Tag Archives: paranormal romance

Ann Gimpel: How do you manage your time online?

Paranormal romance author, Ann Gimpel, is guest blogging today about online time management. Her Rx? Read this blog, of course!! 😀 Start with this post: Ann has some good tips for dealing with internet distractions and maintaining balance in your life. (You can do something else after you’ve told us what it is in the comments :-) ) Ann is also here to let everyone know about her recently released box set featuring shifters, UNDERGROUND HEAT. More on that below. Welcome back, Ann!

Underground Heat Banner

“No matter how much you do, you never really feel done.”

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog.

Today I’ll write about the Internet and time management. Maybe a good starting point would be that the Internet can be the biggest time hog imaginable. You know how it is. You log on to look for one thing. Two hours later, you’re sifting through a bunch of other stuff and never did get to the original thing you’d set out to do. In the meantime, there went two hours a writer could have been, well, writing. Or at least editing, or plotting out their next story. Or marketing…

Don’t get me wrong, the Internet is probably one of the most creative and powerful inventions of modern life. I’ve watched it evolve from its infancy when only those who could code could use it. It was painfully slow then, so an even bigger time-pig.

How to marshal the power of the Internet so it can work for you and not against you? All I can tell you is what’s worked for me. I usually write in one of two places. I make certain my iPhone is nowhere near either of them when I’m working. There’s something about its dings, vibrations, and other assorted sounds that gets me going, sort of like Pavlov’s dogs. Even if I make a decision not to peek and see who wanted me, it still breaks into my flow enough to disturb my writing process. Sure, I could activate its Do Not Disturb feature, but why have it close to me if I’m going to do that? Temptation is always less tempting if you have to get up to get to it.

I also make sure to have things like Outlook fully closed. It’s not helpful when the latest e-mail materializes on the top right quadrant of my screen. The problem got worse when I switched to Windows 8 and their “seamless” Internet interface. If I didn’t have it turned off, it would alert me to texts, PMs, e-mails, and every other time anyone does something with my name anywhere in it.

When I’m done with my writing day, which means either I’ve finished edits an editor sent me, or I’ve gotten at least 3000 words written, then (and only then) do I let myself wander around the Internet. I’m as guilty of brain-drift as the next person, and I can waste a whole lot of time if I don’t rein in my tendency to “just look up one more thing.”

That tendency to get snapped up in cyberspace is doubly seductive when I’m marketing. I’ll just do one more thing, I promise myself. An hour later, I’m posting a comment somewhere. More than anything, I think the marketing aspect of writing is what can truly eat you up alive—and drain you. No matter how much you do, you never really feel done. I try very hard to limit myself to an hour most days for marketing; two if I have to write a guest post or an interview. I make that goal maybe 50% of the time. The other days, I do more.

Lastly, there’s an addictive quality to being settled in front of a screen, which is why it’s important to have several hours a day you do something else. The screen life can start to feel more “real” than the rest of your life, and that can be the beginning of a fairly large disconnect that doesn’t bode well for flesh-and-blood relationships. This last paragraph could segue into another thousand words or more, but this seems like a good place to stop, so I’ll rein in the psychologist part of me.

How do you manage your Internet time, or do you? For those of you who write, does your life feel balanced? Why or why not?

Ann Gimpel Shifters Box Set

More about Underground Heat

Underground Heat is an action adventure, paranormal romance boxed set containing three full-length books. It’s the entire Underground Heat Series:

Roman’s Gold

Once respected members of society, shifters are running for their lives. Devon’s been a cop for a long time. He has shifter blood, but not enough to change into anything. His latest assignment is Kate. From the moment he sees her, he can’t get her out of his mind. But she’s the enemy he’s sworn to eradicate. As he tracks her, the line between hunter and hunted explodes into fiery attraction. If their passion doesn’t save them, it’ll doom them forever.

Wolf Born

Max leads a dangerous double life in a futuristic California that’s almost out of resources. If Audrey could finesse it, she’d go to work helping the shifter underground. The only sticking point is Max. She’s been in love with him forever. If she joins the underground, she believes she’ll never see him again—but that’s because she has no idea he’s the head of it. After a second attempt on his life, Max faces critical choices. He can’t believe Audrey’s behind the assassination attempts, but everything points her way. Will he follow his head or his heart?

Blood Bond

Head of the shifter underground’s security force, Johannes has his hands full. He’s the most compelling man Daria’s ever met, but he’s also stubborn and arrogant. Her cat thinks he’s their mate, but if Daria had her way, she’d run hard the other way. Just her bad luck, a series of lethal attacks keep her square in his gunsights. Johannes is desperately attracted to Daria, but anything beyond sex isn’t part of his life plan. He has his reasons. They’ve served him well, and he’s not changing them now.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo | ARe | Google Play

More about Ann

I’m basically a mountaineer at heart. I remember many hours at my desk where my body may have been stuck inside four walls, but my soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry.

Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), I finagled a move to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. Stories always ran around in my head on backcountry trips, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made me fear for my life, sometimes for company.

Eventually, the inevitable happened. I returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. It wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. I learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel, and I’ve been writing ever since.

In addition to turning out books, I enjoy wilderness photography. A standing joke is that over ten percent of my pack weight is camera gear, which means my very tolerant husband has to carry the food — and everything else too.

How do I manage my internet time? I’m sure it surprises no one to know I don’t have a set plan. A lot depends on how the writing is going. If it’s going really well or really horrible, I tend to interact less online. That’s because I’m either writing or AFK. But I’m not actively promoting anything right now and that changes everything. You know what is the biggest “time hog” for me? Research. Without a doubt. I waste more time burrowing into the Black Holes of Internet Minutia than anyone else in the universe.

Thanks for a great post, Ann!


The Spirit Chaser’s Playlist: 13 Songs

Kat Mayor is a “full-time reader, part-time writer” from Texas. Her paranormal romance THE SPIRIT CHASER features a paranormal investigator, psychics, ghosts, demons, and dangerous places. Do you have a song that reminds you of your favorite book? Kat has thirteen songs that remind her of various scenes from her book. She’s here with her playlist and a chance to win some awesome prizes: a $50 Amazon eGC, a $25 Amazon eGC, a signed copy of The Spirit Chaser, and an e-copy. Details are below. Welcome, Kat!

