Monday, March 31, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases


Book two of the Realm Walker series

Juliana Norris, Realm Walker with the Agency, is an Altered. A fact that she runs up against every time she's forced to work with human police officers, and their species-ist commissioner, on cases they can't solve themselves. Which happens more than they would like to admit.

Her gift--the quality that makes her the best Realm Walker in the business, without boast--is the ability to read magical signatures. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she can't remember, is anyone's guess. And when Altered children start going missing with only wild magical signatures as clues, her heritage is the last thing on her mind.

She can't afford such distractions, and she definitely can't afford to worry about the fact that her mate, master vampire Thomas Kendrick, hasn't spoken to her since she saved him from a demon--maybe it's because she had to stab him to do so. Because whoever is kidnapping these children must be very powerful to wield wild magic. Very powerful, and very dangerous indeed.

Now available: Buy here!


Group Announcements


WITCH BOUND by Eleri Stone is a 2014 RITA® Award finalist! You can find the full list here.


Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulations to Tina, the winner of last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! AJ Larieu will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Death's Daughter (Realm Walker #2)

Posted by: Kathleen Collins
Hello, readers! How have you been? I feel like it's been forever since I posted. Today I'm here to tell you about my new release from Carina Press. Death's Daughter, book two in the Realm Walker series, releases tomorrow March 31st. Book two is a little darker than the first book, but I love it and hope you will too.

Excerpt:

In the warm afternoon light, a lone swing rocked back and forth in a steady rhythm, its chains groaning a mournful dirge despite the fact no one sat upon it. It hadn’t faltered once in the hour since the child vanished. The fifth to disappear in three weeks. Each one taken in front of at least a dozen witnesses who couldn’t recall a single thing later—no details of when they’d last seen the child, nothing about any strangers hanging around. They didn’t even recollect hearing a scream of protest. In this case, every student and teacher on the playground had been distracted at the same exact moment, but no one could remember by what when asked.

Police and technicians swarmed the steps of New Hope Elementary and the courtyard in front. All of them instinctively avoided the playground and the magic at work there. All except the figure that stood in the far corner by the rusty swing set, hands in her pockets as the late-October wind whipped around her, snatching at her clothes and carrying the scent of burning leaves. Her hair was short but still long enough for her to catch an occasional glimpse of the royal-blue streaks among the black as it blew into her face. She tucked an errant strand behind one ear, but doubted it would stay put for long.

A Realm Walker, an officer for the Agency, Juliana Norris was here because the first policeman on the scene had called her directly. This wasn’t the Agency’s investigation. Not yet, anyway. Her involvement was strictly advisory until the commissioner climbed down from his shiny pedestal long enough to admit local law enforcement wasn’t up to doing the job on their own. While the victims thus far had been Altered, the perp hadn’t been identified. Since it was possible a human was behind this, Commissioner Phipps claimed jurisdiction. No one high enough at the Agency cared enough to contradict him. Yet.

Her phone vibrated at her hip. She glanced at the screen as she pulled it out—Ben Nichols, her boss. The initial kidnappings had garnered so much attention in the Altered community he’d been forced to cut her suspension short by a week—an action he hadn’t been happy to take at all. A fact he reminded her of every day.

 
Juliana Norris, Realm Walker with the Agency, is an Altered. A fact that she runs up against every time she’s forced to work with human police officers, and their species-ist commissioner, on cases they can’t solve themselves. Which happens more than they would like to admit.

Her gift—the quality that makes her the best Realm Walker in the business, without boast—is the ability to read magical signatures. Whether the gift came from her father, the dark fae god of death, or the mage mother she can’t remember, is anyone’s guess. And when Altered children start going missing with only wild magical signatures as clues, her heritage is the last thing on her mind.

She can’t afford such distractions, and she definitely can’t afford to worry about the fact that her mate, master vampire Thomas Kendrick, hasn’t spoken to her since she saved him from a demon—maybe it’s because she had to stab him to do so. Because whoever is kidnapping these children must be very powerful to wield wild magic. Very powerful, and very dangerous indeed.

Available for purchase at Amazon Barnes & Noble and Carina Press


Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about fantasy worlds and the people who live in them. The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband. She is currently hard at work on her next book.

Twitter: @kathy_collins




Friday, March 28, 2014

Never Cry Wolf

Posted by: Annie Nicholas

There are moments in life where something you've witnessed or heard affects your way of viewing the world and people forever.  In 1983 I was twelve and watched the movie Never Cry Wolf. It's about a government researcher, sent to study the "menace" of wolves in the north, and instead he learns about the true beneficial and positive nature of the species.
 
