 

“What if your cousins don’t agree to the sale?” Brenda shrugged. “If it’s a good enough offer, I’m sure I can get them to see the sense of it. If not…then I don’t know. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” 

After dinner, as they were leaving the dining room, Max paused in the entryway. “So I’ve been hearing about this famous kissing stone of yours. Since we’re ‘dating’ now, shouldn’t we uphold tradition?” 

That damn stone. Brenda sidestepped quickly to avoid it. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” 

“I’m saying that I’d like to kiss you.” He glanced at the floor. “Isn’t this where we’re supposed to stand? Isn’t the tradition that you kiss your lover here if you want the two of you to be together forever?” 

“We’re not lovers.” 

Smiling, he reached for her hand. “I’m hoping that’s about to change.” 

So was she. She didn’t try and stop him as he twined his fingers with hers, but when he tried to pull her close, she balked. Nope. Not happening. “I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, Max. But you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.” 

Max slanted her a skeptical look. “It’s your family’s legend, isn’t it? Won’t it look strange if you don’t kiss me?” 

“No, actually. It would look much stranger if I did. It might be my family’s legend, but anyone who knows anything about me knows I don’t believe in that nonsense. Never have.” 

“Never?” he asked, an unexpected note of challenge in his voice. “Not even when you were younger?” 

“Oh, well.” Brenda shrugged dismissively. “Sure. I believed in Santa Claus once too.” 

“Then you grew up and ‘put away childish things,’ as they say?” 

“Exactly.” 

“Ah, c’mon. You’re not really that cynical, are you?” 

“How is that cynical? I’m just being an adult.” 

“Adulting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” 

Brenda was starting to get annoyed. “Maybe not. But someone has to do it.” 

“But not all the time, right? Don’t you ever want to take a break from it all?” 

Do I? “You have no idea how much.” 

“Why don’t we play a game? Just for one night.” 

“What kind of game?” she asked, intrigued despite herself. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d played anything. Maybe that was part of her problem? 

“Let’s make believe we’re lovers who are carrying on a secret affair. We’re here for the week, we’ve just had dinner, and now we’re on our way back to our room to make love.” 

He was here for the week. They had just had dinner. Two truths. Brenda frowned. That weird sensation of having been here and done this all before was back, stronger than ever. Was this still just part of their cover story? “You know my cousins are never going to believe something like that, right? We only just met.” 

“This has nothing to do with your cousins. This would just be for us. Haven’t you ever role-played?” 

“Not really, no.” 

“No,” Max repeated. His smile had a bitter edge. “No, I guess not. You’ve probably never felt the need to be anyone but yourself your whole life.” 

She really hadn’t. At the moment, however, she was kind of liking the idea. If she were someone else, maybe she wouldn’t feel so weighted down by responsibility. She wouldn’t have to calculate the consequences of every action, or worry how things would end. She could have fun. She was a little surprised at how unexpectedly exciting that seemed. When had her life become so endlessly dreary? “So how would something like that start?” 

Max smiled. “Like this, I think.” He tugged on their joined hands, used his other hand to cup the back of her neck, and pulled her close. This time she let him. 

It’s just a rock, Brenda reminded herself. Just a random block of inert minerals. It’s no different from the rest of the floor. There’s no such thing as magic—no spells, no curses, no fucking enchantments. I’m only doing this to prove to myself that kissing him means nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

All the same, she could feel herself trembling as he slanted his mouth over hers, as though an icy-cold wind had swept over her. And when their lips touched, she was rocked by something. A shock of recognition. A feeling of completion. Total nonsense, she was sure; just the product of her overactive imagination. But if the sharp intake of his breath was anything to go by, it had just hit them both. What was that anyway? The touch of a ghostly hand? A harbinger of destiny? An echo from the past? Or something completely prosaic—like the draft from an open door? 

Her money was on the door. But all the same, fear had her on the verge of pulling away until Max wrapped an arm around her waist. He held her in place, blocking her flight. He cradled her skull as he deepened the kiss, and she was lost. Nothing had ever felt this right. She slid her arms around his waist and kissed him back, and it didn’t even matter where they were. On the stone, in the restaurant, with a dozen people or more watching. Are you fucking kidding me? Maybe there was something special about the stupid stone. Because she’d only ever felt like this once before—the last time she’d kissed someone here.


Monday, March 14, 2022

HERE BE NEWS for Monday March 14, 2022

Posted by: PG Forte

 

 

 

                            


Monday March 14, 2022 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:



Thursday March 10, 2022: Nicole Luiken discusses her writing process in Switching Gears.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Switching Gears

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

 I recently finished writing the first draft of a YA novel, a fairytale retelling with the working title of The Redemption of Prince Charming. Because my process is weird I always let my first drafts "rest" for awhile so that I can come back to them with a fresh eye. However, I don't like to do two first drafts in a row.