Spirit Chaser

Playlist for The Spirit Chaser

I love to listen to music while I write. These songs either played in my head during certain parts of the book, or the lyrics remind me of the story in some way.  After the song title I wrote a short description of the part of the book it reminds me of.

  1. Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield: Casey’s ringtone.
  2. The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniel’s Band: The bar scene with Casey and her friend Tina.
  3. Love Bites by Def Leppard: Austin and Casey slow dance.
  4. Talking Body by Tove Lo: Austin and Casey’s first night together.
  5. So High by Ghost Loft: Austin brings Casey to his high-rise apartment.
  6. Crave by Tove Lo: Austin comes to visit Casey in Shadowcreek over Christmas.
  7. Devil Woman by Cliff Richard: Wild party at Austin’s loft.
  8. Prayer in C by Lilly Wood and The Prick and Robin Schulz: Casey separates from Austin.
  9. Take Me to Church by Hozier: She-demon visits Austin in her human form.
  10. The Moon Is Falling Down by Cry Wolf: The Spirit Chaser crew arrives at Enchanted Hill Manor.
  11. Ghost Town by Adam Lambert: Casey returns to Shadowcreek.
  12. The Home We Made, Pt II by Cry Wolf: Casey reflects on everything that has happened.
  13. When the Love Falls by Yiruma: The final pages of the book.

Do you have a song that reminds you of your favorite book?  What is it about the song that makes you think of it?

More About The Spirit Chaser

Some places are too evil. Some places should be left alone.

Austin Cole has it made. Star of the hit television show Spirit Chaser Investigations, he has become the world’s most famous paranormal investigator. Although hard work, a talented investigation team, and favorable genetics have something to do with it, it’s his lack of fear and willingness to take risks no one else will that make Spirit Chaser Investigations cable’s number-one show.

When a ghost-hunt-gone-wrong seriously injures his best friend and lead psychic, Austin is forced to find a replacement for a team member he considers irreplaceable.

Casey Lawson can’t catch a break. She’s been on her own since she turned eighteen and is scraping by as a part-time psychic and cashier at a New Age store. When a desperate Austin Cole calls her up and offers her a position on his team, has her fortune finally changed?

He’s a control freak; she’s stubborn and opinionated. It takes time, but when they finally realize they’re working on the same side, everything clicks, both on and off screen.

Just when things are looking up, a new threat emerges. Over the years, Austin has angered plenty of demons, and one of them has set her sights on him. Now he’s the one in danger, and it’s up to the team to rescue him from the riskiest investigation of their lives.

Amazon Kindle    Amazon Paperback   Kobo   BN   Smashwords

More About Kat

Kat Mayor is a native Texan, wife, and mom. In addition to The Spirit Chaser, she has written a young adult series, The Circle. She’s a full-time reader, part-time writer, and when she’s not kicking a story around in her head, she loves to read and review books on Goodreads.

More about the Giveaway

Kat is giving away the following prizes at the end of her blog tour:

  • First Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and signed Paperback of The Spirit Chaser
  • Second Prize: $25 Amazon gift card and e-book of The Spirit Chaser in Mobi, EPUB, or PDF.

Click here for the Rafflecopter link. Click here for my complete giveaway rules.

The Spirit Chaser Banner

I don’t have a song that reminds me of a favorite book, but I do have ten songs that served as partial inspiration for my gothic romance novelette “Dream, Interrupted.” Long-time followers have already seen the playlist, as well as read about how the songs served as transitions in the story itself, but anyone new who’s interested can click here for the playlist and here for the transition post. Basically, I introduced each section in the story by having the main character discuss those songs. I loved how, for anyone familiar with the songs, the references and discussion added a deeper layer of meaning to the story.

Also, gotta add, that I’ve been inspired by the song The Devil Went Down to Georgia too. The working titles of all of my novels were originally riffs on common sayings involving the devil, the third one being The Demon Went Down to Jorja (cue the groan 😀 ). Interested in hearing more about the how the devil became associated with the violin? Click here for a post I did over at SF Signal a while back.

And, while we’re not on the subject, Valentine’s Day?! Did everyone have a happy one? I hope so! My Valentine’s Days always seem to be a bit un-traditional, which I like. Last year, I had lunch with a friend and then played poker with my family. This year, I spent an hour+ browsing in a New Jersey Barnes & Noble with one of my daughters and then played an intense game of UNO, the Frozen version. Best new card? Olaf’s summertime card. I could use a little summertime… we’re under yet another winter storm warning, this one with sleet and freezing rain.

Thank you, Kat, for guest blogging today. Wishing you and everyone a dry, warm, and not-too-scary Tuesday!


Pat Esden interviews the hero from her new “Dark Heart” series (#gothic #PNR)

Book one of Pat Esden’s new Dark Heart gothic paranormal romance series, A Hold on Me, releases later this month from Kensington. She’s here with a teaser character interview and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Details on her giveaway are at the end of the post. (Bonus giveaway: I’m giving away a print copy of Dark Light of Day or another fantasy book up to $10 from Book Depository, winner’s choice. The winner will be randomly picked by me from all of the people following my DLOD Pinterest book board as of midnight EST on Valentine’s Day. Click here for the board. Click here for other details.) Welcome Pat!

A Hold On Me Banner

Hi, my name is Pat Esden. I’m the author of A HOLD ON ME (book 1, Dark Heart series). Today I’m going to be interviewing Chase Savoy Abrams.

Annie, the main character in A HOLD ON ME, is very attracted to Chase. But she’s also a bit leery and certain he is hiding secrets. I’ll let you judge for yourself if he’s a mystery she should try to solve, or if she’s better off to stay as far away from him as possible.

Chase, how about you describe yourself for us?