It's the first time I heard or understood the concept of pack.
 
 



Never Cry Wolf


Fall in love with an unconventional pack of shifters.

 
 
I love pack life. I come from a huge French Canadian family and for some reason I feel like I can relate to pack life because of this. LOL  We're loud and fight among each other but God forbid a an outsider tries to attack one of our own because can also work together almost without a word.
 
While taking the long drive home (2 hours) one summer, I was thinking about this and was wondering where I would fit in if we were actually wolves. Where in hierarchy would I be. It made me wonder more about the omegas. We read lots of books about the dominant alpha males who lead the pack but the omegas are the heart. This lead me to create my own small wolf pack of misfit omegas who banded together so they can survive a threat.
 
If you love underdogs then you'll love my pansies of the paranormal.
 
 
http://www.amazon.com/Annie-Nicholas/e/B0032MXCZS/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
 
 
 
 
 
 

Annie Nicholas

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Out of Order!

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
Judge Judy says: Let's take a recess.
My whole life, I have lived in ignorance of the ways of others. In fact, I didn’t even know such things were possible.

People read books out of series order.

Seriously? We’re allowed to do that? I thought there was some kind of law. No?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a book that looked really good, but it was the second or third in its series. The first book was nowhere to be found. With a sad heart and a full wallet, I put the book back on the shelf.

Golem in My Glovebox, book four of my Monster Haven series, comes out next month. Writing a longer series has forced me to really think about this idea of reading out of order. Sometimes I see reviews of book two or three and people say they really liked it, so they went back and read the rest of the series.

I’m thrilled! I’m grateful! I’m so pleased they liked the book all on its own! But I still don’t understand how the books were acquired this way. They’re digital, so anywhere someone got book two or three, they could’ve bought book one instead.

I’m not complaining. Honest. I’m trying to understand. I’m also kind of mourning all those books past-Rachel put back on the shelf and never read because of a deeply held belief that if you read out of order, demons will eat your soul.

Mine aren’t meant to be stand-alone books, so it worries me. Yes, you can read them alone, but they’re written with a story arc that goes chronologically through the books and grows in tension with each one until the finale of the last book. It seems to me that book one would feel kind of wimpy and disconnected if you started with book three.

And yet, it seems to work for some people. I’m wondering if I’m trying too hard to build tension in increments. Or if maybe I should write less books in my next series. Or if maybe I should stop taking the whole thing so seriously and just chill. My readers are awesome. They’re chill. I should be chill.

But what about reviewers? With book four coming out, I hesitate to go on a blog tour and try to attract new reviewers—book four is a terrible place to bring someone in. We’re more than halfway. How can they possibly like the book if they don’t know how the characters got to that point from the previous three books?

I’m at a loss. Do any of you read books out of order? Does it work? Are you still satisfied?

Should I try it?

Rachel's head is packed with an outrageous amount of useless Disney trivia. She is terrified of thunder, but not of lightning, and sometimes recites the Disneyland dedication speech during storms to keep herself calm. She finds it appalling that nobody from Disney has called yet with her castle move-in date.

Originally from Northern California, she has a tendency to move every few years, resulting in a total of seven different states and a six-year stint in England. Currently, she's living in the Heartland, planning her next grand adventure. Rachel has one heroic husband, two grown kids, a crazy-catlady starter kit, and an imaginary dog named Waffles.

She doesn't have time for a real dog.


Sign up for her newsletter for news, extras, and exclusive stuff: Newsletter
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Buy her books here:  Amazon B&N Carina Press

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Win-a-Book Wednesday with...AJ Larrieu!

Posted by: Jax Garren

A. J. Larrieu



A.J. Larrieu grew up in small-town Louisiana, where she spent her summers working in her family's bakery, exploring the swamps around her home and reading science fiction and fantasy novels under the covers. She attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in biochemistry and wrote bad poetry on the side. Despite going to graduate school in biochemistry, she couldn't kick the writing habit, and by the time she had her degree, she also had an addiction to writing dark, sexy urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Nowadays, she's a biophysicist by day and a writer by night. A.J. lives in San Francisco with her family and too many books. 

More about Twisted Miracles:

Twisted Miracles
The Shadowminds - Book 1

Cass Weatherfield's powers come with a deadly price.

Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She's lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfreind who trained her...and the one she left without saying goodbye.

When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina--Cass's childhood friend--is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life.




