Friday, February 24, 2017

"Lieutenant Girl, Report to the Bridge. We're out of Coffee" The Sometimes Weird World of Women in Science Fiction by L. A. Kelley. (Plus a free ebook for you!)

Science fiction has come a long way. The genre had roots in the nineteenth century stories of Jules Verne and H. G. Welles, but exploded as a genre after World War II. As technology advanced and women were allowed to embrace more professional roles, science fiction began to reflect a changing world. Instead of characters whose sole purpose was to be saved by the hero, women began to serve alongside them fighting monsters and alien hordes. Often they appeared as scientists, but the division of labor was hardly fifty/fifty. Even a female scientist still had to serve coffee and be slave girl to a robot.

Who Was That Masked Man? Oh, He’s a She.
Andre Norton, aka
Andrew North aka
Allen Weston
Why a robot needs a slave girl is beyond me, but then it was a male writers’ world. Science fiction publishers (an all-boys club) dismissed women’s manuscripts unopened if they didn’t use male or gender neutral pen names to disguise their identity, believing men wouldn’t read a story written by a woman. Alice Norton became Andre Norton to hide the woman behind the words, and also wrote under Andrew North and Allen Weston. Carolyn Janice Cherry became C. J. Cherryh, Alice Bradley was James Tiptree, Jr., Even as late as 2001, Joanne Rowling used the pen name J. K. Rowling at the insistence of the publisher.   

Roles in science fiction movies have improved since the fifties. Occasionally, a woman will even nab a lead, but screenwriters are almost exclusively male, so the differences between the way men and women are treated in dialog and action sequences can be eye-roll worthy, if not downright bizarre. Case in point is the film Prometheus. The heroine, Elizabeth Shaw, needs an alien entity removed from her body. Luckily, nearby is a robotic medical surgical pod. Oh darn, it’s only designed for men. She has to drag herself down the passageway to another one for women.
  
Elizabeth realizes testicles are icky.
Say what?

Yes, apparently scientists can send a spaceship hurdling across the galaxy, but scratch their heads at constructing a single medical facility to care for male and female crew. (Hello, Mr. Male Screenwriter, they’re called sick bays.) Curse those lady parts. They’re just so darn complicated. Can you imagine a man in a science fiction film ever facing a similar dilemma? You’d never see a bunch of female doctors standing around scratching their heads. “So sorry, we can’t help you. It’s the testicles, you see. They’re icky, and we can’t figure them out.”

Thinking Hurts Her Wittle Girl Bwain
In science fiction a heroine’s journey generally parallels
that of a hero. She goes from girl or woman on a quest to the climax where she confronts the antagonist. Often, fighting is not merely one of the options offered for victory, it’s the only one. Except for her gender, she’s pretty much a clone of the guys. Displaying feminine traits is even used as an insult. How many times have you come across a variety of, “What are we, a bunch of girls?”

This is a crying shame. Don’t get me wrong.  I like warrior women. They can be lots of fun, but why do they seem to be more of a requirement and less of an alternative, particularly in science fiction books and films? Why do female and male characters have to always be so darn similar? Why can’t a girl show a softer side without being thought of as weak and not as good as the boys? Why must she  fight more than she thinks?

Smart girls can be done well. Two recently acclaimed science fiction films, Gravity and Arrival, both had female leads and neither one packed heat. Teenager Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time is both smart and brave and doesn’t need ninja training to rescue her father or brother. All the women in Andy Weir’s The Martian are intelligent, strong, and engaging individuals. I suspect not one of them ever picked a bar fight.

There’s no need to toss warrior women. They have a place, too, but I say add more clever girls to the mix; tough, brave, smart girls who don’t realize their abilities until put in an impossible situation and their true strengths shine. They don’t have to walk, talk, and act like the boys to get the job done or always rely on magic or a gun. They can have both hobbies and adventures and be brave, loyal, true leaders who understand femininity doesn’t equal space slut in spandex with her boobs hanging out. Then maybe the next time someone says, “What are you? A bunch of girls?” the answer will be, “Absolutely, and you’re lucky to have us.”

A Special Free Offer for You!
To celebrate the release of book 3 in my YA space opera, book 1, Rimrider, is free on Amazon. The series has smart females of all ages, and the heroine, Jane Benedict, is brainy rather than brawny. Hurry, offer ends February 28.