I’m a guy—twenty-two. I keep pretty fit. All right. I’m more than a little fit. It’s a necessity. Besides, working out is relaxing.  I’m more comfortable in a sleeveless-T and jeans than anything else. For years my hair was long, but I keep it short now as a matter of principle. I’m a pretty unpretentious when it comes to what I need, and to what I want for that matter.  A few goods friends and a safe place to sleep, that’s enough.

What’s your profession?

I’m one of Moonhill’s groundskeepers. I mow lawns, tend the sheep, and basically do the outdoor work. I like that. I also protect the family, especially Selena. I don’t know how many nights I’ve watched over her when she’s snuck out to parties. But I’d do it, even if it weren’t part of my job.

Do you have a special skill?

Knife throwing. Any knife. Any target.

What is your biggest dream/wish/desire?

To protect people, especially women. I don’t want anyone to have to live through hell like I did.

What’s your darkest secret?

I’m embarrassed by my lack of education. Freemonts are giving me a chance to make up for my past, but I’m not sure I’ll ever measure up.

What’s your favorite pastime/hobby?

I knit. Keeps my finger nimble. It’s relaxing and helps me remember my mother. She used to knit all the time. Make things and give them away to charities.

Describe the craziest thing you have done.

I don’t do crazy. It’s important to keep your wits at all times.

Briefs or boxers?

Briefs.

Chunky peanut butter or smooth?

Either. It’s food. Peanut butter toast is one of my favorite things. When I first came to Moonhill I ate a whole loaf of bread that way. I puked and felt really stupid afterwards. But it tasted so good. I was hungry.

Favorite fictional character?

I was looking at Galland’s eighteenth-century translations of Voyages of Sinbad in Moonhill’s library the other day. So right now, I’d say Sinbad.

Thank you so much to Chase for joining us!

So readers, what do you think? Thumbs up or down? Should Annie try to find out more about Chase—or stay away?

A Hold on Me

More about A Hold on Me

She never wanted to return.

He wants nothing more than for her to leave.

But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self.

Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support — Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy…

Indiebound     Amazon    BN    Books a Million

More about Pat

Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

Pat can be found online here:

More about the Giveaway

Pat is giving away one $20 Amazon gift card at the end of her tour. To enter, use the Rafflecopter form here. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Thank you for guest blogging today, Pat. Good luck and best wishes for the Dark Heart series!


Jan DeLima: The World of her Celtic Wolves Series (#fantasy #giveaway)

Today’s guest is Jan DeLima, author of the Celtic Wolves series: CELTIC MOON, SUMMER MOON, and AUTUMN MOON. She’s here to share a little bit about the world her stories are set in, which was partially inspired by Maine and Celtic culture. She’s giving away some fantastic tour-wide prizes: one $100 Amazon eGC (U.S. and Canada) and five signed copies of the first two books (package set; international). Details below.

[As an aside, I wanted to introduce her as an author and as… someone from Maine… but I didn’t know what people from Maine called themselves (in Maryland, it’s easy; we’re Marylanders). So I looked it up: Mainer. Or possibly Mainiac, which didn’t sound right and gave me an immediate earworm — who remembers the Michael Sembello tune from Flashdance? — yep, I know it’s spelled differently 😀 ]

In any case, without further ado, please welcome UF author and Mainer Jan DeLima!

“There are rumors that wolves have been sighted…”

Celtic Wolves World 2

 The Environment of the Celtic Wolves World

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, and for participating in my first blog tour!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my Celtic Wolves series, just imagine a place where warriors are also wolves and reality isn’t always what it seems.  Set in modern day, the stories are a mixture of both urban fantasy and romance.  Written for adults, each installment has strong fantasy elements built around Celtic folklore, with a secondary romance between two new characters.

I draw a lot of inspiration from the history of the Celtic culture for my series, and nature was, and still is, an important influence for Celts.  The magic of my world is based on their beliefs; therefore nature is where my Celtic warriors derive their power to shift.  Because of this, I make sure the wilderness setting of the books is real, even if what the characters do within it isn’t.  I’ve positioned tribes across the globe conducive to the habitats of wolves, and I like to write about environments I know, so the setting for Celtic Moon, the first book in the series, is in my home state of Maine.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

In my travels, I’ve noticed that most people associate Maine with our coastal villages, but if you go an hour north of Bangor, you’ll find a beautiful mountain region. There are still isolated areas and small towns where an ancient Celtic tribe of shifters could easily hide for centuries, and where cellphones still don’t receive signals.

The environment is perfect for many wild creatures.  There are rumors that wolves have been sighted, but for now they are just rumors—our own local urban legend.  Wolves are in the woods of our Canadian neighbors to the north, and it’s not much of a stretch for them to migrate south if the environment supports their habitat.  Wolves, I suspect, don’t recognize state or country lines on human maps, only forests and food.  Perhaps one day that legend will be revealed as truth.

The above pictures are from my Celtic Wolves world.  You are welcome to read an excerpt on my website from Celtic Moon that I’ve posted for this articleNature is magic, as my very human heroine learns. This is the scene where Sophie witnesses her son’s father shift into a wolf for the first time… http://jandelima.com/celtic-moon-when-it-began/

All my best,
Jan

Celtic Wolves Series

 

More About Celtic Moon

Celtic Wolves Celtic MoonLike father, like son…

Sophie Thibodeau has been on the run from the father of her son for more than fifteen years.  Now her son, Joshua, is changing, and her greatest fears are about to be realized.  He’s going to end up being just like his father—-a man who can change into a wolf.

Dylan Black has been hunting for Sophie since the night she ran from him—-an obsession he cannot afford in the midst of an impending war.  Dylan controls Rhuddin Village, an isolated town in Maine where he lives with an ancient Celtic tribe.  One of the few of his clan who can still shift into a wolf, he must protect his people from the Guardians, vicious warriors who seek to destroy them.