Okay, that's a lie. I'd love to write nothing but first drafts and chase all the shiny new ideas that come my way, but if I did I would never actually finish or publish anything so I don't allow myself to do two first drafts in a row. Which means picking a project to rewrite and switching gears into editing mode.

Some writers adore editing mode; I personally enjoy drafting mode more. Sure, I sometimes get stuck, but if I have a decent outline drafting mostly goes smoothly for me. Whereas editing mode is a lot more up and down. Sometimes I'm in the groove and can dig into polishing those sentences up. More often tedium sets in, especially in fourth or fifth drafts where I'm rereading the same scene for the umpteenth time and going over checklists. (Is there enough tension? Is there a scene hook and ending line? How's the dialogue? Does it show character arc? Did I forget to describe what the setting and any new characters look like? On and on.) 

Some days I feel like I'm just poking at the manuscript rather than making actual progress.Sigh.

I think its time to make myself a pretty bar graph to colour in, so that I can see that I am actually making progress, even if slowly.

Back to the  grind...


Monday, March 7, 2022

HERE BE NEWS for Monday March 7, 2022

Posted by: PG Forte

 

 

                            


Monday March 7, 2022 

Welcome to HERE BE NEWS, where each monday we bring you all the latest from the fantasy romance authors at Here Be Magic:


Thursday March 2, 2022: From the Archives. PG Forte discusses Act Three






HEALER OF THE HEART
Epic Fantasy Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 88.4K
$4.99 e / $15.99 p 

On an alternate world, a woman with extraordinary healing powers, and a man who would be the next ruler of his country, are thrown together to save their lands from warring nations and to solve the mystery of two brutal deaths within their fortress, despite the danger to their own lives.

Through it all, they find a love that defies all odds, and becomes the symbol of hope for the future of their world.

Warning!  Contains bloody swordplay, dungeon indoctrination, covert meeting in the kitchen, challenging authority, repeated attempted murder, total disregard for traditions, and the ultimate Seven Joys. 

Excerpt and Buy Links


Saturday, March 5, 2022

Bring It Back(list) - HEALER OF THE HEART, a Sensuous Epic Fantasy Romance by Linda Mooney

Posted by: Linda Mooney

HEALER OF THE HEART
Epic Fantasy Romance
by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 88.4K
$4.99 e / $15.99 p 

On an alternate world, a woman with extraordinary healing powers, and a man who would be the next ruler of his country, are thrown together to save their lands from warring nations and to solve the mystery of two brutal deaths within their fortress, despite the danger to their own lives.

Through it all, they find a love that defies all odds, and becomes the symbol of hope for the future of their world.

Warning!  Contains bloody swordplay, dungeon indoctrination, covert meeting in the kitchen, challenging authority, repeated attempted murder, total disregard for traditions, and the ultimate Seven Joys. 

Excerpt and Buy Links


Thursday, March 3, 2022

From the Archives: Act Three by PG Forte

Posted by: PG Forte
This was originally posted on February 27, 2019. It seemed topical now, even though the past three years have been "epic" in all the wrong ways and for all the wrong reasons. Still hope springs eternal I guess...

By the time you read this post, it will be my birthday. It occurred to me lately, that my life has turned a corner in the last year or so: I’m officially a crone now. And I have to admit that I’m liking it a lot. In part that’s because I’m a grandmother (I love spending time with my eleven-month-old grandson). In part it’s because I’m physically feeling better now than I have in a long while (thanks to a year of yoga and a much “greener” diet). And, in part, it’s because I finally feel like I’m getting a handle on this whole LIFE thing.  

Yeah, I know. I’m a slow learner. Don’t judge me.  lol

The weirdest thing of all is how I don’t feel old. Ten years ago I did. I actually freaked out when it hit me that I was really on the downhill side of life. So I assumed I'd feel even more panicked now…but, nope. If anything, I’m feeling kind of Zen about the future.  As Bob Dylan put it: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

I think act three is gonna be epic.

Anyway, I feel like celebrating, so I put together a little giveaway. I’m going to give away some books. How many? Well, I don’t know. I guess it will kind of depend on how many people enter. To enter, sign in at Rafflecopter and leave a comment below telling me which book from my backlist you’d like to receive.  Digital only, sorry. 

Backlist can be found at: http://www.pgforte.com/Backlist.htm


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