Orphan, pirate, spy.

Teenager Jane Benedict is awakened by her father and ordered to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, Mathias Benedict is dead and Jane and her brother, Will, are wards of United Earth Corporation. To evade the company's murderous clutches and uncover the meaning of her father’s last message, Jane leads Will on a desperate escape across the galaxy aboard the Freetrader smuggler ship, Solar Vortex. Tangled in the crew’s fight against UEC, Jane saves the life of young smuggler Mac Sawyer and learns her father’s code identifies a secret cargo shipment that can spell doom for the entire Freetrader cause and the extinction of an alien race.

Piracy, intrigue, romance, and a daring rebellion from Earth wait on the planet Rimrock. Will Jane answer the call to adventure and find new purpose on the galactic rim or will death for high treason be her fate?


L. A. Kelley writes scify/fantasy adventure books with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. She’s never picked a bar fight, but could if she wanted.

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email: l.a.kelley.author@gmail.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Follow Me Into the Woods My Dear


Follow Me Into the Woods My Dear: A Paranormal Valentine Poem 


By Francesca Quarto
Follow me into the woods my dear 
the leaves are green with fragrance fair
Follow my steps each footfall  clear
the cloven shapes, makes one to stare.
Follow my shadow when sun is hidden
let milky moonlight become your guide
And as for Faeries who come unbidden
their promised love will not abide.
Follow me under the bowing Willow
the earth beneath your form is humming
I've made for you a downy pillow
so drowse my dear, our storm is coming.

While Valentine's Day is past, it's never too late for passion when it grabs the imagination and squeezes out a sigh!  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tips from a Newbie by Guest @MiaJoCeleste



Tips from a Just-Published New Author
by
Mia Jo Celeste

When I was pregnant with my first son, my friend, a new mom herself, kept saying, “You have no idea what you’re in for.”
I was a little offended. As a teacher and a former nanny and babysitter, I thought I did. But when my son arrived, and I was responsible for him twenty-four-seven, I began to think my friend was right—the experience was totally new. In January, my first release Other Than came out, and again, my friend’s words rang in my head—you have no idea.
Being newly published is both exhilarating and scary. There were and probably still is a lot I’ve yet to learn about marketing books, but here are five helpful tips I’d like to pass along.
First, preparation is important. Read articles and study what other writers say about reaching readers. Ask authors you know for advice. Consider writing blog or Facebook posts in advance. Line up places where you might post. Get some early reviews.
Second, cut yourself some slack. Remember that humans learn by trial and error. Mistakes are part of the process. Inevitably, you’ll slip up or miss something. It’s okay.
Third, start working on your next novel. If you’re like me, writing is the fun part. My favorite stories are always the ones I’m currently working on.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to ask for help. So far, I’ve gotten a lot of advice and assistance from friends and strangers, as well as from experts and novices. I bet your experience will be the same.
Fifth, give yourself time. Embrace the newness. Know that tasks you’ve never done before will take longer. Let them. Schedule that in and while you’re at it consider adding extra minutes, so you can pause in wonder when it all comes together.
I’m guessing most of this post’s readers are authors. Please pipe in, share something you learned about the publishing process or something that surprised you in the comments.


As I said before, my novel just came out. OTHER THAN, a Gaslamp Fantasy/ Paranormal Historical Romance is only weeks old and I’d love to share its blurb and an excerpt with you.


Blurb:
It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh.
Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Bound to her by cords stronger than death, Lord Victor Lowell is both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Drawn to the compellingly gallant and vulnerable soul behind his mercurial humors, Evie can only watch as protecting her forces Victor to sacrifice yet more of himself to the ancient evil long tethered to his soul.
Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will to do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight. Battle lines drawn, the soul mates resolve to find redemption or die trying.

Excerpt

He materialized in the inky shadow.

Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.
Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”
An accusation.
He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”
He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”
A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?
Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.
She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”
“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”
She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”
“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”

If you’re interested in getting a copy of Other Than you can find it at these places.

Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. She grew up watching horror movies and reading romances. To her, the two genres go together like salty and sweet in kettle corn. If you’d like to contact Mia Jo, you can find her at these places.


In addition, I’d be honored if you’d like to review a copy. Feel free to contact me miaATmiacelesteDOTcom if you’re interested. Thanks.