When Sophie and Dylan come together for the sake of their son, their reunion reignites the fierce passion they once shared.  For the first time in years, Dylan’s lost family is within his grasp.  But will he lose them all over again? Are Joshua and Sophie strong enough to fight alongside Dylan in battle? Nothing less than the fate of his tribe depends on it…

Celtic Moon’s first chapter

Available at  Amazon and  BN

More About Summer Moon

Celtic Wolves Summer MoonShe won’t be ruled again…

Rosa Alban has been obedient her entire life. But when her alpha husband dies, she seizes the opportunity to flee the oppressive Guardians—the rulers of the secret shapeshifter world. Her flight instantly brands her as a pack traitor, and she has no choice but to seek protection from a neighboring tribe by marrying one of their sons.

Known as the Beast of Merin, Luc Black loyally plays the part of unwanted son and devoted brother. He realizes marrying Rosa will strengthen his tribe’s territory, but he has no intention of loving ever again. Still, he’s unprepared for the intense physical need the wild she-wolf awakens in him.

When the Guardians hone in on Rosa, Luc must fight to protect his new bride. And as war descends, the unlikely allies discover their destinies are irrevocably entwined…

Summer Moon’s first chapter

Available at  Amazon and  BN

More About Autumn Moon

Celtic Wolves Autumn MoonThe heart of a warrior, the soul of a wolf, and the desires of a man…

For centuries, Cormack has lived between worlds—a man trapped in the body of a wolf, shunned by humans and shifters alike. Only one person has ever welcomed his company: Elen, a kindred outcast who is feared by others of her ancient Celtic race for her strange healing abilities.

Cormack has always valued Elen’s kindness and understanding, but after a desperate act of friendship causes Elen to free him from his curse, he realizes he wants more. He wants all of her—completely and forever.Except before Cormack can win Elen’s heart, Pendaran, the evil leader of the Guardians, captures her, determined to manipulate her incredible power to aid him in his twisted war against the shapeshifting tribes.

Now Cormack must use all of his skills as a warrior and a wolf to save the woman he loves—before Pendaran’s vile schemes destroy them all…

Prequel for Autumn Moon

Available at Amazon  and   BN

Jan DeLima

Jan DeLima

More About Jan

Jan DeLima is the author of the Celtic Wolves novels, including Summer Moon and Celtic Moon. She lives in Maine with her husband and their two sons. Unlike many authors, Jan didn’t pen stories at an early age, but she has always been a dedicated reader. She loves stories and storytelling. It wasn’t until after her children entered school that she began writing. Raised in a military family, she lived in different countries such as Thailand and Germany, but home base has always been Maine.

More About the Giveaway

Jan is giving away: $100 Amazon gift card open to U.S. and Canada and 5 signed copies of Celtic Moon and Summer Moon (package set). For the Rafflecopter link, click here. For my compete giveaway rules, click here.

Thank you, Jan, for guest blogging today!

Celtic Wolves Series Banner


Five Photographs: Veronica Scott (NASA, SoCal, and Legos)

Today’s “Five Photographs” guest is SF/PNR author Veronica Scott, who is also the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog. (For those of you that didn’t see it yet, she wrote a great post last Thursday on the appeal of fantasy romance.) She’s here today to share a little bit about herself and her writing. Welcome, Veronica!

Something That Represents Something Unique About You

Veronica Scott JPL

I worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (think Mars Rovers) in the Acquisition Division for a very long time. I was on the business side of the house, not a rocket scientist, but it was an incredible set of experiences! (I’m a fulltime author as of this past March.) This is a photo of the service award I recently received. There’s a tiny galaxy laser etched in the center!

[Jill: That is awesome! I think JPL would be an amazing place to work. I’m sure the business side of it was really interesting. Of course, it’s equally great that you’re now a full time writer. Congrats!]

Something That Represents Where You Live

Veronica Scott Garden

I live in drought stricken Southern California, so these nearby succulents and cacti represent our current state.

Your pet(s) or plant(s) or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)

Veronica Scott Cats

Jake and Keanu, two very companionable and lively cats

Something (not someone) that really frustrates you

Veronica Scott Clock

Time! In three ways: I’m not a patient person at all, so I hate to wait for things. Second, there’s never enough time in a day for all the things I want to do, even writing fulltime now. And third, I spend too much time on social media (because I have so much fun there)!

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

Veronica Scott Legos

Something that brings me joy is time spent with my grandson and we’re usually building Legos, so here’s one of our latest building projects.

Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

My latest novel is Mission to Mahjundar, science fiction romance. “Special Forces soldier of the future falls in love with blind Princess of Shadows, places rescuing her above his mission objective.”

What are you working on next?

I have Ghost of the Nile coming out in late May, and I’m just finishing the first draft of my next SFR, tentatively entitled Star Cruise: Marooned.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been on an epic romance fantasy binge and just finished Radiance by Grace Draven, which I LOVED and can’t recommend highly enough.

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

“Dancing With The Stars”, “Twelve Monkeys, “The Walking Dead,” Say Yes to the Dress,” “Madam Secretary”.

[Jill: my older daughter loves “Say Yes to the Dress” 😀 ]

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

Anne McCaffrey’s dragons from the planet Pern. I so want to be the rider of a golden dragon!

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

With all the wonderful books pouring out from authors these days, I think discoverability is the key. Finding your own audience!

How can we meet that challenge?

By being proactive on social media – whatever channels work best for the individual – and I love the way authors are helping each other, as with this guest blog opportunity of yours, forums, Facebook groups (and events)…sharing information and shining a light on each other’s books that we’ve enjoyed goes a long way. And of course, writing the next book, and the book after that is critical. So, it’s a juggling act but the books are always the most important thing.

Thanks for having me as your guest with this fun photo blog!

Veronica Scott

Veronica Scott

More About Veronica

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.

Blog   @vscotttheauthor    Facebook

Thank you, Veronica, for the interview and for sharing your pictures with us! I enjoyed getting to know more about you. :-)


Five Photographs: Suzanne Johnson (Boeuf Gras, Pirate’s Alley, and a Terrific #Giveaway)

Today’s guest is Suzanne Johnson, author of the recently released PIRATE’S ALLEY, the fourth book in her Sentinels of New Orleans series. She’s been a guest blogger here at least a few times (more if you count her alter ego Susannah Sandlin) so when I heard she was doing a BBT tour to promote Pirate’s Alley, I signed up. We discussed several fun topics, all of which I would have been happy to hear her thoughts on, but in the end she said she wanted to do a “Five Photographs” post. (For anyone new here today, I’m doing a photo themed guest blog series this spring. It features a bunch of writers who write romantic, otherworldly/supernatural tales. They submit five photos and answer seven questions.) As part of Suzanne’s tour, she’s giving away one $50 Amazon eGC and two $15 Amazon eGCs. Details below. Welcome, Suzanne!

Something that represents something unique about you

Suzanne Johnson ADD Collector

I will call this “The ADD Collector.” I get on obsessive collecting kicks and then, just as obsessively, grow tired of it. Represented here are some previous collecting frenzies: a piece of Early American Pattern Glass with animal motifs, some early 1960s glassware with Greek characters that was given out at Texaco stations with a fillup, a mask and, from my current collecting binges, a wooden cigar box, an alligator, and some Mardi Gras throws. You could also add dolls and Fenton colonial blue thumbprint glass to this list. And music. And…

Something about where you live

Suzanne Johnson boef gras

Meet two version of “Boeuf Gras,” the plush version thrown from the Mardi Gras float and the “special” version acquired for me by a friend from a member of the Krewe of Rex, the original oldest Mardi Gras krewe. Boeuf Gras is my favorite Mardi Gras float—it’s a huge white bull the size of an eighteen-wheeler that’s a signature float in the Rex parade. But it also represents my current home city of Auburn, Alabama, where there are a lot of cattle and, at the university, a big meat sciences program. Alabama fans who hate Auburn call it “the cow college.” Them’s fightin’ words ’round here.

Something or someone you care about

Suzanne Johnson Shane and Tanker

I debated whether or not to use this photo. It feels a little like cheating, but these are the loves of my life, Shane (the Irish terrier mix) and Tanker (part black chow-chow, part golden retriever). Both of them were rescues I adopted in 2000. I lost Shane at age 16 about six months ago and Tanker, also at age 16, three weeks ago. I will have another dog eventually, but it’s still too raw and hurts too much.

[Jill: That’s rough losing them so close together. I’m so sorry. When you’re ready, I hope you find another dog. He or she will be different — I’m sure neither Shane nor Tanker can be replaced — but I’m equally sure the new dog will bring you just as much joy.]

Something that frustrates you

Suzanne Johnson Fiji House

The FIJI House. I thought about taking a shot of pollen on my car, or my office building where I spend my day job. But, in the end, I chose the Auburn University Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, aka the FIJI house. I’m sure they’re lovely kids, but the house sits just outside my office window and they’re always yelling and playing annoying music at full blast and hammering on some secret project in their courtyard. I have to work with earbuds stuffed in my ears.

[Jill: Ah, this one made me laugh. 😀]

Something that brings you joy

Suzanne Johnson art stuff

Um…remember all those collections? This isn’t exactly a collection, but it’s one corner of my sprawling art space, where I dabble in paint and have copious amounts of art supplies. There’s also a 20-drawer cabinet, two multi-level rolling carts, and three bookcase shelves full. It’s a sickness…but it makes me happy. That’s my happy space.

Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the preternatural world.” An unexpected interspecies pregnancy has the preternatural world on the brink of war, with DJ, New Orleans’ wizard sentinel, caught squarely in the middle—and who she sides with won’t be an easy decision.

What are you working on next?

WILD MAN’S BLUFF, the first book in a new suspense series (written as Susannah Sandlin) about a Louisiana game warden caught up in the case of a murdered voodoo priestess, a long-buried secret, and a woman who’s about to learned that you can take the Cajun girl out of Louisiana but the swamps stay deep within the heart.

What are you currently reading?

Better sit down, or the excitement might do you in: Game Warden: On Patrol in Louisiana, by Jerald Horst. LOL. Gotta do my research!

 What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

Currently, I watch NCIS: New Orleans, The Amazing Race, Chicago Fire, and Cutthroat Kitchen, of which I’ve never missed an episode. I DVR the shows and watch them in 20-minute spurts. My attention span is the size of a gnat, which I blame on my iPhone and too many years of General Hospital.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

I still wish I’d thought to animate a dinosaur. Jim Butcher did that in one of the Dresden books, and Harry Dresden rode the dinosaur skeleton from the Field Museum down the middle of Lakeshore Drive in Chicago. It was freaking brilliant.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

Discoverability, without a doubt. The downside to authors having so many publishing options these days (which is great) is that it’s harder than ever for an author to find readers. The number of books released in the U.S. was about 300,000 in 2005; in 2009 it had grown to more than 1 million; in 2012, more than 2 million—including more than 500,000 self-published titles PER YEAR. That means a ton of authors and a lot of good books are getting lost in the noise while everyone (authors and publishers) are scrambling around, trying to figure out how to be “discovered” in that crowd. Meanwhile, the number of readers has not grown proportionately.

[Jill: that’s an insane number of books!]

 How can we meet that challenge?

I honestly don’t know. If I did, I’d be a very rich woman…or at least be able to give up my day job!:-) The same thing doesn’t work for every book or every author and technology is in constant flux. We’re all trying to figure it out.

[Jill: too true. The thing that keeps me from going batshit crazy is remembering that the majority of those 2 million+ books are not in my wheelhouse — either as a writer or as a reader.]

Suzanne Johnson Pirate's AlleyMore About Pirate’s Alley

From award-winning author Suzanne Johnson comes the fourth book in the smart and sexy Sentinels of New Orleans series.

Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world—the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae—DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal. Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband Quince Randolph is growing more powerful, and her best friend Eugenie has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back.

And that’s before the French pirate Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest “death,” returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ’s assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.

Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.

War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won’t be that easy.

Available at   Amazon   BN   Book Depository

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal fiction from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she also is the author of the best-selling Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic thriller series. Elysian Fields, book three in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence while her Sandlin-penned novel, Allegiance, is nominated for a 2015 Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews magazine.

More About the Giveaway

Suzanne is giving away one $50 Amazon eGift Certificate and two $15 Amazon eGift Certificates as part of her Bewitching Book Tour. To enter to win, click here for the Rafflecopter link. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Suzanne Johnson Pirate's Alley Banner

~

Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your pictures, thoughts, and great giveaway with us!


#Writing #Workshops for March

Below are the online workshops being offered in March by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines.

Balancing the Paranormal and the Romance

03/02/2015 – 03/29/2015

It’s difficult enough to write a good romance, or to write a good paranormal or fantasy novel—when you put the two together you now have an even bigger challenge. How do you structure your story so the paranormal plot doesn’t overwhelm the romance? How do you create characters that have a great romance—with paranormal elements that increase the conflict and are key to the story? This workshop looks at a process to create a really strong paranormal romance that has a romance as the main story arc, but which also uses paranormal/fantasy elements that are vital to the plot.

Lectures include:

  • What’s the difference between Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal, and Paranormal Romance?
  • Blending other subgenres (such as suspense) into the mix—what can this give you and what are the dangers?
  • What’s a story arc and what are character arcs?
  • Crafting your characters for romantic conflict that includes vital paranormal elements?
  • How to balance action and romance—what are the turning points for each?
  • How to test if your story is really more of a paranormal/fantasy or a romance?
  • Do you have strong enough antagonists—and are they well developed to create maximum romantic conflicts and increase the paranormal/fantasy elements?
  • Making sure the dark moment hits both the romance and the paranormal/fantasy story line.

About the Presenter, Shannon Donnelly

Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA’s Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.”

In addition to her Regency and Historical romances, she is the author of the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burnand Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the SF/Paranormal, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of Amazon.com and includes the Historical romances, The Cardros Ruby and Paths of Desire.

She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and has also written computer games and does editing work on the side. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and the one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at sd-writer.com, facebook.com/sdwriter, and twitter/sdwriter.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop

The Nuances of Dialogue

03/02/2015 – 03/27/2015

Whether in prose or dramatic mediums, characters need to speak in a succinct, entertaining manner that moves the story forward. Inner character motivation and personality can be revealed through what is spoken and how. This workshop will cover diction & syntax, concepts of multi-layered meaning, the difference between speech patterns of male-female speakers, influence of age-education-culture, how to control lecturing and argument orchestration.

About the Presenter, Sally J. Walker

Sally J. Walker has taught over 35 different workshops both on-site and on-line.  An avid learner, she is always ready to change and grow her own process then pass on what she has learned in a practical manner intended to challenge participants rather than dictate end-all-be-all concepts.  She has taught for Omaha’s Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City’s Johnson County Community College, Lincoln (NE)’s Southeast Community College, several chapters of RWA including KOD and Scriptscene, a Romantic Times national conference, and the Moondance International Film Festival, as well as conducted a mini-workshop of writing and meditation for Omaha-area churches.  Sally has also been an Artist-in-Residence and motivational speaker at several Omaha area schools and conducts free weekly mentoring sessions for teens at the Ralston Baright Library.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop


Gracie Madison, author of SING FOR ME, on Magic, Music, Song, and Emotion (#angel #fiction)

Today’s guest blogger is NA PNR author Gracie Madison, whose novel SING FOR ME, came out a few weeks ago. When I saw that she was doing a BBT tour to help get the word out about her release, I asked if she’d be willing to share her thoughts on adding music to her stories and/or the idea of mixing magic, emotion, and voice. As part of her tour, she’s giving away a $25 Amazon eGC and one signed copy of her book. The Rafflecopter link is below. Welcome, Gracie!

[Quick note before Gracie’s post… remember how much I loved the cover for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE? Well, I entered it in the JABBIC (the Judge A Book By Its Cover contest). I’ve never entered before and didn’t realize it’s one of those contests where EVERYONE can vote. So, if you have a minute, it would be awesome if you could check out all the entries and cast your vote. Today is the last day to vote. There are some great covers! Click here for the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal category link. For new followers who like reading about covers, check out the “For Cover Lovers” links below.]

Sing for Me, Gracie Madison, paranormal romance, new adult, magic, angels, demons, magic, emotion

“Because music is so universal and so many people have their own special relationship with it, music became a natural way to introduce the plot and characters.”

I should preface this blog post…I love music and the theater, but I am a writer for good reason. The only thing worse than my trumpet playing in high school and college was my singing. I earned a scholarship out of pity, and they probably would’ve paid me more to stop. Music always fascinated me, but it doesn’t come easily to me.  It’s brimming with theory and compositions and its own language, and it blends an almost mathematical precision with creativity. It utterly fascinating to me, and Sing For Me utilizes that mysterious quality and blends it with the paranormal and divine to create the romance.

Sing For Me is a paranormal romance novel set within an opera house. The main character, Madeline, is the supporting soprano for the Eden theater company’s production of The Magic Flute. She also happens to be a specific breed of angel called a Choir, which, in the mythology of Sing For Me, means she is a creature created specifically for music and the entertainment of the angelic realm. Her magic exists within her songs and the power of her voice. In Sing For Me, music doesn’t soothe the savage beast, it is the only way to survive it.

So much of Sing For Me is influenced by music—from the Opera production, to the everyday life of the characters, to the very purpose of their creation. Music is not only emotional, it’s a sensual expression, a weapon, and a way to escape the horrors of the darkness chasing Madeline.

But it is hard to write about music, especially opera. Without hearing the songs or seeing the productions, the narrative relies on the feelings created by the music. The characters each have their own emotional connection to what they sing or to music itself. Madeline is actually forbidden to indulge in any emotions as they fuel the power in her voice, rendering it uncontrollable. Natalie, the director’s assistant, is not a singer or star, but she is a songwriter, and the theater offered her a sanctuary from an abusive upbringing. And the prima donna, Danielle, is a feisty diva who lives, breathes, and is her role in the production. Because music is so universal and so many people have their own special relationship with it, music became a natural way to introduce the plot and characters.

Angels are so often portrayed as strumming harps and singing hymns, so it was really fun to re-envision them in a modern way. But let’s face it, opera has a bad reputation. People envision the horned ladies in golden breastplates wailing at the top their lungs. However, there’s a tremendous amount of power and talent and skill involved within the productions, and there’s just as much hierarchy within the theaters as there is within the orders angels in religious mythology. Though Madeline’s attempts to hide within the crew, her natural talent and beautiful voice take center stage. Everything she seems, experiences, or knows is because of music and related through music.

Magic and music are intertwined within the novel, as are song and emotion. The only thing more powerful than a song is the love of the main characters and the promise that Madeline makes to Damascus throughout the story—she always sings for him.

Sing for Me, Gracie Madison, paranormal romance, new adult, magic, angels, demons, magic, emotion

More About Sing For Me

Madeline Noel fled war-torn Heaven to hide within the mortal world, but the blessing that could protect her from evil is the holy realm’s forbidden power.

As a talented soprano for the Eden Theatre Company, Madeline hides among prima donnas and tone-deaf flutists. Her perfect voice may entertain audiences, but a careless laugh may shatter glass, and her greatest scream can kill. To control her unrestrained voice, the angels forbid Madeline from embracing the emotions that strengthen her song. Anger. Fear.

Love.

The demon-hunter Damascus vows to defend Madeline from Hell’s relentless evil, but he cannot protect her from her own feelings. Though they deny their dangerous attraction, her guardian becomes her greatest temptation.

Surrendering to desire may awaken the gift suppressed within Madeline’s soul, and neither Heaven nor Hell will allow such absolute power to exist.

Sing for Me, Gracie Madison, paranormal romance, new adult, magic, angels, demons, magic, emotion

Gracie Madison

Gracie Madison

More About Gracie

Gracie Madison would spend every day, all day writing…if it were socially acceptable.  Ever since she was a little girl scribbling with a crayon, Gracie’s dedicated herself to her books and all the supernatural and paranormal, creepy and beautiful stories and characters born within the pages. Now Gracie is committed to finally sharing those books with the world.  When the laptop is pried from her hands, Gracie is probably working her day job, rooting on the Steelers, or out with her husband searching for Pittsburgh’s best sushi.

More About the Giveaway

Gracie is giving away a $25 Amazon eGift Certificate (international) and one signed paperback of SING FOR ME (U.S. only). To enter the giveaway, click here for the Rafflecopter form. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. 18 and over. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Sing for Me Banner

So how about you? Do you like stories with angels and demons? I hope so! 😉 How about music, magic, love, and emotion? Do you think Gracie’s cover is as pretty as I do?

Thank you, Gracie, for guest blogging today!

FOR COVER LOVERS

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover artA fun discussion of the Noon Onyx Covers at The Reading Cafe

Goodreads List: Best Books with Jason Chan Cover Art (Fiery Edge of Steel is on there; White Heart of Justice isn’t?!)

The Qwillery: Dark Light of Day‘s Sept 2012 Debut Author Cover War Challenge win – woohoo! (I was a little better about getting the vote out for that contest than I have been for the JABBIC. If you vote over there today, THANK YOU!!)


Celia Breslin: Vampires, Love, Mayhem *and* The Best Ever Holiday Caramel Candy Recipe

Today’s post is an interview with urban fantasy/paranormal romance author Celia Breslin. She talks about her vampire series, writing habits, favorite books and authors, and she shares her favorite caramel recipe — perfect for eating while reading!:-)

Celia Breslin, Destiny, vampires, urban fantasy, paranormal romance

CELIA’S TRANQUILLI BLOODLINE SERIES

Give us a 20-word summary for your latest release.

How about three words?  Vampires, love, mayhem.

Okay, just kidding.  Here are 20 words for DESTINY, book 2 in the Tranquilli Bloodline Series:  Carina must open her new club, repair her relationship, and save her friends from death by vampire. Sometimes destiny sucks.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why is he/she your favorite?

All my Tranquilli Bloodline characters hold a piece of my heart. But I hope Carina and crew will forgive me if I confess her mentor Jonas is my favorite. An ancient vampire originally from England, Jonas embodies extreme violence in a pretty package.  He’s a man of few words, dark and moody, fiercely loyal and violently protective of those few people he loves (such as Carina). I adore him so much that I gave him his own short story, VAMPIRE CODE.

WRITING HABITS

How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you?

My Irish grandmother started it with her stories of the Fae, including one tale of her encounter with a Banshee in her root cellar. Imagination fueled, I wrote a lot of fairy tales as a kid.

Do you choose a title first or write the book then choose the title?

Title first, though the title is derived from the subject matter of the book, so that’s a little bit like asking, ‘What comes first, chicken or egg?’

Do you decide on character traits before writing the whole book or as you go along?

As my work is character driven, I develop character profiles prior to writing the whole story. I have detailed questionnaires on all major characters. Of course, they still manage to surprise me while I’m writing their stories.

Do you have another job in addition to writing?

Mom, cat wrangler, line and content editor, slush pile reader, Joss Whedon fan. Oh wait, that last one isn’t actually a job, ha.

FAVORITE BOOKS AND AUTHORS

What is your favorite book and why?

I have so many favorites in varying genres. In urban fantasy/paranormal romance, I adore these series:  J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood; Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark; Amber Belldene’s Blood Vine; and Larissa Ione’s Demonica and Lords of Deliverance.

Favorite author?

So many great authors in the world! In urban fantasy/paranormal romance: J.R. Ward, Kresley Cole, Amber Belldene, Tricia Skinner, Laura Kaye, Larissa Ione, and more!

OTHER FAVORITES

Favorite format: e-book, hardback, or paperback?

All of the above.  I read a lot of eBooks, but there’s something quite satisfying about holding your own print book, or a print book by another author you love.

Favorite color?

Black and red. (I’m not a vampire. Really, I’m not, LOL.)

Favorite singer/group?

Depends on my mood. When I’m writing vampires, I often gravitate toward industrial and techno/electro, so NIN, The Prodigy, Bass Kittens, Meat Beat Manifesto, etc.

Favorite food?

Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Japanese, Chinese…ok, now I’m hungry!:-)

Favorite holiday treat?

Without question, my grandmother’s caramels. The recipe is below so you can make them too!  Warning: they’re sooooo good that you’ll want to make them year round.

WHAT’S NEXT

What’s in your writing future? More books in this genre or…?

Yes, more books in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres.  For urban fantasy, Carina’s adventures continue in ORIGINS, Book 3 in the Tranquilli Bloodline Series.  For paranormal romance, my wolf shifters in DIAMOND MOON will release in summer 2015 from Decadent Publishing. A second wolf shifter story is in progress.

 The Best Ever Holiday Caramel Candy, aka Grandma Eddie’s Caramels

  • 1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups white Karo Syrup
  • 1 stick of butter (1/4 lb.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Mix together the first three ingredients (milk, sugar, syrup) in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large heavy kettle, pour in the mixture and bring to a boil. Stir continuously while mixture boils until it reaches the temperature of 245 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer (can take up to 25 minutes). Note: If mixture overcooks, candy gets too hard. Once the 245 degree temperature is reached, remove kettle from stove. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then pour mixture onto a large buttered cookie sheet or flat pan.

For more holiday treats, visit my blog today! (E-books and e-gift card up for grabs! Giveaway ends 12/23/14).

Happy holidays!

Celia

More About Destiny

In HAVEN, San Francisco nightclub owner Carina Tranquilli survives a vicious attack by her vampire family’s longtime archenemies. Several weeks later, as she struggles with PTSD and survivor’s guilt, supervillain Dixon resurfaces and kidnaps two of her best friends. To save them, Carina must comply with the evil bastard’s unusual demands. The kicker? She must tell no one what she is up to.

Meanwhile, she has a new dance club to open for the preternatural community, a fated soul mate acting secretive and distant, and a sexy, new, undead friend who’d love to take Alexander’s place in her heart and bed.

Blackmailed, betrayed, tempted…sometimes destiny has a wicked sense of humor.

Where to find it:

Celia Breslin, Haven, vampire romance, urban fantasy, paranormal romance

Celia Breslin

More About Celia

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for vampires, werewolves, and the Fae. When not writing, you’ll find her exercising, reading a good book or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies.

Thank you, Celia, for the interview and the caramel recipe!

… how’s everyone doing? How’s your December going? Mine has been busy, which is why I’ve been quiet lately. December is just one of those months when everything sneaks up on you, you know?😀

I have one more guest blogger in my “Writers Who Create Other Things” series and then I’ll likely take time off from blogging until after the New Year. But I have some fun stuff planned for 2015 so stay tuned!


Jeffe Kennedy: Magic in the Twelve Kingdoms… and Our Everyday World

Jeffe Kennedy‘s latest release, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE received a 4 1/2 stars Top Pick Gold review from RT Book Reviews. For those of you who are unfamiliar with RT Book Reviews (go subscribe!) that’s a really terrific review. (I happened to see it not long after she sent me this post so I figured mentioning it would be a great way to introduce her). :-) She’s here with a topic that should appeal to fantasy and paranormal romance writers, as well as readers who love to hear about how we create the magic in our stories. Welcome, Jeffe!

“I’m fascinated by the idea that magic and other supernatural phenomena are simply products of universal laws we don’t yet understand.”

Thanks to Jill for inviting me to her blog today!

She asked me to talk some about the magic systems in my books, which isn’t something I get asked about all that frequently. In both of my fantasy romance trilogies thus far – A Covenant of Thorns and The Twelve Kingdoms – magic plays a fundamental role in the worlds.

A Covenant of Thorns takes place in Faerie, a world entirely infused with magic. The denizens of Faerie, with the exceptions of the human minority, are magical beings – some to the extent that they subsist entirely on magical energy. In The Twelve Kingdoms books, the world is populated mostly by humans and magic is scarce, mainly confined to the realm of Annfwn, where the Tala live. However, like the fae in my other series, the Tala are a magical people and the presence of magic in their world infuses everything about their lives and culture.

More than one reviewer has noted that Annfwn is a metaphor or form of Faerie, which I didn’t consciously intend, but I think the comparison is fair. In both series, the magical systems are outgrowth of Celtic culture, mythology and fairy tales. They both hearken to the earliest tales, such as the Táin Bó Cuailnge, which is an eighth-century cycle of Irish heroic tales. Much as in Greek mythology – another of my influences – they embody almost a form of magical realism, where magic infuses the world and shapes the creatures, landscape and events in the same way that the laws of physics, biology and ecology do.

This is my sweet spot.

As a scientist by training, I’m fascinated by the idea that magic and other supernatural phenomena are simply products of universal laws we don’t yet understand. In the Faerie of A Covenant of Thorns, I play with the idea that evolution follows a path similar to the one we know, but is accelerated and supercharged, if you will, by the mutating power of magic – which functions almost like a form of radiation in some cases. In The Twelve Kingdoms, the magic arises from the divine and from the land, which are profoundly intertwined. The Tala are shapeshifters and wizards because they have retained a stronger divine bloodline than the rest of the world.

In both of these series, the power of mental control, of self-discipline, self-knowledge and self-mastery all play a huge role. Thought is what controls the magic. This, then, loops back to the magical realism of the old stories, whether Celtic, Greek or from many other cultures I could list, that these tales teach lessons about how to govern our lives. Everything we struggle with – overcoming bad events, hoping for good outcomes, striving for more – all of that is essentially about manifesting what we want in our lives. Rather than waving magic wands or reciting spells, we govern our thoughts, eliminating negative thinking and focusing on the positive. In that way, we transform our lives and make them what we want them to be. That concept is at the core of all of my work, in truth.

A kind of magic we can all wield.

Thank you, Jeffe, for guest blogging today! Have a wonderful week, everyone!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,322 other followers

%d bloggers like this: