Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Music Can Be a Magical Time Machine

Posted by: Maureen
By Maureen L. Bonatch

When I’m in the car I usually listen to my favorite, hand-selected songs I’ve accumulated on my phone or iPod, but occasionally I get a free trial of satellite radio. Even though I might only have the extra stations for a short time, I immediately lock in a few favorite stations to listen to when I’m in the car. 

One of the stations is usually for songs that I recognize but don’t know the name performed by artists I never really knew, singing songs about experiences I’d never lived through from a time before I was born—the 1960’s. 

Music is in my Blood

I love music. I’ve never played an instrument, but I was raised with the radio on and my mother singing along. Or tossing an album, or a 45 record, on the player to dance in the living room with my Mom and sisters was something that could happen on any day. 

When I hear those old songs from
the 1960’s, and into the 1970’s, I’m transported back to that time in my life when things were simpler for me. 

Memories of lazy summer days and long afternoons reading on the sofa were plentiful. 

I can almost hear the scratch of the needle as we changed the album, and I can fondly recall bragging to my friends that we had all the Elvis Presley records. Today when I listen to these old songs on the radio, and sing along to some, I temporarily forget my troubles as the years slip away with the magical time machine music provides.

Let Me Hear the Magic

Imagine watching a movie without the soundtrack. Think of how many movies have a distinctive theme song. One that when you hear it, you return to those characters to visit their world. Surely, I’m not the only one who imagines the wind blowing through my hair and the sound of the waves when I hear My Heart Will Go On? The Titanic theme song is only one of many songs whose sound transports me away from my every day.

Many songs on my iPod evoke a memory. Perhaps they were playing during a significant event, or their verse takes me there. Some of these memories are ones I’d rather forget, because they evoke painful emotions, although these emotions prove helpful to pour into a character and enrich the story while absolving me of the discomfort.

The Playlist Chooses 

Many authors create a playlist when they’re writing a story to help them feel the character and their world better. Writing is the only time that I don’t have music on and I prefer silence, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a playlist. I don’t intentionally choose songs for the story, but rather the song chooses. 

I’ll hear a particular song and realize it fits the story perfectly, or that I’m longing to run back to write more as it inspires me and delivers character secrets that they’d kept hidden until now. Because to me, music is magical. 

What kind of impression does music make on you?

 

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ephemera

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
Trove is an Australian site that provides access to a truly impressive number of historical records in digital format. Their Twitter account recently pointed out that the pre-Twitter form of information dissemination was the cutting and passing on of newspaper articles. That struck a chord with me.

Do any of you have your older relatives' scrapbooks? Sadly, none of my family were careful curators, so I don't. Although Mum still cuts recipes out of the newspaper to tuck away and never refer to again, LOL. The old scrapbooks that saved ephemera are fascinating.

Ephemera are the small things that were designed to serve a purpose for just a short time: tickets, postcards, catalogues, etc. The Ephemera Society is a good place to explore the notion of ephemera. (Also, check out the Prize Papers Project, it's digitalizing undelivered mail from British ships from the 17th to 19th Centuries).

As a kid, I loved the things my family had kept despite themselves: wildflowers pressed in books, sheet music, and pamphlets. My grandmother always enjoyed a good conspiracy and she had some strange little pamphlets printed by obscure societies.

The internet worries me for how it changes ephemera. So much of it is now online. Will it vanish? Does that matter? How will people thirty years from now find ways to look back at the small, important things of our daily lives?

I was thinking about what to write for this blog post, and how ephemeral such posts tend to be, and the next thing I knew, here was this reflection on the topic.

I'd hate to lose the magic of discovering forgotten ways of living and loving that ephemera provide. Reading their grandparents' emails (if they're allowed access to them) just won't be the same for future generations as reading paper love letters. For a start, they won't be SWAK (Sealed With A Kiss).


Monday, May 21, 2018

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
New Releases:

Other News:

It's Week Six of the 2018 InD'tale RONE Awards and Maureen L Bonatch's EVIL SPEAKS SOFTLY is up for votes in the Fantasy category after receiving a crowned heart review.

"If any reader wants to know how the creative process happens for authors who say they have muses who speak directly to their minds, this is a fabulous learner’s manual—albeit a very creepy one. If any authors wonder where their muses come from, maybe this tale shouldn’t be read, unless ghosts and demons aren’t a problem. 

Though rife with the undead and demonic pacts, this tale is also a wonderful blend of uncovering a hidden past and falling in love along the way, in spite of rules. Both Gage and Olivia occasionally blunder their way around, but their shared desire to face reality and find the truth makes for a compelling ride full of quirky characters. Authors and readers beware, your feelings about muses and writing may never be the same, and one will love every minute of it."

You can vote for EVIL SPEAKS SOFTLY right here.

Sales & Promos:
From May 1st - 31st, you can get the ebook for just 99 cents! (Available at this price only on Amazon and this website. Note: Click BUY EBOOK to get the Nook or PDF version.)

VALL'S WILL
Sci-Fi Romance

by Linda Mooney
Word Count: 56K


A Nion warrior never kills. Never. But this time, she may have to destroy the man she loves.

They found him chained in the depths of an enemy ship. Half-starved, beaten, and abused in more ways than anyone could ever imagine, the man still exhibited a strength of character that impressed his deliverers, including Captain Willis Tayte.

Something about this one, whom his captors called Vall, tugged at her heart. It was too bad she wouldn't have the chance to explore the exciting new feelings he brought to her when she was around him. Her orders were to deliver him to the nearest Regency base, where it would be determined what species he belonged to, and then be indoctrinated into his new life of freedom. He would be returned home, and Will would go back to her ship.

At least, that was the plan, until a ship of unknown origin suddenly appears from out of nowhere and demands Vall in exchange for her life and the lives of millions more. It isn't until she finally discovers Vall's true identity that Will realizes how important he is to keeping balance in the Universe. And how special she has become to him.

Warning! Contains baldness for women, explosions, abandonment, a miracle survival, and the decision to kill the only person she will ever love.

Excerpt and buy links.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Journey From Book to Audiobook

Posted by: Linda Mooney

The journey of a book becoming an audiobook is often as rocky, if not rockier, than getting the book written in the first place. Sometimes you strike it rich, and end up with a narrator you’ll want to hire over and over again. And sometimes you end up with a narrator you wish you’d never hired in the first place. That’s life. That’s the luck of the draw.

But sometimes, when you find a narrator you would love to have do more of your books, you may not be so lucky to re-hire them. There could be any number of factors which prevents that narrator from working with you again.

·       They may be booked up for an extended length of time, perhaps a year or more in advance.
·       They may no longer be doing narrations.
·       Their cost may have become prohibitive.
·       They’re ill/incapacitated, real life has intruded, or you simply can’t reach them.

These are just a few reasons why you as a listener may discover that a series you’ve come to love has a different voice reading it. But know that the person who’s been hired is the closest match to the original narrator that the author could find. Also, keep in mind that the narrator is doing the best s/he can to fill the shoes of their predecessor.

Television shows, and sometimes movies, have been known to change the face of a major character, in lieu of killing off that character. Changing narrators in mid-audio series isn’t that different.

So the next time you’ve discovered there’s been a switch in who’s reading the book aloud, give the narrator a chance, and see if s/he grows on you. You may soon find yourself getting lost in the story to where the main voice no longer matters.

And that’s the mark of a superb narrator.


***

Now Available!

HER BATTLE LORD'S DESIRE
Book 2 of The Battle Lord Saga
Sci-Fi/Futuristic/Post-Apocalyptic Romance
Word Count:  90K
$4.99
e / $15.99 p / $24.95 a



Narrated by Daniela Acitelli
Length: 10 hrs.
Hear a Sample

Besieged by Bloods and placed on a hunger watch, the citizens of the mutant compound of Wallis turn to the one person they pray will help, the Battle Lord of Alta Novis.  Despite the fact that they took away the woman the man risked his life to love, they hope he will show mercy and lend aid.  They never expected to find Atrilan Ferran alive and thriving as the wife of Yulen D'Jacques.   

Yulen sees this as the perfect opportunity to show the citizens of Atty's home compound the power and status his wife wields.  But first he, Atty, and his soldiers have to risk the journey against the oncoming horde of blood-thirsty crazies to get there. 

Atty is eager to return to Wallis, but one small detail stands in the way of her and Yulen's happiness.  He desires an heir, and she is terrified at the thought of becoming pregnant.  Worse, the dangerous trek has increased his ardor, and she is running out of excuses why they can't make love.


Warning:  Contains a near massacre, renewed friendships, shocking revelations, birth control 300 years in the future, a trip down memory lane, and a deepest desire finally fulfilled.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New Medieval Fantasy Coming!

Posted by: Shawna Reppert

Hello, All!

My original plans for this month's post went somewhat pear-shaped as I've come down with either a very bad cold or the Black Plague. Time will tell which.

In the meantime, please enjoy this cover reveal and blurb from my upcomeing medieval fantasy novel Brother to the Wolf, which will be available sometime in July. Although set in an original world, it's heavily influenced by my interest in paganism and in the Robin Hood legends, so if you like that sort of thing this may be right up your alley (or deer trail, as the case may be.) 


Two enemies with one shared father. Can they join in brotherhood to protect a nation from tyranny?

 

It’s been three generations since the Vainqueur invaders took Seaxland in a storm of blood and steel. Only a few Seax lords kept their titles, selling out their own king to the Vainqueur invaders.

 

Sir Gareth, Vainqueur knight, tainted by his mother’s half-Seax blood and rumored to be a bastard, will do whatever it takes to improve his position and keep his estate intact.

 

Worth Tiltonson, Seax lord’s son and Gareth’s secret half-brother, is haunted by the knowledge of what his family did to keep their title and lands. He has vowed to use the remnants of their power to protect his people.

 

The inevitable clash between the two brothers leaves Worth outlawed and an injured Gareth swearing revenge. But when Gareth is betrayed by the baron he serves, Worth and Gareth must work together to stop the men who want to kill the Vainqueur crown prince who is Seaxland’s only hope of peace. But when Gareth is betrayed by the baron he serves, Worth and Gareth must work together to stop the men who want to kill the Vainqueur crown prince who is Seaxland’s only hope of peace.

Want to hear  when this or any other of my works comes out?  Follow my Amazon page to get notifications! https://www.amazon.com/Shawna-Reppert/e/B00957U8KG



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Are Frogs and Toads Lucky? Legends and Lore

Posted by: Dani Harper, AUTHOR
Image: Bigstock.com
Late last night the "spring peepers" gave a concert in my yard. Toads trilled under the porch, as enthusiastic bass and tenor sections of frogs in the garden competed with a shrill soprano chorus of tiny tree frogs amid the lilac branches. 

The sound of these creatures is the surest sign that the warm weather is here to stay. In fact, frogs and toads are also called spring cheepers, and even pinklewinks and pinkwinks, depending where you are in North America.

I’ve been fascinated with amphibians ever since I was a kid scooping up tadpoles into a jar from the creek near my house. When I grew up and left home, my Welsh grandmother gave me a ceramic frog for my apartment and told me that I should always have a frog in the house for good luck. That was a long time ago, but I still keep a statue of a frog near the door, and there are always a few frog and toad figurines in my home.

Just in case...

The ancient Romans thought house frogs were lucky too, keeping live frogs as mascots. Both the Egyptians and Greeks believed that frogs possessed a creative force – they were symbols of inspiration (Hmmm … as a writer, maybe I need some frogs on my desk!)

Chan Chu, the Toad of Wealth
Image: Bigstock.com
FROGS AND WEALTH

Many cultures consider it a sign that money is coming to you if a frog enters the house. Figurines of frogs are used in the practice of Feng Shui in order to attract wealth both at home and at work. 


A three-legged toad named Chan Chu is the traditional pet of the immortal Liu Hai, Chinese god of wealth. The toad is usually pictured with a gold coin in its mouth, and often sitting on a pile of coins as well. 

Businesses often keep a statue of Chan Chu near their cash register. In the home, however, Chan Chu is never placed facing the door. The toad is to be placed as if he has just entered the home, bringing abundance with him.

FROGS AND ACHIEVEMENT

Many societies have equated frogs and toads with great transformative powers and even reincarnation. After all, they're every bit as amazing as butterflies. They go through vastly different phases in their lives:  From eggs they hatch into gilled tadpoles that can only live underwater, and then gradually transform to air-breathing land creatures. It’s not surprising that frogs are also associated with personal growth and achievement.

Image: Bigstock.com
The ultimate achievement is shown in an old story: A toad had fallen in love with the moon and wanted to go there more than anything. Everyone told the toad that it was impossible to leap so high. But the toad decided not to listen and began jumping. Each time it jumped, it went a little bit higher. After many, many jumps, it finally reached the moon!

Speaking of the moon, it’s interesting to note that while western cultures perceive the shape of “man in the moon”, the Chinese might point to the “toad in the moon” instead. And in some Asian tales, eclipses occur when the toad tries to swallow the moon itself.



FROGS AND FERTILITY


Frogs and toads are ideal symbols 

of transformation and change!
Image: Bigstock.com
Since frogs lay enormous quantities of eggs, it’s only natural that they would become a fertility symbol. The Egyptians depicted the water goddess, Heket, as a frog or as a woman with the head of a frog. She ruled conception and birth, was the goddess of midwifery and protected new-born babies. 

Egyptian women seeking to conceive or those in the midst of childbirth often wore amulets which depicted Heket as a frog sitting on a lotus flower. It’s interesting that in ancient Mesoamerica, some tribes worshipped a corn goddess who took the form of a frog or a toad. Just like Heket, she was the patron of fertility and childbirth.

Frogs also came to symbolize abundance in general. They appeared in vast numbers during the annual flooding of the Nile and it wasn’t long before the Egyptians adopted the frog as their official hieroglyph for an immense number: 100,000!

FROGS AS MEDICINE 
Vodka or whiskey with frogs in it is
considered good for you in Vietnam.

Image: Bigstock.com

Many cultures associated frogs and toads with healing powers. A supposed cure for thrush, sore throat, and colds was holding a live frog and placing its head in the patient's mouth! As the frog breathed, it was said to draw the illness away from the patient and into itself. Maybe this is why laryngitis is still sometimes described as "having a frog in your throat". You could also drink the water that a frog had been swimming in. 

Although it was often believed that frogs and toads caused warts, it's also been claimed that warts could be cured by rubbing a frog or toad across them. Eating frog soup was said to cure whooping cough.

The ancient Celts venerated natural bodies of water, and springs and wells were sacred. The presence of frogs in the water was highly desirable since they associated frogs with both purity and healing. Bathing in such water or drinking it was thought to cure illness. Many such wells still exist, and one in Shropshire, England, is allegedly guarded by three frogs who are actually faeries in disguise!

Incidentally, there’s an old story about how frogs came to have only four toes on their front feet while their back feet have five. A group of young frogs ignored the advice of their elders and hopped into the midst of what they thought was going to be a sumptuous feast of bright fireflies. Instead, they found themselves in the midst of the faery court. The faery queen was so outraged by this interruption that she used her magic to remove a toe from every front foot of every frog – and threatened to remove more if they ever came back!


Frog brought fire to Man by carrying a burning stick.
Image: Bigstock.com
FROGS AS HEROES

Frogs and toads have appeared in ancient stories as heroes and benefactors of the human race. In Native American legends of the Southwest, Frog is usually depicted carrying a piece of wood in its mouth, because the Mojave people believe it was the Frog who brought fire to humans. 


In some stories, Australia’s Aboriginal peoples credited the frog with bringing rain to make the plants grow. And in Aztec folklore, the god Quetzacoatl assumed the form of a little blue frog in order to bring “the food of the gods” to humans – cocoa!

Good frog!



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

LEGEND  LORE  LOVE  MAGIC

The fae are cunning, powerful and often cruel. The most beautiful among them are often the most deadly. Hidden far beneath the mortal world, the timeless faery realm plays by its own rules—and those rules can change on a whim.

Now and again, the unpredictable residents of that mystical land cross the supernatural threshold…

In this enchanting romance series from Dani Harper, the ancient fae come face-to-face with modern-day humans and discover something far more potent than their strongest magic: love.


  
STORM WARRIOR, STORM BOUND, STORM WARNED, STORM CROSSED
Note: Every book in this series is designed to stand alone.
It's fun to read them in order, but you won't get lost if you don't!


See ALL Dani's novels on her Amazon Author Page 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Here Be News

Posted by: Veronica Scott
No New Releases This Week...
Other News:
Jenny Schwartz is re-covering her titles and here are two of the pretty new covers!

Bring It Back(list):
Veronica Scott shares an excerpt from HOSTAGE TO THE STARS. When Sara is taken by space pirates, Special Forces soldier Johnny Danver refuses to leave her behind...

Buy Links:     Apple iBooks     Amazon    Kobo     Barnes & Noble



........

Sales & Promos:

https://www.amazon.com/First-Bite-Dark-Wolf-Book-ebook/dp/B00BI4W7G2
Geneva “Neva” Ross doesn’t want to die. But now that she’s been turned into a werewolf against her will, she’ll do anything to protect her family and friends even if that means taking her own life.


Too bad Travis Williamson saw her jump. A lone Changeling with a dark past, he feels compelled to use his powers to save her. The last thing he expects is to feel a connection to the strong-willed woman. And when Neva is hospitalized, Travis risks everything to kidnap her, knowing the approaching full moon will put everyone in jeopardy.


Bickering constantly to hide their growing attraction, Travis and Neva run from the authorities and from Neva’s sinister sire, Meredith de la Ronde. Meredith is determined that Neva will join her murderous wolf pack. Or die.

https://www.amazon.com/First-Bite-Dark-Wolf-Book-ebook/dp/B00BI4W7G2



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