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guest Lea Kirk Hits the Right Notes @LeaKirkWrites



Hitting the right notes
(Warning: mild spoiler alert)

As an author, an often asked question is “Do you write with music?” Readers ask authors this question. Authors ask authors this question. It even shows up in author interviews from time to time.

My answer is no, and yes.

I’m really not being intentionally obtuse here, I swear. The truth is, I’m not a musician and I can’t read a note of music, but I love music and it’s fundamental to my writing.

So, why do I say no? I’m one of those writers who craves absolute quiet when I’m writing. No kids running through the house, no answering the phone when it rings, and no music to interrupt the flow of my thoughts-to-the-page. Sounds pretty boring, huh? It’s not, trust me. There’s plenty of noise going on in my head as each scene plays out. As I type I can “hear” it. The sound of boots running through the corridors of a spaceship, the thump of stones thrown into a muddy bank on the far side of a rushing river, the deadly whisper of a Matiran telum being shot.

Here’s the yes part: During my plotting phase I do listen to music to help set a mood or inspire a scene. Those tunes stay with me when I write. In the first book of my SFR series, Prophecy, the heroine and hero (Alex and Gryf) experience a spiritual and literal bonding of their souls. The song, Deora Ar Mo Chroi by Enya captures this moment beautifully. Another Enya tune, Tempus Vernum, can be attributed to the villain, Vyn Kotas. And when Alex and her brother, Nick, finally go into space for the first time I hear The Longships, also by Enya.

You’re sensing a trend here, aren’tcha? Lol. But wait, there’s more! The song I refer to as Alex and Gryf’s theme song is I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz. So, as amazingly ideal as Enya’s music is to my series, she’s not exclusive. Check out some of what’s on my iPod at the end of this blog.
Not only does music inspire me, it inspires my characters. There is a scene in Prophecy where the humans are bonding around a camp fire. My character Bodie Jones—a R&B/new-age singer—and Nick lead the group in a little sing-along. Being a professional performer, Bodie understands how music can unify people. He uses his talent to rally them together, to give them another bond beyond their shared experience of having survived a devastating alien invasion. He helps them grieve and gives them hope.

The importance-of-music-in-our-lives thread continues in Salvation, the second book in the Prophecy Series, in which Nick embraces his inner musician to the detriment of his true calling as a healer. The guitar Bodie gave him in the first book is his most treasured possession, and it’s with him—aiding him at the moment of his epiphany. By the way, Heaven Can Wait by Meatloaf is Nick’s theme song, no question.

Do I refer to music that has personal meaning to me in my writing? Sure! One of my favorite songs is Come Take a Trip in My Airship (Natalie Merchant’s version, of course. Best one out there.) Ask any member of my nerd-herd (the collective name my husband gave our five children while on a hike one day) and I’m pretty sure they know all the words by heart. During their younger years I played it quite often at home, on road trips, and while running errands. (Super secret note for all those who have stayed with me this far: “The Airship Song” will make another guest appearance in Collision, the third book in the series coming out later this year.)

Now, I have a question for you. Readers, do you listen to music while you read? Why, or why not? Authors, how about you? Music when you write, yay or nay? Leave your answers in the comments, I’d love to read them and respond.

Finally, as promised, here is a small sample of motivating music on my iPod (besides all the Enya music):

I Won’t Give Up Jason Mraz (Alex and Gryf’s theme song)
Tempus Vernum and Deora Ar Mo Chroi Enya (Prophecy’s villain’s evil theme music & hero/heroine’s soul bonding music together in one gorgeous video)
93 Million Miles Jason Mraz (Poignant song that defines Prophecy for me)
Deep Peace Bill Douglas (This is the song Flora sings for Alex and Gryf’s wedding, and this version is exactly what she sounds like in my mind)
Desperado The Eagle’s (Who else thinks this is the perfect theme song for the “other couple” in Prophecy?)
The Longboats Enya (Alex and Nick’s first foray into space)
Heaven Can Wait Meatloaf (Nick’s theme song in Salvation)
Anthem of My Heart Robin Spielberg (Amazingly talented pianist! I have almost as much of her music on my iPod as I do Enya’s)
100 Years Five for Fighting
Starlight Muse
Dreams The Cranberries
Feel Again OneRepublic
Come With Me Now The Kongos (Making accordions are cool again!)