Twisted Miracles really is the book of my heart. I was homesick for Louisiana when I wrote it, and since I couldn't go back myself, I sent my character there instead. I hope readers love Cass's story as much as I loved writing it, and I'm so excited to offer HBM readers a chance to win an early copy!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On languages and character development

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
If you follow me on my blog or on the social networks, you’ll figure out pretty fast that one of my big passions right now, outside of writing, is language study. For the past many months, I’ve been putting a little bit of daily effort into studying both French and German, using an app called SuperMemo on my iPhone.

So because I post about language geekery a lot (especially on my Facebook wall, where a few actual Francophones follow me and periodically even let me make words at them in French, which is awesome), I got asked to post about how languages affect the shaping of an author’s characters. This could mean, either languages the author knows in real life, or languages they’re making up!

This, then, is a followup to my last post about reading fantasy in other languages. I’ll break the question down into two posts, actually. This one will talk about real-life languages influencing character development, and for my next Here Be Magic post, I’ll geek out about made-up languages.

I’m not a linguist by any stretch of the imagination. I’m simply a language hobbyist! I’ve always had fun playing with languages, dating clear back to when I heard an Elvis Presley song, “Wooden Heart”, and realized he was singing in German in the bridge. This in no small part influenced my decision to take German in high school, and in college, I took a year of French as well. I tried to take Russian, though to my eternal sadness I had to drop the class due to an overloaded schedule. I’ve toyed with learning Norwegian, Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Japanese as well, though to date I have very little practical vocabulary in any of those languages.

French and German, though, those are sticking with me. Quebecois French in particular is important to me, not only because of my rampaging affection for Quebecois traditional music, but also because there will be a French-speaking Warder character from Quebec eventually showing up in the Faerie Blood series.

Which means that I’ll have a non-native-English speaker in my cast, who’ll be interacting with characters who are native English speakers—because, well, I’ll be writing in English. So I’ll need to think about the character’s comfort level with English, and, if he’s not entirely fluent, how to believably and smoothly portray that in his dialogue.

Over the years I’ve seen varying reader reactions to characters who aren’t native English speakers. Two big complaints I’ve seen are:

1) Overdoing the accent

I’ve seen this often in the context of, say, Scottish historical romances, where a Scottish hero can’t make it out of a sentence without leaving dropped g’s in his wake, where every ‘you’ comes out as ‘ye’, and where it takes you twice as long to read anything the character says just because you have to spend time parsing every word.

Needless to say, I’m not a fan of that approach. Instead I try to be subtler, and reflect the cadence of an accent in word choices and occasional bits of description. I’ve been working on building a sense of how a Francophone Quebecer would speak in English courtesy of meeting several Quebecois musicians, and I’ll need to augment that sense eventually, via movies, podcasts, or whatever other recordings I might find.

Along with actual study of French, I’ve begun to develop an idea of differences a French speaker might have to deal with when he’s speaking in English. Which brings me to point #2!

2) Resorting to cliches

The second big complaint I’ve seen periodically on the Net is the frequency with which non-native-English speakers are portrayed in cliched ways. Things like, say, never speaking with contractions, or peppering dialogue with simple words in the character’s native language, by way of shorthand to show the reader that ‘hey, this character’s a Francophone’!

But the thing is, simple words like ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Those are going to be among the very first words that a newcomer to English will learn. Particularly if they are likely to have had English classes in school—like, say, a Francophone would in Canada.

Where a Francophone might have trouble—ah, now that’s the fun part. Only by putting some effort into understanding your character’s native language will you be able to discover things like how if an English speaker says “next Saturday”, what they mean is “not this coming Saturday, but the one after”. But if a Francophone says that, they mean “this coming Saturday”.

Or, nuances in verb translation—like how the verb “regarder” has a built-in connotation of “at”. If you want to say “look at the hat”, the translation is “regarder le chapeau”. There’s no equivalent of “at” in the phrase, because it’s built right into the verb. Which is a sneaky little detail that’d be entirely plausible for a Francophone to miss, when he’s trying to point out a particular interesting nearby hat!

Long story short, it boils down to the same thing any writer worth her keyboard needs to do if she wants to include anything realistically in a story: i.e., research.

In my case, that means language study, and it’ll eventually also mean seeing if any of my online Francophone friends are willing to chat with me about details of learning English that were difficult for them. Plus, since this Warder boy will be a Quebecer, it means I get to learn about Quebecois profanity, too! (Which is acres of fun all by itself. Seriously, it has its very own Wikipedia page! And a friend of mine in Montreal pointed me at a movie I'll need to hunt down, in which the main characters are cops and the Quebecer gives his Anglophone parter a lesson in how Quebec profanity works—while they're interrogating a suspect.)

How about you, readers? What drives you spare when you’re reading a character who’s not a native English speaker? Especially if you yourself are not a native English speaker? What do Anglophone authors get wrong that you’d really, really like to see us get right? Sound off in the comments!

Angela Highland may not be a linguist, but boy howdy she thinks words are awesome, because hello, writer. Keep an eye out for language geekery sneaking into her forthcoming book, Vengeance of the Hunter, next month! Come find out more about her work at angelahighland.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases


Sometimes the best way to get over the past is to repeat it.


Brian Goode is in a tough spot. With all his friends getting married, and his sister in a relationship with not one, but two men, the love bug is hovering around his heart, ready to bite. Trouble is, he’s tired of playing a field full of gold-digging women.

Then there’s Faith Sumner. She’s gorgeous, genuine, and turns him on without even trying. Time to suck it up, ask her out, and pray their blazing attraction won’t dissolve into another lukewarm disaster.
Faith is finished dating wealthy men. No longer willing to let anyone make her feel inferior for her humble roots, she’s finally making good choices. Except this “Goode” choice turns out to be exactly the kind of man she’s sworn off.

Though she’s content to keep their one-night stand to a single amazing, unforgettable mistake, Brian’s persistent wooing—and convincing groveling—begin to turn her head. Until Faith’s ugly past comes calling, redoubling Brian’s determination to show her she’s worthy of loving, and being loved…

Buy


Group Announcements


Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulations to Stephanie, the winner of last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! Veronica Scott will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dark Inspiration

Posted by: Marie Harte
Lately I've been inspired to write about demonic antiheroes. I'm actually finishing up some contemporary romances that are due, so of course my brain has decided to dream about paranormal entities and fantastic places. Then I wondered where some of that inspiration might have come from. 

Here are a few places where my dark muse has taken watch. Be warned,  it isn't all pretty...
  • Believe--TV show about a girl with supernatural powers that others are fighting to harness for good...or eeeeeevil.
  • Blacklist--because if James Spader isn't inspiring enough as a baddie with good--?-- intentions, you need therapy
  • Thor, The Dark World--come on, who hasn't wondered what dark elves might be like? Though I admit I thought the movie's take on them could have been darker. And I always love Loki
  • Pan's Labyrinth--a dark, emotionally complex movie with creatures straight out of your nightmares
  • The Boxtrolls--coming soon to a movie theater near you. The little claymation trolls are so ugly and cute I want to cuddle with them forever. I love when monsters aren't the bad guys
  • Morgan Hawke's Interstellar Service & Discipline series. Her skeldhi heroes are dark, fierce, and make pets out of humans. And man, I have read these books so many times it's not funny.
  • Hub's The Haunting Hour--what can I say? I have kids. These spooky tales combine innocence with creeptastic visions of what strikes fear into the hearts and minds of children.
  • I recenlty watched a 2 minute horror short called Lights Out. It's seriously well done, and if you don't mind sleeping with all your lights on for days, give it a shot. No gore, just scare.
So I'm on a dark, freaky kick lately while trying to simultaneously finish another book and work on edits for something else. Did I mention we're now on spring break, so my kids are home? Yes, I'm living my own horror fest right now. Writing, reading, editing, repeat. AAAAAHHHH.

Happy reading...

Marie Harte
website | blog | facebook
follow me on twitter @MHarte_Author

USA Today Bestselling Author

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Win-A-Book Wednesday with...Veronica Scott!

Posted by: Jax Garren

Veronica Scott



Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog,  Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

I picked ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE for my giveaway (a signed paperback copy) because it's a 2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner and it was the write-in final entry for the annual Dear Author/Smart Bitches version of March Madness for authors...so let me thank everyone again for writing the book into the contest! And on the 20th of March 2014, you can vote for the book to win its bracket in Round One, if you'd like, but only from midnight to noon. I'll put the url in a comment below once they open up the voting. But for now and even after the 20th, it's your chance to win the book!

This novel was loosely inspired by the Sepoy Incident of 1857 and the fascination I've always had for what it would be like to suddenly find yourself in the middle of a war, with the very people you'd trusted now the ones trying to kill you. But set in the far future on an alien planet!

Here's the story:
Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.
Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.
That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground. Deverane escapes with Andi, and on their hazardous journey through the wilderness, Andi finds herself fighting her uncomfortable attraction to the gallant and courageous captain. But Deverane’s not the type to settle down, and running for one’s life doesn’t leave much time to explore a romance.
Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases

Master of the Opera, Act 6: Crescendo


In the sixth and final installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s sizzling Master of the Opera, a man and a woman risk everything they’ve ever loved-for the most dangerous passion they’ve ever known. . .

Caught in a web of secrets and lies, Christy Davis has come under the suspicion of the local police. Since becoming an intern at the Sante Fe Opera House, she has witnessed strange occurences in the underground tunnels. She has heard inexplicable whispers in the shadows after midnight. And she has found the lover of her dreams in the masked man who lives down below. But after the discovery of a dead body and other sinister events, Christy realizes that her life is in danger. Two men hold her fate in their hands: Roman, the opera house’s wealthy benefactor who uses his money and power to control her. And the masked maestro known as the Master who demands her surrender and commands her pleasure with each stroke. Both want her; only one can have her. . .

In a rising crescendo of madness, obsession, and lust, Christy must take a chance and follow her heart-to a breathtaking climax as powerful as love itself.

Buy

Group Announcements

Veronica Scott thanks everyone who wrote her book in as the final entrant for the annual Dear Author/Smart Bitches #DABWAHA March Madness. As the sponsors explain it, DABWAHA is an "...annual NCAA-style tournament of books. 64 books are selected in 8 different categories, and readers pick brackets of which books they think will win each round. The winners of each round are determined by public voting...."  The first round of the tournament starts on March 18th and Veronica's ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE is up against Nalini Singh's HEART OF OBSIDIAN. (gulp) Only one book can continue into Round Two so please go vote on the 18th (polls not open yet). Prizes for Readers!

The story:
Andi Markriss hasn’t exactly enjoyed being the houseguest of the planetary high-lord, but her company sent her to represent them at a political wedding. When hotshot Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane barges in on the night of the biggest social event of the summer, Andi isn’t about to offend her high-ranking host on Deverane’s say-so—no matter how sexy he is, or how much he believes they need to leave now.
Deverane was thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigned him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Suddenly his mission to protect this one woman has become more than just mere orders.
That mission proves more dangerous than he expected when rebel fighters attack the village and raze it to the ground. Deverane escapes with Andi, and on their hazardous journey through the wilderness, Andi finds herself fighting her uncomfortable attraction to the gallant and courageous captain. But Deverane’s not the type to settle down, and running for one’s life doesn’t leave much time to explore a romance.
Then Andi is captured by the rebel fighters, but Deverane has discovered that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a terrifying alien race’s attempt to subjugate the entire Sector. If he pushes on to the capitol Andi will die. Deverane must decide whether to save the woman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulations to Linda, the winner of last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! Shawna Reppert will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Return of the Brat Prince

Posted by: Sonya Clark
Author Anne Rice made a big announcement this week: Lestat is returning! The new book is titled Prince Lestat and will be released on October 28, just in time for Halloween. Of course I've read Interview With The Vampire, but The Vampire Lestat was always my favorite of Rice's Vampire Chronicles. I loved that Lestat was larger-than-life even before he became a vampire. Running away to Paris with his violinist lover and becoming an actor definitely paved the way for his later turn as a rock star. His extreme highs and extreme lows spoke to me in a way that the constant whining from Louis in the first book didn't. I loved it that he wasn't perfect, pretty far from it in fact, but he was never boring.

So I'm excited for his return. Rice's books don't always work for me, but when they do I love them. Lestat is a character that's been in Rice's head for decades. The first book was published in 1976, with the second following nine years later. Rice has always made it clear how important, how real, Lestat is to her, so it doesn't surprise me that she would find his voice again.

My introduction to The Vampire Chronicles came via a song on Sting's first solo album. Moon Over Bourbon Street was my favorite song on the album. According to the liner notes, the song was inspired by Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice. So I went looking for it at the library, and happened to find Lestat's book right after I finished the first one.

Are you a fan of the Brat Prince of the vampire world? How did you discover Lestat?


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Win-A-Book Wednesday with Shawna Reppert!

Posted by: Jax Garren
Shawna Reppert


From earliest childhood, Shawna Reppert has had a passion for stories-- for reading them and for writing them. She obtained a BA in English with a Writing Option from Penn State University and has participated in numerous writing workshops and seminars given by the likes of Charles de Lint, David Farland and Elizabeth Lyon. She sold several short stories to 'zines and one to the second Gears and Levers anthology before publishing her debut novel, The Stolen Luck, with Carina Press in may of 2013. That novel won a Silver Medal for original-world fantasy in the Global E Book Awards and is currently a finalist for an Eppie in fantasy romance. She published the urban fantasy Ravensblood on 10/31/13, and is currently working on the sequel while other projects work their way through the marketing pipeline. She also has some short fiction for sale on Amazon, including a two-fer of short pieces set in the Ravensblood universe.

Shawna has always had an affinity for wolves, and used to keep a wolf-dog hybrid as a pet. Her current four-footed children are a Lipizzan stallion and an orange-and-black cat named Samhain. She enjoys Irish social dancing and is an ardent supporter of live Irish music. Shawna also likes to play with the Society for Creative Anachronism and can sometimes be found in medieval garb on a caparisoned horse, throwing javelins into innocent hay bales that never did anything to her.

A Pennsylvania native, she currently lives in the beautiful wine county of Oregon.

Visit her website:  http://www.shawna-reppert.com/

Win a copy of RAVENSBLOOD below.  (ADDED:  Ravensblood currently available in E-book only!)

***

In a life of impossible choices when sometimes death magic is the lesser of the evils, can a dark mage save the world and his own soul?

Corwyn Ravenscroft. Raven. The last heir of an ancient family of dark mages, he holds the secret to recreating the Ravensblood, a legendary magical artifact of immense power.

Cassandra Greensdowne is a Guardian. Magical law enforcement for the elected council— and Raven’s former apprentice and lover. She is trying to live down her past. And then her past comes to the door, asking for her help.

As a youth, Raven wanted to be a Guardian but was rejected because of his ancestry. In his pride and his anger, he had turned to William, the darkest and most powerful mage of their time. William wants a return to the old ways, where the most powerful mage was ruler absolute. But William would not be a True King from the fairy tales. He would reign in blood and terror and darkest magic.

Raven discovers that he does have a conscience. It’s rather inconvenient.

He becomes a spy for the council that William wants to overthrow, with Cassandra as his contact.

Cass and Raven have a plan to trap William outside his warded sanctuary. But William is one step ahead of the game, with Raven’s life, his soul, and the Ravensblood all in danger.


A/N:  I was asked to write a little about why I'm offering this book in the giveaway.  It's simple.  As an avid reader, I know the thrill of discovering a new writer.  I also know how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available, and how it can be difficult to take that first risk with an unknown.  So this is one way to persuade a reader to take a chance.  And if you aren't the lucky winner, please remember that the first three chapters can be read for free at my website!
http://www.shawna-reppert.com/

Monday, March 10, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases

My name is Helmut Haase and I'm one half of the Fog City Detective Agency--specifically, the half that pays all the bills. My partner, Shamus O'Sheehan, mostly drinks beer and naps. I keep him around because he's my friend, but also because he's a Druid. I'm just a detective, and there are plenty of those in Wudong, the Confederacy of Hesperia. There's not another Druid for miles.

We had it pretty good until the day we met Alek Pallas. He hired us to track down a thieving employee, and even though something was off, his big fat check was too much to pass up. But the man we found wasn't what we were led to believe, and neither was Alek.

I'm talking shape-shifters, fallen angels and a conspiracy involving the vicious Cretan Empire. At least we didn't die. Hope that doesn't ruin the story.

Why am I telling you all this? Someday I'd like some credit for saving the world. Maybe not the entire world, and maybe not alone, but I still deserve a medal. And perhaps a cash prize.

Only $1.79!

***

Veronica Scott is happy to announce the Release of her latest paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt - MAGIC OF THE NILE.
The story:
After a childhood spent scorned and ignored by her family because of her crippled foot, Tyema was magically healed then installed as the High Priestess of his temple by Sobek the Crocodile God. But Tyema is still haunted by her memories, scarred by the abuse she endured. Despite Sobek’s protection, as an adult she’s become a near recluse inside the temple grounds…
 Until Captain Sahure arrives in her remote town, sent from Thebes on an urgent mission for Pharaoh, requiring High Priestess Tyema’s help. From that moment on, her quiet, safe life is upended in ways she never could have expected.
 But after a whirlwind romance with Sahure, the two part as Pharaoh orders him to undertake another assignment on Egypt’s dangerous frontier, far from Tyema’s remote town.
 Heart-broken, Tyema is ready to return to her life of loneliness, official duties and, now, regret. But the Crocodile God has other plans for his priestess: she must uncover the sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh’s life with black magic. Soon enough, Tyema finds herself thrown into the chaos of Pharoah’s court, neck deep in intrigue and danger. Just when she thinks she can’t take the pressures of a very public court life and her secret investigation for the Crocodile God any longer, Sahure re-enters the scene.
 But is her former love there to help or to hinder? Can they resolve their differences and work together to find the dark sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh and Egypt? Will the love between a proud warrior and a shy priestess lead them to a future together?
The sequel to Priestess of the Nile 
Available at Amazon now! Other eBook Sellers Coming Soon!

Win-A-Book Wednesday Winner

Congratulations to Shadow, the winner of last week's Win-a-Book Wednesday! Linda Mooney will be contacting you soon about your prize.

This Wednesday we'll have another mystery giveaway; stop by for more chances to win!

Friday, March 7, 2014

On Writing Your Way Home

Posted by: A. J. Larrieu
"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware." - Martin Buber


This past Tuesday was Mardi Gras. Ten years ago, I would’ve spent the day in New Orleans watching the parades, or at the very least eating a king cake and hanging out with family. This year, though, like every year for the past ten, I put on a Louisiana-themed T-shirt (this time: my New Orleans water meter shirt from Storyville) and went to work like it was any other day.

I’ve been living in the San Francisco area for a decade now, and I love it out here. There’s a lot to love: great weather, great food, great people. Mountains an hour in one direction, a beach an hour in the other. And, before I had my Small One, there was Wine Country. ;) But no matter how much I enjoy being here, I’ll never love it the way I love home.

I miss the things you’d expect. The food, for one. In honor of Mardi Gras, my day job cafeteria served “jambalaya,” and jambalaya is in quotes because while the food was good, and it contained some of the ingredients one might guess were in jambalaya after looking at a picture, it was not jambalaya. I miss LSU football games. I miss the cadence of Southern accents and the relentless green of the Louisiana landscape.

I miss the things you’d think I wouldn’t. The rain. Real rainstorms, not the gentle, obligingly brief showers we get in San Francisco. I want warm, muddy rivers in place of the clear, cold Pacific. I want humidity so thick it feels like the air is holding you up.

I’m not sure I could have written this list before I left home. Before I’d done much traveling, I didn’t know what would be different enough to miss. It’s one of the great gifts of living in new places—you get to look back at where you’ve come from and see it for the first time, like an astronaut looking down at Earth. But the price of that gift is homesickness.

The thing about this homesickness is, it feels like stretching an overworked muscle. It’s painful, but in a good, needful sort of way. I like reminding myself of what home feels like, even when it hurts. Going back—at least permanently—isn’t in the cards for me right now, and I suppose that’s why most of the stories I write are set in the South. I’m getting there the only way I can.

What do you love most about the place you call home?

--

A.J. Larrieu is the author of the upcoming urban fantasy Twisted Miracles, which is set in New Orleans and does, in fact, contain jambalaya. It releases on April 7, 2014 from Carina Press. To celebrate, she’s giving away a few unique pieces of her home state—find out more here.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

How Much Is Real in The Phantom of the Opera?

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
Today is release day for A Haunting Duet, Act 5 of my serial novel, Master of the Opera! This is the penultimate episode and, as Amy as So Many Reads puts it, it's a doozy!

That's part of what happens when you break the standard story arc into six episodes. In a 90,000 word book, we expect the major climax to occur at about 75% into the story. Breaking it into 15,000-word chunks, that makes the 5th one chock full of climactic goodness.

(On March 10, I'll be guesting on sister Here Be Magic contributor Eleri Stone's blog, talking in more detail about structure and how I set up the beats in each episode and overall.)

Amy is a fun reader and often emails or otherwise contacts me (e.g., Twitter) as she reads through my stories. In this episode, she asked: "is this real or is it all a dream?"

Well, that's a good question.

I've discussed before on this and other blogs that Master of the Opera to me is, more than anything, magical realism. I think the original Phantom of the Opera is the same way. While most of the story is grounded in reality, bits and pieces dip into the impossible. Some of it can be explained away - an underground lake? Paris was built on a swamp, after all - but other aspects cannot. (How can the Phantom talk through a mirror?)

One inevitable explanation is that Christine's interface with reality is questionable. There's plenty of hints for this in all versions - she's artistic, she carries complicated grief for her lost father, she believes in the manifestation of the angel of music. An argument can be made that, despite the superstitious beliefs of others, Christine is the only person who actually sees the Phantom.

What is real and what is the dream?

Only you can decide.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Win-A-Book Wednesday with Linda Mooney

Posted by: Jax Garren

Linda Mooney

Linda loves to write sensuously erotic romance with a fantasy, paranormal, or science fiction flair. Her technique is often described as being as visual as a motion picture or graphic novel.

A wife, mother, and retired Kindergarten and music teacher, she lives in a small south Texas town near the Gulf coast where she delves into other worlds filled with daring exploits, adventure, and intense love.

She has numerous best sellers, including 10 consecutive #1s. In 2009, she was named Whiskey Creek Press Torrid's Author of the Year, and her book MY STRENGTH, MY POWER, MY LOVE was named the 2009 WCPT Book of the Year. In 2011, her book LORD OF THUNDER was named the Epic Ebook "Eppie" Award Winner for Best Erotic Sci-Fi Romance.


http://www.LindaMooney.com

She thought they were saving her life. She was wrong. Instead, Meredith Powell was kidnapped, taken aboard an alien spacecraft, and forced to prostitute herself to paying humanoid customers. But she had hope. She would only have to serve for two years, and then she would be returned to Earth. 

It was a life she had to learn and adjust to, until one paying customer took a special interest in her. A customer who had other plans for her, and none of them involved returning her to her home planet.


Warning! Contains drippy lights, padded tables, a jeweled waistlet, pink cuffs, and a lover with an incredible ability.
* * *
I like to push the envelope sometimes, and write something totally out of the box. This book came about because I asked myself an odd question. What if alien abductions were not because they wanted to study us?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dear Fantasy: It's Not Me, It's Your (Lack Of) Setting

Posted by: Veronica Scott
From Author Pat Kirby:

I've fallen out of love with epic fantasy. To some extent, also urban fantasy, because the embittered, ass-kicking woman who is estranged from her family, and has more issues than a magazine just isn't blowing my metaphorical skirt up anymore. The thing is, a quick glance at my Goodreads account reveals that I am still reading fantasy, or at least novels with a significant speculative fiction element. But gone are the days when I would devour tome after tome of McGuffin-driven quests, featuring earnest young farm boys with Luke Skywalker-esque destinies. And it's not just a gender issue, since similar plotlines featuring the rare female heroine usually don't do it for me, either.

It would be easy to blame the problem on time. As in, a whole lot of it has elapsed since I've been born and consequently, "been there, read the hell out of it" describes my attitude to most plots.

Except, I totally dig tropes, stereotypes, and well-worn narrative elements. I'm a big believer in the idea that there aren't any new stories, and I've got no quarrel with "derivative." Love derivative; done right, it's like crack, or Oreo cookies.

So what gives?

The issue is that it takes more than an otherworldly setting to sell me on a story. Because I've seen just about every variation of magical land, extraordinary creature, weapon of destiny, etc.

For all their exhaustive world building, I find that some epics have a poorly developed sense of place. I mean, yeah, these stories contains words, piled on words, and more words, some of them quite pretty, devoted to describing the author's shiny new land. Flora, fauna, culture, etc.

For all that meticulous detail, however, it doesn't feel like the characters really live there.

Unlike, say, characters in many mystery novels. For example, the novels penned by the late Tony Hillerman. Hillerman's novels are vibrant with the colors, textures and flavors of life in the desert southwest, in particular, the lands of the Navajo Nation. He was writing as someone who had an inside track into the good, bad, and ugly of the landscape and culture of the region. As opposed to a tourist who gawps at the majestic mesas and buys cheap, knock-off Kokopellis and coyote-howling-at-the-moon chachkes sold in souvenir shops. He saw New Mexico and Arizona as you see the place where you live.  And his experiences and perceptions were filtered through his characters, grounding them and their setting firmly in my mind. The settings aren't just described; they are described through the characters' eyes. In turn, the novels' settings shape and deepen the characterization.

Some fantasy novels, on the other hand, read like a travel guide to a mystical land. Great detail, with handy info, like which inns serve the best ale, and yet, rather superficial. The settings are like painted backdrops in a stage production, set up to hide stuff backstage and give the audience a vague sense of place. And, why not? Often that spare set design is just the ticket. In. A. Stage. Production.

Fantasy novel? Not so much.

I guess what I'm saying is that if the author of Big Fantasy Epic wants me to click Buy, he or she needs to give me the same intimate sense of place that I find in a good contemporary mystery novel. Honestly? I don't need to know a detailed history of the gods or the founding of the current dynasty. Especially, not as an info-dump in a prologue (insert teenage eye roll). If, however, your novel begins with the protagonist ranting about the idiotic practice of banning the sale of swords on Tuesdays in your land of make believe, I'm sold. Because that's that kind of stuff real people do. Everywhere.

So, what about you, folks? Any genre or genre trope that makes you want to jab red hot needles in your eyes? Conversely, what do you love?


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