Bonus reveal: Chasing Cars Snow Patrol – This is Flora and Fander’s theme song for Collision (yes, really!), and frankly the most perfect song ever, imo. This is the acoustic version.
There are more, but I’ve reached my word count limit. Lol. Thank you for dropping by, and thank you to PNR for hosting me on your blog today!


SALVATION, Book Two of the Prophecy Series
A blessing and a curse…
Seven years ago, a single moment changed the course of Nicholaus Bock’s life forever—the moment his preternatural Gift to heal awakened in him. A gift that made him an invaluable commodity to the known galaxy. Now his mentor’s intriguing and secretive new student goes out of her way to challenge his loyalty to everything he values.
A dark secret…
After facing death and destruction during the Anferthian invasion, Sakura Yamata revels in her new-found Gift to heal. Helping Earth’s survivors keeps her mind off the loss of her family, and the memory of the terrible choices she made. Nick could penetrate her defenses and discover what she’s hiding. She must not let the handsome healer close enough for that to happen.
A race facing annihilation…
When a mysterious disease strikes the hidden sanctuary of the Anferthian dissenters, Nick and Sakura are called in to help. But someone is going to great lengths to ensure the dissenters don’t survive. Nick and Sakura must set aside their differences and work together to save them before the fragile peace between three worlds is shattered.
~*~
Excerpt
Nick clenched and unclenched his fists. “I’m doing my part to help.”
Graig quirked one ruddy eyebrow at him. “What do you hide from, Nicholaus Bock?”
He blinked. “As if you don’t know.”
“Tell me.”
What the hell? “I didn’t ask for this…this…Gift, you know that. If I choose not to use it, then no one has the right to say otherwise.”
“Do you have the right to deny those in great need who would benefit from your Gift?”
Well, shit, Graig had just played the humanity card.
“Tell me where you’d be, where all of us would be, if your sister had run away from her destiny,” the Matiran said.
And now the guilt card. “Obviously, Alex is a much better person than I am.”
“No, she’s just not a selfish child.”
Ooh. Low blow. But what was wrong with trying to recapture normal? To be the person he’d been before his Gift to heal had awakened in that wide field somewhere in the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. His work here in New L.A. had given him the autonomy he’d craved. And it was helpful, sort of.
“The request also comes from Dante,” Graig added quietly.
Nick’s breath caught in his throat. The Matiran healer was only fourteen years his senior, but had been mentor, brother, and father to him in his hour of need. Not to mention his magister in the healing arts. Without that guidance, Nick would have been lost, his Gift potentially out of control. Scary thought: a rogue healer. It’d happened before. Not in his life time, but he’d read accounts of healers who’d used their Gift to play God, deciding who lived or died based on their whim. Even worse were the ones who’d turned mercenary, hiring out their Gift to governments or other groups. A shudder ran down his spine. Matirans could control the known universe, but their social structure kept a tight rein on its people. Is that why they were calling him back now? Were they afraid he’d go rogue?
He flattened his palms over the cushioned back of the recliner and leaned forward. “What do they want from me, Graig?”
~*~
Buy links


Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction romance stories. In 2016 she released Prophecyand Salvation, books one and two of her Prophecy Series, as well as All of Me, a short story set in the same universe. Another short story, Space Ranger, also came out as part of the Pets in Space Anthology. GraveTells blog named her Debut Author of the Year for 2016. Her third book, Collision, will be released in 2017.

When she not busy writing, she’s hanging out with her wonderful hubby of twenty-six years, their five kids (aka, the nerd herd), and a large Doberman who thinks he's a people.

 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Appeal of Fated Love

One of my personal favorite paranormal romance story lines is that of the destined or fated lovers. By this I mean that fate or the universe or the powers-that-be have given some kind of sign that these two people are meant to be together forever. The question is, why does this concept appeal so much?


Nice to Be Sure
It’s my opinion that the greatest appeal of destined love is that, in this crazy, grass-is-greener world, it’s so nice to be sure. In this time when divorce is so common and accepted and there are so many “choices”, people are always wondering if they picked the right person. Fated love allows the couple to be absolutely certain (once they get around to admitting they love each other). Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to second guess ourselves?

Bigger Than Life
Fated love is bigger than real life, which is one of the reasons I like to read paranormal romance in the first place. I like the idea of something so special that it was deemed true and important by fate. Real life relationships are hard, so that larger-than-life connection that somehow makes the “hard” seem easier. Or at least helps you know that at then end of “hard” you’ll still be stronger together.

Fun to Watch
These relationships are oh-so-fun to watch develop. Frequently, the couple finds out they are fated lovers well before they’re ready to admit it. Often when they’ve only just met. People still want the choice, until their choice is made, and then it’s back to “nice to be sure.” So watching the ensuing fireworks is fun.

Unlimited
The way in which fated love happens is limited only by the imagination of the author. Is a Seer involved? Is there some kind of physical sign (glowing light? tattoo? mark?)? Does everyone know or just them? Is it central to the plot? Can they be separated? What happens if someone else tries to break them up? In my Svatura series, I call them te’sorthene and the couple has to figure it out. In Bait N' Witch their sigils burn a tattoo somewhere on their bodies, and grow brighter as their love develops.You get the picture – lots of fun ways to take this concept.

So… are you with me on this whole fated love thing? Is it something that really appeals to you? Or does it annoy you that it’s necessary to help the couple “know for sure” ? Where do you stand on this concept?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kiss More! by C.J. Burright

I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is over, but I’m of the opinion that love and all its magic should be celebrated every day. Kind of like chocolate and flowers. Please, stop giving me roses and Godiva…said no one ever. And one of the best parts about being in love is the kiss.

Here are five awesome reasons to suck face with your partner at every possible opportunity (in case you’re looking for some valid excuses to keep on smooching).
1. Locking lips keeps the blood pressure down. It dilates your blood vessels…in other words, kissing is good for your heart.
2. Hang onto your favorite kisser. Tongue wrestling with the same person over time reduces your levels of stress. The longer the time, the bigger the decline.

3. Kissing = happy. But you already knew that, right? The reason behind that hit of happy is kissing signals your brain to release a joy concoction of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. No prescription required.
4. Puckering up can help you find Mr. or Miss Right. Trading saliva is a natural way to find out if their biological profile is a perfect fit to yours. If that first kiss is a turn-off, there might be a good chemical reason behind it and a heads-up to steer clear.
5. Tired of that winter cold? Forget chicken soup. Swapping spit not only gives your immune system a boost, it can improve allergy resistance.


via GIPHY
And to celebrate the glorious kiss, here’s a kissing excerpt from Wonderfully Wicked, the first in my Dreamcaster Series. For a bit of set-up, our main girly Kalila hasn’t had the best experiences with kissing, so she dodges it big time. Luckily, Lydon’s more than willing to change her mind. J


Lydon’s laugh shattered the thought she might be stuck in one of the best dreams of her life. No, this was a nightmare. She’d wake up to find it had all been a wish of the subconscious mind played out in the dance of night.
With callused hands, he cradled her face, and his silver-blue gaze found hers. He eased closer.
Kalila tensed. A kiss was on the way, and not a quick, painless peck under her control. Heart pounding, she forced herself to stay still. Maybe the back flashes wouldn’t come. Maybe, like her nightmares, Lydon would make it safe.
He brushed the corner of her mouth with the pad of his thumb. His peppermint breath caressed her lips a moment before his mouth. Not the slobbery, oral attack she expected. Soft, and mobile, sweetly coaxing, not a single bad memory.
Tingles coursed through her blood, exhilarating, claiming every inch of her body. Her heart fluttered like a trapped bird in her chest. Mel was right. Kissing was glorious.
She tangled her fingers in his hair. She spiraled out of control, drowned in the hard press of his body against hers, the riot of sensations. How had she survived so long without this?
Lydon hauled her onto his lap and dragged her tight against his chest, deepening his kiss. The pleasure of his tongue against hers sent shocks to a low, secret place inside. No slugs, no slime, only satin swirls spinning a web of want. She breathed in his wild, electric scent.
Closer. Deeper. More.
As if he read her mind, he swung her around in a quick, smooth shift. Kalila straddled his hips and locked her arms around his neck, absorbed by his heat and hunger. If she didn’t survive, at least she’d die happy.


Happy kissing people! Did you know that most people remember their first kiss more vividly than they do the first time they had sex? If you're feeling frisky and want to share, do you remember your first kiss? 





Saturday, February 18, 2017

Love Supernatural Style-by Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Since February is the I Heart U month, I thought I’d talk about paranormal love.  For one thing, it often takes cross-racial and sometimes bi-racial love to a whole new level. Unfortunately it’s pretty easy for a fiction author to draw upon real life experiences and/or situations to write about the difficulties and emotional and/or psychological ramifications for a couple in love who are from different worlds or even species, sometimes literally. And once you get past the family and social interference, you often have more personal or intimate problems to deal with. I mean, you have to admit that having “emotionless” Spock fall in love was an inevitable challenge for the Star Trek folk.


These days, you have zombies who are no longer “humans” who eat and kill people, or others who are more comedic and struggle with keeping their body parts intact while continuing to “act” human, or still others who have tons of problems due to the whole “undead” thing, but are still involved with their live friends, family and significant others who are often helping them disguise their unnatural state of being.


 Add paranormal to the mix, and now you have to consider shifting, unnatural versus natural desires, if, when, and how these changes effect the physical relationships of the characters.  If you have various species, how does that come into play between two lovers?

If love makes a paranormal world go around, as in romance novels, the author has created a world in which all the above elements come into play. The world-building involved in a well-crafted paranormal romance is complex and fascinating, which is one of the reasons fans love them.


In my Illuminati series, I had to craft a world in which off-world beings arrive on Earth as a sanctuary and like the Stargate aliens they have godlike powers, knowledge and abilities. Enter the “proof” of alien encounters in the caves of Ancient Babylon and the Pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses. Create a family feud, world-shattering secrets and misdeeds and you have a need to go underground. Once secreted away, you incorporate the mysterious Illuminati with a “believable” conspiracy theory and morph to modern day where you get The Book of Life with all the complexity of immortals who face the anguish of outliving beloved mortals—much like the dilemma faced by Anne Rice’s vampires. Task them with reversing catastrophic misdeeds of past generations that resulted in genetic disease and mutations that caused extreme human suffering, and pit them against power-hungry but equal rivals who think of humans as pets and slaves, and you can see why I have called my series Urban Fantasy reinvented. It’s a true mashup, a combination of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, mystery and romance all tied together with fascinating locations and jet-setting action adventure.

That's just a taste of what goes into the series, and just a taste is what I have demonstrated in my new release novella STOLEN SECRETS.  If you’re interested in reading for an honest review, please follow this link:  https://www.instafreebie.com/free/0vePX


Offered an enormous sum by an anonymous benefactor for the acquisition of an ancient ceremonial relic, a sum that would keep the antiquities shop in Cairo her father left her afloat while she continued her own archaeological pursuits, Lady Isabella Valentine was distracted rather than tempted, then suspicious, when the dashing young Bedouin slipped in just before closing and promised her a deal she couldn’t refuse--for the very same relic. Despite his sensual appeal, she did refuse him, sending him away.
 
Prince Mukhtar, son of Sheikh Abdul Kummel al-Rahman, leader of the Hassana, is on a sacred Illuminati mission for Queen Isis to retrieve something stolen from one of her temples over a thousand years ago. This mortal disbeliever though an enchanting English rose, however beautiful she might be, is clearly in the power of the Usurper and must be persuaded to help him, one way or another. But neither of them know of the evil power they are up against, or what hidden dangers await them in the tomb of the high priest.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bumps In The Road ~ #LynnCrain #amwriting #LifeBumps


Hi everyone!

I know I haven’t been around last month and this month’s post is late as well. I apologize but life has decided to give me a few bumps...

Life has changed drastically for me and I am now just coming to grips to what’s transpired. Now, first, I need to explain that this isn’t a call for sympathy or anything like that but rather how to deal with those life bumps we all get. Second, things happen totally outside our control, a lot, and as writers we need to know how we’re going to overcome these challenges.

In the beginning of January, my husband of 31 years had a routine colonoscopy. He’d been having some gastric issues since he’d been diagnosed with giardia over two years ago but we just put it down to errant gut flora. Low and behold, we got a major wake up call when the doctor told us flat out he had colon cancer.

After a very stunned few days, I knew we had to get a handle on this. We saw doctors, we went to tests and did various other things to insure he received the best care possible. The worst news we received was that it was Stage IV, while the best news was it’s 100% curable with time, chemo and surgery.

I breathed a sigh of relief and immediately went back to writing and formatting a book for the print version of an anthology I was in that was set to release on February 28. Some friends of ours couldn’t believe that I wasn’t more worried and could still think about doing ‘my job’ because I’m a full time writer. Why wasn’t I catering to my dear husband’s every need? My thought was…how do you know I’m not?

For me, life is one of the things that happen no matter what your job is. It’s how you approach each and every life bump that shapes you and your career. Having been in nursing years ago and having a father-in-law who is a retired surgeon plus one of the best medical teams available, I knew my husband would be getting the best care possible. Now, I could do everything on someone else’s time table and not write but I’d be a miserable person. At that point, I would probably be useless to the one who needed me most…my husband…and that wouldn’t do.

Writing is part of the fabric of my being. I can’t survive without it. I sometimes live, breath and eat my stories because I’m so in tune with what I do. My husband knows this and because of my intimate relationship to my work, we discussed my writing and the things I had planned for this year. So far, I have three book signings and one conference lined up. Knowing just how important these things are to me, we decided that as long as they don’t interfere with his treatment, they are a go. Matter of fact, by the time you actually read this, I’ve already done the conference since it was the weekend of the 18th. We basically made it a family trip for visiting the clan in Nevada.

Sure, there are going to be some tough times with surgery and side effects to chemo but those are things necessary to get him well. So far, he’s had two chemo treatments and I’ve gone with a writing tablet to do some work. One week, I did some class work for a Southwest Studies class and the next week I worked on blurbs, loglines and what I’d be doing for my marketing plan with the anthology I’m in. It was definitely time needed at the hospital but unwasted on both of our parts. The DH sat there and answered work email. I took a picture of him because both of us are happiest when we’re doing work or learning something new.

While we wanted to zip, life wanted us to zag. We allowed ourselves time to get used to the new dichotomy then moved on with what we needed to do to make life happy as we moved from point a to point b. It was a little different than planned and knocked us out of align for about six weeks but now we’re back better than before.

And I’m writing with a little different view on life. Please join me next month as I negotiate through life and writing!

Lynn


Check out my latest non-paranormal book, Decades of Love, on pre-order today for only $0.99. Get it quick the price will go up by March 15!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Magical Birthday Celebration

My birthday was this week, and a rather momentous one, so I celebrated it with a special ritual, shared here.

I came across this "reverse birthday" through pure synchronicity. A month ago, I participated in a book swap online. Send a book to the name you are given, put your name at the top of the list and share it on Facebook. One of those chain friends' things that never work—except this time it did. I was pleasantly deluged with books, including one from a woman named Juliette A. She shared one of her favorites, Grandmother Time, written by Z. Budapest. It was even autographed for Juliette by the author in 1993!

Thank you so much Juliette. I am sharing Ms. Budapest's A Birthday Celebration, because, as she so eloquently says in her preface, "A life without celebration is only half lived."

A Birthday Celebration
Invite the friends you really want to be with. Old friends, good friends and family.
Get everything together as usual—decorations, cake and candles—but don't follow the usual procedure, because in wishcraft, blowing out the candles on your cake is blowing away your good luck!

Instead, arrange as many candles as you have lived years in this life, but put them on a tray separate from your cake. Take the time to make candle holders of aluminum foil for each candle.

 Then sit your guests down, sing "Happy Birthday," and serve the cake. But when you would ordinarily blow out the candles, light them instead.

As you light the first one, give thanks to your mom, who gave you the opportunity to come through the veil between life and death and become you. She is the origin of your universe. The second candle, and all the rest, you light one by one in honor of yourself. Tell a little story of your life, and let your guests react, laugh and cheer for you. Reveal about three good stories this party—save some for next time.

When you recall an event worthy of special attention, stop and offer a toast. In other words, celebrate during your story telling.
After you've finished lighting all the candles, let them burn down naturally. In the glow of your candle light, may you be awed by your own endurance and beauty!

Happy Birthday to all of my readers and friends. I hope you will treat yourself to this ritual on your own birthday. Thank you Juliette for the gift book. I will treasure it. And thank you Z. Budapest for sharing your life in writing it.

Blessed Be!
____________________

Sandy Wright loves to take ordinary characters and thrust them into extraordinary situations.
In her debut novel, Song of the Ancients, a Midwestern woman moves west for a fresh start. Instead, she becomes the prey in an ancient war to open an underworld portal buried in Sedona, Arizona's magical red rocks.
Readers interested in the dark side of our supernatural world will enjoy of this paranormal suspense series, written by a real-life Wiccan high priestess.





Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Forbidden Love in Romance by Guest Jessica E. Subject

FORBIDDEN LOVE IN ROMANCE
Thank you so much to fellow sci-fi romance author, Diane Burton, for inviting me to guest blog on Paranormal Romantics!

There are many tropes used in romance, but one of my favorites is that of forbidden love. Usually my stories of forbidden love involved an alien and someone from Earth, or two aliens who are of different castes or those whose species are at war with each other. With my newest release, the forbidden love is much more contemporary. It’s between a young woman and the young man who grew up next door to her. Only they are of different races. Now, in 2017, one would wonder why this is still classed as “forbidden love”, but if we look at the political climate of this year, it is easy to understand why.

My favorite part about writing these stories is the fact that the main characters defy the wishes or orders of their parents/superiors for the sake of love. They look past the biases of their parents, their family, or their race to come to their own conclusions about the forbidden side. And many times, they are willing to risk all material possessions to be with the one person who has captured their heart. To me, there is nothing that says love more than that. Well, besides completely giving their life, but that wouldn’t provide the happily ever after ending that romances require. It is also a trope that can carry through all sub-genres of romance.

Tell me: What are some of your favorite forbidden love books or movies?


IT TOOK A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE
by Jessica E. Subject
BLURB:

It started with a kiss.

Then the zombies came. Now, Missy must work with the neighbor her parents hate if she wants to survive. But zombies aren't the only threat to her life, or her heart.

BUY LINKS:



EXCERPT:

RJ pressed on the text and read….

Contagion arrived from Ostrander.
Spread through the hospital.
Stay in bunker.
I’m infected.
Zombies

Zombies? He dropped his phone and stared at it on the floor, expecting it to explode. Zombies didn’t exist. He was in some kind of dream. Had to be. Missy actually had come home for the summer. And kissed him. Now, zombies.

“What is it?” Missy bent down to pick up his cell then handed it back to him. “What happened back at the park?”

“Zombies.” The word came out before he had a chance to stop it. He didn’t know whether to laugh or grab Missy again and run.

A crooked smile formed dimples in her cheeks. “You’re joking, right? Trying to help me laugh off what happened.”

“I wish.” He showed her the message from his father. “My dad doesn’t have a sense of humor.”

The phone beeped, and she pushed his hand away. “I think it needs to be charged. We should call him just to be sure. Or contact somebody. Maybe he meant something else. You know how stupid autocorrect can be.”

RJ rushed to the kitchen, found his charger, and plugged in the cell. But, by then, he’d lost signal. Reception was spotty in West Vitula, but he couldn’t get anything. He peeked through the doorway, out to the living room. “Missy, can you get a signal?”

After digging into her purse, she pulled out her phone with a pink, sparkly case. Not at all what he expected from her. Had he missed that girly side, or had someone given it to her, and she didn’t want to hurt their feelings? That he could understand.

She held the cell up and moved around the room. “I got nothing. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we should try outside?” Though he doubted it would make a difference.

Missy stepped over to window and shoved the curtains aside. “Um, there are people coming. And they don’t…look right.”

RJ glanced outside. Neighbors walked down the middle of the street, their bodies twitching. And no one stopped to talk to one another. They just kept marching along to some unknown destination. As they came closer, he noticed their tattered clothing, their disheveled hair, and limbs connected at odd angles to the rest of their body, as if they’d been trampled. And now they were up and walking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, mostly alien romances, ranging from sweet to super hot. Sometimes she dabbles in paranormal and contemporary as well, bringing to life a wide variety of characters. In her stories, you could not only meet a sexy alien or two, but also clones and androids. You may be transported to a dystopian world where rebels are fighting to live and love, or to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.
When Jessica is not reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to go to fitness class and walk her Great Pyrenees/Retriever her family adopted from the local animal shelter.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at jessicasubject.com.

AUTHOR LINKS: